Questions tagged [theology]

Questions regarding our understanding of God, such as it is. NOT for every question about Jewish beliefs.

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159 views

Were there prophets who could “see” the past?

According to Wikipedia, Judaism holds that there were 48 males prophets and 7 female prophetesses mentioned by name in Tenakh, counting ONLY the Jewish ones. (Judaism recognizes that there were many ...
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3answers
223 views

Why does HaShem desire the tefillos of the righteous?

א"ר יצחק מפני מה היו אבותינו עקורים מפני שהקב"ה מתאוה לתפלתן של צדיקים Says R' Yitzchak: Why were our forefathers sterile? Because HaShem desires the prayers of the righteous. From Yevamos ...
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Understanding the dwelling of the Shechina

The Shechina, or Divine Presence, is mentioned as being present in a number of different situations in the Talmud: When 1, 2, 3, 5, or 10 people sit and occupy themselves with Torah, (Avot 3:2,6, Ber ...
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250 views

What caused God?

I recently came across this webpage, in which I read the following: You say everything needs a cause, right? So what caused the 1st cause? Why is the 1st cause the exception to the rule? Maybe the ...
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944 views

Did Moshe Rabbeinu See God?

Did Moshe Rabbeinu see God? Doesn't Maimonides assert that all references to the physicality of God are metaphorical? If so, how did Moses see God?
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286 views

Where is a mediator between God and man forbidden

I don't believe that there should be mediators (like Christians believe Jesus is a mediator between God and man whom they pray to and/or pray through) between us and God, but is there anywhere in the ...
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190 views

How can G-d without form produce sound (voice)?

How can a G-d without form produce sound (voice)? For instance, G-d spoke at Mount Sinai to millions of Jews.
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What does it mean to bless anything?

In the first chapter of the Torah G-d Himself blesses various things: people, animals, days. What does it mean for G-d to bless anything after creating it?
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Shaar Yichud - Unity of God

According my understanding of the Shaar Yichud of Chovot Halevavot, an Eternal being must be infinite and everywhere since whatever is finite is necessarily bounded and whatever is bounded is preceded ...
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3answers
196 views

Does Jewish mysticism involve “feeling” G-d?

I have read an accusation from the Traditionalist Catholics that Modern Catholicism has changed under the influence of Judaism its understanding of the Holy Ghost. Modern day Catholicism together with ...
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1answer
111 views

Transcendence, Immanence, and Ya'akov

I've been following some of the discussion here: Is Jewish theology Panentheistic by definition? and here: Hashem is here and there and everywhere? And I have to admit I am more confused than ever! ...
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363 views

How can we say everything is good?

Considering that we can do things that are against the divine will (like sinning, for instance), how can we say that everything that occurs is for the good? I understand that everything that God does ...
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107 views

Why does the Torah refer to G-d paternally?

We know G-d has no gender yet our Scriptures use masculine pronouns when referring to Him and also when He refers to Himself in the third person. Obviously there are only three options: male, female ...
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149 views

What are some fundamental chasidic works of philosophy / theology?

Which books are fundamental in terms of presenting the philosophy / theology of mainstream chasidut? I know Chabad has Tanya, and Breslov has Likkutei Moharan. Which sefarim are philosophically ...
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115 views

What can one do to see clearer that God is really in charge of everything?

Based on my Jewish learning it is clear that God created the world, oversees everything and everything that happens is in accord with his will. However as I carry out my day to day activities it ...
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Chovos Halevavos' Proof from Design

Where (preferably online) is the passage of Rabbeinu Bahya Ibn Paqud in his Chovos Halevavos (in Shaar HaYichud I believe) in which he proves the existence of the Creator by citing a story where a ...
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239 views

What's the best rewording of “midas harachamim aleinu hisgalgli” for those uncomfortable with it?

In the Selichot (fifth day of Aseret Yimei Teshuvah, HaPizmon shel Yud Gimel Middot HaRahamim) and in Ne'ila of Yom Kippur, there's the stanza that reads: The concern is the few middle lines: מדת ...
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259 views

Does Hashem care about Halachah Lemaase?

Upfront: this is a metaphysical/theological question In many (almost all?) areas of Jewish practice, there are a number of different and at times diametrically opposed opinions as to what the ...
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353 views

Why is Avraham's monotheism not mentioned in the torah?

One of the more famous achievements of Avraham was his discovery in a single God. However there is no mention of this accomplishment anywhere in the Torah. In fact there is no conclusive proof that he ...
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193 views

By what standards does Judaism hold infants accountable for sin?

In Samuel 15:3 Samuel relays God's instruction to Saul of obliterating the nation of Amalek. Included in this instruction is also the command to slay infants and sucklings. Samuel 15:3 "Now, go, and ...
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Animal Suffering and The Cruelty of Nature

Whilst the world's ecosystem and natural phenomena are magnificently complex and awe-inspiring, it is undoubtedly a system that is brutal - 'red in tooth and claw'. The laws of nature we can observe ...
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177 views

What is the soul and why is my conviction so weak? [closed]

Coming from a scientific materialist past, I have always had a hard time wrapping my head around the concept of G-D and the Soul (נשמה ,רוח ,נפש). Due to some personal experiences, I have come to ...
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162 views

The purpose and the permission to write Na"ch?

Torah (the 5 books) is [considered] G-d dictated, holistic and include all the necessary knowledge. It is allowed to be passed in the written form. The detailed interpretations were given orally and ...
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72 views

What does אחָד in שמע ישראל actually mean?

In the Shema the word used for the oneness of God is אחָד (ref.). This is startling for a Muslim, as they find in the Quran almost a transliteration of the same word, i.e. the Arabic احد (pronounced: ...
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What does אדון הכל mean?

The Shulchan Aruch says that when saying G-d's name אד-ני one should have in mind that G-d is אדון הכל, master of all. What does this mean? Does it mean G-d controls everything? I don't think so, ...
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311 views

May one learn from a heretic?

The Rambam writes in his introduction to Shemona Perakim: "kabel ha-emet mimi she-amerah - accept the truth from whoever speaks it". Furthermore, the gemarah Chagigah 15b indicates that Rebbi Meir ...
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588 views

How do you understand the Rambam on Free choice in Teshuvah 5:5?

What is the Rambam really bothered by in Teshuvah 5:5? רמב"ם הלכות תשובה פרק ה הלכה ה שמא תאמר והלא הקב"ה יודע כל מה שיהיה וקודם שיהיה ידע שזה יהיה צדיק או רשע או לא ידע, אם ידע שהוא יהיה צדיק אי ...
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108 views

What exactly is “prohibited magic” in Judaism?

It appears that "magic" in most "modern" "western" civilizations is prohibited. But societies like those in China or Latin America or Africa have mentions of all kinds of ...
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163 views

Ein Sof - Name or describes the Atzmuth?

I have read conflicting views on whether Ein Sof (אין סוף) is a name of G-d, like for instance Havaya, or it describes, so to say, the Atzmuth. For the Gra and the Ram'hal, it seems that Ein Sof is a ...
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172 views

Does God need to find out what happened? – Ralbag's seemingly contradictory comments

(Quick summary if you don't want to read the whole question: In Parshas Noach Ralbag seems to claim that God already knew what happened, while in Parshas Vayeira he seems to claim that God did not ...
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133 views

Is it forbidden to try to give a specific description of HaShem?

Is it forbidden to try to give a definition of G-d as (i.e. a person/entity/consciousness who is unlimited without a physical shape not limited to space and time) ?
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118 views

G-d changing the past

A bit of a childish question. Is it possible for God to change the past? or is it one of those things that are generally possible but in certain occasions will never happen? I'm asking because of ...
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1answer
88 views

How do מושב יקרו and שכינת עזו work in the Oleinu prayer?

I would like to understand in the Oleinu prayer what is meant by (1) מושב יקרו Artscroll translates as “the seat of His homage” and (2) שכינת עזו Artscroll translates as “His powerful presence” ...
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436 views

Walk His way; Derech Hashem

Within the Torah we find many places where God commands us 'to walk His way(s).' What does 'to walk' mean? And what is His way? some examples of walking: It is written: walk in that which is ...
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1answer
272 views

Why btzelem elokim and not btzelem yud-kay-vav-kay?

The torah states that humans are made btzelem elokim. We know that the shem elokim connotes middat ha-din. What ramification does this have on humans (if any)? Why were humans not made btzelem the ...
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Does God care about things that don't affect the Jews?

There is a trope in Judaism that God smites even the greatest Empires when they oppress the Jews. Does God ever smite nations that are wicked to other non-Jews? We do have the example of Sodom, but ...
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117 views

What overlap is there between the attributes of God in Judaism and the attributes of God in Christian classical theism? [closed]

I'm Catholic, not Jewish, but I've always been curious about Judaism. Especially seeing as the Old Testament is largely the same as the modern Jewish bible (with the exception of the deuterocanonical ...
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221 views

Is it generally accepted by Jewish scholars that Judaism was at one stage henotheist and/or monolatrist? [duplicate]

It is widely believed, among scholars of the history of Judaism and the Jewish scriptures, that the earliest books of the Tanakh display a gradual shift from a position of henotheism, to a form of ...
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106 views

What did Bnei Yisrael experience at Matan Torah?

I'm having trouble understanding what the Israelites actually experienced at the Revelation at Mt Sinai. Did they all see God? Did they all hear Him? Did they all understand Him? Did they hear all of ...
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אלקים בגימטריא הטבע and not טבע? [closed]

There's a oft quoted saying that "אלקים בגימטריא הטבע." Why is it הטבע and not טבע? Isn't it "cheating" to add the extra "ה"?
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145 views

A Mashal of HaShem as a crazy king and Moshe as His weak-kneed friend?

The Gemara (Ber. 32a) quotes R' El'azar that when HaShem wanted to destroy Bnei Yisrael and Moshe intervened, it is comparable to a king who beat his son terribly, and the king's friend was at his ...
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180 views

Bodily or spiritual resurrection?

When, exactly, do we transition from physical, bodily resurrection after death, to a purely spiritual existence, with no body? On the one hand, we are taught the following order of events: The ...
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239 views

Is God Praiseworthy?

In many Jewish prayers and throughout Tanakh, God is strongly praised for His goodness, that which He does for the Jews, His amazing miracles etc. However, those same sources, and most Jewish sources, ...
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1k views

Can G-d ever take on a physical form?

There are 3 religions that says so. The obvious one is Christianity with that being it's central term. The second one is Hindu. Khrisna is said to be a God incarnate. But in torah I often see stories ...
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670 views

Can God destroy Himself?

I was thinking about it lately. If God can do everything, can He destroy Himself? Is there something about this possibility in any of the holy books?
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236 views

Please clarify Mishlei 24:21 regarding mingling with dualists

Mishlei 24:21 "My son, fear the Lord and the king; do not mingle with dualists" source (1) please define "dualist" from the perspective of Judaism. If it is "someone who believes/practices dualism" ...
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341 views

Does God benefit from our keeping of the Mitzvos?

Does Hashem benefit from mankind doing the commandments of the Torah?
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362 views

Is it true that there was a time when Jews believed in the existence of several Gods instead of just One?

Is it true that there was a time when Jews believed in the existence of several Gods instead of just One? Somebody told me that there was a time when they even worshiped different Gods - even after ...
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3answers
760 views

Bad Jew or Good Gentile?

Whom does Hashem love more: Gentiles who love Jewish people and Israel or Jews who are against Jewish people and Israel?
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104 views

Hashem's will is not “nihilo”, so why is it “creatio ex nihilo”?

The traditional objection is to any material having existed prior to the creation of the Heavens and the Earth, but then why not call it "creation without material"? The will of Hashem is not "nihilo" ...

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