God, Torah, and Israel | The Pluralism Project
Judaism: beliefs about God. Page The Jewish relationship with G-d The Torah tells how this covenant relationship was broken again and again, but that G-d. Belief in one God is one of Judaism's defining characteristics. of God and struggled with passages in the Torah that seem to compromise God's unity. like Martin Buber focused on the experiential relationship between humans and God. Our tradition reflects the view that humans are created in the image of God. Tradition holds that humans have free will, meaning that they choose their own The Talmud teaches that within each person is a Yetzer Tov (inclination to do.
There is, in truth, no relation in any respect between God and any of God's creatures. The "knowability" of the Godhead in Kabbalistic thought is no better that what is conceived by rationalist thinkers. Ein Sof is a place to which forgetting and oblivion pertain. Because concerning all the sefirot, one can search out their reality from the depth of supernal wisdom. From there it is possible to understand one thing from another. However, concerning Ein Sof, there is no aspect anywhere to search or probe; nothing can be known of it, for it is hidden and concealed in the mystery of absolute nothingness.
Maimonides describes God in this fashion: All the beings of the heavens, the earth, and what is between them came into existence only from the truth of His being. Gersonidesfor example, argued that God knows the choices open to each individual, but that God does not know the choices that an individual will make. Some modern Jewish thinkers take care to articulate God outside of the gender binary a concept seen as not applicable to God.
Kabbalistic tradition holds that emanations from the divine consist of ten aspectscalled sefirot.
God in Judaism - Wikipedia
Conceptions of God[ edit ] Personal[ edit ] The mass revelation at Mount Horeb in an illustration from a Bible card published by the Providence Lithograph Company, Most of classical Judaism views God as a personal godmeaning that humans can have a relationship with God and vice versa. He held that the Torah is divisible into two parts: In the period between Saadiah and Maimonidesmost Jewish writers who speculated on the nature of the Torah continued in this rationalist tradition.
Judah Halevihowever, opposed the rationalist interpretation. He allowed that the Torah contains rational and political laws, but considered them preliminary to the specifically divine laws and teachings which cannot be comprehended by reason, e. The Torah makes it possible to approach God by awe, love, and joy. It is the essence of wisdom, and the outcome of the will of God to reveal His kingdom on earth as it is in heaven.
While Judah Halevi held that Israel was created to fulfill the Torah, he wrote that there would be no Torah were there no Israel.
Maimonides emphasized that the Torah is the product of the unique prophecy of Moses. He maintained that the Torah has two purposes: Maimonides held that the Torah is similar to other laws in its concern with the welfare of the body; but its divine nature is reflected in its concern for the welfare of the soul.
Maimonides saw the Torah as a rationalizing force, warring against superstition, imagination, appetite, and idolatry.
God, Torah, and Israel
He cited the rabbinic dictum, "Everyone who disbelieves in idolatry professes the Torah in its entirety", and taught that the foundation of the Torah and the pivot around which it turns consists in the effacement of idolatry.
He held that the Torah must be interpreted in the light of reason. While Maimonides generally restricted analysis of the nature of the Torah to questions of its educational, moral, or political value, the Spanish kabbalists engaged in bold metaphysical speculation concerning its essence. The kabbalists taught that the Torah is a living organism.
Some said the entire Torah consists of the names of God set in succession or interwoven into a fabric. Ultimately, it was said that the Torah is God. This identification of the Torah and God was understood to refer to the Torah in its true primordial essence, and not to its manifestation in the world of creation.
Influenced by Maimonides, Baruch Spinoza took the position that the Torah is an exclusively political law, however he broke radically with all rabbinic tradition by denying its divine nature, by making it an object of historical-critical investigation, and by maintaining that it was not written by Moses alone but by various authors living at different times.
Moreover, he considered the Torah primitive, unscientific, and particularistic, and thus subversive to progress, reason, and universal morality. By portraying the Torah as a product of the Jewish people, he reversed the traditional opinion according to which the Jewish people are a product of the Torah. Moses Mendelssohn considered the Torah a political law, but he affirmed its divine nature.
He explained that the Torah does not intend to reveal new ideas about deism and morality, but rather, through its laws and institutions, to arouse men to be mindful of the true ideas attainable by all men through reason.
By identifying the beliefs of the Torah with the truths of reason, Mendelssohn affirmed both its scientific respectability and its universalistic nature. By defining the Torah as a political law given to Israel by God, he preserved the traditional view that Israel is a product of the Torah, and not, as Spinoza claimed, vice versa.
With the rise of the science of Judaism Wissenschaft des Judentums in the 19th century, and the advance of the historical-critical approach to the Torah, many Jewish intellectuals, including ideologists of Reform like Abraham Geigerfollowed Spinoza in seeing the Torah, at least in part, as a product of the primitive history of the Jewish nation. The increasing intellectualization of the Torah was opposed by Samuel David Luzzatto.
He contended that the belief that God revealed the Torah is the starting point of Judaism, and that this belief, with its momentous implications concerning the nature of God and His relation to man, cannot be attained by philosophy.
Luzzatto held that the foundation of the whole Torah is compassion. In general, he agreed on the purpose of the Torah - to convert the universe and God from It to Thou - yet differed on several points concerning its nature. And Jews don't only seek to obey the letter of the law - the particular details of each of the Jewish laws - but the spirit of it, too.
A religious Jew tries to bring holiness into everything they do, by doing it as an act that praises God, and honours everything God has done.
For such a person the whole of their life becomes an act of worship. Being part of a community that follows particular customs and rules helps keep a group of people together, and it's noticeable that the Jewish groups that have been most successful at avoiding assimilation are those that obey the rules most strictly - sometimes called ultra-orthodox Jews. Jews don't like and rarely use the word ultra-orthodox.
The Written Law - Torah
A preferable adjective is haredi, and the plural noun is haredim. It's what you do that counts Judaism is a faith of action and Jews believe people should be judged not so much by the intellectual content of their beliefs, but by the way they live their faith - by how much they contribute to the overall holiness of the world.
God is above and beyond all earthly things. God doesn't have a body Which means that God is neither female nor male.