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In Judaism, God
God
is understood to be the absolute one, indivisible, and incomparable being who is the ultimate cause of all existence. Judaism holds that YHWH, the god of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob
Jacob
and the national god of the Israelites, delivered the Israelites
Israelites
from slavery in Egypt, and gave them the Law of Moses
Moses
at biblical Mount Sinai as described in the Torah. Traditional interpretations of Judaism
Judaism
generally emphasize that God
God
is personal, while some modern interpretations of Judaism emphasize that God
God
is a force or ideal.[1] The name of God
God
used most often in the Hebrew Bible
Hebrew Bible
is the Tetragrammaton
Tetragrammaton
( YHWH
YHWH
Hebrew: יהוה). In Jewish tradition other names of God
God
are Elohim
Elohim
and El Shaddai.

Contents

1 Names 2 Monotheism 3 Godhead

3.1 Rationalistic conception 3.2 Mystical conception

4 Properties attributed to God 5 Concepts of God

5.1 Personal 5.2 Non-personal

6 See also 7 References 8 Further reading

Names[edit] Main article: Names of God
God
in Judaism Further information: Yahweh
Yahweh
and Tetragrammaton The name of God
God
used most often in the Hebrew Bible
Hebrew Bible
is the Tetragrammaton
Tetragrammaton
( YHWH
YHWH
Hebrew: יהוה‎). Jews
Jews
traditionally do not pronounce it, and instead refer to God
God
as HaShem, literally "the Name". In prayer the Tetragrammaton
Tetragrammaton
is substituted with the pronunciation Adonai, meaning "My Master". Monotheism[edit] See also: Shituf, Yahweh, and Shema Yisrael After evolving from its monolatristic roots,[2] Judaism
Judaism
became strictly monotheistic. No consensus has been reached by academics on the origins of monotheism in ancient Israel, but Yahweh
Yahweh
"clearly came out of the world of the gods of the Ancient Near East."[3] The worship of multiple gods (polytheism) and the concept of God
God
having multiple persons (as in the doctrine of Trinity) are equally unimaginable in Judaism. The idea of God
God
as a duality or trinity is heretical in Judaism
Judaism
– it is considered akin to polytheism.

God, the Cause of all, is one. This does not mean one as in one of series, nor one like a species (which encompasses many individuals), nor one as in an object that is made up of many elements, nor as a single simple object that is infinitely divisible. Rather, God
God
is a unity unlike any other possible unity. (Maimonides, 13 Principles of Faith, Second Principle)[4]

Since all of existence emanates from God, whose ultimate existence is not dependent on anything else, some Jewish sages perceived God
God
as interpenetrating the universe, which itself has been thought to be a manifestation of God's existence. In this way Judaism
Judaism
can be regarded as being similar to panentheism,[citation needed] while always affirming genuine monotheism. Kabbalistic tradition holds that the divine consists of ten sefirot (attributes or emanations). This has been described as a strand of Judaism
Judaism
which may seem at odds with Jewish commitments to strict monotheism, but Kabbalists
Kabbalists
have consistently emphasized that their traditions are strictly monotheistic.[5] Any belief that an intermediary between humanity and God
God
could be used, whether necessary or even optional, has traditionally been considered heretical. Maimonides
Maimonides
writes that

God
God
is the only one we may serve and praise....We may not act in this way toward anything beneath God, whether it be an angel, a star, or one of the elements.....There are no intermediaries between us and God. All our prayers should be directed towards God; nothing else should even be considered.[citation needed]

Some rabbinic authorities disagreed with this view. Notably, Nachmanides
Nachmanides
was of the opinion that it is permitted to ask the angels to beseech God
God
on our behalf. This argument manifests notably in the Selichot
Selichot
prayer called "Machnisay Rachamim", a request to the angels to intercede with God. Modern printed editions of the Selichot
Selichot
include this prayer.[citation needed] Godhead[edit] Main article: Godhead in Judaism Godhead refers to the aspect or substratum of God
God
that lies behind God's actions or properties (i.e., it is the essence of God). Rationalistic conception[edit] In the philosophy of Maimonides
Maimonides
and other Jewish-rationalistic philosophers, there is little which can be predicated about the Godhead other than its existence, and even this can only be asserted equivocally.

How then can a relation be represented between God
God
and what is other than God
God
when there is no notion comprising in any respect both of the two, inasmuch as existence is, in our opinion, affirmed of God, may God
God
be exalted, and of what is other than God
God
merely by way of absolute equivocation. There is, in truth, no relation in any respect between God
God
and any of God's creatures. — Maimonides, Moreh Nevuchim (Pines 1963)

Mystical conception[edit] In Kabbalistic thought the term "Godhead" usually refers to the concept of Ein Sof
Ein Sof
(אין סוף), which is the aspect of God
God
that lies beyond the emanations (sephirot). The "knowability" of the Godhead in Kabbalistic thought is no better that what is conceived by rationalist thinkers. As Jacobs (1973) puts it, "Of God
God
as God
God
is in Godself—Ein Sof—nothing can be said at all, and no thought can reach there".

Ein Sof
Ein Sof
is a place to which forgetting and oblivion pertain. Why? 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. —  David
David
ben Judah Hehasid, Matt (1990)

Properties attributed to God[edit] In traditional Judaism, God
God
is conceived of as the eternal, omnipotent and omniscient creator of the universe, and the source of morality.[citation needed] God
God
has the power to intervene in the world. Maimonides
Maimonides
describes God
God
in this fashion: "The foundation of all foundations and the pillar of wisdom is to know that there is a Primary Being
Being
who brought into being all existence. All the beings of the heavens, the earth, and what is between them came into existence only from the truth of His being."[6] Jews
Jews
often describe God
God
as omniscient,[7] although some prominent medieval Jewish philosophers held that God
God
does not have complete foreknowledge of human acts. Gersonides, for example, argued that God knows the choices open to each individual but that God
God
does not know the choices that an individual will make.[8] Abraham
Abraham
ibn Daud believed that God
God
was not omniscient or omnipotent with respect to human action.[9] Jews
Jews
often describe God
God
as omnipotent and see that idea as rooted in the Bible.[7] Many modern Jewish theologians have argued that God
God
is not omnipotent, however, and have found many biblical and classical sources to support this view.[10] Although God
God
is referred to in the Tanakh
Tanakh
with masculine imagery and grammatical forms, traditional Jewish philosophy
Jewish philosophy
does not attribute gender to God.[11] Although Jewish aggadic literature and Jewish mysticism do on occasion refer to God
God
using gendered language, for poetic or other reasons, this language was never understood by Jews
Jews
to imply that God
God
is gender-specific. Some modern Jewish thinkers take care to articulate God
God
outside of the gender binary,[12] a concept seen as not applicable to God. Kabbalistic tradition holds that emanations from the divine consist of ten aspects, called sefirot. Concepts of God[edit] Personal[edit]

The mass revelation at Mount Horeb
Mount Horeb
in an illustration from a Bible card published by the Providence Lithograph Company, 1907

Most of classical Judaism
Judaism
views God
God
as a personal god, meaning that humans can have a relationship with God
God
and vice versa. Rabbi
Rabbi
Samuel S. Cohon wrote that " God
God
as conceived by Judaism
Judaism
is not only the First Cause, the Creative Power, and the World Reason, but also the living and loving Father of Men. He is not only cosmic but also personal....Jewish monotheism thinks of God
God
in terms of definite character or personality, while pantheism is content with a view of God
God
as impersonal." This is shown in the Jewish liturgy, such as in the Adon Olam
Adon Olam
hymn, which includes a "confident affirmation" that "He is my God, my living God...Who hears and answers."[13] Edward Kessler writes that Hebrew Bible
Hebrew Bible
"portrays an encounter with a God
God
who cares passionately and who addresses humanity in the quiet moments of its existence."[14] British chief rabbi Jonathan Sacks
Jonathan Sacks
suggests that God "is not distant in time or detached, but passionately engaged and present."[14] It is important to note that "the predicate 'personal' as applied to God" does not mean that God
God
is corporeal or anthropomorphic, views which Judaism
Judaism
has always rejected; rather, "personality" refers not to physicality but to "inner essence, psychical, rational, and moral."[13] Although most Jews
Jews
believe that " God
God
can be experienced," it is understood that " God
God
cannot be understood" because " God
God
is utterly unlike humankind" (as shown in God's response to Moses
Moses
when Moses
Moses
asked for God's name: "I Am that I Am"); all anthropomorphic statements about God
God
"are understood as linguistic metaphors, otherwise it would be impossible to talk about God
God
at all."[14] According to traditional Judaism, people's actions do not have the ability to affect God
God
positively or negatively.[citation needed] The Book of Job
Book of Job
in the Hebrew Bible
Hebrew Bible
states: "Gaze at the heavens and see, and view the skies, which are higher than you. If you sinned, how do you harm God, and if your transgressions are many, what do you do to God? If you are righteous, what do you give God? Or what does God
God
take from your hand? Your wickedness [affects] a person like yourself, and your righteousness a child of humanity." A modern concept that God
God
is in need of human beings has been propounded by Abraham
Abraham
Joshua Heschel. Because God
God
is in search of people, God
God
is accessible and available through time and place to whoever seeks Him, leading to a spiritual intensity for the individual as well. This accessibility leads to a God
God
who is present, involved, near, intimate, and concerned for and vulnerable to what happens in this world.[15] Non-personal[edit] Although the dominant strain in Judaism
Judaism
is that God
God
is personal, modern Jewish thinkers claim that there is an "alternate stream of tradition exemplified by ... Maimonides", who, along with several other Jewish philosophers, rejected the idea of a personal God.[14] Modern Jewish thinkers who have rejected the idea of a personal God have sometimes affirmed that God
God
is nature, the ethical ideal, or a force or process in the world. Baruch Spinoza
Baruch Spinoza
offers a pantheist view of God. In his thought, God
God
is everything and everything is God. Thus, there can be conceived no substance but God.[16] In this model, one can speak of God
God
and nature interchangeably. Although Spinoza was excommunicated from the Jewish community of Amsterdam, Spinoza's concept of God
God
was revived by later Jews, especially Israeli secular Zionists.[17] Hermann Cohen
Hermann Cohen
rejected Spinoza's idea that God
God
can be found in nature, but agreed that God
God
was not a personal being. Rather, he saw God
God
as an ideal, an archetype of morality.[18] Not only can God
God
not be identified with nature, but God
God
is also incomparable to anything in the world.[18] This is because God
God
is “One,” unique and unlike anything else.[18] One loves and worships God
God
through living ethically and obeying His moral law: “love of God
God
is love of morality.”[18] Similarly, for Emmanuel Levinas, God
God
is ethics, so one is brought closer to God
God
when justice is rendered to the Other. This means that one experiences the presence of God
God
through one’s relation to other people. To know God
God
is to know what must be done, so it does not make sense to speak of God
God
as what God
God
is, but rather what God commands.[19] For Mordecai Kaplan, the founder of Reconstructionist Judaism, God
God
is not a person, but rather a force within the universe that is experienced; in fact, anytime something worthwhile is experienced, that is God.[20] God
God
is the sum of all natural processes that allow people to be self-fulfilling, the power that makes for salvation.[21] Thus, Kaplan’s God
God
is abstract, not carnate, and intangible. It is important to note that, in this model, God
God
exists within this universe; for Kaplan, there is nothing supernatural or otherworldly. One loves this God
God
by seeking out truth and goodness. Kaplan does not view God
God
as a person but acknowledges that using personal God-language can help people feel connected to their heritage and can act as “an affirmation that life has value.”[22] Likewise, Rabbi
Rabbi
Zalman Schachter-Shalomi, the founder of the Jewish Renewal movement, views God
God
as a process. To aid in this transition in language, he uses the term “godding,” which encapsulates God
God
as a process, as the process that the universe is doing, has been doing, and will continue to do.[23] This term means that God
God
is emerging, growing, adapting, and evolving with creation. Despite this, conventional God-language is still useful in nurturing spiritual experiences and can be a tool to relate to the infinite, although it should not be confused with the real thing.[24] According to the Pew Forum on Religion
Religion
and Public Life's 2008 U.S. Religious Landscape Survey, Americans who identify as Jewish by religion are twice as likely to favor ideas of God
God
as "an impersonal force" over the idea that " God
God
is a person with whom people can have a relationship."[25] See also[edit]

Judaism
Judaism
portal Religion
Religion
portal

God
God
in Abrahamic religions Holocaust theology Holy Spirit (Judaism) Shekhinah (divine presence)

References[edit]

^ http://www.myjewishlearning.com/article/modern-jewish-views-of-god ^ John M. Duffey (2013). [books Science and Religion: A Contemporary Perspective] Check url= value (help). Wipf and Stock. Retrieved 14 November 2017.  ^ Smith, Mark S.The early history of God: Yahweh
Yahweh
and the other deities in ancient Israel. Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co.; 2nd ed., 2002. ISBN 978-0-8028-3972-5 ^ Maimonides, 13 principles of faith, Second Principle ^ Wainwright, William, "Monotheism", The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy (Fall 2013 Edition), Edward N. Zalta (ed.), URL = <http://plato.stanford.edu/archives/fall2013/entries/monotheism/>. ^ Mishneh Torah, book HaMadda', section Yesodei ha-Torah, chapter 1:1 (original Hebrew/English translation) ^ a b "Jewish Beliefs about God" in C/JEEP Curriculum Guide American Jewish Committee ^ Jacobs, Louis (1990). God, Torah, Israel: traditionalism without fundamentalism. Cincinnati: Hebrew Union College Press. ISBN 0-87820-052-5. OCLC 21039224. [page needed] ^ Guttmann, Julius (1964). Philosophies of Judaism: The History of Jewish Philosophy from Biblical Times to Franz Rosenzweig. New York City: Holt, Rinehart and Winston. pp. 150–151. OCLC 1497829.  ^ Geoffrey Claussen, “ God
God
and Suffering in Heschel’s Torah
Torah
Min Ha-Shamayim.” Conservative Judaism
Judaism
61, no. 4 (2010), p. 17 ^ "G-d has no body, no genitalia, therefore the very idea that G-d is male or female is patently absurd. We refer to G-d using masculine terms simply for convenience's sake, because Hebrew has no neutral gender; G-d is no more male than a table is." Judaism
Judaism
101. "The fact that we always refer to God
God
as 'He' is also not meant to imply that the concept of sex or gender applies to God." Rabbi
Rabbi
Aryeh Kaplan, The Aryeh Kaplan Reader, Mesorah Publications (1983), p. 144 ^ Julia Watts-Belser, “Transing God/dess: Notes from the Borderlands,” in Balancing on the Mechitza: Transgender in Jewish Community, ed. Noach Dzmura (Berkeley, CA: North Atlantic Books, 2010) ^ a b Samuel S. Cohon. What We Jews
Jews
Believe (1931). Union of American Hebrew Congregations. ^ a b c d Edward Kessler, What Do Jews
Jews
Believe?: The Customs and Culture of Modern Judaism
Judaism
(2007). Bloomsbury Publishing: pp. 42-44. ^ Abraham
Abraham
Joshua Heschel, God
God
in Search of Man: A Philosophy of Judaism
Judaism
(New York: Farrar, Straus & Cudahy, 1955). ^ Benedictus de Spinoza, The Ethics; Treatise on the Emendation of the Intellect; Selected Letters, trans. Samuel Shirley, 2nd ed. (Indianapolis: Hackett, 1992), 40. ^ Daniel B. Schwartz, The First Modern Jew: Spinoza and the History of an Image (Princeton University Press, 2012), ch. 5. ^ a b c d Hermann Cohen, Reason and Hope: Selections from the Jewish Writings of Hermann Cohen, trans. Eva Jospe (New York,: Norton, 1971), 223. ^ Emmanuel Levinas, Difficult Freedom: Essays on Judaism, trans. Sean Hand (Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 1990), 223. ^ Alan Levenson, An Introduction to Modern Jewish Thinkers: From Spinoza to Soloveitchik, 137. ^ Alan Levenson, An Introduction to Modern Jewish Thinkers: From Spinoza to Soloveitchik, 138. ^ Mordecai Menahem Kaplan, The Meaning of God
God
in Modern Jewish Religion
Religion
(Detroit: Wayne State University Press, 1994), 29. ^ Zalman Schachter-Shalomi
Zalman Schachter-Shalomi
and Joel Segel, Jewish with Feeling: A Guide to Meaningful Jewish Practice (New York: Riverhead Books, 2005), 20. ^ Zalman Schachter-Shalomi
Zalman Schachter-Shalomi
and Joel Segel, Jewish with Feeling: A Guide to Meaningful Jewish Practice (New York: Riverhead Books, 2005), 8. ^ http://www.pewforum.org/files/2013/05/report-religious-landscape-study-full.pdf, p. 164

Further reading[edit]

Yochanan Muffs. "The Personhood of God: Biblical Theology, Human Faith And the Divine Image". LibraryThing.com. Library Thing. 

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