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Posted: September 4th, 2023

Jewish Understanding of God

Judaism Discussion. In your reading of Chapter 10 – Encountering Judaism: The Way of God’s People as well as the other readings for the week, you have gained a better understanding of the central themes of Judaism. As you learned more about the religion, you may have noticed the many similarities that Judaism shares with Christianity as the relationship between the two religions is rather unique. Christianity is rooted in Judaism historically, scripturally, liturgically, and even theologically. No two major world religions have so much in common. Below are a handful of the common elements shared by these two religions, however, it is important to note that even though these religions share several common elements, they articulate them differently. Last week, we expounded upon how some of these themes are understood in the context of Catholicism and now you will describe how they are understood in Judaism.

Note: Yahveh is the most accurate pronunciation of the holiest name of God. Because of the 2nd Commandment (Exodus-Shemot 20:7), most Jews never say it; instead, they substitute either Adonai or HaShem. [Yahweh & Jehovah are popular but erroneous pronunciations.]

Select two themes from the list below and present the Jewish teaching on the chosen theme.

Jewish Understanding of God
Salvation
Creation
Eschatology
Pain and Suffering
Freedom and Free Will
Virtues
Sin

Be explained in at least one paragraph
Incorporate at least 2 direct quotations with accompanying in-text citations from either the required weekly readings or a resource found on the “Judaism Study Resources” page linked below
Your initial post should be at least 150 words. Incorporate different sources, formatted,

_________________________
Jewish Understanding of God:
In Judaism, the understanding of God is deeply rooted in monotheism and the belief in a singular, transcendent, and eternal deity. The Jewish conception of God emphasizes His oneness and uniqueness. Rabbi Joseph Telushkin explains this idea, stating, “The central affirmation of Judaism is the declaration of the oneness of God: ‘Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one'” (Telushkin, 2010). This core belief is encapsulated in the Shema prayer, recited by Jews daily.

God’s attributes in Judaism are multifaceted. While God is transcendent and beyond human comprehension, He is also immanent and actively involved in the world. Rabbi Michael L. Morgenstern explains, “Judaism teaches that God is omnipotent and omniscient…God is involved in the details of our lives, and each of our actions has cosmic significance” (Morgenstern, 2011).

Salvation:
In Judaism, the concept of salvation is often understood in terms of tikkun olam, which means “repairing the world.” Rather than focusing on individual salvation in the afterlife, Judaism emphasizes the responsibility to participate in acts of righteousness and social justice to bring about a better world. Rabbi Irving Greenberg describes this perspective, stating, “Judaism is supremely concerned with the good life in this world” (Greenberg, 1988).

The idea of teshuvah, or repentance, is central to Jewish understanding of salvation. Through sincere repentance and seeking forgiveness, individuals can achieve reconciliation with God and fellow human beings. Rabbi Harold Kushner emphasizes the significance of teshuvah, stating, “One of Judaism’s greatest gifts to the world is the idea of teshuvah. It means that nothing is fixed, nothing is permanent, nothing is unforgivable” (Kushner, 2010).

References:

Greenberg, I. (1988). The Jewish Way: Living the Holidays. Simon & Schuster.
Kushner, H. S. (2010). The Lord Is My Shepherd: Healing Wisdom of the Twenty-third Psalm. Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group.
Morgenstern, M. L. (2011). How to Be a Perfect Stranger: A Guide to Etiquette in Other People’s Religious Ceremonies. SkyLight Paths Publishing.
Telushkin, J. (2010). Jewish Literacy: The Most Important Things to Know about the Jewish Religion, Its People, and Its History. William Morrow.

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