God in Judaism

In Judaism, God has been conceived in a variety of ways.[1] Traditionally, Judaism holds that YHWH, the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob and the national god of the Israelites, delivered the Israelites from slavery in Egypt, and gave them the Law of Moses at biblical Mount Sinai as described in the Torah. According to the rationalist stream of Judaism articulated by Maimonides, which later came to dominate much of official traditional Jewish thought, God is understood as the absolute one, indivisible, and incomparable being who is the ultimate cause of all existence. Traditional interpretations of Judaism generally emphasize that God is personal yet also transcendent, while some modern interpretations of Judaism emphasize that God is a force or ideal.[2]

The names of God used most often in the Hebrew Bible are the Tetragrammaton (YHWH Hebrew: יהוה‬) and Elohim. Other names of God in traditional Judaism include El Shaddai and Shekhinah.

Names

The name of God used most often in the Hebrew Bible is the Tetragrammaton (YHWH Hebrew: יהוה‎). Jews traditionally do not pronounce it, and instead refer to God as HaShem, literally "the Name". In prayer the Tetragrammaton is substituted with the pronunciation Adonai, meaning "My Master".

From Iron Age local god to monotheism

The national god of the Iron Age kingdoms of Israel (Samaria) and Judah was Yahweh. The precise origins of this god are disputed, although they reach back to the early Iron Age and even the Late Bronze.[3] [4] The name may have begun as an epithet of El, head of the Bronze Age Canaanite pantheon, but earlier mentions are in Egyptian texts that place God among the nomads of the southern Transjordan.[5]

After evolving from its monolatristic roots,[6] Judaism became strictly monotheistic. No consensus has been reached by academics on the origins of monotheism in ancient Israel, but Yahweh "clearly came out of the world of the gods of the Ancient Near East."[7]

The worship of multiple gods (polytheism) and the concept of God having multiple persons (as in the doctrine of Trinity) are equally unimaginable in Judaism. The idea of God as a duality or trinity is heretical in 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 is a unity unlike any other possible unity. (Maimonides, 13 Principles of Faith, Second Principle)[8]

Since, according to the mystical conception, all of existence emanates from God, whose ultimate existence is not dependent on anything else, some Jewish sages perceived God as interpenetrating the universe, which itself has been thought to be a manifestation of God's existence. According to this line of theological speculation, Judaism can be regarded as being compatible with panentheism, 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 which may seem at odds with Jewish commitments to strict monotheism, but Kabbalists have consistently emphasized that their traditions are strictly monotheistic.[9]

Any belief that an intermediary between humanity and God could be used, whether necessary or even optional, has traditionally been considered heretical. Maimonides writes that

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.[10]

Some rabbinic authorities disagreed with this view. Notably, Nachmanides was of the opinion that it is permitted to ask the angels to beseech God on our behalf. This argument manifests notably in the Selichot prayer called "Machnisay Rachamim", a request to the angels to intercede with God.

Godhead

Godhead refers to the aspect or substratum of God that lies behind God's actions or properties (i.e., it is the essence of God).

Rationalistic conception

In the philosophy of Maimonides and other Jewish-rationalistic philosophers, there is little which can be known about the Godhead, other than its existence, and even this can only be asserted equivocally.

How then can a relation be represented between God and what is other than 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 be exalted, and of what is other than God merely by way of absolute equivocation. There is, in truth, no relation in any respect between God and any of God's creatures.

— Maimonides, Moreh Nevuchim (Pines 1963)

Mystical conception

In Kabbalistic thought, the term "Godhead" usually refers to the concept of Ein Sof (אין סוף), which is the aspect of 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 as God is in Godself—Ein Sof—nothing can be said at all, and no thought can reach there".

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 ben Judah Hehasid, Matt (1990)

Properties attributed to God

In modern articulations of traditional Judaism, God has been speculated to be the eternal, omnipotent and omniscient creator of the universe, and the source of morality. God has the power to intervene in the world. Maimonides describes God in this fashion: "The foundation of all foundations and the pillar of wisdom is to know that there is a Primary 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."[11]

Jews often describe God as omniscient,[12] although some prominent medieval Jewish philosophers held that 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 does not know the choices that an individual will make.[13] Abraham ibn Daud believed that God was not omniscient or omnipotent with respect to human action.[14]

Jews often describe God as omnipotent, and see that idea as rooted in the Bible.[12] Some modern Jewish theologians have argued that God is not omnipotent, however, and have found many biblical and classical sources to support this view.[15]

Although God is referred to in the Tanakh with masculine imagery and grammatical forms, traditional Jewish philosophy does not attribute gender to God.[16] Although Jewish aggadic literature and Jewish mysticism do on occasion refer to God using gendered language, for poetic or other reasons, this language was never understood by Jews to imply that God is gender-specific.

Some modern Jewish thinkers take care to articulate God outside of the gender binary,[17] a concept seen as not applicable to God.

Kabbalistic tradition holds that emanations from the divine consist of ten aspects, called sefirot.

Conceptions of God

Personal

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

Most of classical Judaism views God as a personal god, meaning that humans can have a relationship with God and vice versa. Rabbi Samuel S. Cohon wrote that "God as conceived by 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 in terms of definite character or personality, while pantheism is content with a view of God as impersonal." This is shown in the Jewish liturgy, such as in the Adon Olam hymn, which includes a "confident affirmation" that "He is my God, my living God...Who hears and answers."[18] Edward Kessler writes that Hebrew Bible "portrays an encounter with a God who cares passionately and who addresses humanity in the quiet moments of its existence."[19] British chief rabbi Jonathan Sacks suggests that God "is not distant in time or detached, but passionately engaged and present".[19]

The "predicate 'personal' as applied to God" does not necessarily mean that God is corporeal or anthropomorphic, views that Jewish sages sometimes rejected; rather, "personality" refers not to physicality, but to "inner essence, psychical, rational, and moral".[18] However, other traditional Jewish texts, for example, the Shi'ur Qomah of the Heichalot literature, describe the measurements of limbs and body parts of God.

Jews believe that "God can be experienced" but also that "God cannot be understood," because "God is utterly unlike humankind" (as shown in God's response to Moses when Moses asked for God's name: "I Am that I Am"). Anthropomorphic statements about God "are understood as linguistic metaphors, otherwise it would be impossible to talk about God at all".[19]

According to some speculations in traditional Judaism, people's actions do not have the ability to affect God positively or negatively. The Book of Job in the 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 take from your hand? Your wickedness [affects] a person like yourself, and your righteousness a child of humanity." However, a corpus of traditional Kabbalistic texts describe theurgic practices that manipulate the supernal realms, and Practical Kabbalah (Hebrew: קבלה מעשית‬) texts instruct adepts in the use of white magic.

A notion that God is in need of human beings has been propounded by Abraham Joshua Heschel. Because God is in search of people, 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 who is present, involved, near, intimate, and concerned for and vulnerable to what happens in this world.[20]

Non-personal

Although the dominant strain in Judaism is that 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.[19]

Modern Jewish thinkers who have rejected the idea of a personal God have sometimes affirmed that God is nature, the ethical ideal, or a force or process in the world.

Baruch Spinoza offers a pantheist view of God. In his thought, God is everything and everything is God. Thus, there can be conceived no substance but God.[21] In this model, one can speak of God and nature interchangeably. Although Spinoza was excommunicated from the Jewish community of Amsterdam, Spinoza's concept of God was revived by later Jews, especially Israeli secular Zionists.[22]

Hermann Cohen rejected Spinoza's idea that God can be found in nature, but agreed that God was not a personal being. Rather, he saw God as an ideal, an archetype of morality.[23] Not only can God not be identified with nature, but God is also incomparable to anything in the world.[23] This is because God is “One,” unique and unlike anything else.[23] One loves and worships God through living ethically and obeying His moral law: “love of God is love of morality.”[23]

Similarly, for Emmanuel Levinas, God is ethics, so one is brought closer to God when justice is rendered to the Other. This means that one experiences the presence of God through one’s relation to other people. To know God is to know what must be done, so it does not make sense to speak of God as what God is, but rather what God commands.[24]

For Mordecai Kaplan, the founder of Reconstructionist Judaism, 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.[25] God is the sum of all natural processes that allow people to be self-fulfilling, the power that makes for salvation.[26] Thus, Kaplan’s God is abstract, not carnate, and intangible. It is important to note that, in this model, God exists within this universe; for Kaplan, there is nothing supernatural or otherworldly. One loves this God by seeking out truth and goodness. Kaplan does not view 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.”[27]

Likewise, Rabbi Zalman Schachter-Shalomi, the founder of the Jewish Renewal movement, views God as a process. To aid in this transition in language, he uses the term “godding,” which encapsulates God as a process, as the process that the universe is doing, has been doing, and will continue to do.[28] This term means that 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.[29]

According to the Pew Forum on 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 as "an impersonal force" over the idea that "God is a person with whom people can have a relationship".[30]

See also

References

  1. ^ James Kugel, ""The God of Old, Inside the Lost World of the Bible" ( New York: Simon & Schuster, 2003)
  2. ^ http://www.myjewishlearning.com/article/modern-jewish-views-of-god
  3. ^ Mark S. Smith, "God in Translation: Deities in Cross-Cultural Discourse in the Biblical World," [1], (Eardmans, 2010) pp. 96-98, ISBN 9780802864338
  4. ^ Patrick D. Miller, "The Religion of Ancient Israel," [2] (Westminster John Knox Press, 2000), ISBN 978-0-664-22145-4
  5. ^ Thomas Römer, "The Invention of God" (Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 2015) in chapter "Between Egypt and Seir"
  6. ^ John M. Duffey (2013). Science and Religion: A Contemporary Perspective. Wipf and Stock. |access-date= requires |url= (help)
  7. ^ Smith, Mark S.The early history of God: Yahweh and the other deities in ancient Israel. Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co.; 2nd ed., 2002. ISBN 978-0-8028-3972-5
  8. ^ Maimonides, 13 principles of faith, Second Principle
  9. ^ Wainwright, William. Edward N. Zalta, ed. "Monotheism, The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy" (Fall 2013 ed.).
  10. ^ Maimonides, 13 principles of faith, Fifth Principle
  11. ^ Mishneh Torah, book HaMadda', section Yesodei ha-Torah, chapter 1:1 (original Hebrew/English translation)
  12. ^ a b "Jewish Beliefs about God" in C/JEEP Curriculum Guide American Jewish Committee
  13. ^ Jacobs, Louis (1990). God, Torah, Israel: traditionalism without fundamentalism. Cincinnati: Hebrew Union College Press. ISBN 0-87820-052-5. OCLC 21039224.
  14. ^ 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.
  15. ^ Geoffrey Claussen, "God and Suffering in Heschel’s Torah Min Ha-Shamayim". Conservative Judaism 61, no. 4 (2010), p. 17
  16. ^ "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 101. "The fact that we always refer to God as 'He' is also not meant to imply that the concept of sex or gender applies to God." Rabbi Aryeh Kaplan, The Aryeh Kaplan Reader, Mesorah Publications (1983), p. 144
  17. ^ 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)
  18. ^ a b Samuel S. Cohon. What We Jews Believe (1931). Union of American Hebrew Congregations.
  19. ^ a b c d Edward Kessler, What Do Jews Believe?: The Customs and Culture of Modern Judaism (2007). Bloomsbury Publishing: pp. 42-44.
  20. ^ Abraham Joshua Heschel, God in Search of Man: A Philosophy of Judaism (New York: Farrar, Straus & Cudahy, 1955).
  21. ^ Benedictus de Spinoza, The Ethics; Treatise on the Emendation of the Intellect; Selected Letters, trans. Samuel Shirley, 2nd ed. (Indianapolis: Hackett, 1992), 40.
  22. ^ Daniel B. Schwartz, The First Modern Jew: Spinoza and the History of an Image (Princeton University Press, 2012), ch. 5.
  23. ^ 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.
  24. ^ Emmanuel Levinas, Difficult Freedom: Essays on Judaism, trans. Sean Hand (Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 1990), 223.
  25. ^ Alan Levenson, An Introduction to Modern Jewish Thinkers: From Spinoza to Soloveitchik, 137.
  26. ^ Alan Levenson, An Introduction to Modern Jewish Thinkers: From Spinoza to Soloveitchik, 138.
  27. ^ Mordecai Menahem Kaplan, The Meaning of God in Modern Jewish Religion (Detroit: Wayne State University Press, 1994), 29.
  28. ^ Zalman Schachter-Shalomi and Joel Segel, Jewish with Feeling: A Guide to Meaningful Jewish Practice (New York: Riverhead Books, 2005), 20.
  29. ^ Zalman Schachter-Shalomi and Joel Segel, Jewish with Feeling: A Guide to Meaningful Jewish Practice (New York: Riverhead Books, 2005), 8.
  30. ^ http://www.pewforum.org/files/2013/05/report-religious-landscape-study-full.pdf, p. 164

Further reading

AGLA

AGLA (אגלא‬) is a notariqon (kabbalistic acronym) for Atah Gibor Le-olam Adonai,"You, O Lord, are mighty forever." It is said daily in the second blessing of the Amidah, the central Jewish prayer. Samuel Liddell MacGregor Mathers has suggested an arbitrary interpretation of AGLA (אגלא‬) as "A the one first, A the one last, G, the trinity in unity, L, the completion of the Great Work."

According to The Triangular Book of the Count of St Germain God by the name of AGLA was responsible for the preservation of Lot and his family from the fire of Sodom and Gomorrah.

Ancient of Days

Ancient of Days is a name for God in the Book of Daniel: in the original Aramaic atik yomin עַתִּיק יֹומִין; in the Septuagint palaios hemeron (παλαιὸς ἡμερῶν); and in the Vulgate antiquus dierum.

The title "Ancient of Days" has been used as a source of inspiration in art and music, denoting the creator's aspects of eternity combined with perfection. William Blake's watercolour and relief etching entitled The Ancient of Days is one such example.

Baal

Baal (), properly Baʿal, was a title and honorific meaning "owner," "lord" in the Northwest Semitic languages spoken in the Levant during antiquity. From its use among people, it came to be applied to gods. Scholars previously associated the theonym with solar cults and with a variety of unrelated patron deities, but inscriptions have shown that the name Baʿal was particularly associated with the storm and fertility god Hadad and his local manifestations.The Hebrew Bible, compiled and curated over a span of centuries, includes generic use of the term in reference to various Levantine deities, and finally pointed application towards Hadad, who was decried as a false god. That use was taken over into Christianity and Islam, sometimes under the opprobrious form Beelzebub in demonology.

Christ Pantocrator

In Christian iconography, Christ Pantocrator is a specific depiction of Christ. Pantocrator or Pantokrator (Greek: Χριστὸς Παντοκράτωρ) is, used in this context, derived from of one of many names of God in Judaism.

The Pantokrator, largely an Eastern Orthodox or Eastern Catholic theological conception, is less common by that name in Western (Roman) Catholicism and largely unknown to most Protestants. In the West the equivalent image in art is known as Christ in Majesty, which developed a rather different iconography. Christ Pantocrator has come to suggest Christ as a mild but stern, all-powerful judge of humanity.

When the Hebrew Bible was translated into Greek as the Septuagint, Pantokrator was used both for YHWH Sabaoth "Lord of Hosts" and for El Shaddai "God Almighty". In the New Testament, Pantokrator is used once by Paul (2 Cor 6:18) and nine times in the Book of Revelation: 1:8, 4:8, 11:17, 15:3, 16:7, 16:14, 19:6, 19:15, and 21:22. The references to God and Christ in Revelation are at times interchangeable, Pantokrator appears to be reserved for God except, perhaps, in 1:8.

El Roi

El Roi (Hebrew: אל ראי‬) is one of the names of God in the Hebrew Bible.

It is commonly translated as "the God who sees me" and is a both descriptive epithet for God using the word "El" (God) and a modifier indicating a quality of God. It was first mentioned in the Book of Genesis (Genesis 16:13), by Hagar, mother of Abraham's eldest son, Ishmael.

El Shaddai

El Shaddai (Hebrew: אֵל שַׁדַּי‬, IPA: [el ʃadˈdaj]) or just Shaddai is one of the names of the God of Israel. El Shaddai is conventionally translated as God Almighty but the construction of the phrase fits the pattern of the divine appellations in the Ancient Near East and as such can convey various types of semantic relations between these two words: El of a place known as Shaddai, El possessing the quality of shaddai or El who is also known as Shaddai – exactly as is the case with the names like "’El Olam", "’El Elyon" or "’El Betel". Moreover, while the translation of El as "God" or "Lord" in the Ugaritic/Canaanite language is straightforward, the literal meaning of Shaddai is the subject of debate.

The name appears 48 times in the Bible, seven times as "El Shaddai" (five times in Genesis, once in Exodus, and once in Ezekiel).

The first occurrence of the name is in Genesis 17:1, "And when Abram was ninety years old and nine, the LORD appeared to Abram, and said unto him, I am El Shaddai; walk before me, and be thou perfect." Similarly, in Genesis 35:11 God says to Jacob, "I am El Shaddai: be fruitful and multiply; a nation and a company of nations shall be of thee, and kings shall come out of thy loins". According to Exodus 6:2–3, Shaddai was the name by which God was known to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. Shaddai thus being associated in tradition with Abraham, the inclusion of the Abraham stories into the Hebrew Bible may have brought the northern name with them, according to the Documentary hypothesis of the origins of the Hebrew Bible.

In the vision of Balaam recorded in the Book of Numbers 24:4 and 16, the vision comes from Shaddai along with El. In the fragmentary inscriptions at Deir Alla, though "Shaddai" is not, or not fully present, shaddayin appear (שדין, the vowels are uncertain, as is the gemination of the "d"), perhaps lesser figurations of Shaddai. These have been tentatively identified with the ŝedim (שדים) of Deuteronomy 32:17 and Psalm 106:37-38, who are Canaanite deities.

The name Shaddai (Hebrew: שַׁדַּי) is often used in parallel to El later in the Book of Job.

In the Septuagint Shaddai or El Shaddai was often translated just as "God" or "my God", and in at least one passage (Ezekiel 10:5) it is transliterated ("θεὸς σαδδαΐ"). In other places (such as Job 5:17) it is translated "Almighty" ("παντοκράτωρ"), and this word is used in other translations as well (such as the King James Bible).

Elah

Elah may refer to:

Elah (Edom), the name of an Edomite clan

Elah, a name of God in Judaism

Elah, the father of Hoshea, the last king of the Israelite Kingdom of Israel

King Elah, the fourth king of Israel

Valley of Elah, where the biblical David fought Goliath

Elah, Hebrew word for Pistacia palaestina, a tree known as terebinth

Elohim

Elohim (Hebrew: אֱלֹהִים‬ [ʔɛloːˈhim]) in the Hebrew Bible refers to deities, and is one of the many names or titles for God in the Hebrew Bible.

The word is identical to the usual plural of el, meaning gods or magistrates, and is cognate to the 'l-h-m found in Ugaritic, where it is used for the pantheon of Canaanite gods, the children of El, and conventionally vocalized as "Elohim". Most uses of the term Elohim in the later Hebrew text imply a view that is at least monolatrist at the time of writing, and such usage (in the singular), as a proper title for the supreme deity, is generally not considered to be synonymous with the term elohim, "gods" (plural, simple noun). Rabbinic scholar Maimonides wrote that the various other usages are commonly understood to be homonyms.The notion of divinity underwent radical changes in the early period of Israelite identity and development of Ancient Hebrew religion. The ambiguity of the term elohim is the result of such changes, cast in terms of "vertical translatability", i.e. the re-interpretation of the gods of the earliest recalled period as the national god of monolatrism as it emerged in the 7th to 6th century BCE in the Kingdom of Judah and during the Babylonian captivity, and further in terms of monotheism by the emergence of Rabbinical Judaism in the 2nd century CE.

Elyon

Elyon (Biblical Hebrew עליון; Masoretic ʿElyōn) is an epithet of the God of the Israelites in the Hebrew Bible. ʾĒl ʿElyōn is usually rendered in English as "God Most High", and similarly in the Septuagint as ο θεος ο ύψιστος ("God the highest").

The term also has mundane uses, such as "upper" (where the ending in both roots is a locative, not superlative or comparative), "top", or "uppermost", referring simply to the position of objects (e.g. applied to a basket in Genesis 40.17 or to a chamber in Ezekiel 42.5).

Gender of God in Judaism

Although the Gender of God in Judaism is referred to in the Tanakh with masculine imagery and grammatical forms, traditional Jewish philosophy does not attribute the concept of sex to God, but does attribute gender. At times, Jewish aggadic literature and Jewish mysticism do treat God as gendered. The ways in which God is gendered have also changed across time, with some modern Jewish thinkers viewing God as outside of the gender binary.

God of Israel

God of Israel may refer to:

God in Judaism, God as understood in Jewish theological discussion.

Yahweh, the national god of the ancient kingdoms of Israel and Judah.

Tetragrammaton, the four Hebrew letters YHWH as the name of God, and various pronunciations given to them.

El Shaddai, one of the names of the God of Israel.

Hashem

Hashem is a given name and surname. It is also one of the Names of God in Judaism.

I Am that I Am

I am that I am is a common English translation of the Hebrew phrase אֶהְיֶה אֲשֶׁר אֶהְיֶה‬, ’ehyeh ’ăšer ’ehyeh ([ʔɛhˈjɛh ʔaˈʃɛr ʔɛhˈjɛh]) – also “I am who am”, "I am what I am" or "I will be what I will be" or even "I create what(ever) I create". The traditional English translation within Judaism favors "I will be what I will be" because there is no present tense of the verb "to be" in the Hebrew language. So for example to say "I am a book" in Hebrew would be Ani Sefer (literally in English is "I book"). This translation of phrase from the Hebrew Bible is often guided by the theology or ideology of the people doing the translation or their sponsors.

Ineffability

Ineffability is concerned with ideas that cannot or should not be expressed in spoken words (or language in general), often being in the form of a taboo or incomprehensible term. This property is commonly associated with philosophy, aspects of existence, and similar concepts that are inherently "too great", complex or abstract to be communicated adequately. A typical example is the name of God in Judaism, written as YHWH but substituted with "the Lord" or "HaShem" (the name) when reading.

In addition, illogical statements, principles, reasons and arguments may be considered intrinsically ineffable along with impossibilities, contradictions and paradoxes. Terminology describing the nature of experience cannot be conveyed properly in dualistic symbolic language; it is believed that this knowledge is only held by the individual from which it originates. Profanity and vulgarisms can easily and clearly be stated, but by those who believe they should not be said, they are considered ineffable. Thus, one method of describing something that is ineffable is by using apophasis, i.e. describing what it is not, rather than what it is. The architect Le Corbusier described his design for the interior of the Chapel of Notre Dame du Haut at Ronchamp as L'espace indicible translated to mean 'ineffable space', a spiritual experience which was difficult to describe.

Names of God in Judaism

The name of God most often used in the Hebrew Bible is the Tetragrammaton (YHWH יהוה‬). It is frequently anglicized as Jehovah and Yahweh and written in most English editions of the Bible as "the Lord" owing to the Jewish tradition increasingly viewing the divine name as too sacred to be uttered. It was thus replaced vocally in the synagogue ritual by the Hebrew word Adonai (“My Lords”), which was translated as Kyrios (“Lord”) in the Septuagint, the Greek version of the Hebrew scriptures.Rabbinic Judaism describes seven names which are so holy that, once written, should not be erased: YHWH and six others which can be categorized as titles are El ("God"), Eloah ("God"), Elohim ("Gods"), Shaddai (“Almighty"), Ehyeh (“I Will Be”), and Tzevaot ("[of] Hosts"). Other names are considered mere epithets or titles reflecting different aspects of God, but chumrah sometimes dictates special care such as the writing of "G-d" instead of "God" in English or saying Ṭēt-Vav (טו, lit. "9-6") instead of Yōd-Hē (יה, lit. "10-5" but also "Jah") for the number fifteen in Hebrew.The documentary hypothesis proposes that the Torah was compiled from various original sources, two of which (the Jahwist and the Elohist) are named for their usual names for God (YHWH and Elohim respectively).

Patriology

Patriology or Paterology, in Christian theology, refers to the study of God the Father. Both terms are derived from two Greek words: πατήρ (patḗr, father) and λογος (logos, teaching). As a distinctive theological discipline, Patriology or Paterology is closely connected with Christology (study of Christ as God the Son) and Pneumatology (study of Holy Ghost as God the Spirit).

Terms Patriology and Paterology should not be confused with similar term patrology that involves the study of teachings of the Church Fathers (patristics).

Seven Names of God Prayer

The Seven Names of God Prayer is a prayer given by Meher Baba to his students and close disciples to memorize and recite, often as a chant or song, at certain times during his life.

Hari, Paramatma,Allah, Ahuramazda,God, Yezdan, HuMeher Baba composed the prayer on June 16, 1927, for the students in his free school known as the Meher Ashram to memorize and recite daily. The boy's schedule included rising at 5:00 a.m. and after washing they were to chant The Seven Names of God prayer. The prayer was also sung before each meal in the dining hall. Baba later had his adult disciples memorize the prayer.

Baba composed another version during his final seclusion in 1967 that he had a disciple named Kaikobad repeat aloud in his presence.

Ya Yezdan, Ahuramazda,Allah, Ishwar, Paramatma,God Almighty, Parvardigar!

Shem HaMephorash

The Shem HaMephorash (Hebrew: שם המפורש, alternatively Shem ha-Mephorash or Schemhamphoras), meaning the explicit name, is an originally Tannaitic term describing a hidden name of God in Kabbalah (including Christian and Hermetic variants), and in some more mainstream Jewish discourses. It is composed of either 4, 12, 22, 42, or 72 letters (or triads of letters), the last version being the most common.

Thirteen Attributes of Mercy

The Thirteen Attributes of Mercy or Shelosh-'Esreh Middot HaRakhamim (transliterated from the Hebrew: שָׁלוֹשׁ עֶשְׂרֵה מִידוֹת הרַחֲמִים) as enumerated in the Book of Exodus (Exodus 34:6–7) are the Divine Attributes with which, according to Judaism, God governs the world.

According to the explanation of Maimonides these attributes must not be regarded as qualities inherent in God, but as the method of His activity, by which the divine governance appears to the human observer to be controlled. In the Sifre, however, these attributes are not called "middot", which may mean "quality" as well as "rule" and "measure", but "derakim" (ways), since they are the ways of God which Moses prayed to know and which God proclaimed to him.

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