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Who or what is G‑d? How do we define the undefinable? Is there an intelligent way to speak of G‑d? If so, what is it? First in a six-part course on core Jewish beliefs.

What Jews Believe: G‑d

What Jews Believe: G‑d

Jewish Theology, Lesson 1


What Jews Believe: G-d: Jewish Theology, Lesson 1

Who or what is G‑d? How do we define the undefinable? Is there an intelligent way to speak of G‑d? If so, what is it? First in a six-part course on core Jewish beliefs.
What Jews Believe 1
Listen to Audio | Download this MP3
G-d, Faith; Belief in G-d, Knowledge of G-d
Questions for Discussion
1. According to Maimonides, is G‑d defined by His role as the creator?
2. How do you reconcile that G‑d is “perfect existence” with the fact that He engaged in the act of creation? Explain why these two concepts need reconciliation.
3. How does considering G‑d’s infinity help us understand how G‑d can care about seemingly insignificant things?
4. What is the difference between G‑d being unique or alone (yachid) and G‑d being One (echad)?

Further Reading:

Rabbi Manis Friedman, a noted Chassidic philosopher, author and lecturer, is dean of Bais Chana Women's Institute of Jewish Studies.
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Anonymous September 23, 2016

I wish there were subtitles available for your videos! Reply

Tuvia Brooklyn May 4, 2016

Dear rabbi can you please post the source for your comment that God created the world so that he should not be alone and that would complete his Oneness. Thank you. Reply

Christopher January 27, 2016

God is not a being that exist, God is being itself. God is not an item in reality but reality itself. God is not perfect for you need a standard of perfection to compare God with. God does not understand for God is knowledge itself. Reply

Eugina Giovanna Herrera New York City, New York February 7, 2015

One G-d I will continue believing in One G-d.

Thank you Reply

Gil Great Neck, N.Y. January 8, 2015

What Jews Believe- G-D One cannot describe G-D because by doing so one limits Hashem. G-D was, is, and will be G-D. It is futile to describe a Being that creates everything "De Novo", out of nothing. "What we have now, we had before, Nothing is new under the sun." Wisdom of Solomon. Reply

Anonymous January 7, 2015

Thank you so much for explaining so well and so patiently, this was nicely done! You touched upon some concepts I had never thought about before, such as why did He create and why is He considered perfect. I always thought He created because he likes to create and He saw that it was good to create. Reply

John Puerto Rico May 12, 2014

A unique Jewish concept, are you saying do you believe that Hashem is unique to the Jewish peoples or are you suggesting that this small group of the Chosen are a microcosm of all other peoples there by having the same Father Creator and your uniqueness is only that you were Chosen. Does Hashem only limit His pleasure to those acts by Jews, could you possible put those limitations on Hashem ? Reply

HH Salem, OR January 23, 2014

re. anonymous from camarillo 11/20/13 It seems reasonable that real rejection of authentic Judaism would require complete and accurate knowledge of what one is rejecting---but, could it not be said the same for real acceptance? Who indeed has accurate knowledge of the true tenants of Judaism or,for that matter, of G-d Himself? Reply

Marwan Hassan Germany January 12, 2014

Very nice Thank you Rabbi Manis Friedmann,
I love listening to this. How very similar we all are in our roots of belief, but we shut our eyes and ears to one each other. Reply

Tom Cincinnati January 2, 2014

In saying that the creator, created in in order to provide meaning or rather a third dimension to it's own meaning placing a human limitation on said creator. Or does it follow that creation is an example of it's infinite love? Reply

Gil Great Neck December 29, 2013

Who did this? An attempt to answer your question, rust is an natural phenomena, related to the oxidation of most metals. That which is termed "natural" is part of the schema of G-D in the creation of the Universe. It may not be to our liking, but keep in mind the world was not created to one's idealized world. One change in a world of no oxidation would enter other problems, too numerous to mention. It is sort of akin to the child's rhyme of "The House That Jack Built." As to suffering, you can write volumes on the subj. There is psychological, physical, etc. Anything from an insect sting, stubbing one's toe, to a major heart attack, cancer, even giving birth. Anxiety, depression, loss or injury of a loved one. It is too complex a world to give you a pat answer. We as Jews, as well as others who believe in a G-D, are taught that humans were given the gift of Free Will. Many of our sufferings, can be remedied by our endeavors, including the "rust" you mentioned. Reply

Anonymous ny November 26, 2013

re: anonymous from camirillo 2 You find hatred of Jews who keep authentic Judaism not to be "baseless"? You are aware, I presume, that even meshumadim were included in the holocaust... Reply

Hany ben Nahash mtl November 26, 2013

End of discussion The discussion ends at Ayn Sof. Albeit it commences with In the beggining there was * TOHU VA BOHU *

L* Chaim Reply

john luquillo, puerto rico November 26, 2013

incarnation The Rebbe answered my question: a convert who converts, a spark that has been awakened. Reply

Anonymous Camarillo, CA, USA November 25, 2013

re: anonymous from ny What you are saying is my point. You can say that authentic Judaism may remain the same, but "What Jews believe" doesn't remain the same, because most Jews don't believe in anything that can be called "authentic Judaism".

I'm in favor of accurate knowledge, even if it is rejected. I'm opposed to saying that it is believed by those who rejected it. Reply

Patricia via November 22, 2013

One and excluded I understand that G-d wants to connect to others as being one and not to be alone and excluded.
But there is a wall, a wall in Israel and in jews where we are excluded and alone from others.
A protective wall that only enables us to be one with other to a certain extent, not fully.
So we are actually both, like G-d we are one and we are excluded at the same time.
For it is written: I will set you apart. Reply

bvw Washington Crossing November 20, 2013

Of course God is lonely in this world Loneliness is the first thing that needed a cure, and that cure was a woman. Reply

Anonymous ny November 20, 2013

re: anonymous from camarillo Actually, a Jew is a Jew no matter how observant he/she is in the practice of Judaism. - and Chabad is always the first to say so. One's Jewishness is a spiritual fact one is born with, just as one is born with a particular set of genes, regardless of whether one prefers those genes or not.
Similarly, the tenets of Judaism are what they and do NOT change - whether one chooses to live by them or not. The fact that one may arrive at the decision not to live by a given [set of] law[s] or beliefs does not negate the fact that the rule is still the rule, and the belief remains the belief.
The most one can do is say "I don't want to include this rule/belief in my life"; but if one does that, one should at least be forthright enough to acknowledge that this is what he/she is doing.
Authentic Judaism remains authentic Judaism independent of one's acceptance of it. Conversely, REAL rejection of the same would require complete and ACCURATE knowledge of what one is rejecting, wouldn't it? Reply

bernie Siegel, MD CT USA November 19, 2013

God is One God came from the no thing (0) but when you are the One (1) you are still no thing
1x1=1 1divided by 1 is still 1. life truly begins when God creates human beings, animals and plant life and 1+2+3+4=10 and the number 10 is symbolic of creation and life and has significant meaning. a perfect world is not creation and so we are here to mlive and learn and as the Baal Shem Tov said when asked why he wished he was God., "To understand why." Reply

Peter Sheehan Australia November 15, 2013

Comment His name is Rabbi Manis Friedman. A great show, love it and all faiths should look and listen to this Rabbi. Amazing and simple Reply

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