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  1. 1.   JUNIOR  CERTIFICATE                       JEWISH  STUDIES   SECTION  2:    BELIEFS  AND  MORAL  TEACHINGS  DRAFT   DOCUMENT   Louise  O'Sullivan  IBVM  
  2. 2.   2     REVELATION     Abridged  from   http://www.bbc.co.uk/schools/gcsebitesize/rs/god/judaismrevelationrev1.shtml   In  religion  revelation  is  central  to  understanding  G-­d  and  spirituality.    It  is   the   act   whereby   an   unknown   and   hidden   G-­d   makes   himself   known   to   humanity.     This   view   of   revelation   results   unmistakably   from   the   widespread   use   of   the   nifʿal   of   the   verbs   raʿah   ("to   see"),   and   yadaʿ   ("to   know"),   to   express   in   biblical   Hebrew   the   idea   of   revelation.     It   occurs   principally  in  narrative  passages  whose  aim  was  to  explain  the  origin  of  a  holy   place.     There  is,  however,  the  belief,  which  originated  in  ancient  times,  that  it  is  deadly   for  man  to  see  the  Deity  (Ex.  33:20;  Judg.  13:22).  Dreams  and  the  mediation  of   angels  have  no  mitigating  effect,  since  the  dream  gives  a  stronger  vision  and  the   malʾakh  YHWH  ("angel  of  the  Lord")  is  the  revealing  medium  of  the  Lord,  even   the  Lord  Himself  in  self-­‐manifestation.    It  is  only  rarely  and  to  special  persons,   therefore,   that   G-­‐d   makes   Himself   visible,   and   communicates   to   man   His   purposes   and   intentions.   He   does   so   to   Abraham   (Gen.   12:6–7;   17:1–2),   Isaac   (Gen.  26:24),  Jacob  (Gen.  35:9–10;  48:3–4;  cf.  Ex.  6:3),  Moses  (Ex.  3:2ff.,  16–17),   Manoah  (Judg.  13:21–22),  and  Solomon  (I  Kings  3:5ff.;  9:2ff.).  Nevertheless,  He   may  show  Himself  to  the  whole  of  the  people  at  the  Tent  of  Meeting  (Lev.  9:4,  6,   23;  Deut.  31:15;  cf.  31:11),  which  is  "a  kind  of  permanent  image  of  the  revelation   on  Mount  Sinai"  (M.  Haran,  in:  JSS,  5  (1960),  50–65,  esp.  p.  58).  What  the  people   see,   however,   is   the   kavod,   the   "Presence   of   the   Lord"   (Lev.   9:6,   23),   or   the   ʿammud   he-­ʿanan,   the   "pillar   of   cloud"   (Deut.   31:15).   The   latter   indicates   the   Lord's  Presence,  but,  at  the  same  time,  veils  Him  from  sight.  The  kavod,  whose   original   conception   goes   back   to   early   times   (cf.   I   Sam.   4:21;   I   Kings   8:11;   Ps.   24:7–10),   likewise   signifies   a   veiled   appearance   of   God,   an   appearance   in   a   manner   in   which   no   precise   form   can   be   discerned.   It   probably   alludes   to   a   manifestation   by   fire,   light,   and   smoke,   connected   initially   with   the   circumstances  in  which  the  cult  operated.   The  G-­‐d  of  Israel    reveals  Himself  as  acting  in  historical  events.  It  may  reasonably   be  inferred,  therefore,  that,  according  to  the  Bible,  history  is  the  milieu  of  G-­‐d's   revelation.   There  are  two  types  of  revelation:   General  revelation  is  indirect,  and  available  to  everyone.  Some  truths  about  G-­‐d   can  be  revealed  through  reason,  conscience,  the  natural  world,  or  moral  sense.     Special  revelation  is  direct  revelation  to  an  individual  or  a  group.  This  sort  of   revelation  includes  dreams,  visions,  experience  and  prophecy.        
  3. 3.   3   TYPES  OF  REVELATION  IN  JUDAISM   Jews   believe   that   G-­‐d   communicates   with   humans   in   all   of   these   ways,   and   especially  through  scripture  (special  revelation).    The  Jewish  scriptures,  called   the  Tenakh,  consists  of  24  books.  Sometimes  the  Tenakh  is  called  the  Torah,  or   the  Jewish  Bible.    The  first  five  books  of  the  Tenakh  (Genesis,  Exodus,  Leviticus,   Numbers  and  Deuteronomy)  are  particularly  important.  They  are  also  called  the   Torah  or  the  Five  Books  of  Moses.   Jewish  scripture   Genesis,   the   first   book   of   the   Jewish   scriptures   (the   Tenakh),   begins   with   an   account  of  G-­d  creating  the  world:   In  the  beginning  of  G-­‐d’s  creating  the  heavens  and  the  earth  -­‐  when  the  earth  was   astonishingly  empty,  with  darkness  upon  the  surface  of  the  deep,  and  the  Divine   Presence  hovered  upon  the  surface  of  the  waters  -­‐  G-­‐d  said,  'Let  there  be  light,'   and  there  was  light.   Genesis  1:1-­2   G-­d's  name   G-­‐d  speaks  to  Moses  through  a  burning  bush  and  Moses  asks  G-­d’s  name:   Hashem  answered  Moses,  'I  Shall  Be  As  I  Shall  Be.'   Exodus  3:14   This  is  the  first  time  that  G-­‐d’s  name  is  given  but  it  is  not  very  clear.   In  the  Jewish  scriptures  G-­‐d’s  name  is  spelt  with  four  consonants:  YHWH.  Jewish   teaching   says   that   the   name   is   so   holy   that   only   the   High  Priest  knew  how  to   pronounce  it.  When  they  see  these  four  letters  Jews  usually  say  the  name  Adonai   which  means  'Lord'.  In  some  parts  of  the  Jewish  scriptures  the  word  Hashem  is   used  to  avoid  writing  or  saying  the  name  of  G-­‐d.   The  Jewish  Scriptures  say  that  Moses  spoke  to  G-­‐d:   As  Moses  would  arrive  at  the  Tent,  the  pillar  of  cloud  would  descend  and  stand  at   the  entrance  of  the  Tent,  and  He  would  speak  with  Moses…  Hashem  would  speak   to  Moses  face  to  face,  as  a  man  would  speak  with  his  fellow.   Exodus  33:9,  11   Although   G-­‐d   does   appear   in   the   scriptures   it   is   only   in   the   Garden   of   Eden   where  G-­‐d  seems  to  appear  in  human  form.  This  is  called  an  anthropomorphism.   So  G-­‐d  created  Man  in  His  image,  in  the  image  of  G-­‐d  He  created  him;  male  and   female  He  created  them.       Genesis  1:27   They  heard  the  sound  of  Hashem  G-­‐d  manifesting  itself  in  the  garden  toward  the   evening.   Genesis  3:8   Sometimes   G-­‐d   is   a   pillar   of   cloud   or   flame,   and   sometimes   just   a   voice.   Sometimes  he  appears  as  a  powerful  king.   …I   saw   the   Lord   sitting   upon   a   high   and   lofty   throne,   and   its   legs   filled   the   Temple.  Seraphim  were  standing  above,  at  His  service.  Each  one  had  six  wings…  
  4. 4.   4   And  one  would  call  to  another…   Isaiah  6:1-­2     Beliefs  about  G-­d  intervening  in  the  world   Many  miracles  are  described  in  the  Tenakh.  For  example:   the  account  of  Aaron  and  his  stick  which  turned  into  a  snake  (Exodus  7:8-­‐10)   the  plagues  of  Egypt  (Exodus  7:  14-­‐11:10);   the  parting  of  the  Sea  of  Reeds  (Exodus  14)   the  manna  and  quails  the  Israelites  were  given  for  food  by  G-­‐d  in  the  desert   (Exodus  16)   Elisha  helps  a  poor  widow  (2  Kings  4:  1-­‐7)     The   Tenakh   does   not   explain   the   details   of   how   these   miracles   happen,   but   it   does  attribute  them  to  G-­‐d.   Some   Jews   accept   these   accounts   literally.   Others   will   regard   the   accounts   as   allegory,  or  using  figures  of  speech,  believing  that  the  ‘miracle’  was  not  intended   to  be  taken  literally.   However  these  stories  are  regarded,  they  are  accepted  as  accounts  of  times  when   G-­d  taught  the  people,  and  looked  after  them.     REVELATION  IN  THE  BRANCHES  OF  JUDAISM     Rabbi  Allen  Selis,  abridged  from     http://www.myjewishlearning.com/holidays/Jewish_Holidays/Shavuot/Themes_and_Theology/ Denominations_on_Revelation.shtml     REFORM  JUDAISM   For  Reform  Judaism,  "Sinai"  takes  place  every  time  a  Jew  makes  a  serious  and   conscientious   choice.   Reform   Judaism’s   Centenary   Platform,   adopted   in   San   Francisco   (1976),   makes   this   simple   and   clear   statement   of   Reform   theology:     "Jewish   obligation   begins   with   the   informed   will   of   every   individual."     The   individual  might  consider  all  the  dicta  of  Jewish  tradition  that  has  come  before   her,  but  in  the  moment  of  deciding  whether  to  order  tuna  or  bacon  for  lunch,  the   choice   is   still   hers   and   hers   alone.   That   moment   of   individual   conscience,   regardless  of  outcome,  is  sacred  to  Reform  Judaism.     The   Reform   Movement’s   1937   Columbus   Platform   suggests   that   the   written   Torah  is  a  "depository"  of  Biblical  Israel’s  consciousness  of  God—a  record  of  past   revelation—but   certainly   not   the   last   word   in   our   ongoing   dialogue   with   God.   Instead,  "revelation  is  a  continuous  process,  confined  to  no  one  group  and  to  no   one  age."    Indeed,  according  to  Reform  Judaism,  God  can  "change  Her  mind."    As   such,  Sinai  is  constantly  taking  place,  and  it  is  the  role  of  the  individual  to  listen   closely  to  what  God  is  saying.        
  5. 5.   5   ORTHODOX  JUDAISM   The  Orthodox  tradition  maintains  that  God  taught  everything  which  the  Jewish   people  needed  to  know  at  Mount  Sinai.  This  belief  draws  upon  early  Rabbinic   literature.  In  Midrash  Tanhuma  (Buber-­‐Ki  Tisa  17),  the  Midrash  relates:      "When   the   Holy-­‐One-­‐Blessed-­‐Be-­‐God   came   to   give   Torah,   He   related   it   to   Moshe   in   order.   First   Bible,   then   Mishnah,   Aggadah   and   Talmud…even   those   future   questions  that  a  seasoned  student  would  one  day  ask  of  his  teacher.  The  Holy-­‐ One-­‐Blessed-­‐Be-­‐God  related  even  these  things  to  Moshe  at  that  time,  as  we  find   in  the  Torah:    And  God  spoke  of  all  these  things…"   This  Midrash  effectively  communicates  the  most  significant  aspect  of  Orthodox   thought:     God   is   the   only   legitimate   source   of   knowledge   and   truth.   No   community   or   individual   can   take   up   this   role.   For   the   Orthodox   Jew,   all   authority  ultimately  goes  back  to  God  and  Sinai.   Rabbi  Norman  Lamm,  chancellor  of  the  modern  orthodox  Yeshiva  University,  put   forth   in   an   article   in   Commentary   magazine   that   God   most   certainly   had   the   ability  to  communicate  whatever  He  wanted  to  convey  at  Mount  Sinai,  and  that  it   would   be   absurd   to   "impose   upon   (God)   a   limitation   of   dumbness   that   would   insult  the  least  of  His  human  creatures."       CONSERVATIVE  JUDAISM   While  mainstream  Conservative  Jews  envision  a  personal  God  most  Conservative   rabbis  do  not  believe  that  God  actually  gave  the  Torah,  letter  by  letter,  at  Mount   Sinai.  So  what  did  happen?  Rabbi  Abraham  Joshua  Heschel,  in  his  God  in  Search  of   Man,   argues   that   the   chronological   details   of   Sinai   are   irrelevant—since   the   Torah   is   a   moral,   not   a   chronological   text.   Rabbi   Neil   Gillman,   in   Sacred   Fragments,  argues  from  Franz  Rosenzweig’s  position  that  God  merely  revealed   Himself   at   Sinai—the   people   of   Israel   then   recorded   their   response   to   God’s   presence  in  the  form  of  Torah.  While  God  might  have  initiated  the  revelation  at   Sinai,  it  was  the  human  community  which  preserved  that  encounter.   RECONSTRUCTIONIST  JUDAISM   As  the  Conservative  position  disputes  the  historicity  of  the  Sinai  revelation,  so   the  Reconstructionist  stance  disavows  its  divinity—but  not  its  sanctity.  Founder   Mordechai   Kaplan’s   program   for   the   reconstruction   of   Judaism   rejected   the   notion  of  a  supernatural  God.  For  him,  God  was  not  heavenly  being  but  rather   "…the   process   [in   the   world]   that   makes   for   creativity,   integration,   love   and   justice."     This   stance,   by   definition,   denies   the   possibility   of   a   Sinai,   an   event   which  Kaplan  regarded  as  a  mere  legend.  After  all,  if  there  is  no  personal  God,   then  what’s  to  reveal?     Kaplan  identifies  the  content  of  Torah  as  a  set  of  "folk-­‐ways"  that  the  people  of   Israel   constructed   and   continuously   adapted   to   fit   the   spirit   of   their   age.   The   tradition   would   always   have   "a   voice,   but   not   a   veto,"   as   the   entire   body   of   tradition   was   always   meant   to   be   in   flux.   For   Kaplan,   there   could   never   be   a   Sinai—instead,  the  folk-­‐ways  of  each  new  generation  would  reflect  the  current   needs  of  the  Jewish  soul.  Each  new  tradition  would  be  sacred—until  its  time  had   passed.  
  6. 6.   6     COVENANT     ‘An  agreement  between  two  contracting  parties,  originally  sealed  with  blood;  a   bond,  or  a  law;  a  permanent  religious  dispensation.    The  old,  primitive  way  of   concluding  a  covenant  was  for  the  covenanters  to  cut  into  each  other’s  arm  and   suck   the   blood,   the   mixing   of   the   blood   rendering   them   ‘brothers   of   the   covenant’.  (Jewish  Encyclopaedia  online)     B’rit,  the  Hebrew  word  for  Covenant  appears  270  times  in  the  Hebrew  Bible.       It  means  covenant,  pact  or  treaty   Ancient  covenants  were  made  by  animal  sacrifice  hence  the  phrase  ‘to  cut  a   covenant’   B’rit  implies  the  shedding  of  blood  in  the  process  of  making  an  agreement.       What  is  a  Covenant?   A  formal  agreement  between  two  parties   Witnessed  by  both  humans  and  deities/gods   Proclaimed  by  public  reading  and  “deposit”  of  treaty  in  public  place   Shrines  of  witnessing  deities     Sealed  by  an  oath  and  ritual  sacrifice   “If  I  am  not  faithful  to  this  covenant,  may  what  is  done  to  these  animals  be   done  to  me.”     Three  Kinds  of  Ancient  Near  Eastern  (ANE)  Covenants     Suzerainty  (or  Vassal)  Treaty:    Agreement  between  two  unequal  parties,   one  of  higher  status  and  one  of  lower  status       Parity  Treaty:    Agreement  between  two  parties  of  equal  status     Land  Grant:    Agreement  between  two  unequal  parties,  one  of  higher  status   and  one  of  lower  status     Suzerainty  (or  Vassal)  Treaty  had  six  parts:   Preamble   Historical  prologue     Stipulations     Provisions  for  treaty  deposit  &  public  reading   List  of  Divine  witnesses  to  the  treaty   Blessings  &  curses  (for  fidelity  or  infidelity  to  the  treaty)     A  Suzerainty  Treaty   An  alliance  between  a  great  monarch  and  a  subject  king   The  overlord  is  lauded  for  past  favours,  but  has  no  explicit  duties  under  the   covenant   The  vassal  pledges  allegiance  to  the  overlord      
  7. 7.   7   Pay  taxes   Keep  own  borders  secure     Provide  military  support  against  overlord’s  enemies     Make  no  alliances  with  other  great  lords   Marriage  was  the  most  common  “suzerainty  treaty”  in  the  ANE   Husband  has  higher  social  status  than  wife   Husband  is  wife’s  “overlord”  (Ba’al)     Wife  is  to  obey  husband  n  Wife  becomes  chattel  of  husband     Wife  owns  no  property;  it  belongs  to  husband   Wife  cannot  divorce;  only  overlord  can  end  treaty     Parity  Treaty   Two  parties  of  equal  power  and  social  status   Two  monarchs  forming  an  alliance  for  mutual  aid   Two  merchants  forming  a  trade  agreement   Marriage  contract  (ketubah)  between  the  father  of  the  bride  and  the  groom   (NOTE:  the  bride  herself  is  not  of  equal  status  with  the  groom  in  ANE)     Land  Grant   Free  gift  of  land  to  faithful  subject  of  a  great  monarch  or  servant  of  a  wealthy   landowner   Greater  party  binds  self  to  the  treaty   Lesser   party   benefits   from   the   gift,   but   may   not   be   bound   to   any   specific   stipulations,  either  before  or  after  reception  of  the  land  grant     Differences  between  Grant  and  Treaty     GRANT   TREATY   The   giver   of   the   covenant   makes   a   commitment  to  the  vassal   The   giver   of   the   covenant   imposes   an   obligation  on  the  vassal   Represents  an  obligation  of  the  master   to  his  vassal   Represents  an  obligation  of  the  vassal   to  his  master   Primarily   protects   the   rights   of   the   vassal   Primarily   protects   the   rights   of   the   master   No   demands   made   by   the   superior   party   The   master   promises   to   reward   or   punish   the   vassal   for   obeying   or   disobeying  the  imposed  obligations       Look   at   the   following   texts   and   answer   the   following   questions   in   relation   to   them:   1.What  kind  of  treaty  is  this?   2.What  leads  you  to  think  so,  i.e.,  what  formal  characteristics  of  the  passage   suggest  that  it  falls  into  this  category?   3.What  source  is  behind  this  story?   4.What  does  identification  of  the  kind  of  treaty  illustrated  here  tell  you  about   the  source’s  view  of  Israel’s  G-­‐d?   Genesis  2   Genesis  9:1-­‐17  
  8. 8.   8   Genesis  12:1-­‐4   Genesis  15   Genesis  17:1-­‐14   Exodus  24:1-­‐8   Exodus  34:1-­‐27     COVENANT  WITH  NOAH     The   relation   of   humanity   to   G-­‐d   was   also   conceived   of   in   Biblical   times   as   a   covenant  concluded  by  G-­‐d  with  certain  people  and  nations,  from  which  all  laws   derived  their  sanctity  and  their  eternal  nature.    G-­‐d,  when  creating  the  heavens   and   the   earth,   made   a   covenant   with   them   to   observe   the   rules   of   day   and   night,   and   when   the   floods   caused   by   the   sins   of   all   had   interrupted  the  operation  of  the  law,  G-­‐d  hung   the   rainbow   in   the   clouds   as   a   sign   of   the   covenant,   to   assure   people   that   it   would   not   again   be   suspended   on   account   of   humanity’s   sin.     G-­‐d,   therefore,   made   a   special   covenant   with  Noah.     According   to   traditional   Judaism,   G-­‐d   gave   Noah   and   his   family   seven   commandments   to   observe  when  he  saved  them  from  the  flood.  These  commandments,  referred  to   as  the  Noahic  or  Noahide  commandments,  are  inferred  from  Genesis  Chapter  9,   and  are  as  follows:     1. to  establish  courts  of  justice;     2. not  to  commit  blasphemy;     3. not  to  commit  idolatry;     4. not  to  commit  incest  and  adultery;     5. not  to  commit  bloodshed;     6. not  to  commit  robbery;  and     7. not  to  eat  flesh  cut  from  a  living  animal.     These  commandments  are  fairly  simple  and  straightforward,  and  most  of  them   are  recognized  by  most  of  the  world  as  sound  moral  principles.  Any  non-­‐Jew  who   follows  these  laws  has  a  place  in  the  world  to  come.   The   Noahic   commandments   are   binding   on   all   people,   because   all   people   are   descended  from  Noah  and  his  family.                
  9. 9.   9   COVENANT  WITH  ABRAHAM       (Abridged  from  http://www.ijs.org.au/Abraham-­‐and-­‐ the-­‐Covenant/default.aspx)     Genesis   tells   how   G-­‐d   establishes   a   ‘covenant’   with   Abraham   to   be   passed   on   to   future   generations.  The  first  statement  of  this  special   relationship   appears   in   Chapter   12,   in   which   Abraham  promises   to   forego   all   allegiances   to   his   previous   idolatrous   community   and   to   make  a  new  life  in  the  "Promised  Land":   And  the  Lord  said  to  Abram,  "Go  forth  from  your  land  and  from  your  birthplace   and  from  your  father's  house,  to  the  land  that  I  will  show  you.    And  I  will  make   you   into   a   great   nation,   and   I   will   bless   you,   and   I   will   make    your   name   great…and  by  you  all  the  families  of  the  earth  shall  bless  themselves."   The   covenant   is   restated   in   Chapter   15   with   a   dramatic   contractual   ceremony   featuring  a  divine  fire  passing  between  sacrificial  animals,  and  a  promise  that  the   descendants  of  Abraham  will  be  restored  to  their  land  after  four  hundred  years   of  slavery.   The  covenant  is  sealed  in  Chapter  17,  when  Abraham  agrees  that  the  sign  of  the   covenant   will   appear   on   the   bodies   of   all   his   male   descendants   through   circumcision.  At  the  same  time,  G-­‐d  promises:   "And  I  will  make  you  exceedingly  fruitful,  and  I  will  make  you  into  nations,  and   kings  will  emerge  from  you.  And  I  will  establish  My  covenant  between  Me  and   between  you  and  between  your  seed  after  you  throughout  their  generations  as   an  everlasting  covenant,  to  be  to  you  for  a  God  and  to  your  seed  after  you.  And  I   will  give  you  and  your  seed  after  you  the  land  of  your  sojournings,  the  entire  land   of  Canaan  for  an  everlasting  possession,  and  I  will  be  to  them  for  a  God."   Abraham’s  covenant  is  handed  on  to  his  son,  Isaac,  whom  G-­‐d  explicitly  blesses   in   Chapter   26,   and   through   him   to   Jacob   and   his   descendants.   In   Chapter   32,   Jacob   wrestles   with   an   angel.   Henceforth   his   name   becomes   'Israel'   -­‐   'He   who   wrestles  with  G-­‐d'.  His  descendants  become  “The  Children  of  Israel”,  and  the  land   is  known  as  “The  Land  of  Israel”.         Abrahamic  covenant  is  akin  to  a  grant  covenant.                
  10. 10.   10     COVENANT  WITH  MOSES     In  Exodus  3,  Moses  has  his  first  encounter  with   G-­‐d  in  a  burning  bush.  Moses  sees  a  bush   which  burns  without  being  consumed  -­‐  a   symbol  of  the  presence  of  G-­‐d  which  defies   usual  human  experience  of  things.  And  he   hears  a  voice  which  calls  him  by  his  own  name   (Exodus  3:4)   The  other  great  face  to  face  encounter  with  G-­‐d   is  three  months  after  the  Israelites  have  left   Egypt  and  Moses  has  returned  with  them  to   Sinai  where  he  first  met  G-­‐d.  The  encounter  is   awesome.  When  G-­‐d  appears  to  the  people  of  Israel,  a  whole  mountain  burns;  for   when  G-­‐d  comes,  Sinai  becomes  like  a  volcano  (not  an  actual  volcano,  but  G-­‐d's   coming  is  so  awesome  that  the  only  way  to  depict  it  is  in  the  language  of  the  most   overwhelming  of  known  phenomena):    G-­‐d  then  gives  the  Ten  Commandments   to  Moses  as  a  kind  of  basic  constitution  or  charter  for  Israel,  together  with  some   more  detailed  laws  (the  mitzvot)  that  apply  the  Commandments  within  everyday   situations.  Israel  responds  by  promising  obedience  (Exodus  24:3-­‐7).   Moses  then  wrote  the  conditions  of  the  covenant  down,  offered  sacrifices  to  God,   and  then  sprinkled  both  the  book  and  the  people  with  blood  to  seal  the  covenant   (Exo.  24:8).           Mosaic  covenant  is  akin  to  the  suzerain-­‐vassal  treaty.       COVENANT  WITH  DAVID  (2  SAMUEL  7)     In  his  covenant  with  David,  G-­‐d  presents  David  with  two  categories  of  promises:   those  that  find  realization  during  David’s  lifetime  (2  Sam  7:8-­‐11a)  and  those  that   find  fulfillment  after  his  death  (2  Sam  7:11-­‐17)       Promises   that   find   realization   during   David’s   lifetime  (7:9-­11a)  A  Great  Name  (  v.  9;  cf.  8:13):    As   He   had   promised   Abraham   (Gen   12:2),   the   Lord   promises   to   make   David’s   name   great   (2   Sam   7:9).   Although   David’s   accomplishments   as   king   cause   his   reputation  to  grow  (2  Sam  8:13),  G-­‐d  was  the  driving   force   in   making   David’s   name   great.     He   is   the   One   who   orchestrated   David’s   transition   from   being   a   common  shepherd  to  serving   as  the  king  over  Israel  (2  Sam  7:8).     A  Place  for  the  People  (v.  10).  The  establishment  of  
  11. 11.   11   the   Davidic   Empire   relieved   a   major   concern   involved   in   God’s   providing   a   “place”   for   Israel   (7:9).   The   land   controlled   by   Israel   during   David’s   reign   approached   the   ideal   boundaries   of   the   promised   land   initially   mentioned   in   conjunction  with  God’s  covenant  with  Abram  (Gen  15:18).    Consequently,  during   David’s  reign  the  two  provisions  of  the  Abrahamic  Covenant    that   deal    with   people  and  land  find  initial  fulfillment.    In  addition  to  this  and  more  closely  tied   to  the  immediate  context,  the  “place”  that  G-­‐d  will  appoint  for  Israel  probably   highlights  the  idea  of  permanence  and  security.       KEY  COVENANT  SUMMARIES     Name   Summary   NOAH   (Genesis  9)     After  the  flood:   The  Lord  promised  Noah  and  his  descendants  that  He  would  never  destroy   the  world  again  with  a  universal  flood  (Genesis  9:15).       The   Lord   made   an   everlasting   covenant   with   Noah   and   his   descendants,   establishing  the  rainbow  as  the  sign  of  His  promise  (Genesis  9:1-­‐17).     Noahide  Laws     This  covenant  is  with  all  peoples.   ABRAHAM   (Genesis  12-­25)   The  Lord  promised  Abraham  that  He  would  make  him  and  his  descendants  a   great  nation  (Genesis12:1-­‐3).       You  shall  be  circumcised  in  the  flesh  of  your  foreskins,  and  it  shall  be  a  sign   of  the  covenant  between  me  and  you.  (Genesis  17)   Covenant  promise  for  Abraham,  Isaac,  Jacob.   This  covenant  is  necessary  for  Judaism.    Binding  on  Jews.     MOSES   (Exodus  and   Deuteronomy)   Mt  Sinai     .if   you   will   obey   my   voice   and   keep   my   covenant,   you   shall   be   my   own   possession  among  all  peoples;  for  all  the  earth  is  mine,  and  you  shall  be  to  me   a  kingdom  of  priests  and  a  holy  nation...  (Exodus  19:5)     Commandments:    Exodus  20:1-­‐17  and  Deuteronomy  5:4-­‐21).    Binding  on   Jews  and  has  obligations.  It  is  mutual  reciprocal.     DAVID     (2  Samuel  7)       David’s  name  will  be  made  great     ‘And  I  will  appoint  a  place  for  My  people  Israel,  and  will  plant  them,  that  they   may  dwell  in  their  own  place,  and  be  disquieted  no  more;  neither  shall  the   children  of  wickedness  afflict  them  any  more,  as  at  the  first’  (2  Sam  7:10).     Allusion  to  greater  permanence  and  security  of  place.          
  12. 12.   12   COVENANT:    SUMMARY  BOX   A  Covenant  is  an  agreement,  bargain  or  contract  between  G-­‐d  and  Jews.     B’rit  is  the  Hebrew  word  meaning  Covenant.   To  cut  a  covenant   Originated  with  Noah,  than  Abraham/Isaac/Jacob  and  Moses.     Contains  613  mitzvot.     G-­‐d   promises   to   protect   his   chosen   people   and   give   them   the   Promised   Land.   Today   the   Covenant  is  still  kept  strictly  by  Orthodox  Jews  but  less  strictly  by  Reform  Jews.     It  is  the  foundation  of  Jewish  faith.     The  implications  of  the  Covenant  are  that  Messiah/messianic  Age  will  come  and  Jerusalem   will  be  rebuild/peace  on  earth.     After  this  Jews  will  be  judged  on  how  they  have  kept  the  mitzvoth.     Zionists  say  covenant  is  already  fulfilled  –  State  of  Israel  1948.  Some  say  it  is  a  privilege  to  be   chosen  by  G-­‐d.     Big  responsibility  to  follow  laws,  they  have  been  persecuted  and  exiled  and  to  lead  other   nations  to  G-­‐d.     Covenant  is  the  heart  of  Judaism;  others  say  communities,  festivals  and  rites  of  passage  are,   along  with  synagogues.     Chosenness  can  sometimes  be  confused  with  superiority.     There  is  diversity  of  beliefs,  Modern  Orthodox  thinkers  as  well  as  Reform  Jews  reject  this   idea  of  superiority.     THE  TEN  COMMANDMENTS/ASERET  HA-­DIBROT   (Abridged  from  http://www.jewfaq.org/10.htm)   According   to   Jewish   tradition,   G-­‐d   gave   the   Jewish   people   613   mitzvot   (commandments).  All  613  of  those  mitzvot  are  equally  sacred,  equally  binding   and   equally   the   word   of   G-­‐d.   All   of   these   mitzvot   are   treated   as   equally   important,   because   human   beings,   with   our   limited   understanding   of   the   universe,  have  no  way  of  knowing  which  mitzvot  are  more  important  in  the  eyes   of  the  Creator.     But   what   about   the   so-­‐called   "Ten   Commandments,"   the   words   recorded   in   Exodus  20,  the  words  that  the  Creator  Himself  wrote  on  the  two  stone  tablets   that  Moses  brought  down  from  Mount  Sinai  (Ex.  31:18),  which  Moses  smashed   upon   seeing   the   idolatry   of   the   golden   calf   (Ex.   32:19)?   In   the   Torah,   these   words  are  never  referred  to  as  the  Ten   Commandments.  In  the  Torah,  they  are   called   Aseret   ha-­‐D'varim   (Ex.   34:28,   Deut.  4:13  and  Deut.  10:4).  In  rabbinical   texts,  they  are  referred  to  as  Aseret  ha-­‐ Dibrot.   The   words   d'varim   and   dibrot   come  from  the  Hebrew  root  Dalet-­‐Beit-­‐ Reish,   meaning   word,   speak   or   thing;   thus,  the  phrase  is  accurately  translated   as  the  Ten  Sayings,  the  Ten  Statements,  the  Ten  Declarations,  the  Ten  Words  or   even  the  Ten  Things,  but  not  as  the  Ten  Commandments,  which  would  be  Aseret   ha-­‐Mitzvot.  
  13. 13.   13   The  Aseret  ha-­‐Dibrot  are  not  understood  as  individual  mitzvot;  rather,  they  are   categories  or  classifications  of  mitzvot.  Each  of  the  613  mitzvot  can  be  subsumed   under  one  of  these  ten  categories,  some  in  more  obvious  ways  than  others.  For   example,  the  mitzvah  not  to  work  on  Shabbat  rather  obviously  falls  within  the   category  of  remembering  the  Sabbath  day  and  keeping  it  holy.  The  mitzvah  to   fast  on  Yom  Kippur  fits  into  that  category  somewhat  less  obviously:  all  holidays   are  in  some  sense  a  Sabbath,  and  the  category  encompasses  any  mitzvah  related   to  sacred  time.  The  mitzvah  not  to  stand  aside  while  a  person's  life  is  in  danger   fits  somewhat  obviously  into  the  category  against  murder.     List  of  the  Aseret  ha-­Dibrot   According  to  Judaism,  the  Aseret  ha-­‐Dibrot  identify  the  following  ten  categories   of   mitzvot.   Other   religions   divide   this   passage   differently.   See   The   "Ten   Commandments"  Controversy  below.       Please  remember  that  these  are  categories  of  the  613  mitzvot,  which  according   to  Jewish  tradition  are  binding  only  upon  Jews.  The  only  mitzvot  binding  upon   gentiles  are  the  seven  Noahic  commandments.   1.  Belief  in  G-­d   This  category  is  derived  from  the  declaration  in  Ex.  20:2  beginning,  "I  am  the  L-­‐ rd,  your  G-­‐d..."     2.  Prohibition  of  Improper  Worship   This  category  is  derived  from  Ex.  20:3-­‐6,  beginning,  "You  shall  not  have  other   gods..."   It   encompasses   within   it   the   prohibition   against   the   worship   of   other   gods  as  well  as  the  prohibition  of  improper  forms  of  worship  of  the  one  true  G-­‐d,  
  14. 14.   14   such  as  worshiping  G-­‐d  through  an  idol.     3.  Prohibition  of  Oaths   This  category  is  derived  from  Ex.  20:7,  beginning,  "You  shall  not  take  the  name  of   the  L-­‐rd  your  G-­‐d  in  vain..."  This  includes  prohibitions  against  perjury,  breaking   or  delaying  the  performance  of  vows  or  promises,  and  speaking  G-­‐d's  name  or   swearing  unnecessarily.     4.  Observance  of  Sacred  Times   This   category   is   derived   from   Ex.   20:8-­‐11,   beginning,   "Remember   the   Sabbath   day..."  It  encompasses  all  mitzvot  related  to  Shabbat,  holidays,  or  other  sacred   time.     5.  Respect  for  Parents  and  Teachers   This   category   is   derived   from   Ex.   20:12,   beginning,   "Honor   your   father   and   mother..."     6.  Prohibition  of  Physically  Harming  a  Person   This  category  is  derived  from  Ex.  20:13,  saying,  "You  shall  not  murder."     7.  Prohibition  of  Sexual  Immorality   This  category  is  derived  from  Ex.  20:13,  saying,  "You  shall  not  commit  adultery."     8.  Prohibition  of  Theft   This  category  is  derived  from  Ex.  20:13,  saying,  "You  shall  not  steal."  It  includes   within  it  both  outright  robbery  as  well  as  various  forms  of  theft  by  deception  and   unethical   business   practices.   It   also   includes   kidnapping,   which   is   essentially   "stealing"  a  person.     9.  Prohibition  of  Harming  a  Person  through  Speech   This  category  is  derived  from  Ex.  20:13,  saying,  "You  shall  not  bear  false  witness   against   your   neighbor."   It   includes   all   forms   of   lashon   ha-­‐ra   (sins   relating   to   speech).     10.  Prohibition  of  Coveting   This   category   is   derived   from   Ex.   20:14,   beginning,   "You   shall   not   covet   your   neighbor's  house..."       The  Two  Tablets:  Duties  to  G-­d  and  Duties  to  People   Judaism   teaches   that   the   first   tablet,   containing   the   first   five   declarations,   identifies   duties   regarding   our   relationship   with   G-­‐d,   while   the   second   tablet,   containing  the  last  five  declarations,  identifies  duties  regarding  our  relationship   with  other  people.   You  may  have  noticed,  however,  that  the  fifth  category,  which  is  included  in  the   first   tablet,   is   the   category   to   honor   father   and   mother,   which   would   seem   to   concern  relationships  between  people.  The  rabbis  teach  that  our  parents  are  our  
  15. 15.   15   creators  and  stand  in  a  relationship  to  us  akin  to  our  relationship  to  the  Divine.   Throughout   Jewish   liturgy,   the   Creator   is   referred   to   as   Avinu   Malkeinu,   our   Father,  our  King.  Disrespect  to  our  biological  creators  is  not  merely  an  affront  to   them;  it  is  also  an  insult  to  the  Creator  of  the  Universe.  Accordingly,  honor  of   father  and  mother  is  included  on  the  tablet  of  duties  to  G-­‐d.   These  two  tablets  are  parallel  and  equal:  duties  to  G-­‐d  are  not  more  important   than  duties  to  people,  nor  are  duties  to  people  more  important  than  duties  to  G-­‐ d.   However,   if   one   must   choose   between   fulfilling   an   obligation   to   G-­‐d   and   fulfilling   an   obligation   to   a   person,   or   if   one   must   prioritize   them,   Judaism   teaches  that  the  obligation  to  a  person  should  be  fulfilled  first.  This  principle  is   supported  by  the  story  in  Genesis  18,  where  Abraham  is  communing  with  G-­‐d   and   interrupts   this   meeting   to   fulfill   the   mitzvah   of   providing   hospitality   to   strangers   (the   three   men   who   appear).   The   Talmud   gives   another   example,   disapproving   of   a   man   who,   engrossed   in   prayer,   would   ignore   the   cries   of   a   drowning  man.  When  forced  to  choose  between  our  duties  to  a  person  and  our   duties  to  G-­‐d,  we  must  pursue  our  duties  to  the  person,  because  the  person  needs   our  help,  but  G-­‐d  does  not  need  our  help.   The  "Ten  Commandments"  Controversy   In  the  United  States,  a  controversy  has  persisted  for  many  years  regarding  the   placement  of  the  "Ten  Commandments"  in  public  schools  and  public  buildings.   But  one  critical  question  seems  to  have  escaped  most  of  the  public  dialog  on  the   subject:  Whose  "Ten  Commandments"  should  we  post?   The  general  perception  in  this  country  is  that  the  "Ten  Commandments"  are  part   of  the  common  religious  heritage  of  Judaism,  Catholicism  and  Protestantism,  part   of  the  sacred  scriptures  that  we  all  share,  and  should  not  be  controversial.  But   most  people  involved  in  the  debate  seem  to  have  missed  the  fact  that  these  three   religions   divide   up   the   commandments   in   different   ways!   Judaism,   unlike   Catholicism  and  Protestantism,  considers  "I  am  the  L-­‐rd,  your  G-­‐d"  to  be  the  first   "commandment."   Catholicism,   unlike   Judaism   and   Protestantism,   considers   coveting  property  to  be  separate  from  coveting  a  spouse.  Protestantism,  unlike   Judaism   and   Catholicism,   considers   the   prohibition   against   idolatry   to   be   separate  from  the  prohibition  against  worshipping  other  gods.  No  two  religions   agree  on  a  single  list.  So  whose  list  should  we  post?   And  once  we  decide  on  a  list,  what  translation  should  we  post?  Should  Judaism's   sixth   declaration   be   rendered   as   "Thou   shalt   not   kill"   as   in   the   popular   KJV   translation,   or   as   "Thou   shalt   not   murder,"   which   is   a   bit   closer   to   the   connotations  of  the  original  Hebrew  though  still  not  entirely  accurate?   These  may  seem  like  trivial  differences  to  some,  but  they  are  serious  issues  to   those  of  us  who  take  these  words  seriously.  When  a  government  agency  chooses   one   version   over   another,   it   implicitly   chooses   one   religion   over   another,   something   that   the   First   Amendment   prohibits.   This   is   the   heart   of   the   controversy.  
  16. 16.   16   But  there  is  an  additional  aspect  of  this  controversy  that  is  of  concern  from  a   Jewish  perspective.  In  Talmudic  times,  the  rabbis  consciously  made  a  decision  to   exclude   daily   recitation   of   the   Aseret   ha-­‐Dibrot   from   the   liturgy   because   excessive  emphasis  on  these  statements  might  lead  people  to  mistakenly  believe   that  these  were  the  only  mitzvot  or  the  most  important  mitzvot,  and  neglect  the   full   613   (Talmud   Berakhot   12a).   By   posting   these   words   prominently   and   referring  to  them  as  "The  Ten  Commandments,"  (as  if  there  weren't  any  others,   which  is  what  many  people  think)  schools  and  public  buildings  may  be  teaching   a  message  that  Judaism  specifically  and  consciously  rejected.         RAMBAM  (MAIMONIDES):      Rabbi    Moshe  ben  Maimon     (1135-­1204)           Salaam  aleikum!    (That’s  the  Arabic  equivalent  of  ‘Shalom  aleikum!’)         My  name  is  Moshe  ben  Maimon.    I’m  also  known  as  Maimonides  or  the  RaMBaM,   Rabbi  Moshe  ben  Maimon.    I  was  born  in  Spain  but  I  don’t  speak  Spanish.    My   birthplace,  Cordoba,  in  the  south  of  the  country,  is  part  of  the  Muslim  Empire,  so   I   speak   Arabic.     The   Muslims   crossed   the   Straits   of   Gibraltar   from   Northern   Africa  a  few  hundred  years  ago  and  conquered  the  southern  half  of  the  Iberian   Peninsula.         Life  for  the  Jews  took  a  turn  for  the  better  after  the  Muslims  took  over.    Whilst   the   Christians   discriminated   against   us   in   just   about   every   possible   way   –   because  of  their  hatred  of  us  –  the  Muslims  viewed  and  treated  us  much  more   favourably,  even  as  equals.    Under  Muslim  rule,  Jewish  life  flourished  in  all  its   aspects:    scholarship,  music,  science,  art,  and  many  other  areas.    Jewish  people   held  positions  in  all  levels  of  society,  including  at  the  royal  court.         Lately,   however,   a   different   group   of   Muslims   has   taken   control   Al   Andalus   (Spain).    They’re  much  stricter  in  their  interpretation  of  Islam  than  the  previous   rulers  and  have  made  it  difficult  to  live  here  as  Jews.    I  overheard  my  parents  
  17. 17.   17   discussing  the  situation  and  we  had  to  leave.  We’ve  had  to  move  a  few  times:    to   Morocco,  Israel  and  Egypt.         I’m  a  physician  to  princes  and  Sultans  and  I  find  time  passes  very  quickly  when   I’m   attending   to   the   medical   needs   of   so   many.     In   between   my   busy   work,   I   manage   to   get   time   to   write   extensively   on   matters   of   medicine,   science,   philosophy  and  ethics.    Sometimes  I  can  be  really  exhausted  and  my  health  is   poor.  Others  tell  me  that  I  need  to  take  it  easy.    One  of  the  most  significant  things   I  have  written  (so  they  tell  me  anyway!)  is  the  Mishneh  Torah  which,  mainly,   has  to  do  with  Jewish  Law  and  Ethics.      Also,  I’ve  written  a  commentary  on  the   Mishnah  which  contains  the  13  Principles  of  Faith,  that  is,  what  I  consider  the   required  beliefs  of  Judaism.    It’s  a  handy  way  to  be  able  to  explain  briefly  what  is   most   important   in   Judaism   because,   as   you   know,   there   are   many   volumes   written  on  the  subject.    And  I’m  a  philosopher,  too;  that  comes  from  my  interest   in  the  Greek  philosophical  thinkers  like  Aristotle.    My  philosophical  work  ‘Guide   to  the  Perplexed’  is  one  that  would  be  fairly  well  known.         For   a   time,   my   brother,   David,   supported   me   so   I   could   concentrate   on   my   writings.     But   he   was   killed   tragically   in   a   drowning   accident   off   the   coast   of   India.    I  felt  his  loss  so  much,  I  was  paralysed  with  grief.         So,  as  you  can  see,  my  interests  are  wide  and  varied…  Woops!  there’s  a  knock  at   the  door…  I’m  going  to  have  to  leave.  Another  patient  needs  medical  attention.     Excuse  me  for  now!      It’s  been  nice  to  be  able  to  tell  you  a  little  about  me.         THIRTEEN  PRINCIPLES  OF  FAITH:    MAIMONIDES     Maimonides,  in  his  commentary  on  the  Mishnah,  compiles  what  he  refers  to  as  the   Shloshah-­Asar  Ikkarim,  the  Thirteen  Articles  of  Faith,  compiled  from  Judaism's  613   commandments  found  in  the  Torah.   Source: Rabbi Moses ben Maimon (Maimonides or Rambam) 1135-1204 CE; in his commentary on the Mishnah (tractate Sanhedrin, chapter 10).   1.I  believe  with  complete  faith  that  G-­‐d,  Blessed  be  His  Name,  is  the  Creator   and  Guide  of  everything  that  has  been  created;  He  alone  has  made,  does   make,  and  will  make  all  things.     2.I   believe   with   complete   faith   G-­‐d,   Blessed   be   His   Name,   is   One,   and   that   there  is  no  unity  in  any  manner  like  His,  and  that  He  alone  is  our  G-­‐d,   who  was,  is,  and  will  be.     3.I  believe  with  complete  faith  that  G-­‐d,  Blessed  be  His  Name,  has  no  body,   and  that  He  does  not  have  the  properties  of  living  creatures,  and  that  he   has  no  form  whatsoever.     4.I  believe  with  complete  faith  that  G-­‐d,  Blessed  be  His  Name,  is  the  first  and   the  last.    
  18. 18.   18   5.I  believe  with  complete  faith  that  G-­‐d,  Blessed  be  His  Name,  is  the  only  one   to  whom  it  is  right  to  pray,  and  that  it  is  not  right  to  pray  to  any  being   besides  Him.     6.I  believe  with  complete  faith  that  all  the  words  of  the  prophets  are  true.     7.I  believe  with  complete  faith  that  the  prophecy  of  Moses  our  teacher,  peace   be  upon  him,  was  true,  and  that  he  was  the  chief  of  the  prophets,  both  of   those  who  preceded  and  of  those  who  followed  him.     8.I  believe  with  complete  faith  that  the  entirety  of  the  Torah  that  is  now  in   our  possession  is  the  same  that  was  given  to  Moses  our  teacher,  peace   be  upon  him.     9.I  believe  with  complete  faith  that  this  Torah  will  not  be  exchanged,  and  that   there  will  never  be  any  other  Torah  from  the  Creator,  Blessed  be  His   Name.     10. 10.I  believe  with  complete  faith  that  G-­‐d,  Blessed  be  His  Name,  knows   all  the  deeds  of  human  beings  and  all  their  thoughts,  as  it  is  written,  "It   is  He  who  fashioned  the  hearts  of  them  all,  Who  understands  all  their   actions".     11. 11.I  believe  with  complete  faith  that  G-­‐d,  Blessed  be  His  Name,  rewards   those  who  keep  His  commandments  and  punishes  those  who  transgress   them.     12. 12.I   believe   with   complete   faith   in   the   coming   of   the   Moshiach   (Messiah);  and  even  though  he  may  tarry,  nonetheless,  I  wait  daily  for   his  coming.     13. 13.I  believe  with  complete  faith  that  there  will  be  a  revival  of  the  dead   at  the  time  when  it  shall  please  the  Creator,  Blessed  be  His  name,  and   His  mention  shall  be  exalted  for  ever  and  ever.   It  is  the  custom  of  many  congregations  to  recite  the  Thirteen  Articles,  in  a  slightly   more  poetic  form,  beginning  with  the  words  Ani  Maamin  -­‐  "I  believe"  -­‐  every  day   after  the  morning  prayers  in  the  synagogue.   In  his  commentary  on  the  Mishnah  (Sanhedrin,  chap.  10),  Maimonides  refers  to   these  thirteen  principles  of  faith  as  "the  fundamental  truths  of  our  religion  and   its  very  foundations."                
  19. 19.   19   KEY  CHARACTERISTICS  OF  G-­D     http://www.jewishvirtuallibrary.org/jsource/Judaism/g-­‐d.html     The  nature  of  G-­‐d  is  one  of  the  few  areas  of  abstract  Jewish  belief  where  there   are   a   number   of   clear-­‐cut   ideas   about   which   there   is   little   dispute   or   disagreement.   G-­d  Exists   The   fact   of   G-­‐d's   existence   is   accepted   almost   without   question.   Proof   is   not   needed,  and  is  rarely  offered.  The  Torah  begins  by  stating  "In  the  beginning,  G-­‐d   created..."  It  does  not  tell  who  G-­‐d  is  or  how  He  was  created.   In  general,  Judaism  views  the  existence  of  G-­‐d  as  a  necessary  prerequisite  for  the   existence  of  the  universe.  The  existence  of  the  universe  is  sufficient  proof  of  the   existence  of  G-­‐d.   G-­d  is  One   One  of  the  primary  expressions  of  Jewish  faith,  recited  twice  daily  in  prayer,  is   the  Shema,  (Deut  6)  which  begins  "Hear,  Israel:  The  L-­‐rd  is  our  G-­‐d,  The  L-­‐rd  is   one."  This  simple  statement  encompasses  several  different  ideas:   1. There  is  only  one  G-­‐d.  No  other  being  participated  in  the  work  of  creation.   2. G-­‐d  is  a  unity.  He  is  a  single,  whole,  complete  indivisible  entity.  He  cannot  be   divided   into   parts   or   described   by   attributes.   Any   attempt   to   ascribe   attributes   to   G-­‐d   is   merely   man's   imperfect   attempt   to   understand   the   infinite.   3. G-­‐d  is  the  only  being  to  whom  we  should  offer  praise.  The  Shema  can  also  be   translated  as  "The  L-­‐rd  is  our  G-­‐d,  The  L-­‐rd  alone,"  meaning  that  no  other   is  our  G-­‐d,  and  we  should  not  pray  to  any  other.     G-­d  is  the  Creator  of  Everything   Everything   in   the   universe   was   created   by   G-­‐d   and   only   by   G-­‐d.   Judaism   completely  rejects  the  dualistic  notion  that  evil  was  created  by  Satan  or  some   other  deity.  All  comes  from  G-­‐d.  As  Isaiah  said,  "I  am  the  L-­‐rd,  and  there  is  none   else.  I  form  the  light  and  create  darkness,  I  make  peace  and  create  evil.  I  am  the   L-­‐rd,  that  does  all  these  things."  (Is.  45:6-­‐7).   G-­d  is  Incorporeal   Although  many  places  in  scripture  and  Talmud  speak  of  various  parts  of  G-­‐d's   body   (the   Hand   of   G-­‐d,   G-­‐d's   wings,   etc.)   or   speak   of   G-­‐d   in   anthropomorphic   terms  (G-­‐d  walking  in  the  garden  of  Eden,  G-­‐d  laying  tefillin,  etc.),  Judaism  firmly  
  20. 20.   20   maintains  that  G-­‐d  has  no  body.  Any  reference  to  G-­‐d's  body  is  simply  a  figure  of   speech,  a  means  of  making  G-­‐d's  actions  more  comprehensible  to  beings  living  in   a   material   world.   Much   of   Maimonides'   Guide   for   the   Perplexed   is   devoted   to   explaining   each   of   these   anthropomorphic   references   and   proving   that   they   should  be  understood  figuratively.   We  are  forbidden  to  represent  G-­‐d  in  a  physical  form.  That  is  considered  idolatry.   The  sin  of  the  Golden  Calf  incident  was  not  that  the  people  chose  another  deity,   but  that  they  tried  to  represent  G-­‐d  in  a  physical  form.   G-­d  is  Neither  Male  nor  Female   This  followed  directly  from  the  fact  that  G-­‐d  has  no  physical  form.  As  one  rabbi   explained  it  to  me,  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.   Although  we  usually  speak  of  G-­‐d  in  masculine  terms,  there  are  times  when  we   refer   to   G-­‐d   using   feminine   terms.   The   Shechinah,   the   manifestation   of   G-­‐d's   presence  that  fills  the  universe,  is  conceived  of  in  feminine  terms,  and  the  word   Shechinah  is  a  feminine  word.   G-­d  is  Omnipresent   G-­‐d  is  in  all  places  at  all  times.  He  fills  the  universe  and  exceeds  its  scope.  He  is   always  near  for  us  to  call  upon  in  need,  and  He  sees  all  that  we  do.  Closely  tied  in   with  this  idea  is  the  fact  that  G-­‐d  is  universal.  He  is  not  just  the  G-­‐d  of  the  Jews;   He  is  the  G-­‐d  of  all  nations.   G-­d  is  Omnipotent   G-­‐d  can  do  anything.  It  is  said  that  the  only  thing  that  is  beyond  His  power  is  the   fear  of  Him;  that  is,  we  have  free  will,  and  He  cannot  compel  us  to  do  His  will.   This   belief   in   G-­‐d's   omnipotence   has   been   sorely   tested   during   the   many   persecutions  of  Jews,  but  we  have  always  maintained  that  G-­‐d  has  a  reason  for   allowing  these  things,  even  if  we  in  our  limited  perception  and  understanding   cannot  see  the  reason.   G-­d  is  Omniscient   G-­‐d  knows  all  things,  past,  present  and  future.  He  knows  our  thoughts.   G-­d  is  Eternal   G-­‐d  transcends  time.  He  has  no  beginning  and  no  end.  He  will  always  be  there  to  
  21. 21.   21   fulfill  his  promises.  When  Moses  asked  for  G-­‐d's  name,  He  replied,  "Ehyeh  asher   ehyeh."   That   phrase   is   generally   translated   as,   "I   am   that   I   am,"   but   the   word   "ehyeh"  can  be  present  or  future  tense,  meaning  "I  am  what  I  will  be"  or  "I  will  be   what  I  will  be."  The  ambiguity  of  the  phrase  is  often  interpreted  as  a  reference  to   G-­‐d's  eternal  nature.   G-­d  is  Both  Just  and  Merciful   Judaism  has  always  maintained  that  G-­‐d's  justice  is  tempered  by  mercy,  the  two   qualities  perfectly  balanced.  Of  the  two  Names  of  G-­‐d  most  commonly  used  in   scripture,  one  refers  to  his  quality  of  justice  and  the  other  to  his  quality  of  mercy.   The   two   names   were   used   together   in   the   story   of   Creation,   showing   that   the   world  was  created  with  both  justice  and  mercy.   G-­d  is  Holy  and  Perfect   One  of  the  most  common  names  applied  to  G-­‐d  in  the  post-­‐Biblical  period  is  "Ha-­ Kadosh,  Baruch  Hu,"  The  Holy  One,  Blessed  be  He.   G-­d  is  our  Father   Judaism  maintains  that  G-­‐d  has  billions  of  sons  and  daughters.  We  are  all  G-­‐d's   children.  The  Talmud  teaches  that  there  are  three  participants  in  the  formation   of   every   human   being:   the   mother   and   father,   who   provide   the   physical   form,   and  G-­‐d,  who  provides  the  soul,  the  personality,  and  the  intelligence.  It  is  said   that   one   of   G-­‐d's   greatest   gifts   to   humanity   is   the   knowledge   that   we   are   His   children  and  created  in  His  image.       CHARACTERISTICS  OF  G-­D:    SUMMARY  BOX   G-­‐d  exists   G-­‐d  is  one   G-­‐d  is  the  creator  of  everything   G-­‐d  is  incorporeal  (without  a  bodily  form)   G-­‐d  is  neither  male  nor  female   G-­‐d  is  omnipresent  (present  everywhere)   G-­‐d  is  omnipotent  (all-­‐powerful)   G-­‐d  is  omniscient  (all-­‐knowing)   G-­‐d  is  eternal   G-­‐d  is  both  just  and  merciful   G-­‐d  is  our  Father   G-­‐d  is  holy  and  perfect        
  22. 22.   22   ETHICAL  MONOTHEISM   Any word which has the word theist‘ as part of it comes from the Greek root ‚Theos i.e. related to G-ds or G-d. We speak of a theist as one who believes in a G-d. We speak of atheist as one who does not believe in any G-d. Ancient near eastern religions were almost all polytheistic. The prefix ‘poly‘ means many‘. Polytheistic means that they worshipped many G-ds and had cults and practices associated with this. The prefix ‚mono‘ means one; monotheistic means the worship of one G-d. There were pagan monotheists and they were often pantheistic which means that G-d was equated with the world, not separate from it i.e. the sun was G-d, the moon was G-d, etc. Not that G-d created the sun or the moon. We speak of ethical monotheism in relation to Judaism because biblical faith arrives at the oneess of G-d because of ethical considerations and through a direct insight into the absolute character of moral law. There is a difference also not so much in how many gods are involved but what kind of a god is involved. For example, the gods of paganim even monothistic pagan gods the G-d of ethical monotheism is G-d who is invites people into personal relationship and the people’s response to that invitation is expressed in the observance of certain practices and an ethical way of life. Central to Ethical Monotheism in Judaism are the following: Abridged from http://www.jewishvirtuallibrary.org/jsource/Judaism/mono.html 1.  There  is  one  G-­‐d  from  whom  emanates  one  morality  for  all  humanity.   2.  G-­‐d's  primary  demand  of  people  is  that  they  act  decently  toward  one  another.   If  all  people  subscribed  to  this  simple  belief—which  does  not  entail  leaving,  or   joining,  any  specific  religion,  or  giving  up  any  national  identity—the  world  would   experience  far  less  evil.   The   G-­‐d   of   ethical   monotheism   is   the   G-­‐d   first   revealed   to   the   world   in   the   Hebrew  Bible.  Through  it,  we  can  establish  G-­‐d's  four  primary  characteristics:   1.  G-­‐d  is  supranatural.     2.  G-­‐d  is  personal.     3.  G-­‐d  is  good.     4.  G-­‐d  is  holy.     Dropping  any  one  of  the  first  three  attributes  invalidates  ethical  monotheism  (it   is  possible,  though  difficult,  to  ignore  holiness  and  still  lead  an  ethical  life).   G-­‐d  is  supranatural,  meaning  "above  nature"  This  is  why  Genesis,  the  Bible's  first  
  23. 23.   23   book,  opens  with,  "In  the  beginning,  G-­‐d  created  the  heavens  and  the  earth"  in  a   world  in  which  nearly  all  people  worshipped  nature,  the  Bible's  intention  was  to   emphasize   that   nature   is   utterly   subservient   to   G-­‐d   who   made   it.   Obviously,   therefore,  G-­‐d  is  not  a  part  of  nature,  and  nature  is  not  G-­‐d.   The  second  essential  characteristic  is  that  G-­‐d  is  personal.   The  G-­‐d  of  ethical  monotheism  is  not  some  depersonalized  force:  G-­‐d  cares  about   His  creations.  G-­‐d  knows  each  of  us.  We  are,  after  all,  "created  in  His  image."  This   is  not  merely  wishful  thinking  why  would  G-­‐d  create  a  being  capable  of  knowing   Him,  yet  choose  not  to  know  that  being?   This   does   not   mean   that   G-­‐d   necessarily   answers   prayers   or   even   that   G-­‐d   intervenes  in  all  or  even  any  of  our  lives.  It  means  that  He  knows  us  and  cares   about  us.  Caring  beings  are  not  created  by  an  uncaring  being.    The  whole  point  of   ethical   monotheism   is   that   G-­‐d's   greatest   desire   is   that   we   act   toward   one   another  with  justice  and  mercy.     A  third  characteristic  of  G-­‐d  is  goodness.     A  god  who  is  not  good  cannot  demand  goodness.  Unlike  all  other  gods  believed   in  prior  to  monotheism,  the  biblical  G-­‐d  rules  by  moral  standards.  Thus,  in  the   Babylonian   version   of   the   flood   story,   the   gods,   led   by   Enlil,   sent   a   flood   to   destroy  mankind,  saving  only  Utnapishtim  and  his  wife  -­‐  because  Enlil  personally   liked  Utnapishtim.  It  is  an  act  of  impulse  not  morality.  In  the  biblical  story,  G-­‐d   also   sends   a   flood,   saving   only   Noah   and   his   wife   and   family.   The   stories   are   almost   identical   except   for   one   overwhelming   difference:   the   entire   Hebrew   story  is  animated  by  ethical/moral  concerns.  G-­‐d  brings  the  flood  solely  because   people  treat  one  another,  not  G-­‐d,  badly,  and  G-­‐d  saves  Noah  solely  because  he   was  "the  most  righteous  person  in  his  generation."   Words   cannot   convey   the   magnitude   of   the   change   wrought   by   the   Hebrew   Bible's  introduction  into  the  world  of  a  G-­‐d  who  rules  the  universe  morally.   Holiness   As   primary   as   ethics   are,   man   cannot   live   by   morality   alone.   We   are   also   instructed  to  lead  holy  lives:  "You  shall  be  holy  because  I  the  Lord  your  G-­‐d  am   holy"  (Leviticus  19:2).  G-­‐d  is  more  than  the  source  of  morality,  He  is  the  source  of   holiness.   Ethics  enables  life;  holiness  ennobles  it.  Holiness  is  the  elevation  of  the  human   being  from  his  animal  nature  to  his  being  created  in  the  image  of  G-­‐d.  To  cite  a   simple  example,  we  can  eat  like  an  animal—with  our  fingers,  belching,  from  the   floor,   while   relieving   ourselves   or   elevate   ourselves   to   eat   from   a   table,   with   utensils   and   napkins,   keeping   our   digestive   sounds   quiet.   It   is,   however,   very   important   to   note   that   a   person   who   eats   like   an   animal   is   doing   something   unholy,   not   immoral.   The   distinction,   lost   upon   many   religious   people,   is   an  
  24. 24.   24   important  one.   One  G-­d  and  One  Morality   The  oneness  of  G-­‐d  is  an  indispensable  component  of  ethical  monotheism.     Only  if  there  is  one  G-­‐d  is  there  one  morality.  Two  or  more  gods  mean  two  or   more  divine  wills,  and  therefore  two  or  more  moral  codes.  That  is  why  ethical   polytheism  is  unlikely.  Once  G-­‐d  told  Abraham  that  human  sacrifice  is  wrong,  it   was  wrong.  There  was  no  competing  G-­‐d  to  teach  otherwise.   One   morality   also   means   one   moral   code   for   all   humanity.   "Thou   shall   not   murder"  means  that  murder  is  wrong  for  everyone,  not  just  for  one  culture.  .   One  Humanity   One  G-­‐d  who  created  human  beings  of  all  races  means  that  all  of  humanity  are   related.  Only  if  there  is  one  Father  are  all  of  us  brothers  and  sisters.   Human  Life  is  Sacred   Another   critical   moral   ramification   of   ethical   monotheism   is   the   sanctity   of   human  life.  Only  if  there  is  a  G-­‐d  in  whose  image  human  beings  are  created  is   human  life  sacred.  If  human  beings  do  not  contain  an  element  of  the  divine,  they   are  merely  intelligent  animals.   G-­d's  Primary  Demand  Is  Goodness   Of   course,   the   clearest   teaching   of   ethical   monotheism   is   that   G-­‐d   demands   ethical  behavior.     As  Ernest  van  den  Haag  described  it:  "[The  Jews']  invisible  G-­‐d  not  only  insisted   on  being  the  only  and  all  powerful  G-­‐d  .  .  .  He  also  developed  into  a  moral  G-­‐d."   But  ethical  monotheism  suggests  more  than  that  G-­‐d  demands  ethical  behavior;   it  means  that  G-­‐ds  primary  demand  is  ethical  behavior.  It  means  that  G-­‐d  cares   about  how  we  treat  one  another  more  than  He  cares  about  anything  else.   Jews  and  Ethical  Monotheism   Since  Judaism  gave  the  world  ethical  monotheism,  one  would  expect  that  Jews   would  come  closest  to  holding  its  values.  In  some  important  ways,  this  is  true.   Jews  do  hold  that  G-­‐d  judges  everyone,  Jew  or  Gentile,  by  his  or  her  behavior.   This  is  a  major  reason  that  Jews  do  not  proselytize  (though  it  is  not  an  argument   against  Jews  proselytizing;  indeed,  they  ought  to):  Judaism  has  never  believed   that  non  Jews  have  to  embrace  Judaism  to  attain  salvation  or  any  other  reward  in   the  afterlife.  
  25. 25.   25   But  within  Jewish  religious  life,  the  picture  changes.  The  more  observant  a  Jew  is,   the  more  he  or  she  is  likely  to  assume  that  G-­‐d  considers  ritual  observances  to  be   at  least  as  important  as  G-­‐d's  ethical  demands.   This  erroneous  belief  is  as  old  as  the  Jewish  people,  and  one  against  which  the   prophets  passionately  railed:  "Do  I  [G-­‐d]  need  your  many  sacrifices?"  cried  out   Isaiah  (Isaiah  1:11).  The  question  is  rhetorical.  What  G-­‐d  does  demand  is  justice   and  goodness  based  on  faith  in  G-­‐d:  "Oh,  man,"  taught  the  prophet  Micah,  "G-­‐d   has  told  you  what  is  good  and  what  G-­‐d  requires  of  you  only  that  you  act  justly,   love  goodness  and  walk  humbly  with  your  G-­‐d"  (Micah  6:8,  emphasis  added).   In  Judaism,  the  commandments  between  human  beings  and  G-­‐d  are  extremely   significant.   But   they   are   not   as   important   as   ethical   behavior.   The   prophets,   Judaism's  most  direct  messengers  of  G-­‐d,  affirmed  this  view  repeatedly,  and  the   Talmudic  rabbis  later  echoed  it.  "Love  your  neighbor  as  yourself  is  the  greatest   principle  in  the  Torah,"  said  Rabbi  Akiva  (Palestinian  Talmud,  Nedarim  9:4).   That  is  why  when  the  great  Rabbi  Hillel  was  asked  by  a  pagan  to  summarize  all  of   Judaism  "while  standing  on  one  leg,  he  was  able  to  do  so:  "What  is  hateful  to  you,   do   not   do   to   others;   the   rest   is   commentary   now   go   and   study"   (Babylonian   Talmud,  Shabbat  31a).  Hillel  could  have  said,  "Keep  the  613  commandments  of   the  Torah;  now  go  and  do  them,"  but  he  didn't.  In  fact,  he  went  further.  After   enunciating   his   ethical   principle,   he   concluded,   "The   rest   is   commentary."   In   other  words,  the  rest  of  Judaism  is  essentially  a  commentary  on  how  to  lead  an   ethical  life.   Unfortunately,   with   no   more   direct   messages   from   G-­‐d,   and   few   Hillels,   the   notion   that   the   laws   between   man   and   G-­‐d   and   the   laws   between   people   are   equally  important  gained  ever  wider  acceptance  in  religious  Jewish  life.   Perhaps  there  are  three  reasons  for  this:   1.  It  is  much  more  difficult  to  be  completely  ethical  than  to  completely  observe   the  ritual  laws.  While  one  can  master  the  laws  between  people  and  G-­‐d,  no  one   can  fully  master  human  decency.   2.  While  ethical  principles  are  more  or  less  universal,  the  laws  between  people   and  G-­‐d  are  uniquely  Jewish.  Therefore,  that  which  most  distinguishes  observant   Jews  from  non-­‐observant  Jews  and  from  non  Jews  are  Judaism's  ritual  laws,  not   its  ethical  laws.  Thus  it  was  easy  for  a  mindset  to  develop  which  held  that  what   ever   is   most   distinctively   Jewish—i.e.,   the   laws   between   people   and   G-­‐d—is   more  Jewishly  important  than  whatever  is  universal.   3.  Observance  of  many  laws  between  people  and  G-­‐d  is  public  and  obvious.  Other   Jews  can  see  how  you  pray,  how  diligently  you  learn  Talmud  and  Torah,  and  if   you  dress  in  the  modest  manner  dictated  by  Jewish  law.  Few  people  know  how   you  conduct  your  business  affairs,  how  you  treat  your  employees,  how  you  talk   behind  others'  backs,  or  how  you  treat  your  spouse.  Therefore,  the  easiest  way  to  
  26. 26.   26   demonstrate   the   depth   of   your   religiosity   is   through   observance   of   the   laws   between  man  and  G-­‐d,  especially  the  ones  that  are  most  public.   Yet,   while   observant   Jews   may   overstress   the   "monotheism"   in   "ethical   "monotheism,"  the  fact  is  that  they  believe  the  entire  doctrine  to  be  true.  Secular   Jews,   on   the   other   hand,   believe   that   ethics   can   be   separated   from   G-­‐d   and   religion.  The  results  have  not  been  positive.  The  ethical  record  of  Jews  and  non   Jews   involved   in   causes   that   abandoned   ethical   monotheism   has   included   involvement  in  moral  relativism,  Marxism,  and  the  worship  of  art,  education,  law,   etc.   The  lessons  for  religious  Jews  are  never  to  forget  the  primacy  of  ethics  and  not  to   abandon  the  ethical  monotheist  mission  of  Judaism.  The  lesson  for  secular  Jews   is  to  realize  that  ethics  cannot  long  survive  the  death  of  monotheism.       ETHICAL  MONOTHEISM:    SUMMARY  BOX   One  G-­‐d   One  morality   One  humanity   Sacredness  of  human  life  because  we  are  created  in  G-­‐d’s  image   G-­‐d  demands  ethical  behaviour;  that  we  treat  other  people  justly   G-­‐d  is  the  source  of  holiness  in  the  living  out  of  our  lives   G-­‐d  enters  into  personal  relationship  with  humanity   G-­‐d  is  above  nature           UNITED  NATIONS  DECLARATION  ON  HUMAN  RIGHTS           From  http://www.un.org/en/documents/udhr/history.shtml     BACKGROUND     The   Universal   Declaration   of   Human   Rights,   which   was   adopted   by   the   UN   General  Assembly  on  10  December  1948,  was  the  result  of  the  experience  of  the