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Offline Zenith

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the "holy spirit"
« on: April 07, 2011, 01:43:12 PM »
how do you understand the Holy Spirit (or, the Spirit of God)?

do you believe the Spirit of God is a spirit?
Also it seems that sometimes "the Spirit of God" is used as if it was written "God" (Psalm 139.7).

Offline muman613

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Re: the "holy spirit"
« Reply #1 on: April 07, 2011, 06:03:57 PM »
Do you mean Ruach HaKodesh?

http://www.ou.org/about/judaism/r.htm
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"Ruach HaKodesh" - (f.); the Divine Spirit; as in "Sefer Tehilim nichtav beRuach HaKodesh," "The Book of Psalms was written with the inspiration of the Divine Spirit"

http://ilovetorah.com/blog/?p=754

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The Ten steps to Ruach HaKodesh, Devine Inspiration are mentioned in the Talmud. They are, Study, Carefulness, Diligence, Cleanliness, Abstention, Purity, Piety, Humility, Fear of Sin, and Holiness. It is interesting that the Ramchal also uses these 10 in his teachings of character correction. It is known in Kabbalah that these steps correspond to the 10 Sefiros, ladders to spiritual revelations. The Baal Shem Tov said that most of his Ruach HaKodesh was attained through mikvah immersion. It could be that the mikvah accelerates the cleaning process of the above ten concepts. According to the Nikolsburg Rebbe, Ruach HaKodesh is attained through avas Yisrael, love of Israel. In truth, love of Israel includes all ten and you can’t have real love of Israel without them.

Or do you mean Shechinah?

http://www.uniteourheart.com/Foundation-Articles/Shekhinah.html

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The name Shekhinah is related to the word shochen / neighbor; it literally means that which dwells within. Through the centuries the sages of Yehudah tried to formulate the complex concept of the Shekhinah into succinct definitions. According to the Saadiah Gaon, (882-942), the Shekhinah is the intermediary between G-d and man. Maimonides, (1135-1204), taught that the Shekhinah is "the light of the glory of G-d."  Some say the term Shekhinah signifies the perceivable majestic presence of G-d among mankind and expresses the principle of G-d’s indwelling omni-presence in all creation. Mystics have viewed her as the channel through which Divine light passes into the world. It is also associated with the agency of inspiration and prophecy. It is the inspiring power manifesting in one's conscience as the Bat Kol / Daughter Voice. Overall, the late Aggadata statement in the Midrash is the essential summary of all these points and of what we now need to note: “Come and see how beloved Israel is before G-d, for wherever Israel went into exile, the Shekhinah went with them.” Ezekiel witnessed this departure of the Glory / Kavod of the Lord from the holy Temple as she shared our mutual exile. The Midrash’s romantic-sounding statement tells us that the Divine Guidance, with all its aforementioned attributes always was and even now is available to Israel. The Shekhinah has also been defined as the "hidden Divine Providence."  Early sages basing their conclusions on Lev 16:16, said the Shekhinah, though concealed or muted in its manifestation, was to dwell among the exiled children of Israel even in their impurity (Yoma 56b, Megillah 29a). Throughout their history, G-d’s hand, though hidden, was to shape Israel's fate and guide them to their destiny, (Amos 9:9).

Both rabbinic reflection and mystical literature agree that there is an intimate connection between the Shekhinah and the people of Israel. Though they are different perspectives, they both refer to G-d’s active presence being present everywhere in creation, (Bava Bathra 25a). In rabbinic conception, the Shekhinah is the manifestation of God’s presence, i.e. it is the holy Spirit of G-d by which man can feel G-d’s presence. Whenever the children of Israel gather for worship, where ever judges sit at court, even when one man studies the Torah, the Shekhinah is said to be present, (Berakhot 6a). Often the terms Shekhinah and Ruach haKodesh [holy Spirit] are used interchangeably to denote the Divine Presence in the form of revelation and inspiration. In the Zohar, the Shekhinah is defined dynamically as G-d’s face turned toward creation. It is that aspect of G-d's Light that dictates to everything of what form it is supposed to be in the physical universe.  It is the life force that animates and underlies the laws of nature. 
 
« Last Edit: April 07, 2011, 06:09:26 PM by muman613 »
You shall make yourself the Festival of Sukkoth for seven days, when you gather in [the produce] from your threshing floor and your vat.And you shall rejoice in your Festival-you, and your son, and your daughter, and your manservant, and your maidservant, and the Levite, and the stranger, and the orphan, and the widow, who are within your cities
Duet 16:13-14

Offline Zenith

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Re: the "holy spirit"
« Reply #2 on: April 09, 2011, 06:02:57 AM »
I mean Ruach. I don't know where I can find Shechinah in the Tanakh, sorry - perhaps you know a verse.
It seems that Ruach is found in Gen 1.2, Psalm 139.7, Zech 4.6.

I guess I also have to ask you: what do you understand of "spirit"?

Offline muman613

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Re: the "holy spirit"
« Reply #3 on: April 09, 2011, 10:52:31 PM »
I mean Ruach. I don't know where I can find Shechinah in the Tanakh, sorry - perhaps you know a verse.
It seems that Ruach is found in Gen 1.2, Psalm 139.7, Zech 4.6.

I guess I also have to ask you: what do you understand of "spirit"?

In the discussion of the Ruach HaKodesh, it is the spirit of inspiration which is granted to prophets and often accessible in dreams. Much Jewish scripture was written with Ruach HaChodesh.

Here is a discussion of where in Tanakh discussion of the Shekinah occurs:

http://ns1.noahidenations.com/noahide-community/torah-portion-talk?start=35

http://www.shemayisrael.com/publicat/hazon/tzedaka/universalshechinah.htm

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I was puzzled, however, by the phrase, “He created solely for His glory.” Does the Infinite and Compassionate One need “glory”? The Creator is not a human being with “ego” needs, so what does it mean when it states that the world was created for His glory?

I found one possible answer when I began to study Torah teachings about the Shechinah, for I discovered that in biblical literature, the Shechinah is known as “kavod Hashem” - the glory of the Compassionate One. For example, the term “glory of Hashem” appears in the story of the Sanctuary which was built by Moses and the Children of Israel in the desert. The Sanctuary was called the “Mishkan” - a term which literally means “dwelling place” - for the Mishkan was to serve as the dwelling place of the Shechinah. When the Shechinah descended to the Mishkan, the Torah states:

“The cloud covered the Tent of the Meeting, and the glory of Hashem filled the Mishkan.” (Exodus 40:34) – “The cloud covered and the Shechinah dwelled therein.” (Commentary of the Sforno)

The ancient Aramaic translation and midrashic commentary known as Targum Yonasan translates "the glory of Hashem filled the Mishkan" as "the glory of the Shechinah filled the Mishkan."

According to Jewish tradition, the Mishkan represents this world, as this world was created to be a Sanctuary for the Shechinah. As the Midrash teaches, “The Mishkan corresponds to the world” (Numbers Rabbah 12:13.)  The glory of the Compassionate One filling the Mishkan therefore represents the beginning of a process that is to eventually lead to the glory of the Compassionate One filling the entire world - a return to the spiritual state of the Garden of Eden, when the Shechinah was fully revealed. As King David proclaimed: "Let His glory fill all the earth, Amen and Amen!" (Psalm 72:19)

We can now understand a deeper meaning of the statement: "All that the Holy One, Blessed is He, created in His world, He created solely for His glory." Everything was created to serve as a sanctuary for His Shechinah.

Why, however, is this teaching about the Shechinah the concluding teaching of the sixth chapter of Pirkei Avos, the chapter which discusses the Torah?  What is the relationship of the Shechinah to the Torah that we received at Mount Sinai?  

 
You shall make yourself the Festival of Sukkoth for seven days, when you gather in [the produce] from your threshing floor and your vat.And you shall rejoice in your Festival-you, and your son, and your daughter, and your manservant, and your maidservant, and the Levite, and the stranger, and the orphan, and the widow, who are within your cities
Duet 16:13-14

Offline Kahane-Was-Right BT

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Re: the "holy spirit"
« Reply #4 on: April 10, 2011, 02:41:46 AM »
Do you mean Ruach HaKodesh?

My guess is, he probably didn't.  There is a catholic doctrine that speaks about a "holy spirit" which is not something we believe in.  

And the Jewish term ruach hakodesh is not translated as "holy spirit," for good reason.   Our concept has nothing to do with theirs.   Ruah hakodesh refers to a 'divine inspiration' of sorts.  It is not a theological doctrine.  (Although sometimes the concept is used in the context of theological doctrine).

Offline edu

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Re: the "holy spirit"
« Reply #5 on: April 10, 2011, 04:04:46 AM »
The first 3 words of Tehillim/psalms 139:7 are אנא אלך מרוחך
Radak and Ibn Ezra explain a person can not go anywhere if the ruach of G-d doesn't take him there. So the psalmist asks a rhetorical question, how is it possible for me to go away from your ruach.
In the view of Metzudat Dovid, he understands the words as how can I hide (or go away) from your ruach of anger. In his view, ruach here is sort of a poetic description of G-d's strong displeasure and an intention  to cause damage.

Ruach in Hebrew usually means wind or spirit. I don't have the time to do the research if it has other connotations as well

Offline Zenith

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Re: the "holy spirit"
« Reply #6 on: April 11, 2011, 07:36:49 AM »
And the Jewish term ruach hakodesh is not translated as "holy spirit," for good reason.
Really?

Quote from: Psalm 51.13
Do not cast me away from before You, and do not take Your holy spirit from me.
(http://www.chabad.org/library/bible_cdo/aid/16272)

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Quote from: muman613
Do you mean Ruach HaKodesh?
My guess is, he probably didn't.  There is a catholic doctrine that speaks about a "holy spirit" which is not something we believe in.  
well, that's quite the subject (though I'm not very sure how the catholics understand it): I want to know how you understand it, and the verses that support your view.

I'm also interested to know what you understand of:
1. spirit;
2. divine inspiration;
3. the fact that the Tanakh is inspired by G-d.

muman613, know that I've read only what you've quoted there. Lately, a headache strikes me when someone sends me a very large text to read, sorry. The same apologies for edu as well, as I still did not watch those youtube videos about the noachide laws. Please, don't ever send me links to videos/audios again. And if it is possible, please try concise answers (not links to texts of the size of a novel).
« Last Edit: April 11, 2011, 07:43:43 AM by Zenith »

Offline Zenith

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Re: the "holy spirit"
« Reply #7 on: April 11, 2011, 08:02:32 AM »
The first 3 words of Tehillim/psalms 139:7 are אנא אלך מרוחך
Radak and Ibn Ezra explain a person can not go anywhere if the ruach of G-d doesn't take him there. So the psalmist asks a rhetorical question, how is it possible for me to go away from your ruach.
I don't know who Radak and Ibn Ezra are, but I'll tell you how I understand this verse:

Quote from: Psalm 139.7-8
7. Where shall I go from Your spirit, and where shall I flee from Your presence?
8. If I ascend to the heavens, there You are, and if I make my bed in the grave, behold, You are there.
the first sentence (about "Your Spirit") is the same thing as the second (about "Your presence"). And "Your presence"/"Your Spirit" = "You are there" (G-d is there). The whole psalm talks about G-d (even here, where it's said about His Spirit/His presence. It doesn't say "where shall I go from your wrath" or something. It says, where I should go from You.

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In the view of Metzudat Dovid, he understands the words as how can I hide (or go away) from your ruach of anger.
I don't remember to have ever read in the Tanakh "G-d's spirit of wrath". Please give me a verse if you know it. I know that in the Tanakh only men are described with spirits of X.

The meaning of "spirit" sounds pretty clear here:
Quote from: 1 Kings 22.21-23
21. And a certain spirit came forth and stood before the Lord and said, 'I will entice him,' and the Lord said to him 'How?'
22. And he said, 'I will go forth, and I will be a lying spirit in the mouth of all his prophets.' And He said, 'You will entice and you will prevail. Go forth and do so.'
23. And now, behold the Lord has placed a lying spirit in the mouth of all these prophets of yours, whereas the Lord spoke evil concerning you."

So when it is written in the Tanakh that G-d puts a spirit in a man (spirit of fear, lying, etc.), it literally means "spirit", not "a poetic description of ... strong displeasure and an intention". At least this is how I clearly see. That's also the reason I asked you what you understand of "spirit".

Offline Kahane-Was-Right BT

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Re: the "holy spirit"
« Reply #8 on: April 11, 2011, 03:46:38 PM »
In response to your quote of chabad translation of a verse in psalms it is not quite relevant to what I was trying to say.   Catholics have a theological doctrine where ther is an entity called "the holy spirit" which is an actual thing.     The term ruah hakodesh comes up quite frequently in rabbinic parlance but it never refers to any entity - instead, it refers to a spirit or inspiration within a person when they said such and such.  I don't take the concept literally, personally.  But some do look at that more literally and view it as a divine inspiration behind the words.

Offline muman613

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Re: the "holy spirit"
« Reply #9 on: April 11, 2011, 08:49:34 PM »
Zenith,

I will try once again to explain to you these Jewish concepts. But often it seems to me you are trying to approach this from a very non-Jewish, and even from a Christian perspective. In that case you will absolutely not be able to make sense of what we write concerning the Ruach HaKodesh and the Shekinah.

First, you are aware that Jews believe that G-d, Hashem our L-rd, is not corporeal, that Hashem has no body, no manifestation in this world. Hashem is eternal, infinite, and we are not able to even begin to understand what Hashem 'Is'. But we can understand him through the way he acts in this world. We are able to see the results of his actions and we relate to him through these actions. When we say that 'Hashem is angry' or 'Hashem is pleased' we understand that we are only talking about how we perceive our relationship with him. We call this Anthropomorphism, the attribution of human characteristics to something which is not human. The Torah is replete with statements like "Hashems strong arm" and "Hashem Spoke" when we know that Hashem has no Arm, and he has no mouth to speak. Obviously these anthropomorphisms must be understood in a way that is cognizant of the fact that Hashem has no body, no corporeality.

Also understand that when the word 'Ruach' is used it is really referring to a force like a 'wind'. This 'wind' is similar to the comparison of the soul to fire. The story of Genesis states that Hashem blew the spirit of life into the man. It is also interesting to note that the first time the word Ruach is used is in the very beginning of Genesis/Beresheit..

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ב. וְהָאָרֶץ הָיְתָה תֹהוּ וָבֹהוּ וְחֹשֶׁךְ עַל פְּנֵי תְהוֹם וְרוּחַ אֱ־לֹהִים מְרַחֶפֶת עַל פְּנֵי הַמָּיִם:

2. Now the earth was astonishingly empty, and darkness was on the face of the deep, and the spirit of G-d was hovering over the face of the water.


It should be noted that there are five parts of the soul according to Jewish belief...

Nefesh - Ruach - Neshama -  Chaya -  Yechida -

See http://www.aish.com/sp/k/48954266.html

See also

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http://www.torah.org/learning/perceptions/5763/bamidbar.html
As the breath leaves the mouth, so-to-speak, and moves downward, it becomes like a wind, a ruach, creating the second lowest level of soul called "Ruach." Indeed, the Kabbalists compare this part of the system to that of a glass-blower, who fills his mouth with air before blowing into a long tube in order to fill the molten glass at the end of the tube with air. After the air leaves his mouth, it becomes a ruach in the tube itself, making this level of soul a transitional level between Neshamah above it, and the Nefesh below it.

I have covered a lot in a short time. I hope that you can understand that we have no belief that there is a thing called a 'Holy Spirit' which exists in this world. Hashem is incorporeal and has no substance, no manifestation in this world. We can only relate to him through his actions, through natural and supernatural events, and our experiences.





References:

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http://www.jewishideas.org/articles/expanding-our-religious-vocabulary
Maimonides expressed criticism of biblical imagery eloquently and at great length in the Guide of the Perplexed and concisely in his Mishne Torah. He was so successful in “cleansing Judaism of vestiges of idolatry” that his approach is viewed by many as the final word on this topic. Maimonides’ interpretation of all anthropomorphic expressions as metaphoric is so obvious to some, that the portion of the Guide that deals with this issue seems to be superfluous, even boring. Yet even one with the most rudimentary knowledge of Jewish Thought after Maimonides will understand that although Maimonides' work was extremely influential, it must be viewed as an opening remark in a multi-generational debate. One important focal point is haRav Shneur Zalman of Ladi’s criticism of the concept of “negative appellations.” He states that even this approach smacks of “reverse anthropomorphism” since G-d is viewed as the negative of our selves. The discussion has become especially vibrant in the last hundred years. From haRav Kook to Emanuel Levinas, thinkers have dealt with the issue of theological language in very compelling ways. The criticism of such language by Wittgenstein created a great wake of reactions even in the Torah world. Professor Yeshayahu Leibovitz and haRav Professor Eliezar Goldman became exponents of extreme interpretations of Maimonides’ approach.  

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http://www.jewishanswers.org/ask-the-rabbi-2573/the-holy-spirit/

The Holy Spirit
Listen to this article. Powered by Odiogo.com

Question: Why does the Jewish faith not believe in the Holy Spirit?

Answer: Judaism does believe that G-d’s Spirit (or Presence) is Holy. Judaism does not, however, believe in a separate manifestation of G-d referred to as the “Holy Spirit”.

The words “Ruach HaKodesh” (i.e. “The Holy Spirit”) never appear in the Hebrew Scriptures.

There are three times in the Scriptures where there is mention, however, of G-d’s Holy Spirit:

Psalm 51:13 – Ruach Kadshecha – Your holy spirit;
Isaiah 63:10 – Ruach Kadsho – His holy spirit;
Isaiah 63:11 – Ruach Kadsho – His holy spirit

There are only these three occurrences of the term “Holy Spirit”—hardly enough to create a doctrine, and definitely not indicating anything that we did not already understand about G-d. Because all three of these passages are lacking the definite article (i.e. the word “the”), the term in those three instances is understood to simply refer to G-d’s Spirit being Holy.

In later Jewish literature, the “Holy Spirit” is connected to a spirit of Prophecy. But either way, there is no reason to make the assumption that, somehow, this Holy spirit of G-d is a separate entity. There is no support for the concept of the trinity in the Hebrew Scriptures.

Respectfully,

Rabbi Azriel Schreiber


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http://www.inner.org/jewhome/jewhome5.htm
The five levels of the soul are called nefesh, ruach, neshama, chaya, yechida. The yechida reflects itself in the nefesh. This is revealed in the relation between Mashiach and King David. Each of the five levels of the soul correspond to a general soul root. The Arizal explains that the general soul root of the nefesh in all of Am Yisrael is King David. The ruach is the prophet, Elijah. The neshama, which is the mind, mochin d'Imma, is Moses, as stated in the Gemorah that Moses merited binah. The chaya corresponds to the ideal and primordial, blissful state of Adam and Eve before the sin. Had Adam stood that trial successfully, he would have risen to the level of yechida. Since he failed the trial he fell from all the levels of Olam ha'Atzilut. The highest level, yechida, is that of Mashiach, may he become revealed speedily in our days.

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http://www.aish.com/jl/sp/bas/48942091.html
Three Parts

The soul consists of three parts which are called by the Hebrew names, nefesh, ruach and neshama. The word neshama is a cognate of nesheema, which means literally "breath." Ruach means "wind." Nefesh comes from the root nafash, meaning "rest," as in the verse, "On the seventh day, [God] ceased work and rested (nafash)." (Exodus 31:17).

God's exhaling a soul can be compared to a glassblower forming a vessel. The breath (neshama) first leaves his lips, travels as a wind (ruach) and finally comes to rest (nefesh) in the vessel. Of these three levels of the soul, neshama is therefore the highest and closes to God, while nefesh is that aspect of the soul residing in the body. Ruach stands between the two, binding man to his spiritual Source. It is for this reason that Divine Inspiration is called Ruach HaKodesh in Hebrew.

The neshama is affected only by thought, the ruach by speech, and the nefesh by action.
« Last Edit: April 11, 2011, 08:58:49 PM by muman613 »
You shall make yourself the Festival of Sukkoth for seven days, when you gather in [the produce] from your threshing floor and your vat.And you shall rejoice in your Festival-you, and your son, and your daughter, and your manservant, and your maidservant, and the Levite, and the stranger, and the orphan, and the widow, who are within your cities
Duet 16:13-14

Offline muman613

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Re: the "holy spirit"
« Reply #10 on: April 11, 2011, 09:14:51 PM »
http://www.shemayisrael.com/parsha/parkoff/archives/tazria71.htm

Rav Chaim Volozhin, in his sefer Nefesh HaChaim elaborates on the basic precept in the foundation of the world: the position of Man in G-d's Creation. The possuk says: "God created Man in His own image, in the image of God He created him" (Bereishis 1:27); "…for in the image of God He made man" (Bereishis 9:6). What is the meaning of "in the image of Hashem"? Do we really look like Him? Or does He look like us? That, we know, is utterly absurd. He has no image. And anyone who ascribes a material image to the Almighty is guilty of the heresy of anthropomorphism. Hashem is totally spiritual, and has no material form. All characteristics associated to Hashem are metaphors and figures of speech for our benefit to enable us to relate to Him. The commentaries tell us that all we can know about HaKadosh Baruch Hu are the attributes with which He relates to us, such as lovingkindness, mercy, justice, etc. But we can have absolutely no concept of Him Himself. He is beyond that. So what is this image of God?

The Nefesh HaChaim explains that the term used to denote Hashem in that possuk is Elokim. This term indicates Hashem's total control of the universe. He is the ultimate power ruling over millions upon millions of forces that influence every detail of this world. When He created Man, God gave him the ability to rule (so to speak) over those millions of forces. Man controls the world together with Hashem. By his good deeds, the world is influenced toward good; by his bad deeds toward the opposite. Thus, Man has been made a partner (so to speak) with Hashem. And therefore, Man was the only creature given free will. It is this quality of freedom of choice that enables Man to spiritually improve himself or lower himself. Angels and animals are compelled by their nature and cannot decide anything based upon free will; Man is the only creation with this ability. And because Man is partner with Hashem, through his actions he controls the world to add or detract from its spiritual perfection.

Why does the Creator need us to be His partner? Hashem is perfection and requires nothing. What purpose is there in His making Man His partner? What can man do for God? Why should Hashem need man? Rav Ezriel Tauber explained this with a moshol. First, however, we must make a disclaimer: the ultimate purpose of Creation is unknown to us. Only the Ribono Shel Olam Himself knows the ultimate reason why the universe was created. We are not yet ready to understand. After Moshiach comes and the whole world is filled with a new wisdom, Hashem will reveal to us the secrets of the Universe: why we were here and what we have really accomplished in our lifetimes. Right now, our knowledge is limited to whatever will help us understand our job in this world, how we have to behave, and what we have to do with this world.
You shall make yourself the Festival of Sukkoth for seven days, when you gather in [the produce] from your threshing floor and your vat.And you shall rejoice in your Festival-you, and your son, and your daughter, and your manservant, and your maidservant, and the Levite, and the stranger, and the orphan, and the widow, who are within your cities
Duet 16:13-14

Offline edu

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Re: the "holy spirit"
« Reply #11 on: April 12, 2011, 02:30:04 AM »
Zenith stated the following:
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I don't know who Radak and Ibn Ezra are, but I'll tell you how I understand this verse:


Quote from: Psalm 139.7-8
7. Where shall I go from Your spirit, and where shall I flee from Your presence?
8. If I ascend to the heavens, there You are, and if I make my bed in the grave, behold, You are there.
the first sentence (about "Your Spirit") is the same thing as the second (about "Your presence"). And "Your presence"/"Your Spirit" = "You are there" (G-d is there). The whole psalm talks about G-d (even here, where it's said about His Spirit/His presence. It doesn't say "where shall I go from your wrath" or something. It says, where I should go from You.
I believe Zenith attempts to use these 2 verses as support for the Christian concept of trinity, equating "your spirit" in verse 7 with "you are there". Radak and Ibn Ezra on the other hand hold that this is not the intention of the Psalmist. The intention of the Psalmist is that you can't escape from G-d. One, because, we don't have the ability to do anything without G-d's help (their explanation of your spirit). And point two, even if we got around that problem of the lack of ability to do things without G-d's help, there is no place that is void of G-d's presence The literal hebrew word is "your face", but since G-d lacks a body, it is anthromorphic term, which the translator that you quoted interpreted as the term, your presence.
In any case without backing or rejecting for the time being this interpretation of "my face", we will now go to verse 8.
 Verse 8 as I understand it (because Radak and Ibn Ezra don't spell it all out) is an expansion or a deeper explanation of point two. Namely, there is no destination one can run or escape to "to get away for G-d.

Offline edu

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Re: the "holy spirit"
« Reply #12 on: April 12, 2011, 03:02:51 AM »
Zenith stated the following:
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In the view of Metzudat Dovid, he understands the words as how can I hide (or go away) from your ruach of anger.
I don't remember to have ever read in the Tanakh "G-d's spirit of wrath". Please give me a verse if you know it. I know that in the Tanakh only men are described with spirits of X.
For the sake of saving time I am using now the translation of "The Pentateuch and Rashi's commentary, A Linear translation into English" by Rabbi Abraham Ben Isaiah and Rabbi Benjamin Sharfman
In the song celebrating, the miracle of the parting of the sea (which took place after the 10 plagues) it says in Hebrew
Shmot/Exodus 15:8
וברוח אפיך  נערמו מים
translated as: And with the blast of thy nostrils (the) waters were piled up.
Rashi (the most famous of all Jewish commentaries) states on the word And with the blast of Thy nostrils
(the blast) that goes forth from the two nostrils of the nose. Scripture speaks as if this were possible of the Divine Presence in the way of a king of flesh and blood, (only) in order to let the ears of people hear in accordance to what usually happens, in order that they shall be able to understand the matter. When one is in anger, wind goes forth from his nostrils; and similarly (Psalms 18:9): "Smoke arose up in His nostrils"; and similarly (Job 4:9) And by the blast of his anger are they consumed.
Rashi continues more in depth to explain the symbolic images but I hope this is sufficient.
In Exodus 15:8 the Hebrew is "and with your Ruach"
In Job 4:9 the Hebrew is "and from the Ruach"
I have already provided above how the translator interpreted Ruach in those contexts.
Given these precedents it is perfectly legitimate for Metzudat Dovid to interpret the word Ruach in Psalms 139 as G-d's Ruach of anger

Offline Zenith

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Re: the "holy spirit"
« Reply #13 on: April 17, 2011, 11:37:15 AM »
Quote from: muman613
Zenith,

I will try once again to explain to you these Jewish concepts. But often it seems to me you are trying to approach this from a very non-Jewish, and even from a Christian perspective. In that case you will absolutely not be able to make sense of what we write concerning the Ruach HaKodesh and the Shekinah.

A few points here:
1. I am not a Jew, did not grow in a Jewish environment, so it is quite obvious that I cannot approach things from a Jewish perspective (to approach things from a Jewish perspective means to know the Jewish perspective regarding the subject, and I can't know it unless you explain it to me; And I cannot agree with it unless you give me good logic for it). I approach things from my perspective. I don't quite care if it is a Christian perspective (or a specific Christian Orthodox perspective or a Catholic perspective or other) or a Jewish perspective or an Islamic perspective as I care what the Tanakh itself specifies about it.

2. Please tell me what "Shekinah" means. I'm learning Hebrew, it lasts a long time, I don't know what this particular word means. I know that Ruach means "spirit", "breath", "wind". Please tell me what "Shekinah" literally means, and perhaps a verse where I can find it in the Tanakh.

3. I'm curios of something. It seems that "Kodesh" means "holyness" while "Kadosh" means "holy". So "Ruach HaKodesh" should mean "Spirit of holyness" and in Psalm 51.13 it seems to be literally translated as "Spirit of Thy holyness" (i.e. "Ruach Kodshekha", unless I've transliterated wrong). Am I right?

4. You said "In that case you will absolutely not be able to make sense of what we write concerning the Ruach HaKodesh". Can you not show me the Jewish perspective, from the Tanakh? Shouldn't the correct perspective be found from the Tanakh? Otherwise how can it be known that it is the correct perspective? I guess even the sages have derived their views from the Tanakh.

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First, you are aware that Jews believe that G-d, Hashem our L-rd, is not corporeal, that Hashem has no body, no manifestation in this world. Hashem is eternal, infinite, and we are not able to even begin to understand what Hashem 'Is'.
...
We call this Anthropomorphism, the attribution of human characteristics to something which is not human. The Torah is replete with statements like "Hashems strong arm" and "Hashem Spoke" when we know that Hashem has no Arm, and he has no mouth to speak. Obviously these anthropomorphisms must be understood in a way that is cognizant of the fact that Hashem has no body, no corporeality.

I am not very certain about how/what G-d is, exactly. And I am not quite certain about what you intended to tell me.

1. You mean that G-d did not speak to His prophets, but they only imagined? Or that they were very religious and so whatever they've been thinking about should be considered as from G-d? I'd appreciate if you tell me your view on the "divine inspiration".
2. I know that in the Tanakh it is spoken "G-d's arm"/"G-d's hand" and it means "G-d's power". But about speaking, that does seem to contradict all the Tanakh: You seem to 'transform' G-d into a "force" of the Universe, fearing that otherwise it would sound "anthropomorphic". We know that "reason"/"thinking" is a human attribute, so do you believe that G-d has this attribute too?

Now, my view:
Gen 1.26 "And G-d said, "Let us make man in our image, after our likeness". That is both "image" and "likeness". And in Gen 3.22 it is written that "Behold man has become like one of us, having the ability of knowing good and evil". Didn't G-d make man similar to Him? I mean, things like having reason, memory, conscience, etc.?
You quoted:
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What is the meaning of "in the image of Hashem"? Do we really look like Him? Or does He look like us? That, we know, is utterly absurd. He has no image.
If G-d did not assume a form/an image so that He could be seen by His angels (hosts of heaven), then tell me, why is it written "in our image, after our likeness"? (both image and likeness - anyone can tell a difference between them)

Then, could G-d not assume a form/an image so that He would be 'seen' by His angels? I mean, they can see one another, but G-d to be invisible to them?

1 Kings 22.19 states "I saw the Lord seated on His throne, and all the host of heaven were standing by Him on His right and on His left." - did he see an invisible G-d on an imaginary throne, and all the host of heavens (we should call them "angels") standing by the right and by the left of an infinitely big, invisible G-d (He fills the entire universe)? Please tell me, what did the prophet see?? I do believe that G-d does not have a "manifestation in this world" in such a way so that people would be able to find Him if they seek where they should (as people cannot find the heaven of G-d and the angels, no matter how much and where they seek). But that doesn't mean, for instance, that G-d cannot make a certain angel to be manifested in this world, so that people would see him.

We also read Exodus 33.19-23: did G-d trick Moses that he would see Him (v.23)? what did Moses see?

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In later Jewish literature, the “Holy Spirit” is connected to a spirit of Prophecy. But either way, there is no reason to make the assumption that, somehow, this Holy spirit of G-d is a separate entity. There is no support for the concept of the trinity in the Hebrew Scriptures.
I am curios of something: please tell me how you understand the Christian "Holy Trinity" and polytheism (many gods). I suppose, but I'm not sure, that you call the Christians "polytheists" (I know that muslims do that, so I suppose you do that too, though I'm not sure).

Quote from: edu
The literal hebrew word is "your face", but since G-d lacks a body, it is anthromorphic term, which the translator that you quoted interpreted as the term, your presence.
I've read in a place "your face", but I thought that perhaps it is translated wrong. So I used the version of chabad.org. Anyway, I sincerely don't agree with "translation & interpretation" when the Tanakh is supposed to be translated into a language. I think it would have been correct to translate it as "your face", rather than "your presence", though it is understood that it means "you cannot hide away from G-d".

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Quote from: Zenith
I don't remember to have ever read in the Tanakh "G-d's spirit of wrath". Please give me a verse if you know it. I know that in the Tanakh only men are described with spirits of X.
...
In Exodus 15:8 the Hebrew is "and with your Ruach"
In Job 4:9 the Hebrew is "and from the Ruach"
I have already provided above how the translator interpreted Ruach in those contexts.
Given these precedents it is perfectly legitimate for Metzudat Dovid to interpret the word Ruach in Psalms 139 as G-d's Ruach of anger
First off, you've put from yourself in Psalm 139 "G-d's spirit of anger". It is not in the text. I am certain that in the Psalm 139 it is not spoken about "G-d's anger" - read the psalm and see that in it David glorifies G-d rather than saying "I obey you out of fear because your anger if everywhere!"

If these are the verses that can be claimed to contain "G-d's spirit of X", then it seems "G-d's spirit of X" is found nowhere in the Tanakh. In those instances, it should better be translated as "G-d's breath" rather than "G-d's Spirit". Moreover, it is not written "G-d's spirit of anger/mercy/etc.". If indeed "anger", "fear", etc. are spirits as it is depicted in 1 Kings 22.20-23 then it is impossible for G-d to be 'filled' with a spirit of "anger", or a spirit of "fear", because these spirits are His servants. And therefore, you should not be able to find in the Tanakh that "G-d is filled with a spirit of X", or "the Lord is filled with a spirit of X", or any similar thing.
« Last Edit: April 17, 2011, 11:43:05 AM by Zenith »

Offline Kahane-Was-Right BT

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Re: the "holy spirit"
« Reply #14 on: April 17, 2011, 02:20:11 PM »

If these are the verses that can be claimed to contain "G-d's spirit of X", then it seems "G-d's spirit of X" is found nowhere in the Tanakh. In those instances, it should better be translated as "G-d's breath" rather than "G-d's Spirit". Moreover, it is not written "G-d's spirit of anger/mercy/etc.". If indeed "anger", "fear", etc. are spirits as it is depicted in 1 Kings 22.20-23 then it is impossible for G-d to be 'filled' with a spirit of "anger", or a spirit of "fear", because these spirits are His servants. And therefore, you should not be able to find in the Tanakh that "G-d is filled with a spirit of X", or "the Lord is filled with a spirit of X", or any similar thing.


But ruach can mean either term, breath or spirit (or wind, really).   In either case, it's not meant literally but figuratively so what are you worried about?

Spirit DOES NOT mean a spirit as a separate physical entity.   (It does not mean "servants!")  Just like a person maybe "has happy spirit today," it has to do with that person's disposition, NOT with some physical entity flying around the person and doing things or this unknown thing being happy! It's about the person himself.  Obviously though, to attach or ascribe emotional expressions to G-d is a less than literal endeavor, but I use the example of a person for the same exact reason the tanakh in places makes these type of attributions to G-d (as edu has already pointed out here) - because it is easier to comprehend as an example.
« Last Edit: April 24, 2011, 11:10:39 AM by Kahane-Was-Right BT »

Offline edu

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Re: the "holy spirit"
« Reply #15 on: April 20, 2011, 03:37:55 AM »
Zenith wrote:

Quote
First off, you've put from yourself in Psalm 139 "G-d's spirit of anger". It is not in the text. I am certain that in the Psalm 139 it is not spoken about "G-d's anger" - read the psalm and see that in it David glorifies G-d rather than saying "I obey you out of fear because your anger if everywhere!"
As  Kahane-Was-Right BT already pointed out, Metzudat Dovid is not translating ruach as spirit, but uses the term in the same way it is used in Shmot/Exodus 15:8 and Iyov/Job 4:9
As far as your second problem, why would a righteous person like the author of Psalms 139 talk about serving G-d out of fear, which you assume is too low a level for the psalmist.
To answer on behalf of Metzudat Dovid, one could say he is following the style of Psalms chapter 50 in particular verses 12 and 13 where the Psalmist shows how irrational are the claims of the Yetzer Hara, (the inclination to do evil).
Here too, in Tehillim/Psalms 139 the psalmist is showing that the claims of the Yetzer Hara are irrational.