Post Reply
Page 1 of 2  •  1 2 Next
Switch to Forum Live View Jewish concept of the Holy Spirit
4 years ago  ::  Nov 27, 2010 - 6:50AM #1
Ed2
Posts: 3,322

Hello. I have another question for this forum: What is the Jewish concept of the Holy Spirit?


On one website it says that: Jews don't teach about "the Holy Spirit" as an entity.


www.answerbag.com/q_view/174196


And then at jewishencyclopedia.com, it give a more detailed and more technical explanation of what the Jewish concept of the Holy Spirit, however, there were some Hebrew words and some explanation that I didn't quite understand:


www.jewishencyclopedia.com/view.jsp?arti...


But if any one here could give me their explanation of the Jewish concept of the Holy Spirit, I would appreciate it.

I think that it's pretty sad and pretty unbelievable that there are so many healthy, powerful, and healing foods that I have learned about from watching "The Doctor Oz Show"...but unfortunately, most Americans from their childhood on up, have only learned how to eat what is essentially equivalent to 'garbage'...and are basically in a 'slumber' when it comes to not having a clue as to what that kind of food is doing to their bodies and to their health. It's really sad.

~Ed2

"Hmmm. So you're saying that for Jesus' followers(throughout the centuries) to truly live a 'godly' life, they had to believe that the end of the world was just around the corner?"

~Ed2(See post #53)

"Although, I think that I'll change that to: Also...I liked the way that you dodged what I had said about being 'concerned that the Bible had to use subterfuge as a means to an end' in my post #137."

~Ed2(See post #145)

"It's utterly beyond belief, that the wealthiest country in the history of the world, fails to care for all it's people."

~Dr. Patrick Dowling, MD(From The Doctor Oz Show, which aired on 11/23/11.)

"If I could prescribe any drug on the planet, it would be food [be]cause it works better, faster, and cheaper than any medication. Food is the most powerful medicine we have...to treat chronic disease like diabetes."

~Dr. Mark Hyman, MD(From The Doctor Oz Show, which aired on 01/13/12. Also, go to www.doctoroz.com for more information.)
Quick Reply
Cancel
4 years ago  ::  Nov 27, 2010 - 10:58AM #2
Pam34
Posts: 2,660

Is this the passage you meant?


 



What the Bible calls "Spirit of Yhwh"  and "Spirit of Elohim" is called in the Talmud and Midrash "Holy  Spirit" ("Ruaḥ ha-Ḳodesh." never "Ruaḥ Ḳedoshah," as Hilgenfeld says, in  "Ketzergesch." p. 237). Although the expression "Holy Spirit" occurs in  Ps. li. 11 (LXX. πνεῦμα τὸ ἅγιον) and in Isa. lxiii. 10, 11, it had not  yet the definite meaning which was attached to it in rabbinical  literature: in the latter it is equivalent to theexpression  "Spirit of the Lord," which was avoided on account of the  disinclination to the use of the Tetragrammaton (see, for example, Targ.  to Isa. xl. 13). It is probably owing to this fact that the Shekinah is  often referred to instead of the Holy Spirit. It is said of the former,  as of the Holy Spirit, that it rests upon a person. The difference  between the two in such cases has not yet been determined. It is certain  that the New Testament has πνεῦμα ἅγιον in those passages, also, where  the Hebrew and Aramaic had "Shekinah"; for in Greek there is no  equivalent to the latter, unless it be δόξα (="gleam of light"), by  which "ziw ha-shekinah" may be rendered. Because of the identification  of the Holy Spirit with the Shekinah, πνεῦμα ἅγιον is much more  frequently mentioned in the New Testament than is "Ruaḥ ha-Ḳodesh" in  rabbinical literature. 


Ruach = 'spirit' or breath. To say 'Ruach ha-Kodesh' is to say something like 'the spirit of the holy/divine one' which says, to me, the spirit which belongs to the Holy One, not a different entity distinct from God, but an aspect or characteristic of God.


I'm assuming you know that 'Tetragrammatron' is a fancy way of saying 'the four letter name', which is God's personal name in Hebrew.


Shekhinah is a personification of God's presence in this world. The word 'shekhinah' comes from a root meaning 'dwell' as in, something which rests/dwells among us, or upon us, or in a specific location. Like, for instance, the 'pillar of cloud by day and the pillar of fire by night' that 'dwelled' on/in/above the mishkan (dwelling place) in the wilderness (Mishkan is usually rendered 'tabernacle' but it also comes from the same root as shekhinah: Sh'kh'n, to dwell, settle, live (in an area)).

Blessed are You, HaShem, Who blesses the years.
Quick Reply
Cancel
4 years ago  ::  Nov 27, 2010 - 11:08AM #3
Pam34
Posts: 2,660

Realized I'd better unpack that 'spirit of the LORD' and Tetragrammaton reference a bit -


 


the quote says that the phrase 'spirit of the LORD' was rarely used (and 'ruach ha-KODESH' was usually used instead) because of the Tetragrammatron - the word that is translated into English as 'LORD' (all caps) is the Tetragrammatron (the four letter name) in Hebrew. That name ('Hashem' or the Name) is too holy to be spoken, and is therefore avoided in speech and in writing, by using a synonym almost invariably - when we read from the Hebrew text of the Torah, and come across the four letter Name, we SAY 'adonai' (lord') INSTEAD of what is actually written (the four letter Name).


 


Also, in other contexts, if we are not actually praying (for instance) but we are quoting or teaching, we won't even use 'adonai' but will use a synonym for THAT -


 


it gets complicated, but basically to say/write 'ruach HA-KODESH' the 'haKodesh' is a synonym used IN PLACE OF using the four letter name of God. Not something different, or a new entity. It is just a custom because of the special degree of holiness of God's actual four letter Name, which we do not say out loud, we do not write it on anything that might conceivably get mistreated or erased, and we do not refer to it directly, but only through the use of words which indirectly REFER to the Name.


 


So 'ruach ha-kodesh' is - in literal translation - the spirit of the holy (one) or 'the holy spirit' to some, but in the mind of every Jew, it is absolutely blindingly obvious that 'the holy one' is, in fact, 'God' and God alone.


 


And therefore, your first reference is correct: Judaism (and Jews) do not consider 'the holy spirit' to be a separable entity, any more than your own 'sense of humor' or 'spirit of fun' are separate entities from your self.


 


 

Blessed are You, HaShem, Who blesses the years.
Quick Reply
Cancel
4 years ago  ::  Nov 27, 2010 - 11:39AM #4
LeahOne
Posts: 16,402

Much better answer and much more complete than I could ever have done!


Pam, you are a better instructor than I, by far : ))   Thank you!

Quick Reply
Cancel
4 years ago  ::  Nov 27, 2010 - 5:35PM #5
Ed2
Posts: 3,322

Nov 27, 2010 -- 10:58AM, Pam34 wrote:


Is this the passage you meant?


 



What the Bible calls "Spirit of Yhwh" and "Spirit of Elohim" is called in the Talmud and Midrash "Holy Spirit" ("Ruaḥ ha-Ḳodesh." never "Ruaḥ Ḳedoshah," as Hilgenfeld says, in "Ketzergesch." p. 237). Although the expression "Holy Spirit" occurs in Ps. li. 11 (LXX. πνεῦμα τὸ ἅγιον) and in Isa. lxiii. 10, 11, it had not yet the definite meaning which was attached to it in rabbinical literature: in the latter it is equivalent to theexpression "Spirit of the Lord," which was avoided on account of the disinclination to the use of the Tetragrammaton (see, for example, Targ. to Isa. xl. 13). It is probably owing to this fact that the Shekinah is often referred to instead of the Holy Spirit. It is said of the former, as of the Holy Spirit, that it rests upon a person. The difference between the two in such cases has not yet been determined. It is certain that the New Testament has πνεῦμα ἅγιον in those passages, also, where the Hebrew and Aramaic had "Shekinah"; for in Greek there is no equivalent to the latter, unless it be δόξα (="gleam of light"), by which "ziw ha-shekinah" may be rendered. Because of the identification of the Holy Spirit with the Shekinah, πνεῦμα ἅγιον is much more frequently mentioned in the New Testament than is "Ruaḥ ha-Ḳodesh" in rabbinical literature. 


Ruach = 'spirit' or breath. To say 'Ruach ha-Kodesh' is to say something like 'the spirit of the holy/divine one' which says, to me, the spirit which belongs to the Holy One, not a different entity distinct from God, but an aspect or characteristic of God.


I'm assuming you know that 'Tetragrammatron' is a fancy way of saying 'the four letter name', which is God's personal name in Hebrew.


Shekhinah is a personification of God's presence in this world. The word 'shekhinah' comes from a root meaning 'dwell' as in, something which rests/dwells among us, or upon us, or in a specific location. Like, for instance, the 'pillar of cloud by day and the pillar of fire by night' that 'dwelled' on/in/above the mishkan (dwelling place) in the wilderness (Mishkan is usually rendered 'tabernacle' but it also comes from the same root as shekhinah: Sh'kh'n, to dwell, settle, live (in an area)).




Yes it is. Or at least one of them. Smile But thank you for your explanation.

I think that it's pretty sad and pretty unbelievable that there are so many healthy, powerful, and healing foods that I have learned about from watching "The Doctor Oz Show"...but unfortunately, most Americans from their childhood on up, have only learned how to eat what is essentially equivalent to 'garbage'...and are basically in a 'slumber' when it comes to not having a clue as to what that kind of food is doing to their bodies and to their health. It's really sad.

~Ed2

"Hmmm. So you're saying that for Jesus' followers(throughout the centuries) to truly live a 'godly' life, they had to believe that the end of the world was just around the corner?"

~Ed2(See post #53)

"Although, I think that I'll change that to: Also...I liked the way that you dodged what I had said about being 'concerned that the Bible had to use subterfuge as a means to an end' in my post #137."

~Ed2(See post #145)

"It's utterly beyond belief, that the wealthiest country in the history of the world, fails to care for all it's people."

~Dr. Patrick Dowling, MD(From The Doctor Oz Show, which aired on 11/23/11.)

"If I could prescribe any drug on the planet, it would be food [be]cause it works better, faster, and cheaper than any medication. Food is the most powerful medicine we have...to treat chronic disease like diabetes."

~Dr. Mark Hyman, MD(From The Doctor Oz Show, which aired on 01/13/12. Also, go to www.doctoroz.com for more information.)
Quick Reply
Cancel
4 years ago  ::  Nov 27, 2010 - 5:57PM #6
Ed2
Posts: 3,322

Nov 27, 2010 -- 11:08AM, Pam34 wrote:


Realized I'd better unpack that 'spirit of the LORD' and Tetragrammaton reference a bit -


 


the quote says that the phrase 'spirit of the LORD' was rarely used (and 'ruach ha-KODESH' was usually used instead) because of the Tetragrammatron - the word that is translated into English as 'LORD' (all caps) is the Tetragrammatron (the four letter name) in Hebrew. That name ('Hashem' or the Name) is too holy to be spoken, and is therefore avoided in speech and in writing, by using a synonym almost invariably - when we read from the Hebrew text of the Torah, and come across the four letter Name, we SAY 'adonai' (lord') INSTEAD of what is actually written (the four letter Name).


 


Also, in other contexts, if we are not actually praying (for instance) but we are quoting or teaching, we won't even use 'adonai' but will use a synonym for THAT -


 


it gets complicated, but basically to say/write 'ruach HA-KODESH' the 'haKodesh' is a synonym used IN PLACE OF using the four letter name of God. Not something different, or a new entity. It is just a custom because of the special degree of holiness of God's actual four letter Name, which we do not say out loud, we do not write it on anything that might conceivably get mistreated or erased, and we do not refer to it directly, but only through the use of words which indirectly REFER to the Name.






Pam, what you just said is very interesting. Especially seeing from the fact that the idea for this thread came about from a thread in the "Discuss Jehovah's Witnesses" board:


community.beliefnet.com/go/thread/view/4... (see post #92) 


Nov 27, 2010 -- 11:08AM, Pam34 wrote:


So 'ruach ha-kodesh' is - in literal translation - the spirit of the holy (one) or 'the holy spirit' to some, but in the mind of every Jew, it is absolutely blindingly obvious that 'the holy one' is, in fact, 'God' and God alone.


 


And therefore, your first reference is correct: Judaism (and Jews) do not consider 'the holy spirit' to be a separable entity, any more than your own 'sense of humor' or 'spirit of fun' are separate entities from your self.




Well, Pam, in looking at the Nature of the Holy Spirit. section of the jewishencyclopedia.com site where it says:


Though the nature of the Holy Spirit is really nowhere described, the name indicates that it was conceived as a kind of wind that became manifest through noise and light.


 


what would be yours(or any other Jewish person's) description of the nature of the Holy Spirit?

I think that it's pretty sad and pretty unbelievable that there are so many healthy, powerful, and healing foods that I have learned about from watching "The Doctor Oz Show"...but unfortunately, most Americans from their childhood on up, have only learned how to eat what is essentially equivalent to 'garbage'...and are basically in a 'slumber' when it comes to not having a clue as to what that kind of food is doing to their bodies and to their health. It's really sad.

~Ed2

"Hmmm. So you're saying that for Jesus' followers(throughout the centuries) to truly live a 'godly' life, they had to believe that the end of the world was just around the corner?"

~Ed2(See post #53)

"Although, I think that I'll change that to: Also...I liked the way that you dodged what I had said about being 'concerned that the Bible had to use subterfuge as a means to an end' in my post #137."

~Ed2(See post #145)

"It's utterly beyond belief, that the wealthiest country in the history of the world, fails to care for all it's people."

~Dr. Patrick Dowling, MD(From The Doctor Oz Show, which aired on 11/23/11.)

"If I could prescribe any drug on the planet, it would be food [be]cause it works better, faster, and cheaper than any medication. Food is the most powerful medicine we have...to treat chronic disease like diabetes."

~Dr. Mark Hyman, MD(From The Doctor Oz Show, which aired on 01/13/12. Also, go to www.doctoroz.com for more information.)
Quick Reply
Cancel
4 years ago  ::  Nov 27, 2010 - 6:29PM #7
nieciedo
Posts: 5,617

Nov 27, 2010 -- 5:57PM, Ed2 wrote:

  


what would be yours(or any other Jewish person's) description of the nature of the Holy Spirit?




The nature of the "holy spirit" in Judaism is pretty much as Pam has described. 


"Spirit" is, as referring to God, pretty much the same as what we mean when we describe it in people: it's a motive force, a source of strength or inspiration. It is an aspect or attribute of God as God is perceived by humans. 


I think you would not be too far off if you took traditional Christian understanding of the Third Person of the Trinity but instead of viewing it as a separate entity or person or hypostasis you applied its attributes to the Father's action in the world. 


The most basic power or action of God's spirit is giving life. We are told that God's ruach dwells with us while we are alive and when it departs, we die. The Psalms say that when God sends for the divine spirit, life is kindled; when the spirit is removed, creatures die. Ecclesiastes tells us that when humans and animals die the body decays and the spirit returns to God who gave it.


The chief function of the Holy Spirit in Christian theology is "giver of life" as well as "consoler" and "sanctifier." In Judaism, life and consolation come from God and sanctification comes through the Torah, which is God's communication and self-revelation to Israel.


The early Christians perceived God acting in a unique and special way in the person of Jesus, and therefore acclaimed him as God - but whereas his identification with God was early on accepted it was also clear that that he existed in a way separate and distinct from the God as perceived in creation. The "Holy Spirit" was mentioned by Jesus and his disciples as being a third distinct entity and so it became a member of the Trinity, even though it took a few centuries to work out exactly how the three Persons related to one another. 


The divine functions that Christianity assigns to the three Persons - creation, law-giving, judgment (the Father); ordering of existence and redemption (the Son or Word); life-giving and sanctification (the Spirit) - Judaism assigns to the one singular and unique God.


When the question comes up of how exactly God relates to creation and to humanity, then you get into the mess of Kabbalah and the Sephirot. In Christian theology, the Father is generally perceived as being remote and difficult to access. The Son is the mediator between God and humanity, but it is the Spirit that is present in the world and dwells within the hearts of the faithful (modern evangelical theology seems to have confused the roles of the Persons exalting the Son at the expense of the Father and the Spirit).


The Jewish mystical tradition posits that the One singular and infinite God manifests Itself in a series of emanations each more developed and distinct that the pure undifferentiated Being of God's fundamental essence. The 10th and lowest emanation is that of "Malkhut" or "Sovereignty" in which we all live and move and have our being, and in which we encounter God's indwelling presence, the Shekhinah that Pam spoke of. Shekhinah/Malkhut is God as most of us experience God in our lives, and therefore I guess is comparable to the Holy Spirit in Christianity. 

Quick Reply
Cancel
4 years ago  ::  Nov 27, 2010 - 6:30PM #8
LeahOne
Posts: 16,402

ED2 - No idea, no clue, don't really care : ))  I've got a hungry boy waiting for me to take him  out for dinner... it's going to be useless to try to continue now.


NB: Judaism is very particular abotu NOT pinning the LORD down, because He is 'Ein Sof' (without limits).  which means we can't really describe aspects of Him without cutting Him down to a size we can perceive....  NOT GOOD!


that's why I 'don't care'.....later.

Quick Reply
Cancel
4 years ago  ::  Nov 27, 2010 - 7:38PM #9
Ed2
Posts: 3,322

Nov 27, 2010 -- 6:29PM, nieciedo wrote:


Nov 27, 2010 -- 5:57PM, Ed2 wrote:

  


what would be yours(or any other Jewish person's) description of the nature of the Holy Spirit?




The nature of the "holy spirit" in Judaism is pretty much as Pam has described. 


"Spirit" is, as referring to God, pretty much the same as what we mean when we describe it in people: it's a motive force, a source of strength or inspiration. It is an aspect or attribute of God as God is perceived by humans. 


I think you would not be too far off if you took traditional Christian understanding of the Third Person of the Trinity but instead of viewing it as a separate entity or person or hypostasis you applied its attributes to the Father's action in the world. 


The most basic power or action of God's spirit is giving life. We are told that God's ruach dwells with us while we are alive and when it departs, we die. The Psalms say that when God sends for the divine spirit, life is kindled; when the spirit is removed, creatures die. Ecclesiastes tells us that when humans and animals die the body decays and the spirit returns to God who gave it.


The chief function of the Holy Spirit in Christian theology is "giver of life" as well as "consoler" and "sanctifier." In Judaism, life and consolation come from God and sanctification comes through the Torah, which is God's communication and self-revelation to Israel.


The early Christians perceived God acting in a unique and special way in the person of Jesus, and therefore acclaimed him as God - but whereas his identification with God was early on accepted it was also clear that that he existed in a way separate and distinct from the God as perceived in creation. The "Holy Spirit" was mentioned by Jesus and his disciples as being a third distinct entity and so it became a member of the Trinity, even though it took a few centuries to work out exactly how the three Persons related to one another. 


The divine functions that Christianity assigns to the three Persons - creation, law-giving, judgment (the Father); ordering of existence and redemption (the Son or Word); life-giving and sanctification (the Spirit) - Judaism assigns to the one singular and unique God.


When the question comes up of how exactly God relates to creation and to humanity, then you get into the mess of Kabbalah and the Sephirot. In Christian theology, the Father is generally perceived as being remote and difficult to access. The Son is the mediator between God and humanity, but it is the Spirit that is present in the world and dwells within the hearts of the faithful (modern evangelical theology seems to have confused the roles of the Persons exalting the Son at the expense of the Father and the Spirit).


The Jewish mystical tradition posits that the One singular and infinite God manifests Itself in a series of emanations each more developed and distinct that the pure undifferentiated Being of God's fundamental essence. The 10th and lowest emanation is that of "Malkhut" or "Sovereignty" in which we all live and move and have our being, and in which we encounter God's indwelling presence, the Shekhinah that Pam spoke of. Shekhinah/Malkhut is God as most of us experience God in our lives, and therefore I guess is comparable to the Holy Spirit in Christianity. 




Thanks, nieciedo.

I think that it's pretty sad and pretty unbelievable that there are so many healthy, powerful, and healing foods that I have learned about from watching "The Doctor Oz Show"...but unfortunately, most Americans from their childhood on up, have only learned how to eat what is essentially equivalent to 'garbage'...and are basically in a 'slumber' when it comes to not having a clue as to what that kind of food is doing to their bodies and to their health. It's really sad.

~Ed2

"Hmmm. So you're saying that for Jesus' followers(throughout the centuries) to truly live a 'godly' life, they had to believe that the end of the world was just around the corner?"

~Ed2(See post #53)

"Although, I think that I'll change that to: Also...I liked the way that you dodged what I had said about being 'concerned that the Bible had to use subterfuge as a means to an end' in my post #137."

~Ed2(See post #145)

"It's utterly beyond belief, that the wealthiest country in the history of the world, fails to care for all it's people."

~Dr. Patrick Dowling, MD(From The Doctor Oz Show, which aired on 11/23/11.)

"If I could prescribe any drug on the planet, it would be food [be]cause it works better, faster, and cheaper than any medication. Food is the most powerful medicine we have...to treat chronic disease like diabetes."

~Dr. Mark Hyman, MD(From The Doctor Oz Show, which aired on 01/13/12. Also, go to www.doctoroz.com for more information.)
Quick Reply
Cancel
4 years ago  ::  Nov 27, 2010 - 7:43PM #10
howiedds
Posts: 2,687

Ed 2:


what would be yours(or any other Jewish person's) description of the nature of the Holy Spirit?


The previous answers were well researched and explained, but now you are asking something more personal that might be answered differently by those of us on this board. My description would be a way of saying that God’s presence is being felt, experienced.


I will be interested in seeing the personal, unofficial answer of others here, as mine might reflect my close contacts and exchanges with Christians in dialogue settings. I wonder if my description resembles too closely that of my Christian friends and not of my fellow Jews’ personal description.

Quick Reply
Cancel
Page 1 of 2  •  1 2 Next
 
    Viewing this thread :: 0 registered and 1 guest
    No registered users viewing
    Advertisement

    Beliefnet On Facebook