Which religion should I convert to?
There has been a lot of comments about the Serpent in Eden. This Question and answer may help, also I included the website for those who wish more information on some of the questions. On some of the Hebrew names; ya'acov is Jacob, Chavah is Eva, Esav is Esau
Expert: Marc Lipshitz - 5/28/2010
Hi, are Satan, Samuel and the Angel of Death the same person? What is the Jewish view of what/who is the snake in the garden of Eden?
Let me state some basic principals applicable to this question before answering the specifics.
1) In Judaism when it states that man was created in G-d's image, it refers to the fact that like G-d, man has the ability to choose a path. In other words, man has free will. This particular gift is unique to man and does not exist for any other created being-be it supernatural ones like angels or others of the kochot (literally forces referring to the various supernatural agencies G-d utilizes to effect this world), or physical beings such as animals.
2) Angels are limited beings-each can attend to only one duty at a time and thus why three angels visited Abraham-each had a specific task and could do only the one task assigned to it.
3) Each of the nations of the world has a supernatural being that is their advocate and who lobbies on their behalf in the heavenly court (a heavily anthropomorphized version, but it illustrate the concept)
So, how do we apply these principles to your question?
The first is the conception of Satan in Judaism vs Christianity and Islam (I cannot remember the Islamic name for Satan offhand, but they have a similar being to the Satan of Christianity). In Judaism, Satan is a servant of G-d. Like all angels he has no power of his own and cannot act to affect this world in anyway unless explicitly allowed by G-d. His role is simple-to be the heavenly accuser who brings our sins before G-d. We see this clearly in the book of Iyov (Job) where Satan challenges the conception of Iyov as a truly righteous man- and G-d tests Iyov! Satan has no power to affect Iyov, the action has to come from G-d. Since Satan's role is as the heavenly accuser, and an angel cannot have two roles, we see that Satan cannot be the angel Samuel though they have overlaps.
Samuel is a figure that is used both literally and figuratively through out Midrash, Talmud and Kabbalah. According to principle 3 above, Samuel is the supernatural force that represents Esav and his descendants (the Romans). In regard to that, he has wide ranging abilities though he cannot act against the dictates of G-d as, like any angel, he has no free will and can only act as G-d dictates. As the angel looking after the interest of Esav and his descendants, he is said to be the angel that wrestled with Ya'akov. As the representative of Esav, he was justified in doing so as Esav and Ya'akov were enemies and opposed each other at the time-but just as the Romans and other enemies of the Jews cannot destroy them-neither could Samuel destroy Ya'akov-though like the Roman's wounded and crippled us by destroying the Temple, Samuel wounded Ya'akov causing him to limp for the rest of his life.
Thus as the advocate of Esav and Rome, Samuel acts as an accuser of Jews in the heavenly court. When Jews stray, when we abandon the Torah, Samuel speaks up and calls attention to the blessing of Esav that when the descendants of Ya'akov would stray from G-d, Esav's descendants would have power over them. Thus he acts as an accuser (Satan) for the nation of Israel rather than at an individual level as ha Satan does for all of us.
Are either of these two the angel of death? Satan is not-except in a figurative sense as our actions can lead to premature death in this world, or even death in the world to come (kares-spiritual excision, is sometimes referred to as death in the World to come implying wither that the soul is permanently destroyed, or will not be resurrected in the time of Mashiach). thus while Satan might not be the angel of death, his accusations can lead to our deaths. Similarly, the role of Samuel as the angel of death is debated. Certainly his advocacy against the Jewish nation and promoting of Esav's descendants led to the death of many Jews and the destruction of the Second temple-though if he is the actual angel of death is not as clear. Some sources do state he is the angel who gathers the souls of the dead for G-d.
As for the serpent in the garden of Eden, here there are numerous different opinions and accounts. Which one is the literal one, and which are the allegorical ones is not clear. Some state that the serpent was the yetzer hara (evil inclination) of Chavah made manifest in order to have sufficient power to temp Eve-as without that additional power it would not have had sufficient sway as in the Garden of Eden the yetzer hatov (inclination to good) was more powerful than the yetzer hara. Other sources state that it was the angel Samuel given physical form to tempt Chavah, others that the serpent was the snake of today-but that before it tempted Chavah it was the wisest of all creatures after man and made specifically to be our servant in the Garden of Eden-that the serpent grew jealous and resented this and thus tempted Chavah to eat from the forbidden fruit. The harshness of its punishment was not just for tempting Chavah, but for the baseness of its motives in doing so-the statement that it would only eat of the dust of the earth is meant not literally, but that it would receive no sustenance or help from G-d, but would be wholly physical and cut off from G-d in all ways.<<<
Hope this helps. GBY
"Most Jews do not like to admit it, but our god is Lucifer." - (Harold Wallace Rosenthal)
There has been a lot of talk about "Original Sin." Does it exist, or is it a none Biblical way of looking at the world and Creation?
I hope this post helps.
>>> Orthodox Judaism/Original Sin
Expert: Rabbi Moss - 5/5/2006
Hello Rabbi Moss,
I was brought up an atheist Jew, and have a BA in Religious Studies (i.e.,comparative religion).
I was recently wondering where Christianity got its concept of original sin, because, as far as I know, it doesn't really exist in Judaism. My understanding has always been that according to Judaism, we are born into this often miserable world (simplistically the result of the Fall); we are born neither good or bad, but we have the ability to go with our yetzer tov or yetzer hara (which I have understood to mean good or bad inclinations). The sins for which we atone at New Years are those done during the past year, and not anything more integral to who we are. I assume any sacrifice that was made when the Temple existed would have been for that.
Therefore, the sin then becoming in Christianity one that exists at birth and that is integral to one's very being would seem to be a new concept.
Of course, I'm not sure there was a Jewish concept of a soul in the first place, but that's another topic.
Do you have any information on this 'original sin' question, what the Fall indicated, and was the implication of 'sin'?
The Jewish view of the sin of Adam and Eve is very different from the Christian one. In fact, when looked at deeply, it is questionable whether the sin was evil at all.
Judaism is emphatic that a person is born innocent - not evil, not good either, but innocent. We are given a clean slate. But we are not born into an innocent world. The world we are born into is one of challenge, difficulty, pain and evil. But all these are merely means to an end: it is through facing challenges that we grow as human beings, through going through difficulty we bring out deeper resources from within, through pain we become stronger and by combatting evil we create a world of good. So all negativity in the world is just a facade - behind it is ultimate goodness.
That's how reality is now. But it was not like that in the beginning. Adam and Eve were pure beings who entered a perfect world. There was no challenge, pain or death in their world. The "knowledge of good and evil" was a tree that they were told to stay away from in order to maintain this perfect world. "On the day you eat from the tree you will become mortal" said G-d. Eve picked up on a nuance in this warning. Here is my reconstruction of Eve's thought process:
G-d is giving us a choice. We can either remain perfect in a perfect world, or we can ingest the knowledge of good and evil and become imperfect (mortal). What should we choose? Well, G-d created us with a purpose. But what purpose could there be in remaining perfect? G-d was perfect before we were created, so what are we adding? Our purpose must be to face imperfection and make that perfect too, through our own efforts. That's something only we can do, because only we can be imperfect (G-d "can't" do that). So she ate of the tree and persuaded Adam to eat it too.
Mortality was not a punishment for eating the fruit, but rather the natural consequence (because only a perfect being is immortal). So too the other "curses" - pain in childbirth and difficulty in making a living are the natural consequences of Eve's choice, because from now on, all achievement has to be earned, which means that nothing can be "born" without hardship.
As descendants of Adam and Eve we have inherited this path - the path of facing challenges, fighting evil and trying to bring the world back to its previous perfection. Every time we overcome a negative urge, or we transform an evil situation to a holy one, we win a battle in this war. We make the world a little bit more comfortable for G-d's presence to be manifest. When the sum total of all the good in all generations reaches a certain point, G-d will send the Messiah. He is a human leader who will teach the world how to put the finishing touches on the work of perfecting the world. He will bring material peace between all nations of the world, he will make peace between the spiritual ideals of how the world should be and the practical reality of how the world is, he will bring down the heavens and reveal them on earth. And he won't die, nor will anyone, because evil and death will have been vanquished for ever.
1) The "sin" of Adam and Eve was in fact a conscious choice, a necessary step in the development of humanity's purpose. It was the introduction of imperfection into creation - something only humans can do.
2) We are not born evil, but we are born in a world of apparent evil and hidden goodness. Our mission is to reveal that goodness.
All the best,
I know many of you hold strong beliefs about Original Sin. I am not trying to dispute with you, just show how we look at the subject.
Shalom & GBY;
I usually have refrained from even responding to the Adversary on these pages, but one item did catch my eye; Harold Wallace Rosenthal.
I read half of a supposed interview. It is as if you take a mirror and look at yourself. All is reversed. All I got from the "interview" is a dark reversal of facts. If you want to read it, the website is;
I could not help but noticed how the writer would mentioned good things we, Jews and Christians, have done, and call it part of the "Conspiracy." A link to it did give the whole thing away; concentrating on bigotry to Catholics and Jews.
We are aware of this, and decent people of all faiths are doing what is necessary. One other give away of the fraud; the interview is with a man who died some time before. Hummm
Anyway, I thought I would call your attention to this, so you can read some of the junk coming out, and be better informed.
There has been a lot of comments about the Serpent in Eden. This Question and answer may help.
More B/S from Yechiel,, who cares about the Serpent in Eden, like everyone is asking to know about the Serpent of Eden. If anyone would know it would be you, son of Satan.
There has been a lot of talk about "Original Sin." Does it exist, or is it a none Biblical way of looking at the world and Creation?
Everyone knows what original sin is without the bible. Adam and Eve was the first to be disobedient to god. How much more simple can that be. What do you want from the bible (the book of original sin). You preach about nothing.
Here is an article on what happens to the soul that sins. We shall look at it through the lens of the "Golden Calf", as a question is answered on it.
Question: At Mt Sinai what happened to those who built the Golden Calf. I understand they were all destroyed when the earth opened up. Are their souls also now in the earth? Was that the punishment for not believing in G-d after they seen all those miracles? Is that what happens to all who do not believe in G-d that their souls are destroyed or was that a special case?.
Answer: Thank you for the great question. The Jews at Mount Sinai were killed because they were standing against everything that G-d and Moses stood for. They represented opposition. Not all the Jews were killed. As a matter of fact, most were not.
In terms of the question about their souls, when anybody dies the soul eventually departs from the body and goes to it’s Maker. There is a judgment passed on the soul as to what amount of purification it needs before it can become pure again. Every soul in this world is unique, as is every individual. There is no catagory that we can put everybody who has a certain belief into. However, there is definitely an idea of reward and punishment. This is a very detailed and interesting topic that I recomend you seek further knowledge about. Try to seek out a partner to learn Derech Hashem, The Way of G-d with you. This is a book by Rabbi Moshe Chaim Luzzato. It goes through many of these issues and would give you a great base of knowledge.In order to properly answer your question, I need to state that the Cecille B. DeMille version of the giving of the law is completely wrong according to the Torah. There were 3 catagories of people who sinned at the golden calf.
1.)The people who were warned not to worship the idol, then did it anyway – they were guilty and deserved the death penalty by the sword according to Torah law.
2.)People who worshiped the idol with witnesses, but were not warned beforehand. They were not liable for the death penalty by humans, but were killed by plague.
3.)The last group is compared to an adulterous wife. The test for a woman who is accused of being an aldulterer is that she is given a special drink to test if she is telling the truth. If she is, she is fine. If she is not, then she dies a painful death. Moses did the same thing. The people drank this drink (water & ashes from the golden calf). If they were not telling the truth & they did in fact sin, then they died. The first group was killed by the Levites.
They were commanded to kill all of the people in the first group by the sword. As you can see the movie version has no historical truth. Therefore, since their souls were never in the earth, so the question is mute. Also, even if they would have been swallowed up – a person’s soul is not a physical being that can be trapped in a physical place. Regardless of what the spiritual status of a person’s soul is it does not stay in or on the earth after they are buried.
You now see what the punishment was for them when they did not believe in G-d. However, the Torah punishes idol worship with death, not just for having no belief. That is not a crime that gets the death penalty. A Jew should believe based on knowledge, but not everyone today has the knowledge on which to base a strong belief.Lastly, their souls were not destroyed. They were dealt with individually in the way that they needed to be. Sometimes death can atone for sins, other times it cannot. They were unique in that they saw miracles that we do not see, but we see other miracles all the time.I hope that this is helpful to you.
I'm gonna report the Copyright violation above.I'm gona do it.
I reported their harassment. I am not worry, as I have e-mail which backs up my right to use, where needed. Their stalking is traif, however.