No matter what denomination of Judaism one ascribes to, the number one basic theological concept is the existence of one G-d. G-d is defined as omniscient, omnipotent, and omnipresent.[Citation Needed] G-d is the creator of heaven and earth, the supreme judge[Citation Needed], and the one and only deity.
G-d has always existed and always will exist.[Citation Needed] It is the Jewish belief that since the moment that G-d breathed life into Adam, humanity's sole purpose in life has been service to G-d.[Citation Needed] G-d commanded Noah to build an ark[Citation Needed] and sent the flood[Citation Needed], commanded Abraham to go to the Land of Canaan[Citation Needed], brought the Israelites out of the Land of Egypt[Citation Needed], gave us the Torah at Sinai[Citation Needed], and brought us to the Land of Israel[Citation Needed].
Names of G-d
- See main article: Names of G-d
G-d has many names, some of which are considered holy, some of which are euphamisms for the holier names.[Citation Needed] The names that are considered holy are not to be taken in vain, and special care must be used when disposing of anything upon which they are written.[Citation Needed] Many Jews tend to hyphenate G-d's name in English as well, hyphenating it, as seen on this page, and some Jews don't even use it in conversation preferring "HaShem" meaning literally "the Name".
Interpretations and portrayals of G-d
Perhaps the most famous of interpretations of G-d is Maimonides's Thirteen Principles of Faith, which include such things as belief in prophecy, and denial of G-d having any physical form.[Citation Needed] Despite this, many Kabbalistic texts refer to things such as "the hand of G-d"[Citation Needed] or "the head of G-d".[Citation Needed] Most Jewish philosophers tend to interpret such portrayals as purely metaphorical[Citation Needed], thus dispelling any conflict between the Kabbalistic texts and the words of Maimonides.
Relating to G-d
One of the biggest challenges in Judaism is the struggle to develop a relationship with G-d, both in a personal sense and in the grander communal sense. In the times of the Bible, people would bring sacrifices to show their closeness with G-d.[Citation Needed] Later, during the times of the Temple, certain sacrifices were brought by the community as a whole,[Citation Needed] and certain sacrifices were brought by an individual seeking repentance[Citation Needed] or showing gratitude.[Citation Needed] Since the Destruction of the Temple, the practice of prayer has replaced sacrifice,[Citation Needed] as it is forbidden to bring sacrifices anywhere other than the Temple.[Citation Needed] Prayers, much like the sacrifices of the Temple, can be either private and communal.[Citation Needed]