No matter what denomination of Judaism one ascribes to, the number one basic theological concept is the existence of one God. God is defined as omniscient, omnipotent, and omnipresent.[Citation Needed] God is the creator of heaven and earth, the supreme judge[Citation Needed], and the one and only deity.
God has always existed and always will exist.[Citation Needed] It is the Jewish belief that since the moment that God breathed life into Adam, humanity's sole purpose in life has been service to God.[Citation Needed] God 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 God
- See main article: Names of G-d
God 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 God's name in English as well, making it "G-d", and some Jews don't even use it in conversation preferring "HaShem" meaning literally "the Name".
Interpretations and portrayals of God
Perhaps the most famous of interpretations of God is Maimonides's Thirteen Principles of Faith, which include such things as belief in prophecy, and denial of God having any physical form.[Citation Needed] Despite this, many Kabbalistic texts refer to things such as "the hand of God"[Citation Needed] or "the head of God".[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 God
One of the biggest challenges in Judaism is the struggle to develop a relationship with God, 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 God.[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]