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Why is the name "Elohim" plural?


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Rabbi Shlomo Chein: Welcome. I'll be with you in a moment...what's on your mind?

Anina: why is elohim plural?

Rabbi Shlomo Chein: Because it refers to the way G-d manifest himself within nature - and in nature you see a pluralistic realty rather than the true oness of G-d

Anina: whoa

Anina: so God is referred to plurally because it represents how he is seen in nature?

Rabbi Shlomo Chein: Each one of G-d's names refer to one of his attributes/manifisations (G-d alone is beyond any name - the names are just in relation to ways He interacts with us). And the name Elokim refers to the manifistation found in nature, or in things that don't appear to be G-dly

Anina: this seems so confusing but i'm trying to understand this

Rabbi Shlomo Chein: ok - so what is a name?

Rabbi Shlomo Chein: are you a name?

Anina: what is a name?

Anina: a name is a title for something

Rabbi Shlomo Chein: so what is your name?

Anina: Anina

Rabbi Shlomo Chein: ok

Rabbi Shlomo Chein: are you an Anina?

Anina: well

Rabbi Shlomo Chein: in other words, is there more to you than just your name?

Anina: i'm one of many Anina's but im the only Anina like me

Anina: yes

Rabbi Shlomo Chein: or better yet: as you said a name is a title. So say we call someone a doctor. Is he only a doctor, or is he a doctor to his patients, but a father to his children, a husband to his wife, a friend to his freinds etc etc

Anina: yes that makes sense

Rabbi Shlomo Chein: ok, the same is true with G-d

Anina: are you relating this to God or the name elohim

Rabbi Shlomo Chein: We only know G-d in certain ways - the ways in which He interacts with us. Like a patient knows the doctor, or a child knows his mother

Anina: makes sense

Rabbi Shlomo Chein: therefore, throughout the Torah G-d is known with many different names - because they are titles for how He is interacting with a certain situation

Anina: oooooohhh

Anina: so for example, elohim has to do with nature because: breshit bara elohim...has to do with God creating everything?

Rabbi Shlomo Chein: correct

Rabbi Shlomo Chein: So Elohim has to do with the way G-d interacts through concelmeant - like in Nature

Anina: that makes sense then. so elohim is only used when referring to nature in a sense?

Anina: haha

Rabbi Shlomo Chein: it can also be used when G-d is acting harshly - which conceals the love of G-d

Anina: whoa whoa whoa

Anina: so elohim is only used to represent God's name when God is being harsh?

Rabbi Shlomo Chein: It is used to represent G-d when there is some form of concealment of G-d - like nature, or harsh etc

Anina: why is nature a concealment?

Rabbi Shlomo Chein: because you don't see G-d in the open in nature

Anina: so the first line in the torah is elohim because it has to do with nature. can you give me an example of another time elohim is used NOT having to do with nature?

Rabbi Shlomo Chein: It is used many times - I can't think of examples right now - but the name is used many many times in the Torah

Anina: so it's used when God's name is supposed to be concealed?

Anina: see i dont get why it would be used. i get what it is though

Rabbi Shlomo Chein: that's ok, one step at a time.

Rabbi Shlomo Chein: And you already took two steps: You learned what a name really is, and you learned what this name refers to.

Anina: thank you so much for his help

Rabbi Shlomo Chein: Now when you see it used in the Torah, you can try an understand why it was used in this context :-)

Anina: you're one of the nicest people ive ever talked to at askmoses and believe me i'm herea LOT

Rabbi Shlomo Chein: lol

Rabbi Shlomo Chein: thanks

All names, places, and identifying information have been changed or deleted in order to protect the privacy of the questioners. In order to preserve authenticity, the chat sessions have been posted with a minimum of editing. Please excuse typographical errors, missing punctuation, and/or grammatical mistakes which naturally occur in the course of informal chat sessions.


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G-d » What is G-d?

Torah is G–d’s teaching to man. In general terms, we refer to the Five Books of Moses as “The Torah.” But in truth, all Jewish beliefs and laws are part of the Torah.
It is forbidden to erase or deface the name of G-d. It is therefore customary to insert a dash in middle of G-d's name, allowing us to erase or discard the paper it is written on if necessary.