'''Jewish theosophy''' is a philosophic-ethical movement in Judaism dealing with overcoming existential motives of the ego. As such, the Self becomes more aware of its relationship with G_d and thus, with the eternal Cosmos. It deals with the improvement of the individual spiritually, physically and emotionally, within the larger framework of society. This relates to the individual's present and future selfsoul, through the unconditional belief in G_d's wisdom and love. The self and/or soul (i.e. SelfSoul) seeks perfection but can never attain this, for the only Perfection is G_d and he alone exists outside the constraints and constructs of the Cosmos and thus spacetime. This movement was started by Rabbi Shalom ben Rubin or the Rashbar.

One of the main tenets is the belief that the only way to an improved Self is through study. The major works from which to accomplish this are derived from the fundamental syllabus of Judaism. As such, ''the'' major source is the Torah and especially in its synthesis, the Talmud. The canon of Jewish theosophy is open, that is to say, the source material can constantly be added to or updated by the group or individual. Material can be derived from other Jewish sources or even non-jewish sources, such as the Sufism of Islam or the Yoga of Hinduism. Some of these concepts are encapsulated in the works of E. P. Sanders and in the "New Perspective on Paul"[1].

Another reoccurring tenet within Jewish theosophy is that although G_d knows all thoughts, decisions and actions of the individual, present and future, the individual ''does'' have free will to think and do. This fundamental allows for self-improvement, for the want and good of G_d and not necessarily for the good of the individual.

It has been postulated that the first major work of Jewish Theosophy was that of Maimonides' work "The Guide for the Perplexed". For, in this work Maimonides (or the Rambam), in his words, tries "to promote the true understanding of the real spirit of the Law, to guide those religious persons who, adhering to the Torah, have studied philosophy and are embarrassed by the contradictions between the teachings of philosophy and the literal sense of the Torah,"[2] and his main purpose is to expound on Maaseh Bereishit and Maaseh Merkavah [3] works of Jewish mysticism regarding the theology of creation from Genesis and the passage of the Chariot from Ezekiel, these being the two main mystical texts in the Tanakh (Hebrew Bible).

More recent texts have been written titled ''Jewish Theosophy'' by Arthur Edward Waite [4] and the many works of Jewish Renewal by Rabbi Zalman Schachter-Shalomi.

Judaism is a monotheistic religion based on principles and ethics embodied in the Hebrew Bible (Tanakh), as further explored and explained in the Talmud and other texts. Judaism is among the oldest religious traditions still being practiced today. Jewish history and the principles and ethics of Judaism have influenced other religions, such as Christianity, Islam, Zoroastrianism and the Bahá'í Faith.

Religious doctrine and principles of faith

main|Jewish principles of faith
Quote_box|width=35%|align=right|quote=13 Principles of Faith: #I believe with perfect faith that the Creator, Blessed be His Name, is the Creator and Guide of everything that has been created; He alone has made, does make, and will make all things. #I believe with perfect faith that the Creator, Blessed be His Name, is One, and that there is no unity in any manner like His, and that He alone is our God, who was, and is, and will be. #I believe with perfect faith that the Creator, Blessed be His Name, has no body, and that He is free from all the properties of matter, and that there can be no (physical) comparison to Him whatsoever. #I believe with perfect faith that the Creator, Blessed be His Name, is the first and the last. #I believe with perfect faith that to the Creator, Blessed be His Name, and to Him alone, it is right to pray, and that it is not right to pray to any being besides Him. #I believe with perfect faith that all the words of the prophets are true. #I believe with perfect faith that the prophecy of Moses our teacher, peace be upon him, was true, and that he was the chief of the prophets, both those who preceded him and those who followed him. #I believe with perfect faith that the entire Torah that is now in our possession is the same that was given to Moses our teacher, peace be upon him. #I believe with perfect faith that this Torah will not be exchanged, and that there will never be any other Torah from the Creator, Blessed be His Name. #I believe with perfect faith that the Creator, Blessed be His Name, knows all the deeds of human beings and all their thoughts, as it is written, "Who fashioned the hearts of them all, Who comprehends all their actions" (Psalms 33:15). #I believe with perfect faith that the Creator, Blessed be His Name, rewards those who keep His commandments and punishes those that transgress them. #I believe with perfect faith in the coming of the Messiah; and even though he may tarry, nonetheless, I wait every day for his coming. #I believe with perfect faith that there will be a revival of the dead at the time when it shall please the Creator, Blessed be His name, and His mention shall be exalted for ever and ever.|source=-Maimonides

Jewish religious texts

Rabbinic literature

Judaism has at all times valued Torah study, as well as other religious texts. The following is a basic, structured list of the central works of Jewish practice and thought. For more detail, see Rabbinic literature.

*Tanakh<ref name = "tanakh">cite news |url=http://www.ou.org/about/judaism/tanakh.htm |publisher=Union of Orthodox Jewish Congregations in America |title=Judaism 101: A Glossary of Basic Jewish Terms and Concepts |date=April 12, 2006</ref> (Hebrew Bible) and commentaries
Jewish Biblical exegesis (also see Midrash below)
*Works of the Talmudic Era (classic rabbinic literature)

Mishnah and commentaries
Tosefta and the minor tractates
*The Babylonian Talmud and commentaries
*Jerusalem Talmud and commentaries
*Midrashic literature:
Halakhic Midrash
Aggadic Midrash
*Halakhic literature
Major Codes of Jewish Law and Custom
*Mishneh Torah and commentaries
*Tur and commentaries
*Shulchan Aruch and commentaries
Responsa literature
*Jewish Thought and Ethics

Jewish philosophy
Hasidic works
**Jewish ethics and the Mussar Movement
*Siddur and Jewish liturgy
*''Piyyut'' (Classical Jewish poetry)

Jewish legal literature

The basis of Jewish law and tradition ("halakha") is the Torah (also known as the Pentateuch or the Five Books of Moses). According to rabbinic tradition there are 613 commandments in the Torah. Some of these laws are directed only to men or to women, some only to the ancient priestly groups, the Kohanim and Leviyim (members of the tribe of Levi), some only to farmers within the land of Israel. Many laws were only applicable when the Temple in Jerusalem existed, and fewer than 300 of these commandments are still applicable today.

While there have been Jewish groups whose beliefs were claimed to be based on the written text of the Torah alone (e.g., the Sadducees, and the Karaites), most Jews believed in what they call the oral law. These oral traditions were transmitted by the Pharisee sect of ancient Judaism, and were later recorded in written form and expanded upon by the rabbis.

Jewish philosophy

main|Jewish philosophy

Jewish philosophy refers to the conjunction between serious study of philosophy and Jewish theology. Major Jewish philosophers include Solomon ibn Gabirol, Saadia Gaon, Maimonides, and Gersonides. Major changes occurred in response to the Enlightenment (late 1700s to early 1800s) leading to the post-Enlightenment Jewish philosophers. Modern Jewish philosophy consists of both Orthodox and non-Orthodox oriented philosophy. Notable among Orthodox Jewish philosophers are Eliyahu Eliezer Dessler, Joseph B. Soloveitchik, and Yitzchok Hutner. Well-known non-Orthodox Jewish philosophers include Martin Buber, Franz Rosenzweig, Mordecai Kaplan, Abraham Joshua Heschel, and Emmanuel Lévinas.


  1. ^ E.P. Sanders, Paul and Palestinian Judaism: A Comparison of Patterns of Religion (Fortress Press, Philadelphia, 1977)
  2. ^ Jacobs, Joseph and Issac Broydé. Jewish Encyclopedia, cite web|url=http://www.jewishencyclopedia.com/view.jsp?artid=905&letter=M&search=Maimonides#3053|title="Moses ben Maimon."|accessdate=2007-10-11.
  3. ^ "account of creation" and "account of the chariot." (Hebrew). The word "Merkabah", "chariot", is used in Ezekiel (1:4-26) to refer to the throne-chariot of God, the four-wheeled vehicle driven by four chayot "living creatures", each of which has four wings and four faces (of a man, lion, ox, and eagle). In medieval Judaism, the beginning of the book of Ezekiel was regarded as the most mystical passage in the Bible, and its study was discouraged, except by mature individuals with an extensive grounding in the study of traditional Jewish texts.
  4. ^ Publisher Kessinger Publishing, Llc Publication date December 1st, 2005