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Shmu's Views Q&A - Part 2

Updated: Sep 1, 2022

Here is a second round of the questions that have been asked of me over the years and the answers given. See Q&A Part 1 HERE.

Q: Where and when did the concept of a one G-d originate?

A: That is a tough one to answer and it all depends on who you reference and how much research has been done on the subject.

The idea of one G-d versus many goes back millennia. It has been well established in both historical and archaeological academia that when humans first started pondering the question of G-d their view wasn’t focused on a one Supreme Being but was centered mostly on the mystery of the natural world around them. They attributed many of the acts of natural law to various gods, eg. The god of storms, lightening, thunder, rain. Of course the two greatest witnesses of nature were first and foremost the Sun; followed by the lesser god (the Moon) and the myriad of heavenly gods — the stars in space.

As human intellect continued to develop new technologies and became more aware of the great bodies of planets in our solar system they too were seen as gods - The planet Mars being a god of war and so forth.

Over time as humans began to band together more and more, with domesticating and herding of animals and the increase in agriculture becoming the main form of feeding the growing civilizations, the field of gods in some societies expanded while in other human cultures the field began to narrow.

By the time of the Jewish patriarch named Avraham (Abraham), circa 2500 to 3000 BCE the idea of a one Supreme Being was starting to come into view. While the concept was heralded by the likes of the Sumerian named Avraham and in Egypt by Pharaoh Akhenaten around 1400 BC the idea really never took hold until after the Jews were taken into Babylon around 598 BCE. By the time the Persian King Cyrus allowed the Jews to return to Israel to rebuild the Temple the Jews finally and firmly rejected the view that there were many gods and accepted unequivocally that there was only One G-d Who Is Creator of all that is and there are no other gods. Until that time within the various forms of Judaism that existed from Moses to King Jehoiachin of Judah the Jews, for the most part, believed that YHVH was the one True G-d while at the same time there were lesser gods still around who were accountable to the One True Deity.

From 598 BCE onward the idea of a One G-d has been firmly entrenched in the hearts and minds of the Jewish peoples (Deuteronomy 6:4).


Several centuries later the offspring of the eldest son of Avraham named Ishmael would form a religion called Islam in which the entire core of their beliefs centered around the Oneness of G-d (Allah).

Therefore, while the idea of a One Supreme Being has been bandied about for centuries of time, how we understand it today lays squarely at the feet of three men — Avraham of Sumer, Moses of Egypt and Mohammed of Arabia.

Until such time as new documents or archaeological findings prove otherwise the One G-d scenario still rests with Avraham and his decedents — both Jewish and Arab.

Q: What is the main function of a Rabbi and how did that position come into existence?

A: The term Rabbi ( רַב ) literally means teacher.

Depending on the era a Rabbi has served in many different capacities. “Today it usually refers to those who have received rabbinical ordination and are educated in matters of halacha (Jewish law). They are the ones knowledgeable enough to answer halachic questions. Most countries have a chief rabbi they rely on to settle halachic disputes.” (Jewish Virtual Library).

2000 years ago Rabbi’s were called Pharisees (פְּרוּשִׁים). After the destruction of the Jewish Temple by Rome in 70 CE the Pharisees became scattered throughout Israel and the Roman Empire taking their teachings, in the form of the Talmud, the Torah and traditions with them. With the center of Jewish worship now destroyed in Jerusalem it was the Pharisees (Rabbis) who became the authoritative source for what is and isn’t halachic and that role has remained the same since.

Before the Temple’s destruction there were three major groups of Jewish religious/political authority — The Sadducees, the elitists priestly and political class; the Pharisees, as mentioned the halachic authority, and the Essenes, a group that had become disgusted with the political wrangling of the Sadducees and what they considered the assimilation of non-Jewish thought among many of the Rabbis. We think that it is this last group who were responsible for the Dead Sea Scrolls discovered in Qumran in 1947 CE, but today there are many who attribute the Scrolls to some other Jewish entity.

With the destruction of the Temple in 70 CE the Sadducees became persona non grata. With the Jewish revolt that lasted from 70 CE to 135 CE and Rome’s exiling Jews and prohibiting them to gather in Jerusalem or anywhere in Israel the Essenes too became extinct.

This last one group, the Rabbis, for the most part remained intact and with their teachings, scrolls, books and academies spreading throughout what remained of Israel and the rest of the Roman Empire; they became the center of Jewish thought and teachings each based in the growing number of Synagogues throughout the world. These Rabbis would, over the course of time, change the face of what was known to be the Jewish religion in Temple times. They remain that to this very day.

In some communities the Rabbi serves as more than a teacher of the Law. With the advent of Christianity the role of the Rabbi, particularly in the West has become similar to that of a Pastor or Christian priest. The Rabbi counsels, gets politically involved and has turned into a Shepard of his or her Jewish flock. This role is far more common in the United States and in branches of Judaism that are less orthodox. However, the primary role of Rabbis remains that of a teacher of the Law and matters of halacha.

There will come a day in some future time when Moshiach is born and becomes a great political, military and religious leader of not only the Jewish people but over the entire world. The Temple will be rebuilt, the priestly caste returning to their Temple duties revolving around the korban. The Rabbis will remain teachers of the Torah and Talmud but the political and military power will reside with Moshiach alone and all final questions, be they secular, political, military or religious will rest with him.

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