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Video interview with Moshe Halbertal on new book, ‘The Personhood of God‘

Interview explores why people love God and the traditional injunctions against images of God


Shalom Hartman Institute senior fellow was interviewed recently on the Israeli TV program, "London & Kirshenbaum by Yaron London on the new Hartman Institute book, "The Personhood of God," by U.S. scholar Yohanan Muffs.


Click on the photo of Halbertal to the right to see the interview (Hebrew with English subtitles).   Here are excerpts from the interview. Watch the video for the full interview (about seven minutes):

Click on this photo of Moshe Halbertal, Shalom Hartman Institute, to see his video interview on the book,


Moshe Halbertal: OK, this is really an important point in the book. The revulsion of humanization, according to Muffs, is not biblical at all. The Bible doesn’t have any problem with humanization.

"Why were we bound not to make statues and pictures? It isn’t obvious, because God doesn’t have an image. Maybe it’s because we are not allowed to see this image. This is a very interesting question, the prohibition to make any statue or picture…. (Muffs) discovered something very deep. He says, what differentiates between idolatry and the religion of uniqueness, between idolatry and monotheism, is not the abstraction of God. Here he follows
"It might be a good thing that this is the way they taught you in elementary school, maybe, but this doesn’t correspond with the belief of the Bible. According to Muffs, and he might be right about this…what we have is a perception of God as a real personality in this respect, in the image of a human, the human in his image or him in the image of a human and what characterizes it compared to the pagan gods is the fact that he is a figure that has freedom, he isn’t subject to the laws of nature.
"Exactly, and an additional facet that is very important here – and this is the most interesting point in this entire book – is that fact that he is searching for the human, referring to him and asking him.
"God will always face the problem of the rich owner. God never knows if He is loved because of his money. Yes, this is a monumental problem."

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