Do Jews Believe In The Holy Spirit?

Do you want to know more about Judaism and its similarities to other religions, but aren’t sure if Jews believe in The Holy Spirit?

The Jews believe that the Holy Spirit is not an entity separate from God, but one of his attributes.

No, Rabbis say that the idea of God cannot be a duality or a trinity and so the Spirit is not a part of the Holy Trinity, since that would not be considered monotheism.

In the rest of this article, we talk in detail about why the Jews believe in the Holy Spirit differently from the other religions, and the reason behind their beliefs.

Why do the Jews not believe in the Holy Spirit?

There are a couple of reasons why the Jews do not believe in the Holy Spirit the same way that other religions for example Christianity.

We’ll explain those reasons as follows:

  • Idea of God cannot be a duality or a trinity – Judaism believes solely in monotheism. So the idea that God shares its authority with other entities can be considered polytheistic, or commonly known as ‘shituf’ which means holding someone in the same regards as you would your one God. This is why they regard their God as one, a sole entity, thus there can be no duality or trinity.
  • There isn’t an entity separate from God – Since the concept of duality and trinity is completely ruled out, it is also important to mention that the Jews think of their God as the one who holds power higher than any other being, and thus is the only entity worthy of worship.
  • The Holy Spirit is an attribute of God – The Jews instead believe that, the Holy Spirit is an extension of their God and is one of His Attributes. Thus the Holy Spirit is a quality that belongs to God solely.
  • Divine aspect of prophecy and wisdom – To give a detail into which of God’s attributes would be considered the Holy Spirit; prophecy, wisdom, divine force, equality, and influence privy to the Highest God.

What does the Hebrew Bible or Tanakh say about the Holy Spirit?

In the Hebrew scripture, called “Tanakh” in the Jewish language, The Holy Spirit is given the name ‘Ruach ha-kodesh’.

The term Holy Spirit appears a total of three times in the Hebrew Bible, and its alternate ‘Spirit of God’ or ‘Ruach’ appears very often in the holy book.

A few examples of the latter’s mention in Hebrew scriptures is as follows:

  • Genesis 1:2 – It is described as a wind blowing over the water
  • 1 Samuel 16:13 – An instance describing the interaction of David and the Holy Spirit where it grips him
  • Psalm 143:10 – A plea to God to lend his Spirit to the mortals for help
  • Isaiah 42:1 – Here are direct words from God stating that He has placed his Holy Spirit upon his chosen one, for perpetuation of justice across other nations.
  • Isaiah 44:3 – There is a mention of God blessing the coming generations with the blessing of His Holy Spirit.
  • Joel 2:28 – Another direct quote from God saying that the sons and daughters shall also receive the gift of prophecy through the Holy Spirit residing in their flesh.

What do the rabbis say about the Holy Spirit?

The term ‘Ruach haqodesh’ or the Holy Spirit appears quite often in rabbinic literature. The rabbis perceive the Holy spirit in a very personified manner, yet it remains a quality attributed to God only.

More commonly known as ‘Shekhinah’, the Holy Spirit is believed to have been resting on a person worthy of its manifestation, who then prophesizes the words of God.

The Spirit was described as a wind ‘ruach’ which when manifested, produces a lot of noise and light, like a divine prophecy.

The Holy Spirit is thus said to be constituted of light and fire, like everything heavenly. 

What does Judaism believe about the Holy Spirit?

Judaism in its entirety believes that the Holy Spirit is a manifestation or a prophecy, which only comes to worthy individuals, who then prophesize the Holy books. It does not rest on them consistently, but intermittently.

Final thoughts

Although the belief of Jews regarding the Holy Spirit may be different than that of other religions for example Christianity, their fundamental belief stays the same; the Holy Spirit is something that is divine.

The Jews believe that the Holy Spirit is an attribute of their one true God, and thus belongs to God entirely, although it does rest upon a few worthy individuals for divine prophecies.