Omniscient gods and precision and intent in rituals: the case of Orthodox Judaism

Asaf Sharabi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Social scientists who study the minds of gods claim that the omniscient gods of monotheistic religions are aware of the intent of their followers, unlike gods who are not omniscient. For this reason, omniscient gods do not place emphasis on their followers’ precision in carrying out rituals, focusing rather on the intent and/or identity of the practitioners. The present article challenges this perception by focusing on several spheres of Orthodox Judaism in Israel. In each of these spheres, less attention is paid to the actual intent and identity of those practising the ritual, with far more attention directed to not only the actual execution of the ritual, but also the precision with which it is executed. Moreover, when rituals of healing are involved, imprecise or incomplete execution of such rituals can be used to explain their failure.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)307-322
Number of pages16
JournalJournal of Contemporary Religion
Issue number2
StatePublished - 3 May 2020
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2020, © 2020 Informa UK Limited, trading as Taylor & Francis Group.


  • Kabbalah
  • Omniscient gods
  • Orthodox Judaism
  • Teshuva movement
  • rituals


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