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soc.culture.jewish FAQ: Jewish Thought (6/12)
Section - Question 12.35: What does Judaism believe about Satan?

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   Judaism does not believe in the devil, but we do believe in Satan (who
   more properly should be called "the Satan"). As this demonstrates, the
   Jewish view of Satan is very different than the Christian one. Here's
   a summary of the Jewish view; you can also find information at Alyza
   (Gretchen) Shapiro's web site at
   The word satan means challenger. With the leading ha- to make haSatan,
   it refers to /the/ challenger. This describes Satan as the angel who
   is the embodiment of man's challenges. Satan works for G-d. His job is
   to make choosing good over evil enough of a challenge so that it can
   be a meaningful choice. Contrast this to Christianity, which sees
   Satan as God's opponent. In Jewish thought, the idea that there exists
   anything capable of setting itself up as God's opponent would be
   considered overly polytheistic--you are setting up the devil to be a
   god or demigod.

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