Judaism

 

Judaism is a lively and diverse monotheistic world religion that shares characteristics with both Christianity and Islam. Its creative contribution to cultural history is immense. Jewish Holy Scripture, the Torah, is fundamental for the organization of Jewish life across the whole world. Various Jewish communities can today be found in all parts of the world. The Jewish religion is closely linked with the history of all Israelites. According to ancient tradition, Judaism emerged between the Euphrates and Tigris rivers. The nation of Israel in the Bible originates with Abraham of Ur, who worshipped a unique God that permeates everything. Six generations later, descendants of Abraham lived in Egypt as slaves. Moses rose up as a leader among them, taking his people across the Red Sea and back toward the “promised land”. During the Exodus, Moses received the Ten Commandments, a set of laws central to the Jewish religion. These laws are considered by the Jews as a gift of God and as the holy path.

 

The theological-legal structure of classical Judaism shows that the Old Testament easily reveals historical views that could be interpreted wrong, as of Judaism being a monotheistic religion with unmistakable traces of polytheism. However, before considering this to be an oxymoron, we need to consider the fact that many misconceptions came from “the Judeo-Christian tradition” (the non-Hebrew), where like in almost all the foreign-language religions, have been interpreted in different ways. The most popular delusions and interpretations mentions are that in most books of the Old Testament there is an existence of “other gods”. This having been said, it is true that “other gods” have been acknowledged, but Yahweh (Jehovah), being the most powerful of all the gods forbids his people to worship them.  Some Jews believe that these writings have been mentioned on purpose, to point out the fact that no” other gods” exist before Yahweh and that the meaning of “other gods” could also be interpreted as “other religions”. Some other Jews believe that the existence of the “other gods” is to accentuate the importance of those characters in their Old Testaments, like the first god, also called “Father” and the first goddess also called “Mother”.  In Christian religions, these characters are called Adam and Eve.  In some of the later prophets in the Bible, the existence of all gods other than Yahweh is denied; therefore everything became quite clear that Judaism is far from pure monotheism, even for the non- Hebrew believers.

 

The doctrines dominant in present-day Orthodox Judaism, which is a direct continuation of the classical Judaism has a strong influence of the cabbala. Cabbala is a mystical tradition based on the interpretations of the Old Testament. According to Cabbala, the universe is ruled by several deities, of many characteristics and originated from a First Cause. From the First Cause, we see a male god called “Wisdom” or “Father” and a female goddess called “Knowledge” or Mother”. The “Wisdom” god and the “Knowledge” goddess gave birth to “Son” (also called “Small Face” or “The Holy Blessed One”) and Daughter (also called “Lady”), to “Queen” and many others. Satan has an important personage in the Hebrew Old Testament, because he managed to break the union of the first two sons and also came very closely to the divine Daughter. The Satan not only ruined the divine union, but he also destruction of the Temples, the exile of the Jews from the Holy Land and the “whoring after strange gods”.  The knowledge and comprehending of the Old Testament is important for the Classic Jews for many reasons.

 

 

The Classic Judaism is the foundation of the Modern Judaism (that got developed in the 12th and 13th centuries) and it plays an important contemporary political role in the system of beliefs on many religious politicians. It contains many traditions, festivities, prayers and religious acts that (as they believe) could help to bring back the perfect divine unity (in the form of sexual union between the male and female deities) and to deceive various angels (that are independent minor deities) or to trick Satan. Classic Judaism also celebrates each stage of life: the circumcision of male infants on their eight day; the 13th year coming of age (in Reform Judaism females hold a similar celebration, the “Bar Mitzvah”); both the proposal and act of marriage, and then finally the death. Important annual festivals are: Rosh Hashanah (New Year), Hanukkah, and Yom Kippur (Day of Atonement).

Many points of view have been revealed regarding the cabbalistic system and its importance. I believe that even though the Classic Judaism and its present political involvement in the Zionist practice have contradicting theories, one should never ignore the past and its influences, because only by knowing it can one rise above its sightless power.

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Israel Shahak notes that:”whatever can be said about this cabbalistic system, it cannot be regarded as monotheistic, unless one is also prepared to regard Hinduism, the late Graeco-Roman religion, or even the religion of ancient Egypt, as “monotheistic” (chapter 3, page 4).

 

Works Cited:

IShahak, I.,   “Jewish History, Jewish Religion”, The Weight of 2,000 Years”, Chapter 3, open web.

Fisher, M.P, “Living Religions”,  Eight Edition. (2011), Pearson Education Ing.  (p.249).

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