“Judaism is an intellectually based religion and the single most important theme is that of study.”
– Norman Lamm
Come with me to discover one of the world’s oldest monotheistic religions: Judaism!
Judaism is a monotheistic religion founded by the ancient Hebrews and is now the tenth-largest religion in the world. The Jewish people believe that there is one holy and supreme God who revealed Himself through different prophets in ancient times, such as Abraham, Moses and others. The Jewish Faith is based on the covenant that God has established with the children of Israel. It also explains how God communicates to His believers through prophets and can reward good deeds as well as punish evil ones.
The founder of Judaism is believed to be Abraham as God made a special covenant with him and promised to create a great nation from him and his descendants. Both Isaac and Jacob, the son and grandson of Abraham, became central figures in Judaism.
Judaism Laws – Halakha
Halakha can be defined as a collective corpus of Jewish religious laws extracted from the written and oral Torah. It consists of the Ten Commandments that God gave to Moses on Mount Sinai. Do you still remember the commandments as described in the second article of this series? If not, below you will find the list:
•I am the Lord, your God, who brought you out of Egypt and out of the land of slavery. You shall have no other gods before me.
•You shall not make for yourself an image in the form of anything in heaven above or on the earth beneath or in the waters below. You shall neither bow down nor worship them, for I am a jealous God, punishing the children for the parents’ sin to the third and fourth generation of those who hate me but showing love to a thousand generations of those who love me and keep my commandments.
•You shall not misuse the name of the Lord your God, for I will not hold anyone guiltless who misuses my name.
•Remember the Sabbath day by keeping it holy. You shall labour for six days but the seventh day is a sabbath when you shall not do any work, neither you, nor your son or daughter, nor your male or female servant.
•Honour your father and your mother so that you may live long in the land the Lord your God is giving you.
•You shall not murder.
•You shall not commit adultery.
•You shall not steal.
•You shall not give false testimony against your neighbour.
•You shall not covet anything that belongs to your neighbour.
However, over time, new legal mechanisms, social and economic changes led to the rise of a modified halakha and now it consists of the application of 613 mitzvot. As per the Jewish Faith, there are 613 commandments in the Torah. From the 613 commandments, some are positive, which means that specific actions need to be carried out, which will bring you closer to God. For example, one of the positive commandments ask us to “be holy” as our God is a holy one. In Christianity, the version of this ordinance is found in the New Testament where Jesus asks us to “be perfect as our Heavenly Father is perfect.” On the other hand, negative commandments refer to those strictly prohibited actions and breaching them means creating a distance between you and God.
In Judaism, the violation of any commandments is considered as a sin committed and below you will find the three categories of sin:
- Pesha: It refers to an intentional sin, a deed committed deliberately against the commandment of God.
- Avon: It encompasses all sins of lust or uncontrollable bodily desires committed voluntarily.
- Chet: This one refers to an “unintentional sin”. For example, accidentally or unknowingly eating non-kosher food (food that does not conform to Jewish dietary regulations.)
However, despite how many times a person may sin, Jewish Faith states that as no human being is perfect, one is not condemned when sinning but can always return to the road of teshuva, which means the path to repentance.
What can you conclude from this article based on the laws of Judaism? Did you expect more orthodox ones? Please share your comments!