Judaism is the oldest Monotheistic religion in the world
Judaism is based around the belief that there is only one God who created the world and thereby continues to rule over it
Many of the Jewish customs and rituals are based or derived from these moral teachings
Where do these teachings come from?
Most of the teachings come from the Torah which is comprised of both written( the law) and oral (explanation) teachings.
The torah was given to Moses by God to give to the people. God is eternal therefore, Jews believe that the torah should share this quality. Jews must devote their lives to staying true to the torah.
The covenant and the promised land
God promised Abraham that in return for his obedience, Abraham would become the patriarch of a great nation
He commanded Abraham to leave his home and to travel to a land that God had promised him known as the promised land – Israel
By accepting the covenant that God has made with him and by extension, the people of Israel.
This is why Jewish babies get circumcised when they are born; as a symbol of their commitment to the Jewish community and God’s covenant.
God and Creation
The Jews believe that God is immaterial
He is the transcendent creator of the universe
God is eternal (no beginning or end) he is not tied to time as humans are and does not depend on anything for his existence
God, although he is distinguished from what he created, he is involved in cosmos (a ordered, harmonious system)
Obedience and Sin
Any deviation from the commandments is interpreted by rabbinic sages is viewed as a violation of Gods word.
Judaism teaches that there are good ( yetzer ha-tov) and evil ( yetzer ha-ra) tendencies.
A good person must be on their guard at all times to steer away from evil
The end of time/ final judgment
Judaism asserts that at the end of time, God will send the Messiah to redeem them and take them to the messianic age.
The messianic age is depicted in various ways however it is a theological term referring to a future time of peace and brotherhood on the earth, without crime, war and poverty
It is believed that this era will take place after a great misfortune occurs and will bring complete fulfillment of every “human wish”
At the close of this era, the dead will be resurrected and joined with their souls and the final judgment will come upon all humankind
Changing beliefs in modern times
In modern times, the wide range of beliefs about the nature of God and his action in the world have been increasingly questioned.
Topics such as the coming of the Messiah and the supernatural idea that God watches over his “chosen people”
It is the duty of a traditional Jewish housewife to safeguard the religious purity of the home and one of the way is to make sure that the food eaten consists with Jewish dietary laws.
Meat and Dairy
Animals that have cloven hoofs and chew their cud, such as lambs are regarded as kosher, but pork is not, pork is not permitted to be eaten
Animals have to be slaughtered by a trained person to minimize the amount of pain. Blood also needs to be drained from the meat because it contains the life of an animal. This is mainly done to show respect for God’s creations
Meat and dairy products cannot be eaten together and a kosher household must have two sets of utensils and plates to keep meat and dairy products separate.
This was first derived from the passage “You shall not cook a kid in its mother’s milk,” (Ex 23:19, 34:26, Deut 14:21 )
Only fish with both fins and scales such as salmon, trout and cod are considered kosher. This means that all shellfish and other seafood’s are not permitted, the forbidden foods are known as treifah
Marriage and Divorce
In Judaism, marriage is considered to be a holy covenant between the bride and groom.
In the event of a divorce, the local community will try every way possible to reconcile the husband and wife
If this is not possible, a get is issued by the Jewish religious court and signed by 2 witnesses and is handed by the husband to the wife, which frees her from all marital obligations to him
Even though it is allowed to get a divorce in the Jewish religion, it is not welcomed considering marriage is a bond in the presence of God and is considered sacred.
Respect for life and Hospitality
The life of one person is no less important than the life of another. Concern for life extends to animals as well
The obligations to look after travelers and strangers is central to Judaism
Abraham regarded his wife Sarah as always hospitable which set the tone for future generations.
Justice and Equity and Social Responsibility
Power to govern by a system was not vested in the hands of the king. It was left to the Sanhedrin ( the Jewish supreme court) to interpret the laws of the torah and apply them fairly.
Loving your neighbor as yourself is a biblical instruction.
Man was created in the image of God, and so individuals must be treated with the utmost respect and honor. Ignorance and intolerance darken the world but understanding and love bring light and help to restore the world.
the Hebrew term tzedakah is used to describe charitable acts and it is seen as the duty to every person to share what god has given them. Every week before the start of Shabbat, coins are dropped into the charity box and on festivals such as purim, collections are taken to various charities. According to maimonides , the best act of tzedakah is helping someone to help themselves by teaching them a skill.
“ I am a Jew because in every place where there is suffering the Jew weeps. I am a Jew because at every time when despair cries out, the Jew hopes” Edmond Fleg (1874-1963)”
The importance of knowledge is stressed by the torah
Education is not only seen as a means of achieving a worthwhile career but also as a way of teaching children how to behave correctly. The torah says it is the duty of every individual to pursue a good quality of life, while being respectful to others and not following the path of greed.
Overall, homosexuality is considered sinful in the fact that in the book of Genesis, marriage or sexual intercourse is between a man and a woman (Adam and Eve)
The subject of homosexuality in Judaism dates back to the Biblical book of Leviticus. This describes sexual intercourse between males as an "abomination" that may be subject to capital punishment
"A man shall not lie with another man as he would with a woman; the two of them have done a toevah ; they shall be put to death; their bloodguilt is upon them.