Basics of Judaism

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Judaism at a glance

Star of David on a menorah

Judaism is the original of the three Abrahamic faiths, which also includes Christianity and Islam. According to information published by The Jewish People Policy Planning Institute, there were around 13.1 million Jewish people in the world in 2007, most residing in the USA and Israel. According to the 2001 census 267,000 people in the UK said that their religious identity was Jewish, about 0.5% of the population.

  • Judaism originated in the Middle East over 3500 years ago
  • Judaism was founded by Moses, although Jews trace their history back to Abraham.
  • Jews believe that there is only one God with whom they have a covenant.
  • In exchange for all the good that God has done for the Jewish people, Jewish people keep God’s laws and try to bring holiness into every aspect of their lives.
  • Judaism has a rich history of religious text, but the central and most important religious document is the Torah.
  • Jewish traditional or oral law, the interpretation of the laws of the Torah, is called halakhah.
  • Spiritual leaders are called Rabbis.
  • Jews worship in Synagogues.
  • 6 million Jews were murdered in the Holocaust in an attempt to wipe out Judaism.

There are many people who identify themselves as Jewish without necessarily believing in, or observing, any Jewish law. [1]

The Thirteen Principles of the Jewish Faith

The Thirteen Principles of Faith (Sheloshah-Asar Ikkarim) constitutes the most well known Jewish creed; it was formulated by the great Jewish medievalist Rabbi Moses ben Maimon (Rambam), better known as Maimonides (1135-1204 CE), in his commentary on the Mishnah (Sanhedrin, 10). Maimonides claimed that he distilled these Thirteen Principles of Faith from the Taryag mitzvot (613 commandments)  enumerated in his exegesis of the Torah.
Rambam
Rambam
It is the custom of many congregations to recite these principles every day after the shacharit (morning) prayers in the synagogue.The Thirteen Principles are as follows :
  1. God Alone is the Creator
  2. God is Unique and One
  3. God is Incorporeal and Incomparable
  4. God is First and Last
  5. We are to Pray to God Alone
  6. The Words of the (Hebrew) Prophets are true
  7. Moses is the Chief Prophet
  8. The Torah has been Divinely Preserved
  9. Torah Cannot be Changed
  10. God knows All Things
  11. God Rewards the Righteous
  12. The Messiah will Come
  13. The Dead will be Resurrected

[2]

What Is the Torah?

The Torah is Judaism’s most important text. It is composed of the Five Books of Moses and also contains the 613 commandments (mitzvot) and the Ten Commandments.  The word “Torah” means “to teach.”

Traditionally a Torah is written on a scroll that is then wound around two wooden poles. This is called a “Sefer Torah” and it is handwritten by a sofer (scribe) who must copy the text perfectly. When in modern printed form, the Torah is usually called a “Chumash,” which comes from the Hebrew word for the number “five.”

The writings of the Torah are also part of the Tanach (Hebrew Bible), which contains not only the Five Books of Moses (Torah) but 39 other important Jewish texts. The word “Tanach” is actually an acronym: “T” is for Torah, “N” is for Nevi’iim (Prophets) and “Ch” is for Ketuvim (Writings).

The Five Books of Moses

The Five Books of Moses begin with the Creation of the World and end with the death of Moses.  They are listed below according to their English and Hebrew names. In Hebrew, the name of each book is derived from the first unique word that appears in that book.

  • Genesis (Bereisheet) – “Bereisheet” means “in the beginning.” This book talks about the Creation of the World, the Great Flood, and also tells the stories of Judaism’s patriarchs and matriarchs. These stories begin with Abraham and Sarah and end with Joseph in Egypt.
  • Exodus (Shemot) – “Shemot” means “names” in Hebrew. This book tells story of the Israelites bondage in Egypt, their journey to Mt. Sinai (where the Ten Commandments. are received) and their wanderings in the wilderness.
  • Leviticus (Vayikra) – “Vayikra” means “And He Called” in Hebrew. This book deals mostly with priestly matters such as rituals, sacrifice, atonement and ritual purity.
  • Numbers (BaMidbar) – “BaMidbar” means “In the wilderness” in Hebrew. This book talks about the Israelites wanderings in the desert as they continue towards the Promised Land.
  • Deuteronomy (D’varim) – “D’varim” means “words” in Hebrew. This is the final book of the Torah. It recounts the Israelites’ journey according to Moses and ends with his death just before they enter the Promised Land. [3]

Note:

• Torah in the narrowest sense refers to the first five books of the Bible
• In a broader sense, Torah includes all Jewish law and tradition
• Torah was given to Moses in written form with oral commentary
• The oral component is now written in the Talmud
• There are additional important writings [4]

Archaeologist: Egyptian religion forms the roots of Jewish, Christian, Islamic religious tree

Sunday, 28 August 2011 19:24 Acharya S Contributing Writers – Acharya S/D.M. Murdock

As has been the claim by some for decades and centuries…

In the History Channel video below, an Arab-Egyptian archaeologist inside the pyramid of King Teti (c. 2345-2333 BCE), where early inscriptions of the ancient Egyptian sacred writings called the Pyramid Texts can be found, makes the following remarks:

“Everybody was believing he will stand in front of [the] gods, and he swears, ‘I am [an] honest guy. I didn’t do anything bad to my neighbors. I never polluted the River Nile water. I never looked at my neighbor’s wife… At the end they are weighing his heart, and if he’s a good guy, he will go to paradise. If he’s a bad guy, [he’ll] have to get punished.”

The host comments, “So the same idea of sin existed here in the Egyptian times as it does later in Christian and all the other – ”

The archaeologist responds, “I believe that religion is just one tree, and we have many branches – Islam, Christianity, and Jews – so it is a main tree. Here are the roots.”

Host: “King Teti’s body was stolen long ago, but his instructions to heaven remain in perfect condition. These ancient carvings are the oldest known form of religious writings: the Greek myths, the Bible, the Koran – all began here.”

Robert Tobin  – Mr

I have been read so much about the origin of Judeo/Christianity and about Egyptology I always was of the opinion that much of Judeo/Cgristianity was based on Egyptology. Isis = the Virgin Mary. Horus = Jesus. The Commandments are a precis of the 42 Negative Confessions in the Book of the Dead.
  • |2011-08-29 08:05:07 jason warren  – ancient kemet
    Yes all of the so called monotheistic religions came out of ancient kemet. They borrowed heavily from the egyptian mystery system. Islam, christianity and judaism. Also your so called masons, rosicrucians, greek mythology, etc. Yet these religions often times will not give credit, where it is due. Most of the prophets, apostles and messengers either were sent, or “waxed wise” in ancient kemet or mizraim. So in essence all of your religions came out of north africa when it was populated by nubians, before the romans, hyksos, and greeks. Then you have characters like this Hawass guy denying everything. And also some of these religions make up tales about slaves building the pyramids, when we still cannot duplicate the feat today. The son/sun walking on water came out of so called egypt. The holy trinity came out of egypt. Circumcision came out of egypt. In closing there is so much diss-information put out by the “discovery channel” the “his-story channel” etc. They show you inside the pyramids how the pharoahs or nubians looked back then. Then during their “dramatizations” they show some mulattoe type egytian. So in a not so suttle way they have folks beleiving the original egyptians were mulattoe or the hyksos or some european looking egyptian.[5]

References

[1] Judaism at a glance: http://www.bbc.co.uk/religion/religions/judaism/ataglance/glance.shtml

[2] The Thirteen Principles: http://www.hebrew4christians.com/Scripture/Shloshah-Asar_Ikkarim/shloshah-asar_ikkarim.html

[3] The Torah: judaism.about.com/od/judaismbasics/a/What-Is-The-Torah-Chumash.htm

[4] The Torah (complete): http://www.jewfaq.org/torah.htm

[5] Egyptian Relilgions were Roots of Judaism: http://freethoughtnation.com/contributing-writers/63-acharya-s/583-archaeologist-egyptian-religion-forms-the-roots-of-jewish-christian-islamic-religious-tree.html

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