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Judaism

Judaism is the religious philosophy and way of life of the Jewish people. Originating in the Hebrew Bible, Jews consider Judaism to be the expression of the covenantal relationship God developed with the children of Israel. According to the traditional Rabinic Judaism, God revealed his laws and commandments to Prophet Moses on Mount Sinai in the form of both written and oral Torah.

Judaism claims a historical continuity spanning more than 3000 years. It is one of the oldest monotheistic religions. Its texts, traditions and values have inspired later Abrahamic religions, including Christianity, Islam and the Baha’i Faith. Many aspects of Judaism have also directly or indirectly influenced secular ethics and civil law. Authority on theological and legal matters is not vested in any one person or organization, but in the sacred texts and the many Rabbis and scholars who interpret these texts.


judaism

Prophet Moses is the “Law Giver”, so consider the Jews. He is known to have led exodus of Israelites from Egypt in the 13th Century B.C. “There hath never yet arisen in Israel a prophet like Moses.” These words from the Jewish prayer Book describe Moses as a man of God and as the greatest of all the leaders of Israel. It welded the children of Israel into a nation and gave them a divinely inspired law- the Torah- the first five books of the Bible- to set the Jewish nation apart as a “Kingdom of Priests”.
Moses asked Pharaoh to free the children of Israel from bondage. However, Pharaoh’s consent came only after the infliction of ten plagues. The miraculous crossing of the Red Sea follows the exodus of the children of Israel from Egypt. Free at last, the people of Israel journeyed into the desert to receive the Ten Commandments, at the foot of Mount Sinai and to enter into eternal covenant with God.

The Ten Commandments were given to the children of Israel, inscribed on two tablets of stone, five on each side. This arrangement of the Commandments emphasizes two types of obligations that every human being has a duty towards God and his fellowmen. The importance of Ten Commandments lies in the moral and ethical purpose of man’s existence. And God spoke all these words, saying: I am the Lord, thy God, who brought thee out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of bondage. Thou shall have no other gods before me. Thou shall not take the name of the Lord, thy God, in vain. Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy…….. Honour thy father and thy mother…… Thou shall not commit adultery. Thou shall not steal. Thou shall not bear false witness against thy neighbor. Thou shall not covet thy neighbor’s house ….wife or his man servant, or his maid servant, or his ox, or his ass, or anything that is thy neighbor’s.( Exodus 30 1 -14).

The first five Commandments deal entirely with man’s duties to God. It is interesting that the Fifth Commandment, which calls upon us to honour our parents, is included as a duty to God. This is true because our parents are partners with God in creating us. When we honour our parents; we also honour and respect God with whom they are associated in the act of creation. The last five commandments refer explicitly to man’s duty towards his fellowman, teaching respect for life and property. All our laws, against murder and theft, giving false testimony come from these Commandments.       

 Man’s duty to man is placed at the same level as man’s duty to God. The Ten Commandments, which are the most important religious teachings, are not only concerned with how to worship God, but also with duties to God and duties to man.  Therefore, one cannot say, how he behaves with his fellow-man is not important as long as he believes in God. And as long as he behaves properly with others, it is unimportant how he does his duties to God. Morality is based on belief in God, on God’s Commandments and His wishes. If we separate goodness from religion or religion from goodness,  we  deny God’s role in our everyday life.

The tremendous personality of Moses impressed upon Israel in its formative years and shaped it towards its maturity. The people learned to live by his laws and wrote great books about them. They revered his qualities of loving kindness, strength and humility, his wisdom and modesty. And they wrote innumerable legends about his life. The Five Books of Moses gave direction to the civilization of the West. Religious people say: If every man could live by the Ten Commandments, there would never be bloodshed, hatred, war, envy or evil in the world and every man would live with dignity and self respect.

 
 
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