Posted by: Submitter | February 17, 2008

Judaism

JUDAISM

Founder

The word ‘Judaism’ was first used in the 1st century AD by Greek speaking Jews. It is used in such places as 2 Maccabees, ch. 2, v. 21 and ch. 8, v. 1, which employs the term Yehudat (Judaism) or Dat Yehudat (the religion of Judaism). It is likely that as the Torah underwent changes and the faith was distorted from its’ original form that this word was brought in to completely tribalise the faith.

By the time of the coming of the Messiah (or HaMoshiach in Hebrew), Jesus Christ of Nazareth (peace be upon him), the faith had been transformed into a mere shell of its’ dynamic unicity and unflinching oneness of deity that the prophets had preached eons ago.

Key beliefs

The source that we would most like to depend on for this section is that of Rabbi Moishe ben Maimon [also known as Maimonides or RAMBAM (1135-1204 AD)], one of the greatest scholars of the Jews in the Middle Ages and a giant throughout the religion. After being influenced by the Orthodox Muslim scholars while sitting in their lessons and debating about faith, rather than come to salvation, he decided to attempt to revamp Judaism with an outer shell of Islam. He first had to do this by revamping how the Jews understood deity.

From the invention of Judaism up until the time of Maimonides, the Lord Almighty was viewed to be a human being. It was RAMBAM’s stress on the Islamic standard of a non-human Lord that did not resemble His Creation at all that first caused him to be branded as a dangerous heretic by the Orthodox Jewish establishment. But through the ages, his work was fully codified and somehow came to be the acid text of orthodoxy in Judaism. In explaining the key beliefs, we have decided to utilise RAMBAM’s classic work, Guide to the Perplexed. It is composed of the 13 most important principles that a Jew must believe.

These will be listed verbatim for the benefit of the reader. Additional points written after the thirteen are added by HTS Publications to shed additional light on the theology of Judaism. Therefore, the added principles after the thirteen are in no way put forward to be from the RAMBAM’s works, nor should they be misconstrued to be. As a final note, the word God will be spelled G-d, out of deference to many Orthodox Jews who use this as a way to hallow what they believe is one of the Lord’s Names. Therefore, to not bring offence and push them away from this vital information on salvation, we have attempted to adopt more Jewish terminology and cultural items.

The RAMBAM states the following:

1. Belief in the existence of G-d.

2. Belief in G-d’s Unity.

3. Belief in G-d’s Incorporeality (HTS note: He has no human form/body).

4. Belief in G-d’s Eternity.

5. Belief that G-d Alone is to be worshipped.

6. Belief in prophecy.

7. Belief in Moishe [(Moses) peace be upon him] as the greatest of prophets.

8. Belief that the Torah was given by G-d to Moishe [(Moses) peace be upon him].

9. Belief that the Torah is immutable (HTS note: this means that it can never be replaced or abrogated).

10. Belief that G-d knows the thoughts and deeds of human beings.

11. Belief that G-d rewards and punishes.

12. Belief in the coming of HaMoshiach [(HTS note: the Messiah) peace be upon him]

13. Belief in the Resurrection of the Dead.

The following are additional notes added by HTS Publications for beneficial use by the reader who would like more knowledge on the subject.

14. Yeshu`a ben Mariam [(Jesus the son of Mary) peace be upon him] is not the Jewish Messiah. In fact, according to many Orthodox Jewish accounts, he was a false prophet, a charlatan and magician who was killed for blaspheming the tetragrammaton (the Most Holy Name of the Lord, spelled YHWH, not to be spoken by anyone except the High Priest on Yom Kippur, the most sacred Jewish holiday).

15. The Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings be upon him) is neither the last prophet, the primordial prophet and nor is he a global messenger. He may be a prophet to the Arabs and other gentiles (non-Jews), but most certainly not the Jews.

16. Salvation is in deeds and not in belief. Thus one who follows the tenets of their religion and is a devout practitioner of their ‘gentile religion’ (a non-Jew) even has a share in the world to come. This is due to the fact that they are following the ‘Seven Noahide Laws’, those laws of judgement to ascertain a ‘righteous gentile.’ However, Jews in the world to come will be served by other nations for their loyalty and purity unto G-d Almighty.

17. The Lord Almighty is ultimately unknowable here and in the Hereafter.

18. There is difference of opinion in the Jewish establishment on the existence of Paradise, the Fire and some aspects of Resurrection. Due to this there is no set doctrine on the issue.

19. Reincarnation is a view held by most of the Orthodox Jewish establishment, particularly HaRav Ovadiah Yosef (1920-current) as well as another giant of Judaism from the Middle Ages, Nachmanides (1194-1270 AD).

20. Rabbis can and have reached stations higher than that of the prophets of Israel of old. One Jewish authority went so far as to state that a Rabbi is more important than a prophet.

21. It is more of a blessing to be a man than a woman. This has been perpetuated down the ages, particularly in the Orthodox Jewish prayer books, where it was stated, ‘Blessed are thou, for not making me a woman…’ Women have also been ‘exempted’ from prayer, the actual way of having a relationship with Allah, yet they are duty bound to follow the negative laws of the 613 commands of Judaism.

Extent

There are between 18-23 million Jews in the world today, making them one of the smallest religions, with their adherents merely making up between 1-2% world population.

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