Saturday, January 28, 2006

Judaism Defined

Judaism Defined Cover The religion of the Jews is inseparable from their history as a people. Much of the Torah traces the ancestry of Abraham through Isaac, Jacob, Joseph and finally to Moses, the foremost of God's prophets in Hebrew history. It was Moses who conveyed to Judaism the Ten Commandments given by God and established the religious laws and traditions.

The Torah (literally, "Doctrine," "Teaching," "Law") consists primarily of the written Torah, i.e. the Hebrew Bible, or the Old Testament; and secondarily of oral Torah, ultimately codified as Talmud (literally, "instruction"), in two redactions, Jerusalem Talmud and the more authoritative Babylonian Talmud. In the narrower sense, Torah denotes only the Pentateuch, i.e., the first Five Books of the Old Testament. But in extended usage, Torah as scripture is somewhat analogous to the Hindu Veda, which beyond the four Samhitas may also apply to their extensions, the Brahmanas, Aranyakas and Upanishads. As a term for moral and religious principles, Jewish Torah has as comprehensive an application as Hindu Dharma.

By far the most profound characteristic of Judaism is its strict monotheism. The Jews hold an unshakable belief in one God and one God only, known as Yahweh, "whose name cannot be taken in vain," and from whom all creation flows. The Jewish people consider themselves a chosen people, apart from all the other peoples of the Earth, by virtue of their covenant with Yahweh.

Much stress is placed on the hallowing of daily existence, worship in the synagogue, prayer and reading of the scriptures. Few religions can boast of such a close-knit family tradition as Judaism, making the home a great strength to the religion and a constant refuge to the faithful. Each day, morning and evening, every devout Jew affirms his faith by repeating Moses' prayer: "Hear, O Israel, the Lord our God, the Lord is One."

FOUNDED: Judaism began about 3,700 years ago in the Near East (chiefly Canaan, now Israel; and Egypt).
FOUNDERS: Abraham, who started the lineage, and Moses, who emancipated the enslaved Jewish tribes from Egypt.
MAJOR SCRIPTURE: The Torah (the Old Testament and the Talmud).
ADHERENTS: About 12 million worldwide, over half in the United States.
SECTS: Jews are divided into Orthodox, Conservative and Reform sects, With Other regional and ethnic divisions.

Man has two impulses: good and evil. He can either follow God's law or rebel and be influenced by Satan, who caused God's creation to go astray. Following God's law is the highest morality, possible through obedience to the Torah, which pleases God. One must follow justice, charity, ethics and honesty, being true to the one true God, Yahweh.

Books in PDF format to read:

Robert Ambelain - Martinism History And Doctrine
Tuesday Lobsang Rampa - I Believe
Charlotte Fell Smith - John Dee
Aleister Crowley - Rosa Decidua
Dion Fortune - Psychic Self Defense