Judaism is a religion that is practiced mostly by the residents of the Jewish country, all followers of Judaism whether they are born in the Jewish country or not are called Jews. Judaism is the Jews monotheistic religion which traces its genesis to Abraham, its ethical and spiritual principles are engulfed mainly in the Talmud and the scriptures of the Hebrews. This religion is mostly characterized with the traditional rites and ceremonies of the Jewish people and religion.
Its practices are also deeply rooted in the religious, social, and cultural practices of the Jewish people who consider themselves as one community or people (Steinberg, 1965). Judaism religion and practices Judaism is based on the premises of monotheism, the belief of a special covenant with the almighty God that makes the Jews to claim that they are the God’s chosen people. It is also based on the territorial and ethnic identity, whereby the territory of the Jews is known as the Promised Land. This religion has specific laws and practices.
The origin of Judaism finds its roots either from the formulation of monotheism by Moses or God’s covenant with Abraham, the religion recognizes that the laws attributed to Moses incorporated the Pentateuch. However, the political part of Judaism is much related to King David, the king who had Judah as his capital and who planned the Jerusalem temple, which was later built by Solomon who was his son. During the period of the Jewish captivity in Babylon the Judaism religion was much consolidated, the Mosaic was also written during this period (Grabbe, 2000).
The Jews believe that the difference between civil and divine law is not clear at all. They believe that the supreme power comes from God and thus the command of God is law, whether it is civil or religious. The Mosaic Law dates back to the 5th BC. This law was then interpreted by Midrash and the Talmud. The Talmud incorporates civil and religious laws that are not in the Torah as proper and thus goes ahead to explain them (Steinberg, 1965). The Jews firmly believe that they are the God’s chosen people who have the duty of shedding light to all other nations around the world.
God made a covenant with the Jews through Abraham and later renewed the same covenant with Moses, Isaac and Jacob. The worship of Yahweh was mainly centralized in Jerusalem ever since the time of King David. The demolition of the 1st Jerusalem temple by the people of Babylon which was later followed by the Jews exile ushered in a new hope of national reinstallation under messiah leadership. The Persians later freed them from exile, but the rebellion failed against the Romans made the second temple to be destroyed and the subsequent dispersal of the Jews around the world (Grabbe, 2000).
Judaism religion emerged to substitute the practices and beliefs linked with the Jerusalem temple, this was mainly because the Jews carried with them their religion and culture through their strict observance and via a scholarship of tradition. The greatest part of the commentaries and oral law were written down by the Mishna and Talmud. Judaism religion continued despite that it experienced very harsh persecutions by several nations around the world (Steinberg, 1965).
The Judaism religion regards itself as a widespread religion; this is due to the fact that it views is laws to be appropriate for all mankind. It has a distinction between the non Jews and the Jews. The traditional Judaism requires all the Jews to follow all the commandments found in the Bible. On the other hand the non Jews should only follow seven laws out of the six hundred and thirteen laws. These seven laws demand that everyone whether a Jew or a non Jew to believe in only one God, they forbid murder, blasphemy, sexual immorality and theft.
They also prevent anyone from feeding on a living creature’s limb. The seven laws also mandate the setting up of law courts. The Jews believe that, a non Jew who follows all the seven laws to be righteous, and is therefore, just like a Jew who follows all the six hundred and thirteen laws that are upon him (Fine, 2001). The fundamental orientation of Judaism is practical. It has no body of doctrine that is officially recognized, but it has various beliefs that are quite essential to all the Jews.
The Jewish belief is rooted in the Jewish law and not in any systematic Theology. The issue about punishment and reward in life after death is a new development in this religion. Pre occupation and asceticism with life after death are discouraged. Redemption is obtained via good conduct and not through faith. Judaism believes that everyone has a duty to contribute towards perfecting this world (Steinberg, 1965). The practice of this religion of Judaism has never been restricted to only the people who were born of the Jewish community.
However, the attitudes towards one being converted to Judaism have varied significantly in various localities and periods. It has always been doable for the non Jews to join Judaism. In fact, some of the greatest individuals of Judaism were either people who had been converted into Judaism or their descendants. A good example is King David; he was one of Ruth’s descendants. Since people hood and religion are quite inseparable in the religion of Judaism, acceptance of the beliefs of Judaism makes one to eventually become one of the Jewish people (Grabbe, 2000).
Judaism emphasizes that each and every Jew should be responsible for the other and they should therefore live like one big community, this has made the Jews to develop a great sense of unity. No Jew should look at another Jew nonchalantly when he or she is suffering. They are required to do all that is possible to make sure that they alleviate such Jews from the suffering they are going through. Hebrew does not have charity, but it uses tsedakah which means justice. It means that it is only proper and just for those Jews who are blessed with more to share them with the less fortunate Jews in the society.
The Jews mutual responsibility for each other stretches to include even violation of law cases: if a Jew finds another Jew violating the law, he or she is supposed to rebuke the Jew who is violating the law (Fine, 2001). Judaism religion also emphasizes on the need to elevate profane to the holiness state. Thus, most of what would have been considered ordinary includes ritual components which are intended to sanctify. For example, while eating there has to be benedictions before starting to eat the food and after eating it.
This makes the table to be similar to the altar. Judaism has a lot of laws which are meant to regulate the daily life of the Jews; the aim of this regulation is to modify the actions of man into God’s service. Judaism also regards the restrictions of Torah myriad upon the conduct of a Jew as ones that elevates him. It views the uncontrolled expression of mankind’s appetite similar to that of the animals and the control measures placed upon mankind serves him by raising him higher.
Thus, before a Jew eats any food, he has to first consider whether the food in question meets all the dietary law requirements. If it fails in any then he cannot proceed to eat it as he will consider doing so as violating the law (Fine, 2001). Asceticism is not considered as a virtue in Judaism. The Midrash provides that when everyone accounts for herself or him self following his or her death, such a person has to account for all the allowed pleasures of the world which he restricted himself from doing while on earth (Grabbe, 2000).
Conclusion Judaism religion is mainly found in among the people of the Jewish nation but has never been restricted among these people only as it also accepts people from other origins to join them and thus practice the doctrines of the religion. The Jews, who are the members of Judaism, consider themselves to be the people who have been chosen by God and thus all other tribes in the world should follow them.
The laws of the Jews, according to Judaism are applicable in all circumstances to all nations around the world which makes the Jews to claim that their religion is universal. Reference: Fine, L. (2001): Judaism in practice: from the middle Ages through the early modern period; ISBN 0691057877, Princeton University Press. Grabbe, L. L. (2000): Judaic Religion in the Second Temple Period: Belief and Practice from the Exile to Yavneh; ISBN 0415212502, Routledge. Steinberg, M. (1965): Basic Judaism; ISBN 0156106981, Harcourt, Brace, Jovanovich.