Judaism was the first tradition to teach Monotheism, the belief that there’s only one God. Jews believe that there is a single God who not only created the Universe but with whom every Jew can have an individual and personal relationship. Judaism is an ancient monotheistic Abrahamic religion with the Torah as its foundational text. It comprises the religion, philosophy, and culture of the Jewish people. Here are the top 10 beliefs of Judaism.
Judaism was the first religion ever to spread the belief that the God is one. Jews believe that God is one and he is unknowable, universal, image-less being, and he demands justice for the living beings. Jews focus more on the way you live than focusing on the nature of the God. Jews are also known as ‘Children of Israel.’ Israel is the name that was given to Jacob because he was believed to have wrestled with an angel and ‘Israel‘ means ‘the one who wrestles with the God.’
2. Question instead of learning
The idea of complete surrender to God may seem comfortable to the Christians or Muslims, but it is much less comfortable for most of the Jews. This is because the Jews are always taught to question rather than learning deeply. Jews are taught to question to explore their personal relationship with God.
3. God’s Name
Some of the Jews believe that God is an external force, a being that is out of this Universe, the one who listens to prayers, who control lives, creates miracles and judges everyone according to their deeds. But this does not mean that God looks like us. In fact, Jews have made this very clear that any reference to God like a human should be taken as a mere metaphor.
Some of the Jews believe that God contains the Universe nit in actual it is infinitely larger. But some other Jews believe that God himself is Universe and Universe is God. But one thing Jews don’t argue about is that God is unknowable and un-nameable. Since Jews believe that God’s name shouldn’t be pronounced and this same restriction is applied to the writing of the names, ‘God‘ should be written as ‘G-d.’
4. Books of Faith
The heart of faith of all the Jews is carried and communicated through the teachings of Torah. The word Torah refers to the first five books of Hebrew Bible. These books were written on a scroll and wound around two wooden poles. Jews believe that the Torah is a divine work of Hashem (God). The Torah was revealed and given to the Jewish people at Mount Sinai in front of a crowd of six hundred thousand Jewish men. These books narrate a story from the creation of the world to the death of the Moses, and it is also the central text that guides a way called Judaism. These first five books are-
- Genesis (In the beginning) – Deals with the creation of the world and includes the story of Jacob, Joseph, and how the Hebrew people eventually settled in Egypt.
- Exodus (Names) – This book tells the struggle to leave the Egypt, the revelation of Torah at Mt. Sinai and the beginning of the journey in the wilderness.
- Leviticus (And He called) – This book deals with the priestly matters that are concerning the running of the sanctuary. This book also includes some ethical teachings.
- Numbers (In the wilderness) – This book begins with the census of the tribes and continues with the people’s journey through the wilderness.
- Deuteronomy (Words) – This book consists the speeches given by the Moses through his entire journey. It concludes with the death of Moses and the entrance of people into the Promised Land.
The main belief of Jews is that for every action of humans on this earth, they will be rewarded or punished equally in the world to come. Every child is educated beforehand to prepare them for the world to come. In the world to come there is either heaven or hell. If a person did bad sins, then he is awarded an eternity in heaven else he will be punished in hell. And if his sins are greater than his good deeds then also he is destined for hell. Jews believe that sometimes a person needs to cleanse his soul by going to hell so that he can finally go to heaven.
6. Belief in death
Jews believe that death is not an end of life, but it is a beginning of a new and better life. The family does mourn the death of their beloved one. Eventually, they will take comfort in the fact that the soul of their beloved one is in a better and a brighter place. Therefore, Judaism has special laws in honoring the dead body and desecrating graves is strictly prohibited.
7. No belief in Jesus
Orthodox Jews do not believe in Jesus.
One of the fundamental beliefs of Judaism is the Jewish belief that Hashem (God) is one. Hashem is beyond the human grasp of mind, and no human action or traits can be related to him. The biggest prophet was Moses, and no other prophet can come later and change his words. The “Messiah” has not yet come. Jesus has no place in Orthodox Judaism.
Some of the Jews believe that Messiah will come when the world is especially evil while some other Jews believe that he will come when the world becomes especially evil. The biblical clues that are offered suggest that Messiah will come after the time of wars and the sufferings. It is believed that when the Messiah comes, he will start the period of the Messianic age.
9. Beliefs about human nature
Jews believe that human beings are created in the image of the God. But this does not mean that God looks like God. The belief of human free will is fundamental to the Jews. The concept of original sin is rejected in Judaism, and it is believed that every person has an equal right to choose between good and evil.
Jews believe that the belief in the resurrection is the basic principle of faith. The resurrection is done only of the soul, not of the body. In medieval times Jews believed in the immortality of the soul, but the modern views definitely contradict that belief. The belief of the resurrection is the last of the 13 articles of faith in Judaism.
These 13 articles of faith are –
– G-d does exist
– G-d is one and is unique
– G-d is incorporeal that is G-d does not have material existence
– G-d is eternal
– Only G-d should be worshipped
– The prophets sent by the G-d always speak the truth
– Moses was the greatest of the prophets
– The written and the oral Torah were given to the Moses
– There will never be another Torah
– G-d always knows the truths and the deeds of the man
– G-d will reward the good and punish the evil
– The Messiah is destined to come
– The dead will be resurrected to be judged