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Judaism

Judaism, also known as “Yahudiya” in Arabic is a religion followed by approximately fifteen million Jewish. Judaism has been described as a religion, ethnicity, culture and a nation.  The bulk of Judaism followers are living in the present day Israel (7 million), the United States (6 million) while the remaining 2 million are scattered throughout the world. Jewish worship a God known as Yahweh, Hashem or Adonai. Although, there are 71 sectarian divisions and many various schools of thought within Judaism; the vast majority of the Jewish population are Hasidic, Ashkenazy, Sephardic and many other ultra-orthodox Haredi groups. The original source of Judaism was Torah given to prophet Mussa (PBUH) by Adonai in Mount Sinai of present day Egypt. The Torah was written in the most standard Hebrew dialect.

The Jewish understanding about God differs. Some sects believe that God is linked or connected to the universe (Pantheism); while the second group says, he is within the universe. The third group claims a more extreme view which says the universe itself is God. According to the Jewish, Yahweh used to communicate the people of Israel through the Ark of the Covenant. The Ark was a wooden box lined with gold  holding the remains of the prophets’ belongings, the Holy Scriptures and a rare food known as “Mana” provided directly to the Israelis by God during their exodus from Egypt. The miraculous holy box, also known as the “Tabut” in the Holy Koran, is now guarded in a church located in the city of Aksum in Ethiopia. The Ark was not opened for more than 3000 years due to its power to annihilate the soul of the unfaithful. An ox should be sacrificed before viewing what is inside the Ark. The Ark itself was a source of victory for the early Israelis when fighting against their enemies with one condition attached to it, “The Ark should not get out of their hands whatever the cost.”

A lot of prophets were sent down to the people of Israel to guide the people to the right path and preserve the basic teachings of the Torah. Unfortunately, if a prophet does not have the power to protect or defend himself; he used to be murdered. Many prophets were killed or assassinated in this way and others suffered brutally in the hands of the Jewish leaders. In the process of upholding supreme truth, justice, and divine guidance from the creator, prophets used to clash with the Jewish religious (Rabbis) and political leaders who used to order their subsequent denial and killing. According to the Jewish belief women can also become prophets and there are seven prophetesses mentioned in the Jewish testament followed by other 48 prophets.

The Jews believe that there is no holy book after the Torah. Therefore, it should not be exchanged nor will there be any other new one from their God. They claim that the Torah that they have today is precisely the same Torah Moses received at Mount Sinai. This conclusion have been reached recently after finding Dead Sea scrolls written by the Essene sect about 70 C.E. Jewish people think that they are God’s chosen people due to the merits of their ancestors. Nothing that they do can make them neither lose that position nor lead to the rejection of their Lord.

Furthermore, the Torah consists of 613 commandments with each commandment elaborated in detail through the five books of Talmud. The Rabbis (Jewish Spiritual leaders) can enact additional laws into the Torah in the pretext to protect the laws of the Torah from being violated or to protect the people from being harmed by tough uncompromising commandments. An ethical dilemma comes into play at this point, which is, how can an individual pass a law or decree and incorporate it into the Holy Scripture on behalf of God claiming that it is the word of God. This exactly caused the clashes between the holy prophets sent down by God to the people after Mussa (PBUH) and the rabbis who were manipulating the Torah with their own hands. Prophets insisted that each and every single word in the Torah should not be changed nor enacted. With the help of God, they could figure out where it was altered but as soon as they speak the truth, rabbis used to mastermind a conspiracy where its intention is to eliminate the holy prophets. As history mentions, 43 prophets were murdered by the Jewish in a single day and in the afternoon 117 men who felt sorry for them also ended in the same path.

The Ten Commandments are the basic ethical values that the Jewish tradition holds as the ideological basis of the 613 commandments. The first five commandments concern man’s relationship with God(belief in God, prohibition of improper worship, prohibition of oath, Shabbat and respect for parents) while the second five concern man’s relationship with other people(prohibition of murder, adultery, theft, false witness and coveting). Whether to put the Torah ethical framework fully into practice is a notion that strongly divided among the Jewish people for a very long time. The Haredim (an ultra-orthodox sect) believe that the nation of Israel should be ruled according to the divine laws of the Torah. This leads to a regular conflict between the Haredim sect and the Zionist ruling elite.

Last but not the least, Judaism lacks an indepth elaboration of life after death. What is going to happen when the person dies? It only mentioned the resurrection, paradise, hell and the day of judgement, just the terms with no clear explanations. The duration, that a sinned individual will be in hell, is 12 months in Judaism. After that, if the person is a Jew, he/she will enter paradise; gentiles will be annihilated into ashes by the hell fire. They also believe that the spirits will be resurrected only not the bodies. So, the spirit will either be rewarded or punished. In general, the Jewish rarely talk about life after death because they took the paradise for granted for whatever bad deeds they do to themselves and to the gentiles. However, there can be three explanations why this part is missing. First, it may be deliberately removed out of the Torah text by the Jewish rabbis. Second, it may be lost through time. Third, prophets after Mussa (PBUH) were supposed to fill that gap since life after death is the most critical part of all religions. It is this part where God’s wrath is highly represented. It controls our absolute submission and tribute to God and extremely influences our piety and spiritual strength.

In conclusion, the Judaism stresses on the importance of strengthening the relationship between Yahweh and the individual and observing the divine laws of Torah. Honestly speaking, even the most ultra-orthodox Haredim sect never observe the extremely tough divine Torah commandments. A soul for a soul, an eye for an eye, a nose for a nose and a wound for a wound, this means that if someone harms another one, then that person should be punished to the extent that he/she harmed the other person, nothing less, nothing more. There is no other alternative path. So the Jewish rabbis legalised the enactment of these divine laws in exchange for money, fame and wealth so as to please their powerful leaders and followers. This led to the distortion and manipulation of their religion itself.

Week 4.

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