It is represented on all five continents of the planet. At the moment, followers of judaism live in almost every country in the world, with rare exceptions.
Judaism is a national religion, considered one of the oldest in the world.
Having spread all over the globe, judaism has taken a central place among the creeds in the jewish ethnic group.
There are more than 15 million followers.
The foundations of the creed originated in the second millennium BCE.
Jews and judaism are a rather closed topic for modern mass media which are afraid to publish information due to the risk of being accused of anti-semitism. Therefore, printed publications and official media sites only publish information about celebrations and meetings of the public with rabbis.
A brief history
Judaism originated in the communities of farmers and herders on the territories that later became modern Israel.
According to legend, God and the first representative of the Jewish people, Abraham, entered into an alliance, according to which the Lord assumed responsibility and care for the descendants of Abraham, and he, in turn, promised to spread God’s covenants.
On that day, God predicted that the Jews would be enslaved in Egypt. For 400 years, the jewish people were under the yoke of the Egyptians, until they were freed by the prophet Moses.
God gave Moses the Torah, the law of God. Jerusalem became the center of the development and spread of Judaism.
In the first century BCE, Judaism was divided into two main directions: Tzadikut and Parshanut. The latter trend, having survived the Roman conquests and the displacement of the jews, became the basis of modern religion.
In the 18th century CE, a sect of Hasidism emerged, eventually spreading its influence among the jews.
At the same time, reformatory changes are taking place: Judaism is trying to adapt to European canons. Discontented Jews create conservative Judaism.
In the modern world, judaism is divided into three directions: orthodox, progressive and hasidism.
The Essence of Religion
Jews believe in one almighty God who created all living things on Earth.
The symbol of Judaism is love and devotion to the Almighty. According to legend, God created man in his own image and likeness.
On the basis of the Torah, 13 truths of faith were distinguished:
- God is the creator of everything in the world.
- There are no other likenesses of God.
- God is incorporeal.
- God is the beginning and the end of everything.
- It is forbidden to worship everyone except God.
- The prophet professes the truth.
- The father of all the prophets is Moses.
- The Torah was given to people by God himself.
- The Torah is not subject to change.
- God is all-seeing.
- God is just. Good is bestowed only onto people who do good deeds.
- Moses will come to the people sooner or later.
- The day will come when the dead will be resurrected.
The Torah contains 613 commandments of Judaism.
There are two blocks:
The 248 commandments prescribe things and deeds to be done.
The remaining 365 commandments prohibit the commission of unrighteous acts.
According to legend, God gave 10 commandments to the prophet Moses, which became the basis of the Torah:
- A person can have only one God in his life.
- Do not create other deities for yourself.
- The name of God is sacred. You can’t say it in vain.
- Work six days a week, devote the seventh to prayer.
- Honour your parents.
- Don’t kill.
- Stay loyal.
- Don’t steal.
- Tell only the truth.
- Do not covet what your neighbour has.
В Торе прописано 613 заповедей Иудаизма.
Выделяют два блока:
- 248 заповедей предписывают вещи и деяния, которые нужно совершать.
- Оставшиеся 365 заповедей запрещают совершение неправедных деяний.
Согласно преданию, Бог передал 10 заповедей пророку Моисею, которые стали основой Торы.
- У человека в жизни может быть только один Бог.
- Не сотвори других божеств для себя.
- Имя Бога священно. Нельзя произносить его напрасно.
- Шесть дней в неделю работай, седьмой – посвяти молитве.
- Почитай родителей.
- Не убивай.
- Сохраняй верность.
- Не кради.
- Говори только правду.
- Не желай того, что есть у ближнего твоего.
Judaism is a national religion with a large number of ancient rituals.
Consider the main ones:
Prayer. It is a daily ritual that ensures the delivery of requests, reverence and gratitude to God. It is performed in the hands and on the forehead with tefillin – with black boxes containing quotations from the Torah. Prayers are also accompanied by a meal.
Kaparot. The rite is dedicated to the absolution of sins before the Day of Judgment. According to legend, on this day you need to turn the chicken over your head three times, saying prayers. After this the bird is used to cook dinner.
Circumcision. This rite is dedicated to the union of God and man, reflected on human bodies. It is believed that Abraham saves the souls of all the circumcised at the entrance to hell. The rite is accompanied by circumcision of the boys’ foreskin in infancy.
Holidays of Judaism
Consider the main jewish holidays:
Hanukkah. Celebrated in December. Dedicated to the liberation of jewish lands from the capture by the greeks.
Purim. On this day, the memory of the deliverance of the Jewish people from death during the dynasty of Artaxerxes is honoured. On this holiday, it is customary to drink wine, give gifts to children and help the poor.
Passover. Dedicated to the liberation from Egyptian slavery. It is a symbol of freedom. On this day, it is customary to cook matzah – cakes on the water without salt.
Shavuot. Also known as Feast of Weeks, it is a holiday in the name of the revelation of the holy Torah to israelites from God. Celebrated at the beginning of June.
The main holy place for Jews is the city of Jerusalem. It is there that most of places of pilgrimage are located.
Also significant cities in the history of Judaism are Hebron, Safed and Tiberias.
Consider the main sites of the cities:
Temple Mount. The sacred place in which there were two ancient Jewish temples — the First and Second Jerusalem temples. According to legend, God chose this place and appointed it a house of sacrifice. There he created the first man, Adam.
Cave of the Patriarchs. The place is located in the city of Hebron. According to legend, jewish ancestors are buried there, one of them is Abraham. It is believed that it was he who bought the place where, according to tradition, the first people, Adam and Eve, rest.
The tomb of the foremothers. Located in Tiberias. Famous women in the jewish tradition are buried there. One of them is Zipporah (Moses’ wife).
Biography of the creators
The Holy Scriptures mention 78 prophets and 7 prophetesses.
Consider the key founders of judaism:
Abraham is a great prophet. He is considered the father of the jewish people. He independently came to conclusion that there is only one God – the cause of all being, and began to preach these ideas. He gathered around him a community of confidants who began to support his initiatives. Abraham is a symbol of deep loyalty to religion. He was ready to sacrifice his son at the behest of God. An alliance was concluded between God and Abraham, according to which the prophet should continue to spread the faith, and God should show all love and care for the descendants of Abraham.
Moses. He is the main prophet and founder of judaism. From God he received the sacred Torah – the law of God, which he passed on to people. It was he who became the liberator of the Jewish people from the Egyptians.
Judaism does not employ a system of central spiritual authority or any sort of hierarchical structure. Community-elected rabbis fill the unifying and spiritual leadership roles. Large territorial communities entrust social, organizational and representative functions to the “chief rabbis”, their tasks include organizing education, holidays, protecting and helping those in need, and performing representative roles on behalf of the community.
Religious and nationalist persecution is a huge part of Jewish history, starting with Babylon, the Seleucids and the Romans, continuing with christian and muslim anti-semitism of the New Era. The most recent and tragic pages of the history for Jews are considered to be persecution in Europe under the nazi regime, oppression in the Soviet Union and apartheid South Africa, although the latter were more nationalistic in nature.
At the same time, the current policy of the israelis in Palestine is highly controversial.
Judaism is the oldest national monotheistic religion with a very complex and multifaceted history. Its followers have repeatedly been subjected to oppression for both the political and religious reasons, but the followers of the faith preserve a rich heritage of law, culture and tradition.