20 Jun 2006

the Religion of the Jew; equivalent to the Hebrew “Yahadut;” (in this case, the English term is in such wide use that it was decided to record the information at the English site, and link the Hebrew to it.)

According to a Midrash, a non-Jewish, probably Roman, scoffer [“wise-guy”] approached Hillel and Shammai , separately, with the following question: “Teach me all of Judaism while I stand on one foot.” Shammai, zealous for the honor of the Torah, had him summarily thrown out. Hillel, on the other hand, took the request seriously and responded as follows: “The essence of Judaism is not to do anything to another, that one would not want to be done to oneself. That is the essence, but there is much more – if you are really interested, go and study it!” The non-Jew was so impressed by Hillel’s response that he took up the study of Judaism, eventually converted, and became a Torah scholar.

Judaism was the first Monotheistic faith (belief in one and only one G-d). It is practiced by matrilineal descendants (descendants of the “Imahot,” the “Mothers” – see Jew – for discussion of term), or converts to Judaism.

There is not a trace of racism in Judaism; the doors, though heavy, are open to all. Anyone, from an Englishman to an Eskimo, from the lightest to the darkest, is an eligible candidate for entry into the Jewish Community.

There is a Midrash which asks “Why was Adam created singly?” The answer given is so that “no nation could say, ‘my lineage is better than yours.’ ”

Judaism is a lifestyle defined by G-d in the Torah which contains obligations of Man to G-d, such as the Observance of Shabbat, of Man to Man, such as the Prohibition of Murder, and of Man to Him or Herself, such as the Prohibition of Suicide, and as, again, the Command to Remember the Shabbat.

Judaism affirms that G-d spoke to Man, in the form of “Nevuah,” or Prophecy, and that Man has an opportunity to communicate with G-d, by means of “Tefilah,” or Prayer. And though there are currently great differences between ours and other religions of the world, we anticipate the time, foretold in the Bible, that those nations will say “Let us go up to the Mountain of the House of the L-rd,” and people of all faiths will acknowledge Hashem in Zion. As we mention in our Prayers of the High Holy days, Rosh HaShanah and Yom Kippur, the L-rd will say, “And I brought them to My Holy Mountain, and I allowed them to rejoice in My house of Prayer, their Burnt Offerings and Donated Offerings accepted willingly upon My altar, for My House will be called a House of Prayer for all nations.” (“Yechezkek”/Ezekiel 36:25)