Judaism is the world's oldest monotheistic religion. According to the Bible, Abraham and Sarah were the first to recognize God, and for this reason, they are considered the ancestors of all Jews today. Some people consider Judaism to be a culture, like being Irish or Indian. Others see it as a religion. There are those who say that being Jewish is a nationality, and that the Jewish homeland is the Land of Israel. The truth is that being Jewish encompasses all of these things, and much more. The whole extension of Jewish life and knowledge is almost impossible to define, but very exciting to explore and learn.
Judaism is one of the largest monotheistic religions in the world today, from which Christianity emerged. It is the religion of the Jews and encompasses a series of customs and lifestyles characteristic of the Jewish community.
Judaism is the oldest monotheistic religion and goes hand-in-hand with the history of the Jewish people. Its foundation lies in the original covenant between Abraham and God, around 1900 B.C., when Abraham was called to leave his home in Ur and travel to Canaan (later known as Palestine and Israel), a land that God promised to give to his descendants. The second and main covenant was made 450 years later, when Moses brought the Jews out of slavery in Egypt (the exodus) back to the lands of Canaan.
On Mount Horeb (Sinai), God gave the Jewish people the 10 commandments and other rules for living (contained in the Torah, the first five books of the Bible), marking the beginning of Judaism as a structured religion. Jewish civilization after the exodus thrived in the kingdoms of Israel and Judah, originally headed by powerful kings such as Saul, David, and Solomon. In 586 B.C., the Babylonians invaded Jerusalem, taking many captives into exile and destroying the temple. A second temple was built when the Jews returned around 538 B.C., which was destroyed by the Romans in 70 B.C.
The three main patriarchs are: Abraham who was first chosen by God, Isaac and Jacob, who are considered the fathers of the people of Israel. Thirteen centuries before the Christian era, Moses had received the Torah which are the first five books of the Bible, on Mount Sinai, after the Revelation of the Ten Commandments to all the people of Israel. Judaism was founded by Moses, although the Jews trace their history back to Abraham.
Its main characteristics, although there are many, are the following:
Over the years, Judaism has divided into branches. The three main branches are as follows:
The Jews believe that God is the only creator of all that surrounds us. That He is one, that He does not have a body, and that one should only worship Him. They believe in the first five books of the Hebrew Bible, for they were revealed by God to Moses. They believe that God rewards people who do good works and that He punishes evil; for them actions and behavior are important. They do not accept the original belief in the sin of Adam and Eve. They also believe that there is no need for an extra savior or in the need for intercessors.
According to the Pentateuch, the true name of God is yod-hei-vav-hei: יהוה, which translated into the western alphabet means YHVH, Yahweh, because the ancient Hebrew scripture only included the consonants of each word and discarded the vowels.
The sacred book of Judaism is the Torah that is formed by the first five books of the Bible: Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers and Deuteronomy. These books are known as the Pentateuch. The Torah is divided into parashiot which are the paragraphs that contain the scriptures.
All the leadership of the Jewish community is in the hands of the rabbi, who is a very cultured and learned person, who is in charge of conducting all the spiritual and religious acts of the Jewish community.
Judaism has spread widely throughout the world, spreading throughout the United States, Mexico, Argentina, Brazil, Australia, Europe and Venezuela. Religion has also arrived in Africa and Asia, although to a lesser extent.