- How Judaism Differs from Other Religions
- Moshe Ben-Chaim
- Reader: Is it Jewish belief that separates Jews, or is it
practice, and how?
- Mesora: What separates the
Jewish religion from all other religions is primarily it's proof of
Divine origin as demonstrated through God's revelation of Himself to
all the Jews at Mount Sinai. This was witnessed by approximately 3
million Jews as an intelligent voice speaking to them from the fiery
mountain. No other religion makes such a claim because Divine
revelation to the masses never happened to others, and as the Torah
says, it will never happen again. (Deut. 4:32-34)
- Judaism is the only religion whose claim is supported by world
acceptance of the Old Testament, the Five Books of Moses, the Torah.
This acceptance is a 100% proof of God's revelation to the Jewish
people. Had the event at Sinai never occurred, it would not have been
believed by that generation, and certainly not the rest of the world
and all future generations. The only way it became accepted is that it
really happened. All witnesses then passed the story down to the
following generations through today.
- All other religions are founded on a single person's claim that God
appeared to him. Something of this nature cannot be proven or
disproven, is precisely why they formulated their religions with this
creed as their central basis. These other religions therefore must
resort to the requirement of blind acceptance, or faith.
- Besides this miraculous proof, Judaism is founded on principles
which are rational and comply with man's nature as a philosophical and
psychological being. Not one law in all of Judaism goes against man's
nature. Unlike Catholicism which frowns upon divorce, and praises
celibacy, Judaism embraces the need at times for married couples to
divorce if they will be happier that way, and Judaism also embraces
man's need for sexual happiness and children. These are just two
examples of how Judaism approaches life honestly, without preconceived
notions on how man should live. Catholicism makes man into a mystical
idea approaching their view of an angel, one who is above actual human
drives and emotions. This opposes Judaism at its core. Judaism accepts
man's happiness must stem from his being in line with his nature.
- Judaism realizes that besides man satisfying his psychological
needs, he has a much higher part which must be addressed - his soul.
By man ignoring this essential part of his nature, he will never reach
his ultimate, Divine mission of attaching himself to God. Man achieves
this mission and thereby - ultimate happiness - by his immersion in
study of the creation and Torah, actualizing his true goal and purpose
in an appreciation of the Creator. The Torah, Prophets and Writings,
along with the Talmud, were written in a highly stylized format which
takes years to master. Their style is such, that as one delves deeper
and deeper, he finds more profound ideas. This analysis and search
satisfies man in its very process, as well as through factual
enlightenment. As God possesses infinite wisdom, man will always see
new insights provided he has toiled under the tutelage of those before
him trained in the method of Talmudic and Biblical exegesis, teamed
with the essential modes of interpretations only found in the Oral Law
- also handed to Moses on Sinai.
- The system of Jewish law - halacha - is also a major component of
Judaism. It guides man's every action from waking and prayers, to
blessings over food, ethical and moral conduct, business practices,
social relationships, and Holidays. Areas of man's life are always
placed in check as he judges each of his actions for Torah compliance
prior to commencement. This process engages man's mind throughout his
days when he is not involved in study - which must comprise the
majority of his waking hours.
- In truth, there is no comparison between the Divinely designed
system of Judaism and other man made religions for this precise reason
that there is no comparison between God and man.
- This of course is a very small glimpse into Judaism. A more
encompassing appreciation of God's wisdom is only possible through
much more study.