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.


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