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Old 12-23-2013, 10:56 PM
 
4,127 posts, read 3,787,547 times
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Jews have a wide-ranging level of religious observance and religious identification. So no one Jew can tell you that their level of observance is the only way, even if they might think that true. But all would probably agree that the essence of Judaism is the commandment "Justice, Justice shall you pursue" , and Hillel's version of the Golden Rule -"What is hateful to yourself, do not do to your fellow man." This is actually quite different from "Do unto others as you would have them do unto you", when you think about it. An unspeakable amount of horror has been perpetrated upon Jews throughout the ages by Christians who justified their actions by telling themselves that they were only trying to save Jewish souls by bringing them to Jesus, and might claim that had they themselves been in a state of denial of Jesus, they would have wanted the same horror perpetrated upon themselves in order to compel them to come to Jesus. Sure.

Jews are monotheists, who believe in one God. This completely excludes the possibility of a god who would impregnate a human in order to conceive a child. However, many Jews are "cultural, ethical" Jews, who don't believe in God, but do believe in Jewish values, such as the pursuit of social justice (hence very strong Jewish involvement in the civil rights movement in the US, and in the anti-apartheid movement in South Africa), intellectual learning and study (hence the strong Jewish presence in academia and intellectual pursuits), and the value of human life above all else (hence the strong interest in medicine and healing arts).

There is a great deal that one could learn about Judaism through reading. Beware of using sources which have their own agenda - such as Evangelical Christians, who view the conversion of Jews to Christianity as being central to their own salvation - as opposed to Jewish sources. People whom I've known who have converted to Judaism feel that it has tremendously enriched their lives through their becoming members of the Jewish community, with its rich cultural and intellectual life.

In short, Judaism and its people are complex - and so are many other religious and cultural communities. We are also people, no different from anyone else. I don't think that many Jews think of themselves as the chosen people, except in that according to tradition we were "chosen" to bring monotheism to the people of the world.

When Hillel, a great Jewish sage from just before the Christian era, was asked by a non-Jew to explain Judaism to him "while he stood on one foot", Hillel replied with the golden rule as quoted above. He continued, "That is the entire Torah. Now go and learn."

Good luck in your quest for knowledge.

 
Old 12-24-2013, 04:14 AM
 
3,962 posts, read 3,344,225 times
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Welcome, Parentologist. While I disagree with your first point in your post above, we're glad to have an extra voice here in this forum. Stick around. Tell us a little about yourself.
 
Old 12-24-2013, 10:05 PM
 
Location: An Island with a View
758 posts, read 807,723 times
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Thanks, parentologist for such great post. It is the type of input I'm hoping to get. I wish I'd get more from those of Jewish faith with various view points. I enjoyed it.

Hi theflipflop, would you please explain your disagreement with the first point? I'm hoping to learn more from your perspective.

Thanks guys.
 
Old 12-25-2013, 06:32 AM
 
3,962 posts, read 3,344,225 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by R. Crusoe View Post
Thanks, parentologist for such great post. It is the type of input I'm hoping to get. I wish I'd get more from those of Jewish faith with various view points. I enjoyed it.

Hi theflipflop, would you please explain your disagreement with the first point? I'm hoping to learn more from your perspective.

Thanks guys.
He says there are multiple ways to observe the Torah's commandments, and each way is equally legitimate. Not correct. There is only one truth in the world. The Torah tells us that truth. Any non Torah guided action or thought is shecker (a lie).
 
Old 12-25-2013, 07:50 PM
 
Location: OC/LA
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I don't see where he said any such thing at all.
 
Old 12-25-2013, 08:12 PM
 
Location: Eretz Yisrael
21,369 posts, read 24,115,390 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by HyperionGap View Post
I don't see where he said any such thing at all.
Neither do I. But it's also strange that tff made one statement with the word observe, yet completes the following statement with the word truth. Strange.

Quote:
He says there are multiple ways to observe the Torah's commandments, and each
way is equally legitimate. Not correct. There is only one truth in the world.
The Torah tells us that truth. Any non Torah guided action or thought is shecker
(a lie).
Yet he keeps on straying away that even when there is only one truth, there are numerous Torah Observant Jews that observe the 613 mitzvoth in slightly different manners.
 
Old 12-25-2013, 10:41 PM
 
Location: OC/LA
3,831 posts, read 3,702,892 times
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Yah I thought parentologist's post was one of the most reasonable and well thought out posts I've seen on this sub forum in months. Not surprising that tff didn't agree with it rofl.
 
Old 12-26-2013, 06:28 AM
 
3,962 posts, read 3,344,225 times
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Simmer down folks. All I'm saying is that there is one truth - the Torah. All else is a lie. Those who attempt to observe all the mitzvos (whether thy are successful or not is not the point) are working towards the truth.

Any Jew who believes he knows better than the Torah on even one single point, invalidates the entire Torah and denies the supremacy of Hashem.
 
Old 12-26-2013, 06:45 AM
 
Location: Eretz Yisrael
21,369 posts, read 24,115,390 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by theflipflop View Post

Any Jew who believes he knows better than the Torah on even one single point, invalidates the entire Torah and denies the supremacy of Hashem.
That's your opinion. Hashem is not as strict as you are. The Satmar Hasidics attempt to exceed what is written in the Torah and Talmud. Thus if they are exceeding what is written, aren't they acting as if they know better?
 
Old 12-26-2013, 06:47 AM
 
Location: Long Island, NY
1,688 posts, read 2,059,266 times
Reputation: 2132
Quote:
Originally Posted by R. Crusoe View Post
Iím a Christian but Iím also interested in Judaism and would like to know what it means and what it is like to be a person of Jewish faith. Iím quite ignorance in that regard. I know throughout history and in the current world there are many successful scientists, doctors, architects, bankers, financiers, businessmen, artists, musicians and movie stars who are of Jewish descent. The list goes on and on.

I truly believe that people of Jewish faith are special and that they are God chosen for a divine reason. They also have a great sense of community united by their religious faith which is rare in other cultures. It seems to an outsider like me, it is almost like an exclusive club which membership requires a birth right. Of course, it is just my ignorant observation. I obviously need help in getting a better understanding.

So what it is like and what does it mean to be a person of Jewish faith both in religious sense and in everyday life?

Thanks,
Wow, where do I start?

I am Jewish and my grandparents on both sides were fairly observant (my paternal grandfather was killed in the Holocaust). My wife (who is also Jewish) and I are not as observant as our grandparents, but we maintain our Jewish identity. I don't wear a yarmulke or "look Jewish," but I maintain my Jewish identity and try to observe as many of the tenets of the religion.

To me, being a strictly observant Jew is difficult. We keep a kosher home but we eat non kosher foods outside of the home. Hypocritical? Maybe, but we do the best we can. I work for the government and travel extensively, making difficult, if not impossible to keep kosher.

The Sabbath - Saturday. Strictly observant Jews don't drive or ride in cars and do not use electical appliances (even turning on and off the lights), as that is considered "work." Our family may attend Saturday services, but we have to drive to our conservative synagogue as it is beyond walking distance, and when we are home, we use our appliances, televisions, etc. It is a day of rest to us, although observant Jews may view us as sinners.

There are many other aspects to Judaism - the 613 commandments (248 do's and 365 do not's). We try to adhere to as many of them as possible, but for most Jews, it's nearly impossible to adhere to all of them. Here's the list. The 613 Commandments - Mitzvahs & Traditions

Then there's the anti-semitism. Because I'm in law enforcement, I have not been the subject of many slurs, although I have been told on several occasions, "You're the first Jew I've ever met." Jews are typically stereotyped, scapegoated, and victimized. Some non-Jews probably don't see this, but that's a reason why on this very City-Data website, there are many questions about Jewish neighborhoods. It's tough being the only Jew in an area, I know, I've been there.

In short, I'm Jewish, proud of it, and while it is a significant part of my life, it is not all encompassing, but my Jewish belief and values make me a better person.
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