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Transcript of JUDAISM
"Hear Oh Israel, the Lord our God is One Deuteronomy 6:4
Introduction to Judaism
A. Judaism is the oldest monotheistic religion in the world today (it serves as the basis for Christianity and Islam)
B. How does Christianity relate to Judaism? cult, sect, denomination or other
C. Separate the people (nationality)
from the religion (believers)
D. Three main denominations of Judaism:
1) Orthodox (17%) - most conservative, torah written by God and Moses, laws are binding and unchanging.
Two categories of orthodox Jews:
Modern Orthodox (academics) and
Hasidim (mystics: focus on experience)
2) Conservative (33%) - makes allowance for culture, believes the torah is unchanging but open to interpretation of laws.
3) Reformed (22%) - stresses integration with society and personal interpretation of laws. Embraces liberalism, some humanism, makes efforts to be socially relevant. Open to liberalism, feminism, homosexuality, and agnosticism.
1. The quoted numbers of Jews worldwide and in the USA varies depending upon sources.
2. The Council of Jewish Federation says there are 6.8 M Jews in the USA.
3. The Yearbook of American and canadian Churches lists 5.9 M Jews in the USA.
4. The American Jewish Yearbook (1992) states 5,798,000 Jews in the USA.
5. The states with the largest number of Jewish people are New York, California, Florida, and Pennsylvania.
6. Below are the approximate numbers of worldwide figures according to the Encyclopedia of World Religions:
USA - 6M; Israel - 5 M; Europe - less than 2 M; Canada: 400,000; The former Soviet Union - 400,00; Argentina - 250,000; Brazil - 30,000; Austrailia - 100,000
HISTORY OF JUDAISM
1. Judaism's founders: the Patriarchs
Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob are the physical and spiritual ancestors of Judaism. They founded Judaism and are the Jewish people are their physical descendants.
1) Who is Abraham?
God called Abraham from the city of Haran in Mesopotamia and told him to go to Canaan. In Canaan, God established His covenant with Abram and his wife Sarai and changed their names to Abraham (father of many) and Sarah.
2) Moses and the Torah
After liberating the Israelites from Egypt, God led his people Israel (descendants of Abraham and Sarah) to Mount Sinai. Here God renewed the covenant and gave Moses the Law (Ten Commandments). The Torah of Moses remains the basis of Judaism and consists of the first five books of the Christian Old Testament: Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, and Deuteronomy.
The Development of Jewish History
1. From about 200 BC onward, new ways of life developed that distinguished Rabinnic Judaism from the ancient Old Testament Israel observance. Synogogues, religious academic institutions, and the office of rabbi (one leader/teacher) contributed to a changed Judaism.
2. The destruction of the Jewish Temple in AD 70 resulted in the abolition of animal sacrifices and the role of priesthood. Rather than being led by priests, kings and prophets as in OT times, the rabbis became the authoritarian figures.
3. Before the 18th C, there was primarily one kind of Judaism. Today, Judaism is divided into primarily three categories (denominations):
* many Jewish people formulate their own form of Judaism and do not technically fit into any of the three main categories.
JEWISH SACRED TEXTS
- The Jewish Scriptures are called the Tanakh. They correspond to what Christian call The Old Testament. Do not use the term "Old Testament" with a Jewish person because Jewish people do not recognize it as Old because they do not recognize the Christian New Testament as Scripture.
Three categories of Tanakh
A. Torah (Law)
Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, Deuteronomy.
B. Neviim (prophets)
Joshua, Judges, Samuel, Kings, Isaiah, Jeremiah, Ezekiel, Hosea, Joel, Amos, Obadiah, Jonah, Micah, Nahum, Habakkuk, Zephaniah, Haggai, Zechariah, Malachi
C. Ketuvim (Writings)
Psalms, Proverbs, Job, Song of Songs, Ecclesiastes, Ruth, Esther, Lamentations, Daniel, Ezra and Nehemiah, and Chronicles.
* In the Jewish Scriptures the books of Samuel, Kings, Chronicles, and Ezra and Nehemiah are each one book.
JEWISH SACRED TEXTS (Continued)
* The Talmud includes stories, laws, medical knowledge, and debates about morality. It is viewed as the authoritative record of Rabbinic discussions on Jewish law, ethics, customs, legends, and stories.
Note: The Talmud is composed of two sources: Mishna and Gemera.
A. The Mishna
The Mishan is composed of six orders:
1) Zeraim: (seeds) - agricultural laws and prayers;
2) Moed (Festival days) - laws of Sabbath and festivals;
3) Nashim (women) - concerns of marriage and divorce;
4) Nezikim (damages) - civil and criminal laws;
5) Kodshim (holy things) - sacrificial rites, Temple, and dietary laws;
6) Tohorot (purity) - rituals and laws of family purity.
B. The Gemera
The Gemera is encyclopedic in scope. It explains the Mishna with additional historic, religious, legal, and sociological details added and explained.
KEY DEFINITIONS FOR UNDERSTANDING JUDAISM
A to Z
Abraham: patriarchal figure who is the father of the Jewish faith. God made a binding covenant with him and promised that through him all nations of the world would be blessed.
AD or CE: initials stand for "Common Era" and are used to replace AD, which stands for ano domini "year of our Lord" as a reference to the life of Jesus Christ. Jews and athiests prefer CE to AD as they try to negate the historical reference to Jesus as Lord!
Anti-Semitism: literally means "opposed to Semites." Semites are ancestors to Shem (Genesis 10). Semites are people who speak a Semitic language (Assyrian, Aramaic, Hebrew, Phoenician, and Arabic) but the term specific refers to Jews (anti-Semitic means anti-Jewish).
Assur: anything prohibited by Jewish Law.
Atonement: reconciliation between God and humanity achieved by the process of repentance, seeking forgiveness, and making amends with our fellow human beings.
Av or Ab: a month in the Jewish calendar. The 9th of Av is a day of mourning the destruction of the Temple in 586 BC and again in 70 AD.
Babylonian exile: In 586 BC, Babylonia conquered the kingdom of Judah. Jerusalem and the first Temple were destroyed and many Jews left Jerusalem and were exiled.
Bar/Bat Mitzvah: literally means son or daughter of the commandments. A person responsible for performing the divine commandments of Judaism. Currently refers to the occasion when a boy or girl reaches the age of spiritual maturity and responsibility (boys = thirteen years; girls = twelve years plus one day)
BCE: initials for "Before Common Era" an attempt to use a neutral term for what Christians refer to as "Before Christ" BC. Thus, 586 BC is identical to 586 BCE.
Ben : son of
Ben Gurion, David: First Prime Minister of Israel
Canaan: another name for Palestine or present location of Israel.
canon: collection of books in the Bible recognized as authoritative.
circumcision: from Latin "to cut around" - See Genesis 17
conservative Judaism: Jewish denomination which teaches that the Torah is binding but new thought can influence belief.
covenant: a binding agreement between partners. The major covenants in the Old Testament are marriage (Genesis 2); Noahic (Genesis 9), Abrahamic (Genesis 15), Sinai/Mosaic (Exodus 19,24) between God and His chosen people. Is marriage a covenant or a social contract? What is the difference?
David: King of Israel (northern Palestine) and Judea (southern Palestine), author of many of the psalms, leading figure in Jewish history & Jerusalem. The city of David became the capital of the nation of Israel during David's reign.
Decalogue: A Greek term referring to the Ten Commandments.
The Diaspora: the term used for dispersed Jews after the captivity in Babylon; for Jews living away from the land after the Romans destroyed the Temple in 70 AD, and for Jews now living outside Israel.
Exodus: refers to the Israelites leaving Egypt and for the book that records this event.
Gemara: explanations on the Mishnah written in Aramaic
Hagar: servant woman of Abraham by whom Abraham fathered a son, Ishmael.
hasidim: Jewish, ultra-orthodox movement established in Poland in the 18th C, where distinctive dress and language became essential elements of faith.
havdalah: "separation" - the ceremony at the end of the Sabbath marking the separation of the holy day from the weekend.
Hebrew: the old name given to Israelites and also their language.
Holocaust: from Greek, "entire burnt offering" - This term describes the brutal killing of six million Jewish people by the Nazi's between 1933-1945 during World War II.
* interesting stat: between 1973-2008 nearly 50 Million legal abortions were performed in the USA. (Jones, RK and Kooistra, K. Perspectives on Sexual Health & Reproductive Health, 2011).
Isaac: One of Israel's patriarchs; son of Abraham and father of Jacob.
Ishmael: first born son of Abraham by his servant girl Hagar. Son of compromise; father of Islamic heritage.
Israel: A name given to the Jewish patriarch Jacob (Genesis 32:38). In Jewish history, Israel referred to the northern Kingdom tribes and also to the entire nation as a whole.
Jacob: One of the Israelite patriarchs, the son of Isaac and grandson of Abraham. Jacob had his named changed to Israel by God. The descendants of Abraham have called themselves Israelites since the time of Jacob's name change.
Jerusalem: the main city in ancient Israel where the Temple of David/Solomon was located.
Judaism/Jew: From the Hebrew name of the patriarch Judah, whose name also came to designate the tribe and tribal district in which Jerusalem was located. The inhabitants of Judah and members of the tribe of Judah came to be the Judahites or Jews. The religious outlook of this people group after 6 BC became known as Judaism.
Kabalah: a branch of Jewish mysticism which interprets Scripture in an esoteric manner as it seeks to fathom divine mysteries
(occult application to Judaism).
kosher: traditional Jewish dietary laws based on biblical interpretation and legislation. Only land animals that have split hooves may be eaten, and must be slaughtered in a special way. Meat products may not be eaten with milk products. Only fish with fins or scales may be eaten.
menorah: an eight-branched candle stick used at Hanukkah. (Actually nine candles with one called a servant used to light the others). More on the meaning of Hanukkah later ...
Messiah: (literally: anointed one) Ancient kings and priests who were anointed with oil. In early Judaism, the term became associated with a royal descendent of David who would restore the united kingdoms of Israel and Judah and usher in an age of peace, justice, and plenty.
orthodox Judaism: Jewish law and right doctrine are defining criteria for this group of Jewish people. It is acknowledged in Israel and an authentic form of Judaism.
pentateuch: the five books of Moses (Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, and Deuteronomy.
Rabbi: an authorized teacher of the classic Jewish tradition.
Reformed Judaism: liberal school of Jewish practice that sees God's relationship with his people as an ongoing process through history.
Sabbath: the seventh day of the week (shabbat; Saturday), recalling the completion of creation and the exodus from Egypt. It is a day symbolic of new beginnings and one dedicated to God, a most holy day of rest.
seder: the traditional Jewish evening service, held at home, which opens the celebration of Passover. It includes special food, symbols, and narratives
Shema or Sheva: prayer affirming the belief in one God (Deuteronomy 6:4).
shofar: in Jewish worship, a ram's horn sounded at Rosh Hashannah morning worship and at the conclusion of Yom Kippur, as well as at other times in the period during the fall.
synagogue: central institution of Jewish worship and study.
Talmud: a combination of the mishna and gemera: Jewish oral tradition and interpretations and applications of Jewish law.
tefillin: small box-like structure worn by Jewish adult males at the weekday morning service. The boxes have leather attachments and contain scripture verses. One box is placed on the head and another across the chest to apply Exodus 13:1-10;11-16; and Deuteronomy 6:4-9; 11:13-21 - "Love the Lord with all your heart and mind."
Temple: In Judaism, the only legitimate Temple was the one in Jerusalem, built first by King Solomon around 950 BC, destroyed by Baylonian King Nebuchadnezzar in 587 BC, rebuilt 70 years later. Destroyed again by the Romans again in 70 AD.
Torah: general definition is the whole tradition of Judaism. Specifically, it refers to the first 5 books of the Old Testament (Jewish Law).
YHWH: (pronounced YahWeh, Yah-way) The proper Hebrew name of God. literally translated into English as LORD. LORD in all capitals in your English Old Testaments! Meaning: Almighty One!
BELIEFS & PRACTICES OF JUDAISM
a. God is the creator of all that exists.
b. "Hear o Israel, the Lord our God, the Lord is one (Deuteronomy 6:4)
c. Judaism rejects the Trinity because Jews believe the Trinity is a doctrine of three gods (tritheism) rather than One God (monotheism).
a. Jews do not believe that Jesus Christ is the Messiah.
b. The Messiah (God's Anointed One) will arrive in the future and gather Jews to the land of Israel. This will be a political rule.
c. Some Jews reject the concept of Messiah being a political ruler (person) and claim that Messiah is an Age or Time of world peace where Israel rules.
d. Many Jews do not know that "Christ" means "Messiah" and they mistakenly think that Christ is Jesus' last name.
III. The Bible
a. see notes on Tanakh, Talmud, Mishnah, and Gemera.
Judaism: Beliefs & Practices
a. Jews reject the idea of sinful nature and therefore do not recognize a need for a Savior.
b. man is made in the image of God and therefore is naturally good.
c. Sin is defined an missing the mark morally and is a result of poor choices not a sinful nature. Forgiveness, although granted by God, can be earned by the person through repentance, prayer, and doing good works. The sinner must take initiative and therefore deserve repentance.
d. Yom Kippur (Day of Atonement) allows Jewish people time to seek God's forgiveness.
e. Jews reject the idea of the Christian eternal heaven and hell and believe that salvation is an earthly, political restoration on earth.
f. Some Jews believe in an after life and some do not. For those Jews who do believe in an after life, the description of it is very vague.
Judaism: Beliefs & Practices
a. prayer is a central part of all Judaism. However, different denominations demand different languages, styles, and frequency of prayer.
b. For example, in Reformed Judaism: prayer in English is acceptable and women may participate.
VI. Obedience to the Law
a. strict adherence to the moral laws are kept in orthodox Judaism.
b. moral laws are open to interpretation and social adjustment in Reformed Judaism.
a. portions of Scripture are placed on the doorposts to fulfill Deuteronomy 6:6-9 to meditate on the commandments as you go in and out through the doorway.
b. Some Jews kiss their fingers and touch the mezuzah like it is a good luck charm.
Judaism: beliefs and practices
VIII. Star of David
a. When the new nation of Israel was born in 1948, the star became the symbol to the national flag.
b. The star of David is a six pointed star, one triangle inverted over another. The traditional star of Bethlehem or Christmas star also has six points. There is much speculation about the meaning of the star but little is actually known.
a. The Hanukkah menorah has eight branches plus the semesh which is the servant candle used to the light the others.
b. The menorah stands as a symbol that the Jews are the light of the world.
c. The Supreme Court ruled in July 1989 that Allegheny County in Pennsylvania could not display a creche which symbolized Christianity on the city/county building. However, the city of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania was allowed to keep its menorah which is a symbol of Judaism because it stood beside a secular symbol - a Christmas tree.
Judaism: Beliefs & Practices
a. small black leather boxes held in place with straps that contain verses from the Hebrew Scriptures. They are bound on the left arm and the head to remind Jews to love the Lord their God with all of their hearts and minds.
a. Jews are supposed to marry only fellow Jews.
b. marriage is a holy covenant.
c. vows are exchanged under a canopy which symbolizes the expanse of the heavens under which all of life takes place.
a. in Judaism, circumcision is performed when a boy is eight days old in a ceremony called brit milah. It is a sign of the covenant that God made with the Abraham (see Genesis 17).
Judaism: beliefs and practices
XIII. Bar/Bat Mitzvah
a. At age thirteen, after proper instruction, a Jewish boy goes througha Jewish Bar Mitzvah ceremony similar to a Christian confirmation ceremony. The girls bat mitzvah is at age 12.
b. Bar/Bat means "son of" "daughter of" and mitzvah means "commandment"
c. When a child becomes a son or daughter of the commandments, he or she is recognized as an adult for religious purposes and has full standing in the religious community.
Judaism: Beliefs & Practices
a. dietary laws concerned with types of food and the way it is consumed.
b. Orthodox Jews keep strict kosher laws while other denominations vary.
c. What are the kosher foods?
1) split hooved cows, sheep, goats, and deer are kosher.
2) most common fowl: chicken, duck, and geese are kosher.
3) a sea creature is kosher if it has fins or scales: dolphins, whales, and squid are NOT kosher.
4) any milk product from a non-kosher animal is NOT kosher.
d. How to slaughter an animal kosher style?
1) according to Jewish law, the trachea and esophagus must be cut.
2) the meat must be broiled, or soaked in cold water and salted to remove all traces of blood.
e. animals must be free from injury, disease, or abnormalities.
f. certain fats may not be consumed.
g. certain mixtures may not occur
1) do not mix milk (life) with meat (death).
SPECIAL DAYS & FESTIVALS
* Note: Jewish days begin at sunset and end at sundown the next day rather than running midnight to midnight!
b. traditionally Jews will abstain from work, driving, lighting a fire, and even spitting on the ground on the Sabbath.
c. many Jews who do not observe the traditional sabbath will still share a traditional meal on the evening of the sabbath which is Friday at sundown.
II. New Year's Day (Rosh Hashannah - "Head of Year")
a. held in September or October.
b. this festival commemorates the creation of the world and the judgment of God.
c. a shofar (ram's horn) is blown in the synagogue to tell people to return to God and the next ten days are given over to self examination, repentance, and prayer.
III. Day of Atonement (Yom Kippur)
a. Yom Kippur comes ten days after New Year's Day and is the culmination of the period of repentance.
b. It is the holiest day of the year.
c. Devout Jews fast all day, wear white robes, go to synagogue, repent and seek God's forgiveness and seek harmony with God.
SPECIAL DAYS & FESTIVALS
IV. Tabernacles (Sukkot)
a. This is an eight day harvest festival of Thanksgiving.
b. It comes from the practice of building booths (sukkot) in fields in order to watch over the gatherings in the harvest.
c. The name also commemorates the temporary structures where the Israelites lived after they fled Egypt.
d. During the Feast of Tabernacles, Jews remember God's provision during the 40 years of wandering in the wilderness.
Jewish Special Days and Festivals
VI. Festival of Lights (Hanukkah)
V. Celebrating the Law (Simchat Torah)
a. The whole law of the Pentateuch (Genesis to Deuteronomy) is read in the synagogue during the course of the year. On simchat torah, the last verse of Deuteronomy is read and the first verse of Genesis begins the synagogue reading cycle again.
b. To celebrate, scrolls are carried around the synagogue with great rejoicing, singing, and dancing.
a. an eight day festival commemorating the victory of the Maccabees over the Syrian army of Antiochus Epiphanes in 275 BC.
b. This festival occurs towards the end of December.
c. Many Jews light an eight branched candlestick (menorah) lighting one candle each night until they are all lit.
d. Tradition says that after the delivery from the hands of Antochus Epiphanes, when the Jews lit the candle to celebrate victory it burned for eight days miraculously because there was not enough oil to burn the candle naturally for that long!
a. Festival held in February/March to commemorate the events of the book of Esther.
b. purim means lots which were cast by Haman to determine when to destroy the Jews but Esther spoiled the plot!
c. The book of Esther is read and parties with pastries are held.
JEWISH SPECIAL DAYS & FESTIVALS
VIII. Passover (Feast of Unleaven Bread)
a. Each spring, Jews celebrate the Passover in memory of their deliverance from slavery in Egypt.
b. During Jewish Passover, a sedar is performed in the home. Six different food are placed on a sedar plate in the order to be eaten:
1. karpas (vegetable dipped in salt water) - recalls bitter tears in slavery
2. maror (bitter herbs) - symbolize bitterness of slavery
3. chazeret (bitter vegetables) - symbolize bitterness of slavery
4. choroset (apples, nuts, and spices with wine) - symbolizes the mortar used by Hebrew slaves.
Also placed on the sedar plate but not eaten:
1. zeroa (lamb shankbone) - recall the Passover sacrifice in the Temple.
2. beitzah (roasted egg) - symbolizes mourning, sacrifice, spring, and renewal.
JEWISH SPECIAL DAYS & FESTIVALS
IX. Pentecost (Shavuot)
a. celebrated in late May or early June, fifty days after the second day of Passover.
b. It is the Jewish Harvest festival "Feast of First Fruits"
c. Pentecost also celebrates God's revelation of the Torah to His people.
d. During Pentecost, the synagogue is decorated with flowers and plants and the Ten Commandments are read.
FOR CHRISTIANS TO DO WITH JEWS
A. General Strategies
1. Be a friend
2. Discuss life issues
3. Be sensitive
4. Speak the Gospel with both Testaments
5. Study the Scriptures
6. Be Patient: Build a relationship
B. Specific Tactics
1. Answer objections
The following are often uttered by Jews, how would you respond?
a. "Christians believe in three gods but Jews believe in one God"
b. "There is no proof that Jesus was the Messiah"
c. "If Jesus was the Messiah then why is there not peace on earth"
d. "How can you believe in God after all of the persecution our people have gone through? Where was God when the Holocaust occurred?
e. "The New Testament is anti-semitic"
MESSIANIC PROPHECIES FULFILLED IN JESUS CHRIST PROVE THAT JESUS IS THE MESSIAH PROMISED IN THE TENAKH (OLD TESTAMENT)
"The Messiah will be from the seed of Abraham (Gen. 18:18); Isaac (21:12); Jacob (Numbers 24:17;19); Judah (Genesis 49:10); Jesse (Isaiah 11:1-2); David (Jeremiah 23:5-6)
Jesus ... son of David, son of Jesse. Son of Judah, son of Jacob, son of Abraham (Luke 3:31-33)
Fulfilled Prophecy (continued)
Born in Bethlehem (Micah 5:2)
"So Joseph also went up from the town of Nazareth in Galilee to Judea, to Bethlehem the town of David" (Luke 2:4)
Prophecy: "He was despised and rejected by men"-Isa. 53:3
"Those who passed by the cross hurled insults at him"
Prophecy: "a man of sorrows" - Isaiah 53:3
Fulfillment: "Then Jesus said to them, 'My soul is overwhelmed with sorrow to the point of death" - Matt. 26:38
"Familiar with suffering"
Fulfillment: "He then began to teach them that the Son of Man must suffer many things" (Mark 8:31; Luke 24:26)
Isaiah 35:4-6 & Matthew 11:4-5/Luke 4:18
Isaiah. 53:4 & Matt. 8:16-17
Numbers 9:12/Isa. 53:5/Psalm 22:16/Zechariah 12:10 & John 19:33-37
Isaiah 53:5-6 & Matthew 20:28/John 11:49-51/1 Corinthians 15:3/2 Corinthians 5:21
Isaiah 53:7 & Matthew 26:63/Matthew 27:12
Psalm 22:18 & John 19:24
Isaiah 53:9 & Matthew 27:4
PROBABILITIES & FULFILLED PROPHECY
NOTE: The Tanakh (Old Testament) written over 1,000 years and contains 333 messianic prophecies. 60 major prophecies with 270 ramifications. A ramification is a slight alteration including more specific detail than the major prophecy.
These prophecies are all fulfilled in the person of Jesus Christ.
The probability of just 8 prophecies fulfilled in one person by chance is 10 to the 17th power
The probability of 48 prophecies being fulfilled by chance in any one person is 10 to the 157th power.
If one wishes to base the fulfilled prophecies of the Tanakh in Jesus Christ on chance, the chances are greater that God guided them than they being random accidents!
DISCUSSION QUESTION: WHY DO YOU THINK JEWISH PEOPLE REJECT JESUS AS THEIR MESSIAH? HOW COULD THEY MISS THE FULFILLMENT OF ALL OF THE PROPHECIES?