Judaism isn’t just one of the oldest religions in the world – it’s also one that left its mark on history. Delve into the depths of Jewish heritage by learning its principles, origins, and practices with these Judaism facts.
Judaism has 13 Principles of Faith.
Maimonides was a Jewish philosopher and scholar who lived in the 12th century. Though born in Spain, he lived and died in Egypt, his people burying him in neighboring Israel afterward. He conducted many studies on astronomy and medicine, but his greatest achievement was the 13 Principles of Faith. These principles came from his study of Jewish oral traditions, going back to before Roman times. Though other scholars criticized the principles over the centuries, they remain the most popular formulation of the core teachings of the Jewish faith today.
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Circumcision is a Jewish tradition.
Circumcision is a surgical procedure where a doctor removes the foreskin of a man’s penis. This tradition is among the oldest of the Jewish faith, going back to ancient times. Scholars argue that the reason for the tradition is to mark any Jewish man apart from other men at the most basic level. Other scholars argue that even at the time, the medical benefits of circumcision were already known and that the early Jews incorporated it into their tradition. There’s one of the more iconic Judaism facts.
The Torah and the Pentateuch are the same.
The Torah is the foundation of all Jewish holy texts. Every other holy text builds on what the Torah teaches. However, the Torah isn’t a single book. Christianity named it the Pentateuch. In Latin, it means five books, which is the first five books of the Christian and Jewish Bibles. That is Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, and Deuteronomy. How’s that for interesting Judaism facts?
Judaism is more than a religion.
One of the most important Judaism facts is that it’s not just a religion. Judaism is a culture, a political force, and even an ethnic group. The Jews are their people, with a distinct ethnic identity like how Europeans, Asians, and Africans are distinct from each other. Unlike other religions, they use their alphabet and language for secular and religious purposes.
Christianity and Islam are multi-ethnic religions but lack a language or alphabet like Aramaic is for Jews. Christianity borrowed Latin from the Romans, and Islam borrowed Arabic from the Arabs. In terms of politics, Judaism is also tied to the Jewish’s people history and continuing desire for a country of their own. This goes back to ancient times, with the Kingdoms of Israel and Judah and the modern nation of Israel.
There’s a difference between Conservative and Orthodox Judaism.
Usually, orthodoxy and conservatism go hand-in-hand. However, that’s not the case when it comes to Judaism. Orthodox Judaism firmly holds that written teachings and oral traditions come from God and must remain unchanged over time. In contrast, Conservative Judaism holds that while both written teaching and oral traditions have a divine origin, how they’re interpreted is up to the rabbis and may reflect current circumstances.
Reform Judaism is the most flexible form of Judaism.
Reform Judaism or Liberal Judaism originated from Central Europe before spreading to Britain and the United States. Influenced by the Enlightenment of the 18th century, Reform Judaism follows looser interpretations of Jewish law and teachings. Reform Judaism also incorporates some. Reform Judaism also emphasizes the prophets’ examples as role models for the Jewish community.
Jews recite prayers three times a day.
In Aramaic, daily Jewish prayers are called Shacharit, Mincha, and Ma’ariv, or morning, afternoon, and evening prayers. Jewish tradition usually involves group prayers, but it’s allowed for individuals to pray alone if they’d prefer.
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Jews have several kinds of religious clothing.
One of those is the kippah, a skullcap worn when praying, eating, or studying. It’s also not unknown for some Jews to wear them at all times. Another example of religious clothing is the tallit, a prayer shawl worn during prayer services. Tallits also have distinctive designs called tzitzit, knotted fringes, or tassels at each corner of the shawl.
Judaism follows the concept of the Sabbath.
According to the Old Testament, God created the world in 6 days and rested on the 7th day. Therefore, Christians and Jews believe that people should follow His example and observe the 7th day’s rest. However, Jews often refer to it by its Hebrew term, Shabbat.
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Judaism has three main religious festivals.
The three major events observed in Judaism are Passover, Pentecost, and Tabernacles. These religious practices all have connections to Jewish history. The Passover celebrates the Jews’ departure from Egypt and freedom from slavery at Egyptian hands. Meanwhile, the Pentecost marks the celebration of God’s teachings at Mount Sinai. Finally, the Tabernacles celebrate their 40 years of wandering in the desert before finally reaching the Promised Land.