What Does It Mean to Be Jewish?

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When someone says they’re Jewish, that can mean a couple things. Either that is their religion, or their ethnicity, it could even be both. Judaism is the term of following the Jewish religion. Judaism isn’t a religion based off of one single founder or central leader, nor is it based off theological decisions made from a group. The Judaism religion is better described as an Israel way of life that’s based off of the Tanakh. The Tanakh is essentially a different version of the Christians “Old Testament.” Including the creation of the world by God, and his commandments. The Torah aka “The Penateuch” are the teachings of the Jewish religion referenced by the five books of Moses. The Torah consists of Genesis, Exodus, Levicticus, Numbers, and Deuteronomy. Another group of books from The Tanakah are the “Prophets” The Prophets are a group of books that are ascribed to the leading of reformers such as Isah, and spoke about the flaws in society, promising a Messiah to freeing them and leading them to power. Jewish theology elaborates on the principles of faith in the light of contemporary life and thought. Philosopher Maimonides blends the theology of the Jews with Greek and Muslim Philosophy, creating his “Thirteen Principles of Faith.” An example of the spiritual side of Judaism that expresses the soul’s “mystical journey toward God” is known as Mystical Kabbalism, and it began during the second temple period. Mystical Kabbalism began to seriously develop during the European Middle Ages. Rabbi Israel ben Eliezer was the founder of the mystical Jewish Hasidic sect in Eastern Europe in the 1700’s. Eliezer was known as Baal-Shem Tov, which means “Master of God’s Name.” Rabbi Eliezer strived to want others to live by the Torah with its insight, and to follow God’s principles. God’s principles are: Ecstasy (Hitlahavut), embracing God beyond time and space, Service (Avoda) to God in time and space, Intention (Kavana), the mystery of the soul directed to redeeming the...
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