Well I’ve always had this curiosity with Judaism. And where I’m from, I don’t see very many Jewish people. And the ones I meet are very proud of their religion. I would just like to ask some questions and please don’t think I’m being sarcastic or belittling your religion. It’s just when people explain their religion, I want to feel a passion. ya know?
1. What is your favorite thing about your faith?
2. What made you choose this religion or choose to stay in this religion?
3. Have you been treated differently because of your faith?
4. Is there any part of your faith that you do not agree with?
Absolutely! In no way do I think you’re being sarcastic or belittling. I am happy to answer all your questions to the best of my ability.
1. My favorite thing about Judaism is that it fosters a one on one closeness to G-d. Judaism does not focus on men, like Christians do with Jesus or Muslims do with Muhammed. In fact, thoug Moses was the greatest of all Prophets and spoke directly with G-d, his name is only mentioned once during the Passover seder. That is because G-d is our focus and we are all His children. I also love Judaism because it is an unbroken chain of faith going back nearly 4000 years to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. It is neat because the Bible is not only the Word of G-d but a history of the Jewish People from the very beginning. Also, it is a living religion meaning that all Jews are related to our forefathers either genetically or spiritually. A convert to Judaism takes their place as a child of Abraham and Sarah and is counted among the Jewish Nation! I myself am descended from Aaron, Moses’ brother, the first High Priest of Israel. I have even had my DNA checked which confirmed this. My wife has a family tree with all the names going back to Kind David (the grandson of a convert, by the way, and the forefather of our Holy Messiah may he come soon!). That being said, a convert to Judaism is as dear to G-d as a born Jew and their soul stood side by side at Sinai with the Jewish Nation as we received the Torah from G-d. That leads me into #2.
2. I was not brought up religious. In fact, my family was quite anti-religious and hostile to it. I saw, though, that it was my recent family who had broken the chain that goes back farther than any other religion. Ever since I was a young boy I had always been drawn to G-d and Judaism and I when I was 18 I took the steps to become a practicing Orthodox Jew. I chose returning to Judaism rather than any other religion for a few reasons. First of all, once a Jew always a Jew. Even if a Jew converts to another religion they are still a Jew. That is because the Jews are not only a religion but a nationality. We have a common bond, heritage, history, land and faith. Even though we have been dispersed for two thousand years, a Jew from Morocco, Yemen, India, Spain, France or Germany is still my brother or sister.
I was also a comparative religion major in college. I have extensively studied both Islam and Christianity and found nothing in them that was unfulfilled in Judaism. In fact, if you asked a Christian which was the more correct religion – Judaism or Islam they would choose Judaism (because Christianity originally came from Judaism and all of our Holy books were incorporated into their faith). If you asked a Muslim which was the more correct religion- Judaism or Christianity they would choose Judaism (because we are the original monotheist religion and therefore the forerunner to all of these faiths).
It is interesting to note that of all three religions, only Judaism has national revelation. Let me explain. In Christianity, no group actually witnessed Jesus leaving the cave or being resurrected or the conversion of Paul. These were singularly witnessed events. In Islam, no group saw the Angel Gabriel speak to Muhammed or saw his Night Journey. They took him on his word and these stories on faith. However, the Jewish People collectively witnessed the giving of the Torah on Mount Sinai (nearly two million people). It is easy for me to tell you that I received a message from G-d. It’s another to try and convince you that you received a message from G-d! If it had not happened, no one would have permitted it to be recorded in the Torah! John Doe could have said, “Hey, my parents were in the desert then and they don’t recall any Torah being given!” That didn’t happen because everyone saw with their own eyes and heard with their own ears. That proves to me that G-d, Torah and Judaism are Truth. Everything G-d said would come to pass has. It is all recorded in our Bible. When Christians claim that Jesus was god and changed the Torah, we have to laugh. G-d does not change his mind! He’s G-d! He does not need to impregnate women to give birth to a half man/half god! He created everything! The physical universe. Time. Space. Everything! When Muslims say that Allah rejected the Jews for the Qur’an and Islam we also have to laugh. Why would G-d change His mind and annul His repeated promises that he will never abandon us? It just doesn’t make sense. Christians say that they are the “new” Israel. Islam says that they are the new “chosen” ones. We believe that G-d is above time and space – G-d is not in the Universe. The Universe is in G-d! he is One, indivisible, omnipotent and omniscient.
3. Yes, I have been treated differently. Unfortunately it has been by Jews. As I said above, my extended family is quite anti-religious. They see my lifestyle as a direct threat to their assimilation. I am a reminder of the heritage and faith they abandoned. Unfortunately nearly all of my cousins have married out of the faith and their bloodlines die with them. Jews, unfortunately, tend to be the biggest self-haters and enemies of Judaism. It’s almost like Prince Harry stripping nude in Vegas. He just doesn’t care about the gift he has been given (royalty) and the responsibilities that come with the title. Very sad.
4. I accept the Torah, Prophets, Writings, Oral Law and Talmud as fact. I believe in Rabbinic authority and Jewish Law. If I could change one thing it would be the divisiveness within Judaism. We are a tiny people of only 18,000,000 out of 7,000,000,000, yet we have so many divisions! “Reform” and “Conservative” sects are not even Judaism as they reject the very tenants of Judaism: the Torah, G-d, the coming of the Messiah, etc. That’s like 70% of the entire Jewish People! Among us Orthodox there are many sects and divisions. If we would have more love for one another and put our petty squabbles aside, we would be a much stronger nation.
I am sorry I rambled on. Hope this answers some of your questions. Please feel free to ask any more.