Jusitification for my religious beliefs
Hello everyone. I wanted to post a defense of my Jewish beliefs.
1) The Tanakh: The Tanakh encompasses all of God's commands for daily life (ie Kosher laws, Sabbath restirctions or circumcision practices). It also contains the story of the Jewish people from the golden age of the monarchy, through the exile, through Greek and Roman conquests. The Tanakh contains depths of knowledge about human life in relationship with Hashem.
2) The Mishnah and the Talmuds: At times, the Tanakh is archaic and difficult to understand. Commandments that were applicable 3000 years ago no longer have practical significance today. The Mishnah represents Hashem's continued revealtion to the Jewish people through oral tradition. The Talmud updates the Torah to be more applicable to daily life in accordance with God's progressive revelation.
3) Failure of the Jewish monarchy: King Solomon built the incredible Temple in Jerusalem. However, Solomon was also essentially a henotheist. This practice of henotheism continued through the divided monarchy (see Chronicles). Their failure demonstrates the necessity for Jews to maintain worship in the one true God.
4) The survival of the Jewish people: My people faced constant persecution from the exile until the modern day (like the Holocaust denying bishops or the Israeli tennis player barred from Dubai). We faced Christian pogroms under the Roman Empire, Medieval kingdoms, and (to a lesser extent) Muslim kingdoms. We were falsely accused by Christians of host desecration, and the sacrifice of Christian children. All we wanted as a Diaspora people was tolerance. As emancipation began, with the enlightenment, we were hated no just for our religion, but for simply being Jews ethnically. Obviously, the Holocaust was the culmination of more then 2000 years of hatred, bigotry and ignorance. If you don't read anything else above, read this: I am a Jew because I cannot deny my heritage, my people and my God. We died for our beliefs, and we suffering because of our ethnicity. I am furious with God for allowing the Shoah. But the Jewish faith and tradition will not end with me.
5) Jewish Culture: Many Jews today don't believe in God. The majority of Israelis are non-religious. However, even if I didn't believe in God, I would still hold to the religious traditions of Judaism. Jewish practices such as holidays, the Sabbath and Kosher laws are an important part of who I am and where I came from.
Note: Don't assume that I have a literal Christian understanding of the Bible. Remember, my people wrote these books.
Also, just for better understanding...The Mishnah is the oral tradition of the Torah written in 200 CE. It is viewed as a holy text. The Talmud is commentary on the Tanakh and the Mishnah. Hamshem is a Jewish name for God. Finally, henotheism is the belief in many gods, with one god as the supreme god above the rest.
Finally, I would really appreciate it if no one used the divine name on this thread (YHWH). Don't spell it out please.
Baruch atah Adonai ki tov