Judaism summarized

This brief description of Judaism may seem to be a dry summary of bare facts. If it is no more than that it has failed to give a true picture of that religion. Perhaps no words can do Judaism justice or fully disclose the inwardness of the faith. The Jewish scriptures themselves do not attempt to compress all into a simple or brief formula. Indeed, words fail adequately to convey what a high religion, or perhaps any religion, means to those who have been really caught by it.

Yet certain passages out of the Jewish sacred writings, taken together, can serve to give at least an inkling of the genius of the faith. "In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth." "The heavens declare the glory of God and the firmament showeth His handiwork." "It is He ... that stretcheth out the heavens as a curtain and spreadeth them our as a tent to dwell in; that bringeth the princes to nothing; he maketh the judges of the earth as vanity," "Thou shalt have no other gods before Me. Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image . . . thou shalt not bow down thyself to them or serve them; for I the Lord thy God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children unto the third and the fourth generation of them that hate Me; and showing mercy unto thousands of them that love Me and keep My commandments." "Thou shalt not take the name of the Lord thy God in vain, for the Lord will not hold him guiltless that taketh His name in vain." "Remember the Sabbath day to keep it holy." "Honor thy father and thy mother." "Thou shall not kill." "Thou shah not commit adultery." "Thou shalt not steal." "Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbour." "Thou shalt not covet." "Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself." "Cease to do evil; learn to do well; seek judgement, relieve the oppressed, judge the fatherless, plead for the widow." "The feast of unleavened bread shalt thou keep." "Thou shalt not plow with an ox and an ass together." "Thou shalt not muzzle the ox when he treadeth out the corn." "Whatsoever par-teth the hoof ... and cheweth the cud ... that shall ye eat. ... The swine ... is unclean to you." "You only have I known of all the families of the earth: therefore will I punish you for all your iniquities." "The Lord is merciful and gracious, slow to anger and plenteous in mercy. . He hath not dealt with us after our sins nor rewarded us according to our iniquities. ... As far as the east is from the west so far hath He removed our transgressions from us." "The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want." "They that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength: they shall mount up on wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk and not faint." "The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom." "He hath showed thee, O man, what is good; and what doth the Lord require of thee, but to do justly, and to love mercy, and to walk humbly with thy God?" "The souls of the righteous are in the hands of God." "I know that my Redeemer liveth, and that He shall stand at the latter day upon the earth: and though after my skin, worms destroy my body, yet in my flesh shall I see God."

Here are God, the creator and governor of the universe; His choice of the Jewish people for His own, yet the responsibility which went with this favour; His requirements of the Jews, in worship, in morals, in the observance of days, and in food; His mercy and forgiveness; His protection and the strength which comes from Him; the reverence for Him which is the source of true wisdom; and the assurance of immortality, late in appearing and not universally held.

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