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The beliefs of Judaism

Published:Saturday | December 24, 2016 | 12:00 AMPaul H. Williams

Judaism is one of the major religions in the world, and is usually referenced as the world's first monotheistic religion. There is a belief in only one God, the same one that other religions believe in.

Thus, Jews do not believe in the concept of the Holy Trinity - Father, Son and Holy Ghost. Ainsley Henriques of The United Congregation of Israelites, located at 32 Duke Street, Kingston, said Jesus was just a holy man, no more of a son of God than anybody else. Judaism then is not just about worshipping a holy man, it is more about being guided by principles of The Bible.

Jews believe in a code of ethics, which is the Ten Commandments of the Old Testament. They also have important prayers and 613 precepts. The fundamental differences between them and other religious people is how they practise their religion, not in the God they worship.




Yet, the Jews do not generally believe in the concept of Heaven and Hell. So, the idea of going to Heaven as a reward, and Hell as punishment does not exist. When their time on Earth is up their spirits are taken into God's hands. They do not know what happens thereafter, but Henriques said he believes he will unite with his ancestors in the afterlife.

And though punishment in Hell is not a possibility, people ought to make retribution for their wrongs. So, on the day of atonement, the holiest of the Jewish holy days, people must make an introspection. They ask forgiveness of their sins, which leads to a resolution for a better life.

They pray for another year to make amends and to improve their lot, as they do not believe we are here on Earth to only enjoy ourselves, but also to create a better life for ourselves and others around us. It is not about waiting for a Messiah to appear to save us from purgatory.

The Jews do not regard Jesus as their Messiah, even though Jesus is oft referred to as King of the Jewish, a title, which Henriques said, is a myth. While they do not yet know who the Messiah is, they believe he will come, and they they will know who he is when he comes. But, there is also a sect of Jews who believe Jesus, the Messiah, has already come.

Judaism's main religious source of reference is The Torah, which means the five books of Moses, regarded the word of God. Next week, we look at the origin and practices of Judaism.