the Tanakh

A relief image, part of the Babylonian Ishtar gate

Babylonian Religion

Babylonian Religion Babylonian religion is the religious practice of Babylonia. Babylonian mythology was greatly influenced by their Sumerian counterparts, and was written on clay tablets inscribed with the cuneiform script derived from Sumerian cuneiform. The myths were usually either written in Sumerian or Akkadian. Some Babylonian texts were translations into Akkadian from the Sumerian language of earlier...

Genesis Flood Narrative

Genesis Flood Narrative The Genesis flood narrative is a flood myth found in the Tanakh (chapters 6–9 in the Book of Genesis). The story tells of God’s decision to return the Earth to its pre-creation state of watery chaos and then remake it in a reversal of creation. The narrative...

Chabad

Chabad Chabad, also known as Lubavitch, Habad and Chabad-Lubavitch (חב”ד), is an Orthodox Jewish Hasidic movement. Chabad is one of the world’s best-known Hasidic movements, particularly for its outreach activities. It is one of the largest Hasidic groups and Jewish religious organizations in the world. Founded in 1775 by Rabbi Schneur Zalman of Liadi, the name “Chabad” (חב״ד) is...

Musar Movement

Musar Movement The Musar movement which was Developed by Rabbi Yisrael Salanter (also Mussar movement) is a Jewish ethical, educational and cultural movement that developed in 19th century Lithuania, particularly among Orthodox Lithuanian Jews. The Hebrew term Musar (מוּסַר), is from the Book of Proverbs (1:2) describing moral conduct, instruction or discipline, educating oneself...

Sefer Torah

Sefer Torah Sefer Torah (ספר תורה; “Book of Torah”; plural: ספרי תורה Sifrei Torah), is a handwritten copy of the Torah, meaning: of the Pentateuch, or the five books of Moses (the first books of the Hebrew Bible). It must meet extremely strict standards of production. The Torah scroll is...

Composition of the Torah

Composition of the Torah The composition of the Torah (or Pentateuch, the first five books of the bible: Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, and Deuteronomy) was a process that involved multiple authors over an extended period of time. While Jewish tradition holds that all five books were originally written by Moses sometime...

Torah in Islam

Torah in Islam Within an Islamic context, Tawrat (also Tawrah or Taurat; توراة‎) refers to the Torah, which Muslims believe to be a holy book of Islam given by God to Musa (Moses). When referring to traditions from Tawrat, Muslims did not only identify it with the Pentateuch, but also with the other books of the Old...

613 Commandments

613 Commandments The Jewish tradition that there are 613 commandments (תרי״ג מצוות‎, romanized: taryag mitzvot) or mitzvot in the Torah (also known as the Law of Moses) began in the 3rd century CE, when Rabbi Simlai mentioned it in a sermon that is recorded in Talmud Makkot 23b. Although there have been a lot of attempts...

Maurycy Gottlieb - Jews Praying in the Synagogue on Yom Kippur

Yom Kippur

Yom Kippur Yom Kippur (יוֹם כִּיפּוּר, or יום הכיפורים), also known as the Day of Atonement, is the holiest day of the year in Judaism. Its central themes are atonement and repentance. Jews traditionally observe this holy day with an approximate 25-hour period of fasting and intensive prayer, often spending most of...

Jewish Ethnic Divisions

Jewish Ethnic Divisions Jewish ethnic divisions refers to a number of distinctive communities within the world’s ethnically Jewish population. Although considered one single self-identifying ethnicity, there are distinctive ethnic subdivisions among Jews, most of which are primarily the result of geographic branching from an originating Israelite population, mixing with local populations, and subsequent independent evolutions. As long...

Angel of The Lord

Angel of The Lord The (or an) angel of the LORD (מַלְאַךְ יְהוָה‎ malakh YHWH “messenger of Yahweh”) is an entity appearing repeatedly in the Tanakh (Old Testament) on behalf of God (Yahweh). The term malakh YHWH, which occurs 65 times in the text of the Hebrew Bible, can be translated either as “the angel of...

Jewish English Bible Translations

Jewish English Bible Translations Jewish English Bible translations are English translations of the Hebrew Bible (Tanakh) according to the Masoretic Text,  in the traditional division and order of Torah, Nevi’im, and Ketuvim. Most Jewish translations appear in bilingual editions (Hebrew–English). Jewish translations often reflect traditional Jewish exegesis of the Bible; all such translations eschew the Christological interpretations...

Jewish Commentaries on The Bible

Jewish Commentaries on The Bible Jewish commentaries on the Bible are biblical commentaries of the Hebrew Bible (the Tanakh) from a Jewish perspective. Translations into Aramaic and English, and some universally accepted Jewish commentaries with notes on their method of approach and modern translations into English with notes are listed. Earliest printing The complete Tanakh...

Targum

Targum The targumim (singular targum, תרגום; interpretation, translation, version) were originally spoken translations of the Jewish scriptures (also called the Tanakh) that a meturgeman (professional interpreter) would give in the common language of the listeners when that was not Hebrew. This had become necessary near the end of the 1st century BCE, as the common...

Chabad Messianism

Chabad Messianism Chabad messianism, or Lubavitch messianism, generally refers to the passion among adherents of the Chabad movement regarding the coming of the mashiach or Moshiach (Messiah), and their goal to raise awareness that his arrival is imminent. In addition, the term also refers more specifically to the belief that Menachem Mendel Schneerson, Chabad’s seventh leader, is the...

Mishneh Torah, a code of Jewish law by Maimonides, a Sephardic Jew

Sephardic Judaism

Sephardic Judaism Sephardic law and customs are the practice of Judaism by the Sephardim, the descendants of the historic Jewish community of the Iberian Peninsula. Some definitions of “Sephardic” also include Mizrahi Jews, many of whom follow the same traditions of worship but have different ethno-cultural traditions. Sephardi Rite is not...

Samaritanism

Samaritanism The Samaritan religion, also known as Samaritanism, is the national religion of the Samaritans. The Samaritans adhere to the Samaritan Torah, which they believe is the original, unchanged Torah, as opposed to the Torah used by Jews. In addition to the Samaritan Torah, Samaritans also revere their version of the Book of Joshua and recognize some Biblical figures, such as Eli. Samaritanism...

A member of the American LGBTQ community praying next to an ultra-Orthodox man at the Western Wall in Jerusalem's Old City, May 2016. Credit: Eyal Warshavsky

Modern Orthodox Judaism

Modern Orthodox Judaism Modern Orthodox Judaism (also Modern Orthodox or Modern Orthodoxy) is a movement within Orthodox Judaism that attempts to synthesize Jewish values and the observance of Jewish law with the secular, modern world. Modern Orthodoxy draws on several teachings and philosophies, and thus assumes various forms. In the United States, and generally in the Western world, Centrist Orthodoxy underpinned by the philosophy of Torah Umadda (“Torah and...

Jewish Views On Marriage

Jewish Views On Marriage In traditional Judaism, marriage is viewed as a contractual bond commanded by God in which a man and a woman come together to create a relationship in which God is directly involved. (Deut. 24:1) Though procreation is not the sole purpose, a Jewish marriage is traditionally expected to...

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Jews as The Chosen People

Jews as The Chosen People In Judaism, “chosenness” is the belief that the Jews, via descent from the ancient Israelites, are the chosen people, i.e. chosen to be in a covenant with God. The idea of the Israelites being chosen by God is found most directly in the Book of Deuteronomy as the verb bahar (בָּחַ֣ר (Hebrew)), and is alluded to...

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