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Orthodox Judaism Overview (moral, reject, Moses, Torah, Pentateuch) - 2013 revision

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Aura of atheification
Premium Member
Orthodox Judaism Overview

The Mission

Orthodox jews believe that we have a good inclination and a bad inclination. They believe that not giving in to the temptation of the evil inclination is what brings us closer to G-D, which is the main goal for an orthodox jew.

Jews are also supposed to be a "light" or example to the other nations.

The Written Law (The Torah)

Orthodox jews believe in the Torah that was given to Moses on Mt. Sinai. The Torah consists of 613 commandments for jews to obey, as well as a historical account of God's revelation of Himself to our ancestors. Orthodox jews take the Torah literally and believe that it is perfect. Orthodox jews spent a great deal of time studying the Torah and analyzing it's life guidelines and moral messages.

The Torah consists of the five books of Moses. Whereas the Tanach consists of the five books of Moses plus prophets and scriptures. However, when orthodox jews speak of learning or studying Torah, since everything stems from The Torah, it refers to all jewish studies.

The Two Laws (Torahs)

There were two Torahs given to Moses on Mt. Sinai. There was the written Torah and the oral Torah.

Oddly enough, the Oral Law is today written in the Mishna and the Talmud. The reason why is because around 200 C.E., the Jewish community lost a lot of knowledgeable Jews during the great revolt, and so Rabbi Yehuda Hanassi decided to acquire the information of the oral law and write it down. Rabbi Yehudda then compiled all the overwhelmingly matching accounts into the Mishna. Many Rabbis throughout history refused to write down the Oral Law, but it was a necessary step in preservation of our law.

The main purpose of the oral law is to explain the written law. For example, the written law states that G-D says that Jews must keep the shabbos and not create during this time.
However, what is left out of the written law is when exactly shabbos starts and ends. What is considered creating is also missing. In order to implement keeping the sabbath, Jews needed these answers. These explanations are given in the oral law.

Often the oral law consists of several rabbis discussing a topic. The rabbis give long winded arguments to support their position. At the end, these discussions are wrapped up. The Talmud is in Aramaic and is difficult to study. There is also commentary and commentary on the commentary.

Many orthodox Jews spend a lifetime studying the Talmud.

The Sabbath

The highlight of the orthodox Jews' week is the sabbath which comes from Friday night to Saturday night. A Jewish day starts at night because in Genesis, G-D said he created night and then day. Therefore, the day starts at night.

Orthodox Jews may not work, turn on or off lights, or drive on the sabbath.

Many busy professional Orthodox Jews use the Sabbath as a catharsis to put aside their business and personal issues and just focus on G-D and relaxing.

The Sabbath services

The Sabbath service starts Friday night. It's focus are prayers welcoming the Sabbath.

The next day consists of morning services. The highlight of the service is the reading of the Torah. Each year on the Jewish New Year the Torah is started from the beginning and at the end of the year it's completed. Thereby the entire Torah is read each year.

The beginning of the service starts with prayers of psalms, the Shema (Hear O'Israel) prayer is read, followed by the Amidah. The Torah is then read. There are seven people who are called up to read passages from the Torah. Since the Torah has no vowels, and very difficult to read without a lot of training, usually there is someone who reads on behalf of each person.

After the Torah is read, usually passages from prophets are read. These prophets passages correspond with the theme of the chapters of the Torah that are read.

Afterwards, the remaining prayers are completed.

At the end of the services most orthodox services have a kiddush. They make a blessing over the wine and serve the traditional chulunt, it's a mixture of beef, beans, and potatoes, that is cooked overnight in a crock pot.

They then go home and often have a big meal, along with songs to honor the Sabbath.

The yamaka, skull cap

Orthodox Jews usually wear a skull cap or hat. The significance of it that it's a sign that G-D is always above us, watching us.


Israel has special significance to Jews. Almost every Jewish prayer involves Israel.

The Role of Women

Women like men are commanded to fulfill the commandments of knowing G-d, loving Him, and fearing Him.

They are obligated to study the Torah just as men are. Orthodox synagogues usually have women learning groups.

The book of Psalms refers to women as "akeres habayis", a term which means the "foundation of the home". The woman determines the home environment.

Orthodox Jews also believe that women have added wisdom and a holy connection to God that men don't have. More specifically, in their ability to create life.

Men need to pray three times a day to connect to the cycle of the days, weeks, and months that will make the transitions from season to season. Women don't need to do so because they are already connected to God, with their reproductive system. The amount of effort that a woman takes to purify herself with/after her period shows just how holy a woman can be.

Women are considered to have have more spirituality and be closer to G-D because they can create life.

Also, in an Orthodox Jewish marriage, women have the right to demand sex, whereas the man has no such right. Not only that, but it is the man's responsibility to satisfy his wife so that she doesn't get to the point where she needs to demand sex.

(Historical Note: a previous, very different version of this thread was made in 2004 and is still available. This version was made in 2013 mainly by forum member CMike, with some input from dantech and others.)
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