Friday, January 11, 2013

Judaism in Outline

"It is the business of the wise man to order"  --Aristotle

"The unexamined life is not worth living" --Socrates

Some folks reading this blog are new to Judaism.  For you newbies, I'd like to help you wrap your head around Judaism.  I'd like to offer some ideas for how to outline Judaism for the purposes of teaching and learning.  Why do this, you ask?  Because, I believe, that understanding Judaism leads to a meaningful, happy, and good life.

Four basic categories of Judaism:

1.  The Four Cornerstones:  People, Land, G-d, Torah;

2.  Daily life:  Ethics, Shabbat, Kashrut, Taharat haMishpochah, and Signs of the Covenant (Tefillin, Mezuzah, Tzitzit, Tallit, Prayers, Blessings);

3.  Moedim (and various other special times during the year)

4.  Life Cycle:  birth/adoption/conversion, bar mitzvah, engagement/marriage/divorce, death/mourning

Three sociological pillars of Judaism:

1.  Shabbat;

2.  Kashrut;

3.  Taharat haMishpochah

Two categories of Halachah (i.e. the Jewish Way):

1.  Sources of Law and Tradition;

2.  Institutions for interpreting and enforcing laws

Two categories of the 613 Mitzvot contained in Mosaic Torah:

1.  Chukim (supra-rational decrees);

2.  Mishpatim (rational laws)

I hope this helps!



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