Chosen By God: Jewish Religions and The Prospect of Dissent by Gilad Atzmon

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Originally published at http://www.gilad.co.uk/writings/2015/12/31/jewish-religions-and-the-prospect-of-dissent

December 31, 2015

“The Jewish religion is a religion of Mitzvoth (commandments) and without this religious idiom, the Jewish religion doesn’t exist at all.”
~ Professor Yeshayahu Leibowitz

While Islam and Christianity can be easily understood as belief systems, Judaism actually defies the notion of belief all together. Judaism is an obedience regulative system. The Judaic universe is ruled by ‘mitzvoth’ (commandment), a set of 613 precepts and directives ordered by God. In opposition to Christianity and Islam that build from spiritual and heavenly precepts in worship to a transcendental God, the Judaic subject subscribes to strict earthly and material observance. While the Islamo-Christian is wrapped in God’s loving and the spirituality of the sublime and divinity, the follower of Judaism is judged by his or her ability to adhere to hundreds of rigorous earthly orders.

A brief look at the Judaic Sabbath common prayer reveals the nature of Judaism as an obedience regulatory system. As we can see below, in Judaism, even God-loving is not an involuntary act:

“You shall love Adonai your God with all your heart,?with all your soul, and with all your might.?Take to heart these instructions with which I charge you this day.
…Thus you shall remember to observe all My commandments?and to be holy to your God.?I am Adonai, your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt to be your God:?I am Adonai your God.”
(Common Prayers for Shabbat Evening From Deuteronomy and Numbers)

For the Jew, belief and God-loving are not subject READ MORE

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