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Religious Studies

Judaism: beliefs about God

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The Jewish relationship with G-d

The Jewish idea of G-d is described throughout the Jewish scriptures (the Tenakh).

Belief in one G-d is found in one of the central Jewish prayers, the Shema. The Shema is found in the Torah, or the Five Books of Moses (containing teaching, instruction and law), and states:

Hear, O Israel: Hashem is our G-d, Hashem is the One and Only. You shall love Hashem, your G-d, with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your resources. And these matters that I command you today shall be upon your heart. You shall teach them thoroughly to your children and you shall speak of them while you sit in your home, while you walk on the way, when you retire and when you arise. Bind them as a sign upon your arm and let them be ornaments between your eyes. And write them on the doorposts of your house and upon your gates.

Deuteronomy 6:4-9

Judaism says that Adam, Moses, Abraham and David each entered into special relationship with G-d called a covenant. G-d’s side of each of these covenants was to teach people how he expected them to live, and to bless them and look after them forever. The Jews’ side of the covenant was to worship the one true G-d and obey G-d’s commandments (mitzvot).

The Torah tells how this covenant relationship was broken again and again, but that G-d always forgave when the people repented, and so the covenant relationship still continues.

The Torah is extremely important to Jews. The term is used in a narrow sense to mean the first five books of the Hebrew Bible (Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers and Deuteronomy) and in a wider sense to include the whole of the Hebrew Bible and the Talmud. The Talmud is the Mishnah (the first writing down of the Oral Tradition) and the Gemara (commentary on the Mishnah) collected together.

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