What is Judaism according to Heschel

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Last updated: April 4, 2019

According to Rabbi Heschel Judaism was that whenever somebody mentioned the name Judaism, it was like taking about either somebody citing a poem, God the father or someone who lived a spiritual life. Since many people believed that without God everything is impossible, Heschel tried to come out clearly that people need to be strong in faith despite all the difficulties they are going through. He also stressed out that everyone should be able to live peacefully with each other by forgiving one another whenever there is a problem between them.   (Merkel, 1985, p.2) (Heschel, 1985).The word of God was for everyone no matter what they do, where they come from or whatever language they speak. One way of making people understands the word of God was to write and come out clearly about religious teachings.

They were also being taught how to live in harmony and how to confess to one another whenever there is a problem among them. (Merkel, 1985, p. 3) (Heschel, 1985).According to Heschel, Torah’s ways of giving out ideas or explanations about Judaism was like a reflection of what has been happening in our daily lives as it was written in the bible. God the Father also appears as a very bright light to show people that they should believe and have faith in Him all the time.  (Merkel, 1985, p. 4) (Heschel, 1985).Heschel join one of the spiritual congregations where he became more spiritual and strong in faith.

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This attracted very many people as it was a good example of a Jesus follower. It also made many people to listen, understand and believe in the word of God.    (Merkel, 1985, p.

5) (Heschel, 1985).Rabbi was so much into Christianity that he could not have time to come together with other people in his congregation. This made the people of his congregation to say that he was over doing the work of Christianity. He also tried to make people have peace, love, and unity and go as far celebrating mass as a sign of commitment to God. .  (Merkel, 1985, p. 6) (Heschel, 1985).Everyone was to understand the word of God in the right way and apply in their daily life.

This was made to encourage the weak people who were not strong in faith to be able to participate in duties that strengthen their faith. The difficulties that the people of Israel experience on Mount Sinai were a big challenge for them in their life. This is because from there is when man had really believed that God do exist. (Merkel, 1985, p. 7) (Heschel, 1985).He brought the image of God as he appears to Moses on Mount Sinai. This is when Moses’ people had no faith in God and started worshipping other gods.

God became angry and appeared to Moses and gave him the Ten Commandments that could guide and make his people believe and trust in God. The Ten Commandments were written so that everyone should believe that all the writings were truly from Jesus but not Moses.  (Merkel, 1985, p.

8) (Heschel, 1985).Moses is also portrayed as good leader because he is seen leading his people from Israel to Misery as per instructions given by God. This is when God appeared to him as burning bush when he was looking after the cattle.

By then they had no commandments to follow but they still believed in God as their creator and source of inspiration in their life.  (Merkel, 1985, p. 9) (Heschel, 1985).As it is seen in the bible that by the time God gave Moses the Ten Commandments, his people had already lost their faith and started worshipping other gods. This made it very difficult for Moses to make all of them believe in the Ten Commandments given the God. It implies that not all Moses’ people accepted the Ten Commandments.

That, s why there are always new laws every generation. (Merkel, 1985, p. 10) (Heschel, 1985).Though there were some people who disagreed with Moses as he gave them the Ten Commandments, majority believed on the Ten Commandments that made many generations that comes after them to accept and follow the Ten Commandments as it was meant to strengthen people’s faith in their daily life. (Merkel, 1985, p. 11) (Heschel, 1985).People should be in a position to understand and believe in Jesus’ signs as it was written in the bible. They need to accept that even though they can’t see some of these things happening now, they had already happened before and their fore fathers believed in them.

So it’s a big challenge to them to accept the reality of the past. (Merkel, 1985, p. 12) (Heschel, 1985).As it is written in the bible that when Jesus went to Cana and wine got finished during the wedding, He asked for water and turned it into wine for the people who were in the wedding.

And also when there was a lot of wind when he was with James and John in a boat, He stopped the wind. These two signs show that God is always there for his people and He will always present in them wherever they go. (Merkel, 1985, p. 13) (Heschel, 1985).

It is good to believe in what you understand best than to believe in what you don’t know. This only comes out when you really accept, believe and have faith in the scriptures of the bible. You should be able to relate the scriptures of the bible into your daily life and try to practice them in your life because this is only way to strengthened your faith. (Merkel, 1985, p. 14) (Heschel, 1985).

Moses was one of the most prominent leaders that God used to show people the right way of life that will remain a remembrance in life to everyone.  These are written in the bible so that everyone can understand whatever happened in the past during the reign of their fore fathers. (Merkel, 1985, p.

15) (Heschel, 1985).It is also important to preach or translate the scriptures of the bible according what was written rather than preaching the things which do not exist to people. This is because whatever is being taught now will remain as a history for the coming generations. They should understand that the scriptures of the bible are holy words from God the father but just a normal human being. (Merkel, 1985, p. 16) (Heschel, 1985).God communicated to his people through the scriptures by sending prophets to perform various signs. This can be seen as he ordered Abraham to sacrifice his only son, appearing to Moses as burning bush, saving his disciple from drowning during the strong wind and raising Larus from death after four days.

All these events remain as a history to every generation that comes and it will always be there to guide them in their life. (Merkel, 1985, p. 17) (Heschel, 1985).The covenant between God and Moses on Mount Sinai was a sign of an agreement between the people of Israel and God. It made easier for the people of Israel to communicate to God and adored Him as their only savior. So for the people of Israel to communicate to God they had to understand the scripture, translate it and relate to their daily life. (Merkel, 1985, p.

18) (Heschel, 1985).The covenant made on Mount Sinai lead to various activities to be performed by man. This is where man had to obey the holy Sunday, do not kill, do not steal, obey their parents so that you can live longer, believe in God all the time and always standing firm to tell truth. Even the people of Israel went as far as fasting in order to strengthen their faith which remained as history to all the coming generations. (Merkel, 1985, p.

19) (Heschel, 1985).When Moses received the Ten Commandments on Mount Sinai, it does not mean it was the end of everything that God had to give his people. It implies that the door was still open for more teachings in the future. This encourages people to believe and trust in God as their only comforter during the trial moments in their lives.  (Merkel, 1985, p. 20) (Heschel, 1985).The bible was not written as book to be read but as scripture to guide people in their lives. It was supposed to be read, understand the meaning of the scriptures and translate and then preach the right words of God to the people.

This would inspire many people to read the scriptures of the bible and know the reason why Jesus sacrificed to suffer on their behalf. (Merkel, 1985, p. 21) (Heschel, 1985). As seen that it is very easier for the people   to live as God’s people when they both understand the bible very well. Therefore it is good to make people believe in Jesus as their only guidance in life.

When you follow the right path that is God’s foot steps, you will find life interesting and encouraging no matter what difficulties you may be going through. It also makes  man become a strong Christian which remains as an example to his forth coming generations. (Merkel, 1985, p. 22) (Heschel, 1985).Jesus loves the world so much that he bled and died for the human kind. So it is the work of the man to be able to follow God’s commandments in order to fulfill God’s promises.

It does mean that God made it so difficult for the man not to enjoy life but to have good life both in the world and in heaven. That is why Jesus forbids man not to do some of the things in life. It is not a punishment but a lesson to prepare them for both life in the world and the kingdom of God. (Merkel, 1985, p. 23) (Heschel, 1985).

Everyone should be able to carry his own cross when it comes to serving God because you will be judged according your own deeds but not on the behalf of someone else. Man must be able to know the scriptures of the bible so that it can able to apply it any time in his or her life. This will also help people to have time worship God because everyone is a position to read and interpret whatever information which is in the bible.

(Merkel, 1985, p. 24) (Heschel, 1985).Conclusion:Judaism is all about the past events that happened during the reign of the prophets like Moses, Elijah and Abraham. These are the days when God used to communicate to man through prophets. The prophets could see God in visions, signs and symbols then go and communicate to the people according what they have seen in their visions or symbols they had received.

They had to explain all the details of what God told them. So that is how man communicated to god in older days.Reference:Heschel, A. J. (1965).

Between God and Man: An interpretation of Judaism.Free Press New York. ISBN- 13: 9780029145104.Merkle, J. C.

, ed. (1985) Abraham Joshua Heschel: Exploring His Life and Thought: Judaismas a Prism – Excavating Heschel’s Refracted Torah Eitan Freedenberg.London: Collier Macmillan.  Available athttp://www.history.umd.edu/Faculty/BCooperman/Construction_Jewish_Knowledge/CJKhandout2006_files/Eitan%20Freedenberg%20-%20Heschel’s%20Prism.pdfAccessed on July 28, 2008.


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