Judaism: A Unique Religion

Rabbi Moshe Ben-Chaim

Judaism: Unlike other religions it teaches reality and wisdom, not fantasy and fallacy. 

One mark of man-made (false) religion is its focus on man, as is evident in Jesus and Mohammed. In contrast, Judaism prohibits human deification and openly discusses the sins of our leaders. Other distinguishing marks are their selfish motives like salvation and eternal instinctual gratification. These common marks are generated by fantasy. Most people do not mature from their need for human security (parents) and then when older, they project this need onto idols, man-gods, saints, or fabricated prophets. People remain attached to sensuality, and fabricate the reward of extreme sexual gratification and placate their insecurities in the belief of imaginary gods that watch over them. As Rabbi Israel Chait recently taught, idolatry seeks to aggrandize the self. One thinks through worship, he finds favor in the gods’ eyes and therefore will be cared for. Even in human sacrifice, idolater’s perpetrated such cruel and callous crimes due to their belief that this “high degree of self-sacrifice” would secure great success for them. Thus, in false religions and in idolatry, man seeks self-preservation and also gratification, as measured by man’s instinctual framework. And the appeal of these instinctual motives explains why such religions attracted billions of followers. On top of all this, man-made religions are simple in nature, bearing no wisdom.

In stark contrast, Judaism’s focus is on God’s wisdom, revealed in thousands of laws and principles. Each one complies with reality, not fantasy. These laws cover all areas of life, from morality which includes justice, charity and kindness, to ownership and damages, holidays, marriage, statutes like tefillin and tzitzis, community care, speech, death, farming, eating, blessings, dress, prayer, and the gamut of all areas. Following all these laws, man is required throughout his day to understand principles that guide his actions, not merely to act in a perfunctory fashion. As God designed every law in all its details, each one directs us towards His knowledge. He directs us towards reality. And as God designed man that understanding reality pleases our minds, we enjoy discovering new laws and their underlying principles. It’s an everlasting, exciting journey. God designed man that this journey, this exploration of God’s wisdom, provides greater enjoyment than all other earthly pursuits.