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Educate me on Judaism
#1
Back ground - (skip to next paragraph for main point) My mother was christian and my father is Israeli.  He converted to Christianity when he remarried when I was 17.  I never went to temple or church but identified as jewish until I was 20 until the pressures of living in a christian country (USA) resulted in me unofficially converting.  Then I became mentally ill at 21 and suffered from delusions until just two years ago which affected my beliefs as i switched back and forth frequently.  I am now 28 and am realizing that I decided to become christian because of my delusions.  Voices told me that I was damned for my (hallucinated) conspiracy to murder under Jewish law and that jesus would be more forgiving.  I reported myself to police many times and had been sent to the hospital promptly each time.  Essentially, I am at square one without much knowledge of Judaism besides a weak memory of skimming the old testament and I want to choose my religion based on theology.  Please only list biblical beliefs, I promise I am not here to speak about or support any other religion.  My replies will only be to probe further about the jewish theology.  I want to know about Judaism.

I was born to a christian mother by a jewish father and I want to learn about the jewish faith to make an educated decision.  I will not respond with comments comparing the religions, but only dive deeper into jewish theology.  I am particularly interested in beliefs regarding the afterlife.

If you read the intro and made it this far without thinking I am a troll, you will be happy to know that treatment has been so successful that I am now stabalized, able to hold a job, and am working on my phd!

mods- if the substance of this post is not allowed, please contact me so that I can make revisions
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#2
Hello MBAJohn and welcome to the forum.

Just to let you know, the first 3 posts are moderated to keep out spam and bots.

That's a pretty interesting and unique story, glad to hear you are doing better now and hope you continue to improve.

I think it would be better if you asked specific questions, then we could answer or reference people who can.

Being Jewish is much more than a "religion". It is being part of a people, understanding and practicing customs, learning, acting and being part of a community.

There are many good beginners books out there as well.

As far as the afterlife goes, there isn't much spoken of in the Hebrew bible. There are some allusions to it, bur nothing concrete.

After that, it is all Jewish thought that can take you in many different directions.

What Judaism focuses on is the here and now. How to live your G-d given life in this world, with instructions on how to use the potential you were given for the best to improve yourself and help others.
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#3
(08-05-2019, 03:03 AM)searchinmyroots wrote: Hello MBAJohn and welcome to the forum.

Just to let you know, the first 3 posts are moderated to keep out spam and bots.

That's a pretty interesting and unique story, glad to hear you are doing better now and hope you continue to improve.

I think it would be better if you asked specific questions, then we could answer or reference people who can.

Being Jewish is much more than a "religion". It is being part of a people, understanding and practicing customs, learning, acting and being part of a community.

There are many good beginners books out there as well.

As far as the afterlife goes, there isn't much spoken of in the Hebrew bible. There are some allusions to it, bur nothing concrete.

After that, it is all Jewish thought that can take you in many different directions.

What Judaism focuses on is the here and now. How to live your G-d given life in this world, with instructions on how to use the potential you were given for the best to improve yourself and help others.
Thank you for your quick response.  I was very worried that my post would be suspect and not allowed.  I am doing very well and my quality of life is so much better than before I accepted treatment.
I am interested in knowing about beliefs regarding being forgiven for sins and the consequences of sinning.  Also, if anyone could include what allusions of the afterlife are in the hebrew bible that would interest me.  Lastely, is the old testament a translation of the hebrew bible or are they completely different?
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#4
It's late at night where I am so I'll have to get to this sometime tomorrow.

In the meantime, others may chime in as well.

Briefly - Being forgiven for sin is a process, that includes acknowledging your sin, confessing it to G-d and striving to not repeat it.

Also, the word "sin" is used too generally in English translations. The Hebrew bible describes several different types.

I'm not sure I understand your last question -

"Lastly, is the old testament a translation of the Hebrew bible or are they completely different?"

There is only one Hebrew bible and it is made up of 3 different parts. In English called The Five Books of Moses, The Prophets and The Writings.

So maybe the answer is yes being the words "old testament" is a Christian invention and they do translate many things differently in the Hebrew bible.
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#5
Here is something from Jews for Judaism that might be of interest regarding sin -

It does so through the idea of repentance. It is the basic teaching of God in the Hebrew Bible that God does not will the death of the wicked but their repentance (Jeremiah 18:1-10). Ezekiel 18:21-23 expresses this most clearly:
It may be that a wicked man gives up his sinful ways and keeps all my laws, doing what is just and right. That man shall live; he shall not die. None of the offenses he has committed shall be remembered against him; he shall live because of his righteous deeds. Have I any desire, says the Lord God, for the death of a wicked man? Would I not rather that he should mend his ways and live?
Repentance involves recognizing that one has done wrong, being sorry for having done so, and asking God sincerely to forgive one’s sins. Any Jew who does so will be forgiven by God.
Many scholars consider repentance a higher and more spiritual relationship to God than the offering of sacrifice. Frequently, the great prophets of the Hebrew Bible criticized those who brought sacrifices while continuing their evil deeds (e.g., Amos 5:21-22). The conclusion that these scholars draw from the prophetic denunciations of sacrifice without repentance (repentance not only means saying you’re sorry, but also changing your conduct) was that the prophets considered sacrifice primitive and unnecessary. The truth is that the prophets denounced sacrifice without repentance, but they deeply respected sacrifice combined with repentance. The prophets had the highest respect for the Temple and its divinely ordained sacrifices, and expressed great sadness about the time after the exile when Israel could no longer fulfill its sacrificial obligations (Hosea 9:4).
But that time came, and while we reject the view that the prophets considered sacrifice unnecessary even while the Temple stood, we cannot overlook the emphasis that the prophets laid on repentance. It is perhaps in Psalm 51:18-21 that the matter is best summed up. The Psalm starts with the expression of a sense of sin that weighs heavily on the writer. He begs God to cleanse him of his sin and then continues:
For thou delightest not in a sacrifice that I would bring; thou hast no pleasure in burnt offering. The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit; a broken and a contrite heart, O God, Thou wilt not despise. Do good in thy favor unto Zion; built thou the walls of Jerusalem. Then wilt thou delight in the sacrifices of righteousness, in burnt offering and whole offering; then will they offer bullocks upon thine altar.
When sacrifice is possible it is necessary, though useless without repentance (the “broken spirit” and “wounded heart”). When sacrifice is not possible, God forgives those who sincerely repent.
Judaism thus looks to God for forgiveness. In his infinite mercy God waits for man’s return to him, and when this happens, God forgives all his sins. The rabbis taught that not only are the sins of a repentant sinner forgiven, but they are turned into virtuous deeds. So great is the power of repentance.
×Published by JEWS FOR JUDAISM
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#6
Thanks again for another helpful response.  I have been reading about repentance and i found that being forgiven by the "victim" is important, but that if the sinner completes all the needed steps and forgiveness is refused 3 times then the blame is shifted to the "victim".  Sorry i cannot recall the phrases for the effected parties.  But, is that accurate?  Also, I am concerned about the instances of murder/manslaughter where the victim cannot give forgiveness because they have passed on.  What occurs in these instances?
I have read about She'ol.  Is it accurate that the utterly wicked are damned here or utterly destroyed?  Does "utterly wicked" refer to their acts in their life or their refusal to repent?
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#7
John,

Looks as if you are being resourceful!

Yes, Jewish thought says - if the sinner completes all the needed steps and forgiveness is refused 3 times then the blame is shifted to the "victim".

Not sure if the blame is actually shifted, but it relieves the one who sins as he/she tried and did what was required.


I'd have to look further into the second part of your question.

Sheol is just the grave. You may be thinking of something else about the utterly wicked.

Again, this is Jewish thought, no absolutes, but yes, people like Hitler don't have their souls passed on to the afterlife. They simply don't exist after death.

Whereas all other souls have a place in the world to come.

Depending on your level of repentness, it just might take a little longer for your soul to be purified.

The best way to live one's life is as it is written in the end of Ecclesiastes 12:13-14 - (JPT)

13 - The end of the matter, everything having been heard, fear God and keep His commandments, for this is the entire man.

14 - For every deed God will bring to judgment-for every hidden thing, whether good or bad.


This doesn't mean you have to be perfect, it means you should strive to do your best and do what you can to reverse the bad.

Question - Have you ever spoken with a Rabbi? Is there a Chabad anywhere near you? They are usually pretty open and will help answer your questions.
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#8
I have just emailed a local rabbi.  I asked them what the process would be to become a Jew and if he could help me learn more about Judaism.
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#9
Okay, that's the first step.

Now just be aware this is not something to be taken lightly. Remember you are joining a people and there is a lot that goes along with it.

Don't be discouraged if at first you do not feel like the Rabbi is encouraging you. You will go through many tests, just like we have for thousands of years.

Also, don't try to take on too much at one time, take it slowly.

Did you know you don't have to be Jewish to be right with G-d? That all have a place in the world to come?

You can follow the teachings of Judaism that applies to those who aren't Jewish and live a very happy, productive and meaningful life.
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#10
(08-05-2019, 10:39 PM)mbajohn1990 wrote: I have read about She'ol.  Is it accurate that the utterly wicked are damned here or utterly destroyed?  Does "utterly wicked" refer to their acts in their life or their refusal to repent?

Often (in fact, quite often) Wikipedia is your friend. See, for example: Wikipedia: Sheol.

Parenthetically, Brichto's Kin, Cult, Land and Afterlife - A Biblical Complex is well worth reading.
To be is to stand for. - Abraham Joshua Heschel
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