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Unit 4A: Religious Experience & the Foundations of Faith Ln 3. What are the essential values that shape society? How do your beliefs (religious or non-religious) affect your attitude to these values. The Jewish Way of Life . FOOD: What are the main laws or beliefs relating to food?.
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What are the essential values that shape society?
How do your beliefs (religious or non-religious) affect your attitude to these values
The Jewish Way of Life
Kashrut (in Hebrew) is the system of Jewish dietary laws. Kosher (kashur in Hebrew) means 'fit, or proper for use' according to Jewish law. The opposite of Kosher, as applied to food in Treif (in Yiddish), or trefah (in Hebrew) meaning 'not suitable for use', or 'forbidden'. The short answer to why Jews observe dietary laws is: because the Torah says so. The Torah does not specify any reason for these laws, and for a Torah-observant, traditional Jew, there is no need for any other reason. We follow the dietary laws, in a similar way to Islam, in order to show our obedience to God.Leviticus 11:3 states, “Whatsoever parteth the hoof, and is clovenfooted, and cheweth the cud, among the beasts, that shall ye eat.” Therefore, Kosher animals must have cloven hooves and chew the cud. They are slaughtered according to an especially humane method (Shechita); certain fats (tallow) and sinews are forbidden, and the meat is salted to remove all traces of blood. The Bible lists various birds of prey and other species of fowl that are forbidden. Only poultry with an ongoing tradition of kosher consumption such as duck, chicken, goose and Turkey, may be eaten. Only fish with fins and scales are kosher. Prawns, shellfish, turbot skate and sturgeon are all examples of non-kosher fish.
Meat and milk are never eaten in the same meal and different pots, crockery, cutlery and washing up equipment are used. Dairy food, even a cup of tea, may not be eaten until 3 hours after the consumption of meat or fowl. Other regulations affect wine, cheese and their derivatives such as wine vinegar and grape juice. All these products must be made under strict Rabbinical supervision.
Pots and pans, crockery and cutlery used for non-kosher food have absorbed some of the taste and are themselves considered non-kosher utensils.
SHATNEZThe Torah prohibits wearing clothes made out of wool and flax, as it is written, "You shall not wear combined fibers, wool and linen together." (Deuteronomy 22:11) In Hebrew, this forbidden mixture is called "Shatnez."The Torah does not explain the reason for Shatnez, and it is categorized as a Chok - a law that cannot be explained. (As opposed to a Mishpat - which is law that can be derived from logic).Nevertheless, different reasons have been suggested.Rabbi Aaron Halevi of Barcelona wrote in his book "SeferHaChinuch - The Book of Mitzvah Education" the reason why it is forbidden to mix wool and linen together is because it destroys the spiritual fabric of the universe. This can be explained as follows:Each and every thing on earth, except for man, has its own spiritual force that influences it. When some of these earthly items are mixed together, they cause their spiritual counterparts to become entangled. Once entangled, they cannot perform their tasks as originally designed, thusly destroying the spiritual fabric of the universe. However, after the explanation, the author tacked on "We still need a Mystic to explain this." (SeferHaChinuch - The Book of Mitzvah Education #62)Another explanation, from the Talmud suggests that the reason stems from the fact that when Kain and Abel brought offerings to G-d, one of them brought flax (the plant that linen is made from) and the other brought a sheep (where we get wool from). For some reason, this mixture ended up being lethal and Abel lost his life. (See Genesis 4:1-17 and the Midrash - Genesis Rabbah)Whatever the reason, the laws of Shatnez are still applicable today, and one can find many Shatnez laboratories that can check to see if one's clothing contains Shatnez or not.
MODESTYThis letter wouldn't be complete, without discussing the fact that clothes must be modest.When G-d created Eve, He said, 'From which part of Adam shall I create Eve? If I form her from Adam's head she may become pompous. If I make her from his eye, she may become a flirt! But if I create her from the rib, she will be modest! Since that the rib is always covered, even when he stands naked, that part is still covered!" (BereshitRabba 18:13)One of the great positives of dressing modestly, is that it draws attention to your personality - which is your greatest asset. If you are really looking for your soul mate, you will be searching for someone who loves you for who you really are, not for what your body looks like. Nevertheless, we see from the first love story ever to take place that not only did the young lovers walk around with few clothes -they actually walked around naked! Of course, I am talking about Adam and Eve, as it is written, "they were both naked, the man and his wife, and they were not ashamed." (Genesis 2:25)This is because they were at a level that they could see each other as souls, not just as physical beings. However, when they ate from the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil, they fell from this high level, and began to see each other as physical entities, as opposed to a personality, or a soul. This is why they became embarrassed, because they realized that their sexual drive was so strong, that they began to reduce each other as beautiful sacks of flesh, and failed to see the holy soul that was enveloped within. (Genesis 3:7)
Judaism has very strict views on love and sex. These are based on passages from the Tenakh, the Jewish Bible.
Judaism believes that sexual intercourse is a very important part of human relationships but only as part of marriage. It is not natural for people to choose to be celibate because marriage and the family are such an important part of Jewish teaching. Many Jews hope to have large families as Abraham was promised:
Look up at the heavens and count the stars - if indeed you can count them…. So shall your offspring be.
Judaism teaches that the purpose for sex is not just to have children: it is also for married people to demonstrate their love for each other.
Marriage sanctifies the relationship between men and women:
The mating of animals is a temporary and purely physical act. Through the sanctification of marriage, a husband and wife become the closest of relatives.
Once people are married, sex is controlled by the laws of niddah (sexual purity). Women cannot have sex during their monthly menstrual period. After this is over she has a ritual bath (called a mikveh) then she can sleep with her husband again.
Do not come near a woman during her period of uncleanness.
Many Jews say that doing this every month helps to keep the marriage alive:
A wife returning from the mikveh is as fresh to her husband as on their wedding day.
These rules are observed by many Orthodox Jews but more Progressive Jews now think them to be out of date.
What other issues could arise in society today that can challenge Jewish moral beliefs and practices?
Moses and the burning bush
Mohammed and the Angel
What are the main sources that inspire faith amongst religions?
St. Paul & the Road to Damascus
Abraham & The Hospitality of the Angels
The Disciples and Jesus’ apparition
– love is currency of Christianity
‘the right hand should know not what the left hand is doing’