Orthodox Judaism is one of the major branches of Judaism. It is characterized by strict adherence to Jewish law and tradition. Orthodox Jews believe that the Torah (the first five books of the Hebrew Bible) was divinely revealed and should be followed literally. They also uphold the oral tradition of the rabbis, which includes the Talmud (a collection of rabbinic writings on Jewish law, ethics, customs, and history).
Orthodox Judaism is the most traditional form of Judaism. It emphasizes close adherence to Jewish law and ritual instead of secular or liberal forms of Judaism. Its adherents view themselves as guardians of authentic Judaism and often look askance at more modern streams of Judaism.
The word “orthodox” comes from the Greekorthodoxos, which means “having the right opinion.” Orthodox Judaism is so named because it adheres to the correct interpretation of Jewish law.
Orthodox Judaism is not a monolithic movement. There are different schools of thought within Orthodoxy, and there is also room for individual interpretation of Jewish law. However, there are certain core beliefs that all Orthodox Jews share.
Some of the most important tenets of Orthodox Judaism include:
- The belief that the Torah was divinely revealed and contained absolute truths that must be followed literally
- The belief in the oral tradition of the rabbis and the Talmud as authoritative sources of Jewish law and wisdom
- The belief that God is omniscient, omnipotent, and benevolent
- The belief in the eventual coming of the Messiah and the redemption of the world
- The belief in the immortality of the soul and life after death
- The observance of Jewish law, including the dietary laws, the laws of ritual purity, and the Sabbath and festival laws
Orthodox Judaism is the largest branch of Judaism, including Hasidic and non-Hasidic groups. Hasidism is a mystical tradition that arose in 18th-century Eastern Europe. Hasidic Jews are characterized by their intense devotion to God and their passion for prayer and study. They often live in insular communities where they can maintain their traditional life.
Non-Hasidic Orthodox Jews, on the other hand, tend to be more modern and open to secular influences. They often live in mixed neighborhoods and send their children to secular schools. Many non-Hasidic Orthodox Jews also work in professions not traditionally associated with Judaism, such as medicine, law, or business.
Orthodox Judaism is the fastest-growing form of Judaism in the world today. It is particularly popular among young people, attracted to its traditional values and practices.
How does Orthodox Judaism differ from other forms of Judaism, and what are the key distinctions between them?
Orthodox Judaism is the most traditional and conservative form of Judaism. It emphasizes strict adherence to Jewish law and tradition instead of more liberal or secular forms of Judaism. Orthodox Jews believe that the Torah (the first five books of the Hebrew Bible) was divinely revealed and should be followed literally. They also uphold the oral tradition of the rabbis, which includes the Talmud (a collection of rabbinic writings on Jewish law, ethics, customs, and history).
One key distinction between Orthodox Judaism and other forms of Judaism is the role of the rabbi. In Orthodox Judaism, the rabbi is not merely a teacher or advisor but an authoritative figure whose rulings on Jewish law are binding. Another key difference is the importance placed on Jewish law. For Orthodox Jews, Jewish law is not merely a set of suggestions or guidelines but an absolute truth that must be followed without exception.