Asking a Jew about the Name "Jehovah"

by David_Jay 14 Replies latest watchtower beliefs

  • David_Jay

    Dropoffyourkeylee asked:

    D J, are therediffering views on this Among Jews, Orthoodox, Reformed, etc?

    This is a difficult question to reply to, but not because the answer is difficult or complicated. It is often because the person asking it is only used to the Christian paradigm of religious thought.

    Judaism is a religion of practice, not of belief or faith. This is the opposite of Christianity where belief in doctrines and continued faith in them is the cornerstone. Denominations in Christianity are separated by differences in belief.

    Differences in Jewish denominations are separated by differences in practice. An Orthodox Jew may often have the same view as a member of Reform Judaism. The differences between an Orthodox Jew and a Reform Jew are how they approach the view they share in common and how they respond to it. Get it?

    Also, denominations were caused by different situations that certain Jews living in certain parts of the world were experiencing. Orthodox Judaism appeals mainly to Ashkenazi Jews of European ancestry, while Conservative Judaism was once the mainstay of middle-American Jews. Reform Judaism came from 19th-century Germany, during a time that the modern world was influencing Jews to make bridges between religious practice and humanistic thinking.

    Today, with the Internet and the awakening of some 10,000 Sephardic Bnei Anusim (Crypto-Jews or descendants of the Jews who were expelled from Spain at the climax of the Spanish Inquisition), post-denominational/post-rabbinical Judaism is becoming the main movement. The three major branches of Judaism you mentioned are all generally Ashkenazi in custom, but the majority of Jews are now Sephardi (Middle-Eastern Mizrahi Jews or Israeli are also considered Sephardic). These European and American styles of worship do not meet the needs of a new generation of Jews in Israel, America, and especially non-Caucasian groups that have customs that differ greatly from the Ashkenazi of Europe. So the present generation is ignoring the denominational lines and picking and choosing what works best for them. They often refer to themselves as "just Jewish."

    This does imply what you may be thinking now: views differ not so much between denominations as they do between individual Jews. And you are right. But what a Jew personally believes has little to do with being Jewish. Judaism is what you do, not what you believe. Your beliefs will influence how you practice Judaism, but that has always been true. Judaism is about the personal wrestling with God and finding ways to interpret Torah in order to bring about Tikkun Olam, or bring genuine, practical healing into the world.

    So expect differing views from Jew to Jew. But there is a general basis they work from, therefore it is often a struggle to compose a very brief reply to some questions. Wasanelder Once is not wrong that the result can be longer than expected. I often have to make sure the non-Jewish reader is not projecting their Christian or Western understanding upon the answer, and even with repeated effort it often doesn't work.

    In other words, for example, your question is a good one but it wouldn't be asked by a Jew. We naturally go around expecting no one to have our exact views or experience with God among ourselves. What we view or believe (or don't believe) is also sometimes disconnected with what we choose to practice too (which can be very difficult to explain to the Western/Christian mind), so my apologies if the replies are long. It is a struggle even from my end.

  • Splash


    Don't ever stop posting.

  • Doubting Bro
    Doubting Bro

    I found this pretty interesting! Thanks for taking the time to post this.

  • Anders Andersen
    Anders Andersen

    Awesome read, both posts. Thanks!

  • dropoffyourkeylee

    D J thanks for your answers

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