Founded by Abraham around 1812 BC in the Middle East, Judaism is a monotheistic religion of the Jewish people. It is reported that there are a total of 17 million Jews, making it the tenth largest religion in the world right now. It is now the year of 5770 on the Jewish calendar, and Judaism has had such a rich history with so many impactful historical events. The establishment of the covenant, the writing of the Talmud, and the holocaust are three specific times that I feel have impacted the history of Judaism the most.
The first major event, or series of events, that happened in the history of Judaism was the creation of the convenential relationship with God. The history of the Jewish people began during the Bronze Age in the Middle East when God promised a nomad leader named Abraham that he would be the father of a great people if he did as God told him. The followers of Judaism regard Abraham as the first Patriarch of the Jewish people. At the time, there were many faiths but there was never one that believed in only one god.
Abraham was introduced first in the book of Genesis which stated, “I will make you a great nation, And I will bless you; I will make your name great, And you will be a blessing, I will bless those who bless you, And whoever curses you I will curse; And all the peoples of the earth, Will be blessed through you.” (Genesis 12:1-3) It is said that when he was given this command, Abraham began to do god’s work. According to the bible, Abraham was humanity’s last chance to establish a relationship with God. Abraham was a man of extreme faith, having even offering his son, Isaac, as a sacrifice to God for no given reason.
At the last minute, God sacrifices a Ram instead of Isaac. This solidified a bond between God and Abraham known as the covenant. And then God once again reinstates his promises to Abraham of land, descendents and a personal relationship. The covenant is a promise or a relationship with god that originated with Abraham, but is now a main part of Jewish practice. The establishment of the covenant was the first and perhaps the most important single event in the history of Judaism.
The Talmud is one of the most important works for the Jewish people. According to Ronald H. Isaacs in A Taste of Text: An Introduction to the Talmud and Midrash, “ It is the record of rabbinic teachings that spans a period of about six hundred years, beginning in the first century C.E. and continuing through the sixth and seventh centuries C.E.”
In the Talmud, the rabbinic teachings provide in great detail how the commandments of the Torah are to be carried out. The Talmud is actually made up of two different works, the Mishnah and the Gemara. It is also stated that the tamuld had its final editings most likely undertaken by Ravina in 500 C.E. Also according to Ronald H. Isaacs in A Taste of Text: An Introduction to the Talmud and Midrash, “As the earliest rabbinic interpretation of the Bible, the Talmud is indispensable to understanding the laws and customs still practiced today.
The Talmudic discussion and its conclusions provide us with the origins of our many laws and customs.” It is stated in the Bible that the Talmud is indispensable, that means it’s absolutely necessary and cannot be lived without. If the Jewish people have so much belief in the Talmud, the creation of the Talmud must be held high as one of the most significant moments in the history of Judaism. So as the Jewish sage Ravina was finalizing the scriptures of the Talmud, this has to be one of the most significant events in the history of Judaism if we take into regards as how significant the Talmud is to the Jewish people.
Another major event that took place in Jewish history was a quite tragic one. The Holocaust was the mass murder of millions of Jews by the German Nazi party, led by Adolf Hitler, during time time of World War II. Although there were many restrictions being put upon the Jewish people by the Nazi Regime, the Holocaust did not reach its pinnacle until 1940 when it was ordered that the Jews are to be put into concentration camps.
From 1940 to 1945, the mass murder of the Jewish people was commenced by the Nazis. Nearly 7 out of 10 Jews living in Europe at the time were killed. According to a fairly new study done my Matthew Day from The Telegraph, “ Up until now, the Holocaust is thought to have consumed between five and six million Jews, with an estimated further six million other people also murdered by the Nazi regime.
The new figures of 15 to 20 million, which have astonished some Holocaust historians.” In 1945 Hitler was defeated and World War II came to an end in Europe. The time period of the Holocaust almost wiped out the whole Jewish religion, making it the largest mass genocide in human history. This horrible event has impacted the Jewish people tremendously, and will always be remembered.
From the creation of Judaism to now, there has been many significant events that have impacted the religion. The establishment of the covenant, the writing of the Talmud, and the Holocaust are perhaps the three most significant events or time periods in the history of Judaism. The first monotheistic religion, Judaism is a religion that will have an impact on the world for centuries to come.
- Day, Matthew. “Nazis May Have Killed up to 20m, Claims ‘Shocking’ New Holocaust Study.” The Telegraph, Telegraph Media Group, 4 Mar. 2013, www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/europe/germany/9906771/Nazis-may-have-killed-up-to-20m-claims-shocking-new-Holocaust-study.html.
- Goldenberg, Robert. “Why Do Jews Study Talmud?” My Jewish Learning, www.myjewishlearning.com/article/why-do-jews-study-talmud/.
- Isaacs, Ronald H. “The Talmud.” ReformJudaism.org, 19 Jan. 2017, reformjudaism.org/talmud.
- Remember.org – The Holocaust History – A People’s and Survivors’ History. Edited by Michael Declan Dunn, 25 Apr. 95AD, remember.org. Accessed 28 Feb. 2018.