Ancient religions to Judaism
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- This topic has 88 replies, 20 voices, and was last updated 9 months, 2 weeks ago by Always_Ask_Questions.
August 11, 2022 10:45 pm at 10:45 pm #2114389
Why are there similarities between Hinduism and Judaism or in general Indians and Jews? Some say that Hinduism branched off of other religions and even had some Judaism mixed in it. Others claim Judaism came from Hinduism. Of course we dont believe that we came from other religions but Hinduism is regarded in being more ancient than Judaism, how do we explain similar customs such as Chuppa, going around 7 circles in the Chuppa, Certain names in Torah that are similar to names of Hindu culture and deities, similar teachings and so on. The concept of gilgulim, and many other mystical teachings. I have seen some comments on Israel videos that people bring up these similarities to try to prove that even Judaism came from Hinduism. Ive heard one explanation that the teachings may have come from when Avraham sent Hagar with matanos and those matanos were the secret teachings. How can we dispute that Judaism didnt copy these concepts from Hinduism if supposedly the Hinduism came before Judaism? Any thoughts?August 12, 2022 12:00 am at 12:00 am #2114528
Hinduism changed in great deal over the centuries. Just like the other religions, they copied various Jewish practices that originally they did not do.
Why would you have such doubts to think otherwise, given that there’s no documented record of Hindus practicing the various similar practices to Judaism, prior to Matan Torah?August 12, 2022 12:33 am at 12:33 am #2114531
They have elements of yiddishkeit for the same reason that every old religion did; humanity used to know Torah before idolatry vegan. There was no “start” of Judaism, since Hashem used the Torah to create the world.August 12, 2022 12:33 am at 12:33 am #2114532125 stParticipant
Adam knew everything. He saw from one end of the world to the next. Hinduism just happens to be an ancient expression of ancient religions, but you could say the same about most ancient Middle Eastern ones as well.August 12, 2022 8:07 am at 8:07 am #2114563smerelParticipant
>>>Why are there similarities between Hinduism and Judaism or in general Indians and Jews? etc.
Because certain truths are or were universally recognized. I can think of concepts a lot more central to Judaism than walking around going around 7 circles in the Chuppa that are also found in some other religions religions. It makes a lot of sense that those religions would have independently came to do/say the same thing. And it wouldn’t surprise me n the slightest in it was proven that such things were in practice/in writing before Mattan Torah. Do you expect that every mitzvah and concept in the Torah should be something that does NOT resonate with people and something that no one would ever think of their own as being the right thing to do/correct way the world works?August 12, 2022 8:17 am at 8:17 am #2114585akupermaParticipant
Customs often migrate between cultures. The is human nature.
The major similarity is the belief that the world was created by a Creator, rather than having occurred as a random processes of uncontrolled events, that we are here “on purpose”, and not “by accident”. Presumably we all got that idea from Adam ha-Rishon, who is the closest to having first hand knowledge of the events in question.August 12, 2022 8:29 am at 8:29 am #2114587
“ujm-Why would you have such doubts to think otherwise, given that there’s no documented record of Hindus practicing the various similar practices to Judaism, prior to Matan Torah?”
-There aren’t?August 12, 2022 8:53 am at 8:53 am #2114590
I practice yoga for the physical benefits (mainly joint mobility). I’m not interested in the philosophical side of it, but I’ve been exposed to a little of it in learning yoga, The oldest documents are apparently the Vedas, which were supposedly written 1500–1200 BCE.August 12, 2022 2:04 pm at 2:04 pm #2114594
DovidBT”The oldest documents are apparently the Vedas, which were supposedly written 1500–1200 BCE.”
-isnt that before Torah was written?August 12, 2022 2:04 pm at 2:04 pm #2114596
Avraham sent some kids to the East with gifts and -maybe- told them not to eat cows so that Jews have enoughAugust 12, 2022 2:05 pm at 2:05 pm #2114599
RW: “-There aren’t?”
No, there is not.August 12, 2022 2:07 pm at 2:07 pm #2114601
Dovid: Yoga is pure Avoda Zora.August 12, 2022 2:09 pm at 2:09 pm #2114610leibyParticipant
FIrst of all, they trace parts of the religion to religions 2 thousand years old that trace parts from another older one etc. Secondly, they don,t have a clear central “mythology” only a central focus ie philosophy. Therefore the claim that judaism comes from them is ridiculous on its face as is not even thought of in the academic world that studies far east religions. It seems to just be what happens when you have people that don’t know anything about judaism or hinduism seeing a couple of similarities and becoming “groiser chachomim”.August 12, 2022 3:02 pm at 3:02 pm #2114666
ujm”Dovid: Yoga is pure Avoda Zora.”
-why is it Avoda Zara if you dont say the mantras? How is it different than physical exercise, stretching, or meditating? It helps a lot of people health wise where other things dont.August 12, 2022 4:06 pm at 4:06 pm #2114679
Dovid: Yoga is pure Avoda Zora.
ujm: One of us is an ignoramus, and it’s not me.August 12, 2022 4:06 pm at 4:06 pm #2114683
-isn’t that before Torah was written?
If those dates are accurate, it could precede Hashem’s giving of the Torah to Moses. But I don’t know if the Vedas actually existed then. Even if there’s “proof” they did, that could be part of the stuff Hashem does to test our faith, like dinosaur fossils.August 12, 2022 4:28 pm at 4:28 pm #2114703Frumshmurda718Participant
I heard it was Rav moshe feinstein said yoga is Avoda zara. FACT: The positions that are done in Yoga are for the practitioners to imitate the positions of several different hindu deities, R’L. It is clearly avoda zaraAugust 12, 2022 4:34 pm at 4:34 pm #2114711
DovidBT-“Even if there’s “proof” they did, that could be part of the stuff Hashem does to test our faith, like dinosaur fossils.”
I dont buy that. fossils there are excuses since there was a flood and also possibly the world was created in an advanced age/form. But why would there be wisdom that Judaism believes in that preceded the religion? I never read those books and not sure what they are about aside for the general topics like spells or other “religious wisdoms” which I dont know whats similar to Judaism and whats not.August 12, 2022 4:34 pm at 4:34 pm #2114675
@leiby its interesting that they have 2 names of their leader/deities that are basically derived from Avraham and Sara. I heard a Rabbi once speak of certain similarities in names stating that some come from the sons of Hagar, and that the Brahman religion is really just a stem from Abrahamic religion thats why name is so similar. Minus the idols of course.
But you have to admit the custom of Chuppa and the 7 circles are strikingly similar customs. Also isnt it only an Ashkenaz minhag? I heard Rabbi G. Locks mention that a group of Jews during those times traveled to India and possibly the Hindus learned their customs. Another thing is their names, some could be modern but i’ve seen ariella, shaina, rena and many very Jewish names. Could it be that part of the Hindu population were actually one of the lost Shevatim originally? The fact that Hindus and Jews basically never fought each other and possibly even traded for spices and colored curtains for Beis Hamikdash( I heard) makes it seem that there is something that caused them to be neutral. Yes I agree Hinduism itself isnt as old as the world claims it changed many times and branched off the Sabeans or something like that I think the Rambam mentions if anyone can find the text that would be great. Since Judaism doesnt copy other religions it makes sense that possibly certain customs that are similar to Judaism had been picked up by them once the Torah was already available.
I’ve seen the name Vashti , did Vashti have any indian roots?August 12, 2022 5:19 pm at 5:19 pm #2114741BenephraimParticipant
“yoga” ti umatzasi? you have to believe?August 12, 2022 6:07 pm at 6:07 pm #2114749BenephraimParticipant
It sounds like the H religion is derived from the place הודו, which is of course known. The נ appears in Aramaic cognate. ( same birth).
There is no קדושין in common law so it is hard to say that customs of קדושין are shared.August 12, 2022 6:34 pm at 6:34 pm #2114752
The name starting with H actually mean from/across the river which a what Hebrew means and could explain the roots it was taken from. Apparently some add an S to the beginning of the name claiming that’s the authentic nameAugust 12, 2022 7:09 pm at 7:09 pm #2114755
Dovid: Pleading ignorance that yoga is Avoda Zora doesn’t excuse continuing to practice it.August 12, 2022 7:29 pm at 7:29 pm #2114762
Ujm is it A”Z if you dont say the mantras? why is it different then stretching or exercising?August 12, 2022 7:30 pm at 7:30 pm #2114761
“-isnt that before Torah was written?”
No, the Torah was written before Maaisa Bereishis. It was given to us at Har Sinai in 1313 BCE.
Additionally, those documents do NOT mention any of the things similar to Judaism.August 13, 2022 10:31 pm at 10:31 pm #2114769Shimon NodelParticipant
Where does your question start? Hindus also eat food and breathe air. Does that mean anything at all?August 13, 2022 10:58 pm at 10:58 pm #2114885
No Shimon the question is why would they have certain customs or wisdoms that Jews have if they theoretically are an older religion, unless of course those wisdoms only came to light once Torah was availableAugust 13, 2022 10:58 pm at 10:58 pm #2114887KuvultParticipant
My sons nanny was a Hindu and she was wonderful. Though I’m not sure why when he sees something with many arms or an elephant face he stops and bows.August 14, 2022 12:27 am at 12:27 am #2114892
RW, again, there’s no evidence that they have been doing it since before Matan Torah.August 14, 2022 4:54 am at 4:54 am #2114896
Rav Belsky told me that yoga is assur regardless of intent, since the actions are AZ derived. Mah she’ain kein acupuncture, which he had done to himself. He said that a refuah that may have had some indirect association with avodah zara ideas (not actions) is ok. It would be like if a doctor wrote that the spirits told him that a certain herb helps diabetes.
The psak i know for sure, the reasons i gave above are to the best pf my memory but I’m not 100% certain.August 14, 2022 12:40 pm at 12:40 pm #2115012SaraZipporaParticipant
Saying yoga is kosher is a bit like saying wearing a problematic Indian sheitel is kosher as long as you’re not engaging in AZ while wearing it.August 14, 2022 3:09 pm at 3:09 pm #2115029ParticipantParticipant
To connect walking 7 times around the groom to Judaism, the link would have to be later than the days of Yehoshua Bin Nun entering Jericho.
Shaina would have to have evolved within the past thousand or so years; ariella within the past hundred or so years.August 14, 2022 4:33 pm at 4:33 pm #2115037
R Twersky highly recommended AA despite the religious origin. What if I just stand on my head with crossed over legs – without even knowing where this comes from? Not in shul , of course.
On the other hand, why would one need yoga other than sound fashionable? You can walk for exercise and meditate before davening.August 14, 2022 6:17 pm at 6:17 pm #2115066
AAQ, what religious element does Alcoholics Anonymous have?August 14, 2022 7:29 pm at 7:29 pm #2115068
Alwaysask-“On the other hand, why would one need yoga other than sound fashionable? You can walk for exercise and meditate before davening.”
– i mean there are different types of exercise to target different health issues. Just like there are different medicines. I just heard its helped people idk.August 14, 2022 7:30 pm at 7:30 pm #2115070
is there any issue holding an american express card due to their logo?August 14, 2022 9:26 pm at 9:26 pm #2115075
Ujm, AA started as a religious “non denominational” program and has references to G-d, the way, presumably, they understand Him. Quoting from THE TWELVE STEPS AND JUDAISM article by R Twersky, 1993:
“A.A. is Christian because meetings are held in church basements,” say some. While it is true that the majority of A.A. meetings are in churches, it should also be mentioned that few Jewish facilities have welcomed A.A. … If more rabbis and community leaders would overcome their resistance and denial, there is no question that more meetings will be held in Jewish institutions.
“A.A. meetings involve Christian liturgy,” say others. While A.A. meetings generally close with the Lord’s Prayer, there is no rule in A.A. that precludes substituting a Jewish prayer. While others are reciting the Lord’s Prayer, one may say the 23rd Psalm or any other Jewish prayer.
“All the available literature on spirituality in recovery has Christian origins,” is another common complaint. Like the first objection, this is not inherent in A.A… lack of awareness about alcoholism among Jews is responsible for the absence of literature on spirituality.
He then goes thru 12 steps, explaining how each of them fits into Judaism, such as:
Step Two: Came to believe that a Power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity. The Talmud states “A person’s temptations becomes more intense each day, and were it not that God helps him, it would be impossible for him to resist.” (Sukkah, 52b). This statement is universal, applying to all people, great or small, wealthy or poor, learned or unlearned.
Step Five: Admitted to God, to ourselves, and to another human being the exact nature of our wrongs. All the works of Jewish moralists and ethicians are replete with need for cheshbon hanefesh.
Step Nine: Made direct amends to such people wherever possible, except when to do so would injure them or others. The Shulchan Aruch, or Code of Jewish Law, states that all the atonement possible is ineffective if an individual has harmed another, unless forgiveness from the victim has been sought. If the wrong action resulted in financial loss, then adequate restitution is required.
He ends with a statement pertinent to a lot of threats here:
It has been said that new ideas often have a three-stage course. At first, the idea is thought to be anti-Jewish. Then it is decided it may be compatible with Jewishness after all. Finally, it is declared that Jews thought of it first. This theory notwithstanding, it is difficult to see how anyone can point to any conflict between A.A. philosophy and Judaism.August 14, 2022 9:29 pm at 9:29 pm #2115077
Dr twerski didn’t say it was religious based. He was answering to people who said it was.
I’ve heard him speak on it several times, your attempt to parallel it with a religious based practice like yoga is way offAugust 14, 2022 10:30 pm at 10:30 pm #2115091
Syag, I agree – he is saying that others are saying so and he is responding. I find an interesting nekudah in his explanation: some people are looking for an excuse to not deal with the problem, and saying AA is not kosher is just an easy way for them to deny … In other places, he makes a point relevant to many entrenched positions here, whether on politics or anything else: the smarter the person is, the easier it is for him to convince himself in the correctness of his ways despite all the evidence to the contrary. The smart person can always explain the facts away.
Back to yoga, I don’t know enough to know how much “non-denominational” value is there. I just feel there is no urgent need to consider kashering it, other than keeping up with the Joneses/Cohens. you can walk, bike, swim, do calisthenics, I never heard of diseases that yoga is the only way to deal with. I typed “yoga cure for” into google and first suggestion was “diabetes”, it is all about relaxation and mindfulness, something that a Jewish person could achieve within the Jewish tradition. Without eating sugary cakes, in this case.August 14, 2022 10:32 pm at 10:32 pm #2115102
While vital for addicts and very powerful, AA’s philosophy isn’t normative judaism and representative of milchemes hayetzer. From what I’ve seen, addicts are taught that they’re not fighting the yatzer hora anymore, but are fighting a disease in their minds which can be cured by submitting to a higher power.
Christian theology is replete with “we’re all sinners” and that the only way to salvation is through their savior, not through keeping the mitzvos. This is the essence of Pauline doctrine; gone is the covenant of “acts” and now is the covenant of “by your faith, be it”.
So they learned in church that you’re hopeless, up for eternal damnation and unable to reach God on your own without their mamzer. They applied it to their situation and in that one instance, where someone is addicted, the idea of hopelessness and submission works. And for this condition it works wonders.
Judaism says that you have bechirah, and are held to task for your decisions. “It is not a distant matter for you”, the Torah is reachable, and is not, as christians say, unattainable and too high a standard to demand of people (they actually say that the whole teason for the torah is to show israel that they couldn’t do it and need faith alone…afra lepumayhu)
In fighting the yatzer hora, we don’t just give it all up to Hashem. We fight. And we fight like our life depends on it… because it does. Part of that fight is davening, and there’s a guarantee that Hashem will help. Yes,the YH is stronger than a person, but do not mistake heavenly aid with submission and feeling helpless. If you don’t feel helpless about going to work, you shouldn’t feel helpless about fighting a regular YH.August 14, 2022 10:32 pm at 10:32 pm #2115103
Of course, one who needs to use AA methods isn’t, chash veshalom, doing something christian – he’s not praying to yushke, or submitting to him, or even serving Hashem the way they would lehavdil. There’s no avodah zara intrinsically in AA methods, rather a mistaken idea that humanity as a whole and every milchemes hayetzer is to be fought that way.
But he is copying one element of how Christians view humanity as a whole, while really they’re only correct about people with a specific mental health condition. Many false religiona take an idea that’s limited and apply it too broadly.
This is why i disagree with rabbi twersky z”l. He seemed to want to incorporate this idea into the mainstream, seeing the success he had with addicts. He meant well, but that is not the mesorah.August 14, 2022 10:38 pm at 10:38 pm #2115113
Avira – you are obviously and thankfully very unfamiliar with AA. I just wish you wouldn’t write long yirichus of explanations and meanings when it’s something you don’t know. It leaves people with wrong information.August 14, 2022 11:04 pm at 11:04 pm #2115116
I believe you’re referring to arichus, and I’m not rashi. It’s not one of my strongsuits.August 15, 2022 12:04 am at 12:04 am #2115124Shimon NodelParticipant
@rightwriter that’s exactly my point! People also ate food and did many things before matan Torah. It means absolutely nothingAugust 15, 2022 12:06 am at 12:06 am #2115127
My apology to R Twersky that my quoting him caused a poster to disregard the Rav’s long-held position (confirmed by his many years of practicing psychology). The poster is obviously having mixed feeling as he is. one one hand, avoiding capitalizing the names and title of people he disagrees with, and on the other hands does use proper honorifics and z’ls. So, yesh tikva, maybe time for PA (Poster Anonymous). Anyway, R Twersky was a humble person, but in my opinion, his books are even a better guide for any Jewish person looking for AA or any kind of middos improvement. If you are afraid of thick volumes, you can start with his pshat on Peanuts cartoons.August 15, 2022 1:36 am at 1:36 am #2115140
Also should mention that im not dismissing rabbi twerskys opinion; i feel it was a pious error that an eved Hashem made based on his experiences with addicted individuals. He’s far more of an eved Hashem and baal middos than i am, and I’m sure his intentions were pure as can be.August 15, 2022 1:37 am at 1:37 am #2115139
AAQ – here i was thinking that my honorifics were clear..
I often don’t capitalize names of gedolei hador and my own rebbeim. I used to not capitalize Hashem until reb e convinced me to.
I use rabbi for people who either are run-of-the-mill shul rabbis, speakers, community figures, etc..or controversial rabbis who were big in learning, like rabbi hershel shechter, rabbi kook, rabbi yoshe ber soloveitchik, etc.. because i don’t want to call them “rav”, since that term implies authority and authenticity, whereas rabbi is a general term which isn’t disrespectful, but shows a modicum of torah stature.
Z”l I don’t give much though into; i think i used it by rabbi twersky(here called such because he was a rabbi but not a posek, rosh yeshiva, or gadol batorah) because i was disagreeing with someone who did a lot of good for klal yisroel, and his memory is indeed a blessing.August 15, 2022 1:45 am at 1:45 am #2115143
Of course you aren’t dismissing his words, you would have to understand them first. Your arrogance is once again showing in your ‘honorably’ calling him erring on a subject you have no knowledge of. As if you are his superior pondering his opinions.August 15, 2022 2:29 am at 2:29 am #2115145
I don’t need to be someone’s superior in mussar to identify mussar ideas and where something deviates from the mesorah. Rabbi twersky was very knowledgeable in psychology, but that doesn’t mean he was incapable of making an error in hashkofa. Bigger people than him have made bigger mistakes in hashkofa (ralbag, for instance) and we don’t discount them as individuals.August 15, 2022 2:29 am at 2:29 am #2115146
I think when someone has studied mussar and hashkofa, and spent time with gedolei yisroel, they are capable of having opinions on mussar/milchemes hayetzer that differ from torah-learned psychologists. I don’t think that’s disrespectful, or arrogant in any way.
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