A little helping hand please??

Discussion in 'Judaism' started by ArtLoveMusic, Dec 29, 2004.

  1. ArtLoveMusic

    ArtLoveMusic Senior Member

    Heya all.
    I am an athiest..i guess ... well i have my own set of theories and ideas but no faith or beleif (some would say this is a sad thing however i revel in the fact that it means i can enjoys the faith which everyone else has in their own seperate religions without condeming their beleifs as "wrong")
    I am ALSO a visual Artist, studying visual arts and university. A task we have been set over this winter solstice holiday is to look into a religion which we have been given. Ive been put into a group with 2 other people to study Judaism. I'm incredibly interested in all religions and have looked off my own back into paganism, wicca and other pagan religions (due to having been brough up around the hippy pagan people) but i also know a bit about christianity and budhism. However Judaism is something i know very little about.
    I know about the persecution of the Jews in the world war.
    I know that you follow the old testiment of the bible but not the new testiment ,and i THINK that you dont beleive Jesus was the son of God but do accept him to have been a phrophet?? (unsure about that)
    Im also terrible with politics and someone mentioned that anything in the papers to do with happenings in Pallestine has referance to the Jewish religion.

    To cut this slightly short basically when i get back to university im going to be creating an instalation piece, and something tells me it might be to do with these religions we have been assigned.
    I was wondering if any of you could give me some information about beleifs, festival and celebrations (which is something i have a great interst in as that where i hope to spend my future, creating and helping with communal festivals) also traditional Jewish weddings, funerals etc etc
    Also i find a great interest in meditation and medative songs and hymns and was wondering if the Jewish religion comntained traditional song or chants? i know christianity have hymns, budhism have chanting and songs etc etc.

    So basically id like to know ..everything and anything you can tell me :) Its all of great interest and would be welcomed with open arms :)

    Also i read in one of the posts on here "YHVH" what do these letters stand for (i hazard a guess as they are a term to refrence to the "God" which you follow?)

    llama love, peace and light
    Fleassy xox
     
  2. BlackGuardXIII

    BlackGuardXIII fera festiva

    First, the novel, "The Source", by James Michener is full of information about Judaism, Middle Eastern history, and Israel.
    It is a novel, but Michener does exhaustive research on his topics, and inserts as much information about them as he can.
    The movie, "Kadosh", shows what life as a present day fundamentalist Israeli might be like. Though I found it very dull, I learned from it.
     
  3. the dauer

    the dauer Member

    Hi. I'll try to help.

    We do follow the Old Testament, which we call the Tanakh (acronym for the names of the three parts of the canon in hebrew) and we usually do not say Old Testament because we don't believe there is anything new. We also follow the Talmud (mostly law) and there are other Jewish collections like midrash (stories that answer question about the text) a number of very important commentators, some mystical texts, etc. The word Torah in Judaism can refer to any text that comes from Torah which means there are still things being written today.

    Jesus has no role in our religion. Islam believes Jesus was a prophet.

    There are some English Israeli papers available online like Jerusalem Post that might be good for current events as witnessed in Israel.

    A good place to start is

    www.myjewishlearning.com

    as that will give you views from many different perspectives. For a traditional, Orthodox perspective try

    www.jewfaq.org

    Jewish prayers are usually in Hebrew. There is a standard prayer service traditionally said three times most days that varies depending on the occasion. There are also prayers for special occasions, like seeing a natural wonder, or eating something (different depending on the food) or doing something for the first time in a year. The two most important prayers in a service are the Shema and its blessings and the Amidah. There is also sometimes a Torah service, which is important. Some of this can be like a meditation, but there is also Jewish meditation, which is another topic entirely.

    If you have any more specific or clarifying questions, feel free to ask.

    YHVH or YHWH is an English approximation of the four-letter name of God in Hebrew, which is not pronounced. Usually we would write Hashem instead, but God is a word used by Jews to. Traditionally Jews consider the Jewish God to be the God of everything, who entered into a specific covenant with the Jewish people. Either way, we do consider our God to be everyone's God.


    Dauer
     
  4. ArtLoveMusic

    ArtLoveMusic Senior Member

    thank you very veyr much thats was wonderfull :)

    Would asking some people to recount some moments when they really felt their faith overwhelm them pe a far to personal question? one of my best friends is a deep christian and also a beautiful musician, even though i dont beleive in what he does to me he oozes faith and magic when he plays his music, its at that moment he feels close to his god and it shows because he just looks so full of life. I was wondering if you could describe moments and times when you have felt like that :)
    Thank you again for your help its much appreciated.

    Llama love and light
    Fleassy xox
     
  5. the dauer

    the dauer Member

    Judaism is a very communal religion and I don't think it would be presumptuous of me to say that typically an experience of closeness to God is in a setting of communal activity such as a religious festival or time of prayer, and also in carrying out a mitzvah between man and man by doing tzedakah(similar to charity, but as a matter of justice more than coming specifically from the heart, not that these things don't come from the heart, but that is not held to be the most important motivator) studying together, teaching children, etc.

    Personally it is these types of situations where I feel closest to God, particularly in group prayer, group study, and any acts of tikkun olam, healing the world. Sometimes I also feel close to God when I am surrounded by nature. It helps to instill a more easily graspable awe.

    I hope someone else will respond to this and help balance my post because I don't know if it is more biased in a particular direction.

    Dauer

    I realized you were looking for a description.

    Well, I was praying on Shabbat morning so intently that I was not aware of my being the pray-er. I was the prayer.

    Every week I try to put a little money in my tzedaka box. When I do so I get a very strong sense of God's presence in the world and of my potential to play a role in the repair of the world.

    When I meditate on the Tetragramatton, I have a strong sense of God.

    If I go out of my way to help someone just because, then too I get a sense of God.

    These perceptions of God aren't all the same. Prayer and meditation are different from the sense I get in right-action.

    Dauer
     
  6. ArtLoveMusic

    ArtLoveMusic Senior Member

    This line is the line which really interests me. How do you go about meditationg. Do you do it in yoga form? prayer form? ritual form? Is there a process of thought which you go through as you begin to meditate?

    When you are in the state of meditation where does your mind take you, is it just an empty, light floatyness or is it full of thoughts, words moments, wished, prayers? What does that moment when you first feel the presance of your god so close to you actually feel like?? (sorry if they are hard questions to answer but you have to understand i dont have a faith and my comprehension of this is hard to grasp. the closest i get to faith is my beleif in love,.. and the moments when my whole body mind soul and spirit say to me "wow.. you love all. this is love.. life is beautiful, this person is bautifull" or something similar))

    Also can you name some communal Jewish fesitvals i could look into??

    Thank you so so so much.
    Do you mind if i use this information withing my prooject? it would probably only be pasted into my sketch book and used for research but there is always a chance with visual arts that your words actually become part of the installaton... if you have any problems with this pleae let me know.

    Much love light and power
    Fleassy xox
     
  7. the dauer

    the dauer Member

    There are different forms of Jewish meditation. Some meditation involves filling the mind, in order to silence the part that says "me" and become more aware of the God's presence in the world, of the Divine sparks that are hidden behind the kelipah, the shell that hides the Godness filling everything. This is actually pro-active, because through the fulfillment of the mitzvot it is understood that these sparks can be raised. There is also contemplative meditation which serves the same purpose. I have been doing the second kind. For the point in my breathing before I inhale i focus on the yod. As I breathe in I focus on the first heh. I focus on the vav while holding. As I exhale I focus on the second heh. The letters themselves are each packed with a lot of significance, each standing for one of the four worlds, a different level of conciousness, etc.

    There are other meditations that are very different. The Breslover Rebbe suggested talking to God for an hour each day as a meditation. Study can also be a meditation. In Judaism study is a very important form of worship. Any positive mitzvah can actually be turned into a meditation.

    I should make it clear that meditative practice is not the norm currently, but that there is a rich tradition of it in Judaism's past and it is more common among some groups -- Hasidism, Jewish Renewal -- than others.

    I try to just let go of any thoughts that come to my head. I don't force anything. I just leave my mind on the letters.

    Sukkot, Simchat Torah, Purim, Passover, Shabbat. myjewishlearning has much information on each of these days.

    I don't mind at all.


    Dauer
     
  8. Kharakov

    Kharakov ShadowSpawn

    For me, meditation is loosing my own intent, quieting my inner voice. All of the sudden, God will speak to me from somewhere deep inside- I will snap back into consciousness with the words God has spoken. Sometimes I see and feel beauty that is not of this world, sometimes the meditation takes me to a serene place. Meditation is a walk inside my soul, without touching it (my soul).
     
  9. ArtLoveMusic

    ArtLoveMusic Senior Member

    Again thank you so so much. Anyone else who feels like saying ANYTHING about you religion (be it facts about the religion as a whole or personal experiances) im gratefull for everything. And if you think of anything else you want to add yourself Dauer then go ahead, you have been a great help already :)
    Much love and light
    Fleassy xox
     

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