Please or Register to create posts and topics.

Jew and Hindu - brothers forever


Hinduism and Judaism are very similar, not only on a philosophical level, but also on a practical one - such a seemingly paradoxical conclusion was recently reached by rabbi and scholar Alon Goshen-Gotstein. And to prove it, he gave a lot of arguments.

Judaism and Hinduism are the two oldest religions in the world. It's just that one has spread in the West, and the other in the East. Each of them became the basis for a new religious lifestyle. And both of these religions formed the basis of several others at once: Judaism gave rise to Christianity and Islam, and Hinduism to Buddhism, although many followers of Buddha Shakyamuni consider their faith to be completely independent of Hindu influence.

It is noteworthy that the traditions and laws of Judaism and Hinduism are supported by a large array of sacred and ancient texts, provided with some incredible number of comments on them and other works and books created over several millennia, which no other religion can boast of. And in these texts there are many coincidences and close ideas: for example, Kabbalah has a similar teaching in Hinduism, in the spiritual literature of which, in the same way, simply in its own way, such Jewish philosophical concepts as Sefirot, Shekhinah and others are presented.


Rabbi Olivier Benhaim performs Karthik and Mike's Jewish wedding ceremony at the Uptown Hideaway in Seattle.  (Photo by Dan DeLong/Red Box Pictures)


Another common feature is the great importance that is given in both religions to issues related to ritual purity. This also applies to the purity of the body, and the purity of food, and the maintenance of other ritual statuses, which have become a central theme in the daily life of both Jews and Hindus.

An important place in both Judaism and Hinduism is given to the righteous, the spiritual teacher. In one religion he is called a guru, in another - a tzadik, but these roles are largely identical - not so much with words, but with their living example and impeccable behavior to support followers and the entire model of the existence of a religious society.

In Judaism, as in Hinduism, deeds are more important than words and beliefs, even if they are true. This position is fundamentally different from the Christian one, which puts the “correct” belief at the forefront. Judaism and Hinduism emphasize the importance of the deed, giving a person freedom of thought, as well as freedom of opinion and belief.



It is understandable why, with such a breadth of views, both Judaism and Hinduism categorically reject missionary work as such. Both religions are characterized by a categorical rejection of their own missionary activities and a harsh rebuff to missionaries from other religions. Jewish communities have exhibited this practice since the dawn of Judaism itself, and followers of Hinduism adopted it after Christian missionaries developed an active presence in India. By the way, in the search for ways to preserve the self-identification of the people, about ten years ago, India and Israel even organized a number of conferences, during which the Indians were actively interested in the Jewish experience in preserving identity. And the spread of Judaism and Hinduism has always proceeded, in fact, according to similar principles - in closed and isolated groups,

The Land of Israel is sacred in Judaism, and many Jewish laws and traditions are tied not so much to people, seasons, or situations, but to the land. The laws of Hinduism also apply to the geographical boundaries of India and apply equally to believers living in this territory. Interestingly, both in Israel and India, over the past half century, they have managed to solve a seemingly insoluble problem: to fit ancient laws and spiritual traditions into the framework of the existence of modern democratic states with their legislative systems. Hindus and Israelis manage to preserve the traditions and ideals of previous generations, while actively developing the economy, science and building technologies of the future.



Of course, a completely logical question may arise: how is it even possible to compare monotheistic Judaism with Hinduism, whose followers worship many gods-idols? But, firstly, internal similarity can also arise in religions that offer opposite beliefs and even oppose each other - simply because they have a common existential experience. And secondly, the idea that has developed in the world about Hinduism as an open idolatry may not be completely true.

During several meetings held in 2007-2008 in Jerusalem and New Delhi with the participation of leading Israeli rabbis and a Hindu delegation led by the famous theologian Swami Dayananda Saraswati, the gurus revealed to the Jews all aspects of their faith and proved that Hindus also believe in one G-d, but simply pay special attention to His various manifestations. But the main thing that unites Hinduism and Judaism is that both of them contain the ideas of the unity of all religions before the Creator.

Ryan Augustine has reacted to this post.
Ryan Augustine

Both Jews and Hindus wear the Red Thread, and for the same reasons, thus it is a shared tradition for both religions. Though IIRC jews wear the thread on the left wrist while Hindus wear it on the right.

Timothy Fitzpatrick has reacted to this post.
Timothy Fitzpatrick