The Beliefs of Judaism The central teachings of Judaism are contained in the Torah, which makes up the first five books of the Hebrew Bible. The Torah contains the Ten Commandments, along with other teachings handed down by God to Moses.
The first commandment is central to Judaism. It says, “You shall have no other gods before Me.” This law reminds Jews of their promise to worship only one God. Judaism transmitted the idea of monotheism to the rest of the world. It contrasted with the polytheism [polytheism: the worship of multiple gods],or worship of many gods, which was typical of other religions at the time.
Another commandment requires Jews to set aside a holy day each week, called the Sabbath, for rest and prayer. This requirement later became a custom among Christians, too.
Other commandments in the Torah lay down moral values. One says, “Honor your father and mother.” Others forbid stealing, lying, or murdering. The Torah says that Jews have a responsibility to live by God’s moral teachings and make them known to the world.
Judaism also stresses the importance of equality and social justice. It teaches that God considers all people equal and says that people should be treated fairly. One passage says, “You shall open wide your hand to your brother, to the needy and to the poor.” Caring for less fortunate people in society is a basic value in Judaism.