Rabbinic Judaism is the Jewish religion along with the expression of Jewish identity. The foundation is the Tanakh, also spelled Tanach (Old Testament) Scriptures, however the religious interpretation and practices center around the teachings of Rabbis (Talmud, also known as Oral Law). Therefore it is called Rabbinic Judaism.
The three main branches of Rabbinic Judaism are Orthodox, Conservative, and Reform. Laws, rules, and traditions are modified or removed, depending on each branch. These all believe that both the Tanakh and the Talmud were revealed to Moses by God on Mount Sinai. Orthodox and Conservative Judaism maintain that the Jewish law (Halakha or Halakkah) should be followed, with Conservative Judaism promoting a more “modern” and less restrictive interpretation of it’s requirements than the Orthodox. Reform Judaism is more liberal and views Jewish law as a set of general guidelines rather than required literal observance.
Other Rabbinic Jewish groups include: Karaite Judaism which maintains that only the written Torah (Tanakh) was revealed to Moses by God (they do not accept the Talmud), Humanistic Judaism which is non theistic (not believing in the existence of God), and Reconstructionist Judaism which believes that Judaism is an “evolving religious civilization” which does not believe in a personified deity that is active in history, and they do not believe that God “chose” the Jewish people.
What is of grave concern is that while there is much beauty in the religious traditions, in the focus on the religion and the religion alone, the meaning of the experience being upheld, why to uphold it, how firmly and perfectly means it was upheld, and where does one go from here, is all unclear. Yet, Tanakh/Hebrew scripture is clear on that there is an eternal destination, and is equally clear that we cannot behave our way there on our own merits. There is a conflict, a dichotomy between the Jewish religion, regardless of which branch or group of Rabbinic Judaism, and what our Hebrew scriptures say.
This brings us to:
Messianic Judaism is the belief system along with the expression of Jewish identity that encompasses both the Tanakh (Tanach, Old Testament (OT) Hebrew Scriptures), and the New Testament (NT, New Covenant, B’rit Chadasha, Greek Scriptures), so 66 books of the Bible in all.
Messianic Judaism is not about being intermarried or the child of an intermarriage and combining two worlds into one, this is for anyone who after delving deep into the scriptures of the Tanakh finds themselves with some pressing questions or the feeling that there might be a missing piece to the puzzle.
The 66 books of the Bible, are the inspired, the only infallible, authoritative Word of God. It is the supreme and final authority on all matters on which it speaks. (Jeremiah 31:30-33 Tanakh [31-34 OT], Jeremiah 32:37-40, Jeremiah 33:14-16, Ezekiel 16:58-63, Ezekiel 36:26-29, Ezekiel 37:21-26, Isaiah 55:3-8, 2 Timothy 3:16-17.)
The Shema, “Hear O Israel, the Lord our God, the Lord is one” (Deuteronomy 6:4), teaches that God is Echad, as so declared: a united one, a composite unity, eternally existent in plural oneness. The three form one as does 1 x 1 x 1 = 1. [Genesis 1:1 (Elohim: God); Genesis 1:26 “Let Us make man in Our image”; Genesis 2:24 Adam & Eve were created to be as one flesh (basar echad), Isaiah 48:16 “Draw near to Me, hearken to this; in the beginning I did not speak in secret, from the time it was, there was I, and now, the Lord God has sent me, and His spirit.“]
The Jewish holidays and traditions are honoring to God, are important for cultural identity, are totally biblical, and often give us a deeper understanding of God and our history. However the focus is not on the “religion” of the holidays…