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Studies of Religion Essay - Module 9

Compare and contrast the religious expression found in Judaism and Christianity.

You are to determine what factors are common in terms of Religious Expression and
practice.

Christianity and Judaism share similarities and differences which dates back to the Christian Era.
This similarities and contrasting differences are significant in prayer, the Shabbat/Sabbath and
meals.

In Christianity, there are many prayers. However, there are two that are the most common and are
known by all who follow the Christian faith. The Lord's Prayer is presented as an outline for an
approach to prayer. This analysis reveals different aspects to the prayer which can be seen to
represent different types of prayer. Furthermore, prayer plays a significant role in the lives of
Christian adherents, which is exemplified through the Morning and Evening prayer. Christians have
been traditionally taught to begin and end each day with prayer and accordingly the pattern of
morning and evening prayer is widely followed. Typically a morning prayer is one of dedication to
God, while the evening prayer is one that thanks God. Similarly, the Jewish community also shares
the same importance of prayer in their lives. Jewish adherents too, have prayer, which they pray in
the morning, afternoon and at night. However, the place where they differed from one another is
not only the amount of time each adherent prays, but also the meaning behind why each adherent
prays in the first place. Judaism had three Patriarchs, Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. Each of these
Patriarchs represented a quality. Abraham served God with kindness and love, Isaac served God
with awe and strict judgement, while Jacob served God with mercy. Moreover, it is writing in the 613
mitzvot serve God with all your heart and all your soul. Jewish adherents follow this
commandment by praying with love, awe and mercy.

In Christianity is called, Sabbath and is also a weekday, however it is held on a Sunday. Christians go
to church and celebrate mass. It is also a day of rest, as stated in the 10 commandments. The
Christian sabbath is on sunday, rather than on saturday. Although both the Shabbat and Sabbath
share similarities, Christians do not take the sabbath as serious as Jews, they do not have set rules
and do not formally prepare for the idea of their rest day. They are only told rather, to keep it holy,
as said in Remember to keep the Sabbath day holy Exodus 20:1-17. For Christians, they do not have
to prepare or settle any affairs as compared to Jews. This impacts their lives as they are only called
to reflect upon God and what he has created and done for them. In Judaism, the Shabbat is
practiced from every friday evening to saturday evening. Specifically at sundown. For adherents,
Shabbat is a precious gift from God, a day of happiness and joy that they eager for throughout the
week. They must put aside all of their weekly concerns and take a break from any work, ensuring
that they devote themselves to their faith. It is primarily a day of rest and a chance to further
enlighten themselves spiritually. For Jews, it has a significant impact on the way they practice. They
have to prepare for the day, ensuring that all affairs are dealt with before it commences.

In Judaism, all meals regardless of it being traditional or not must adhere to the rules of Kashrut, a
set of jewish religious dietary laws. Foods that adhere to the Kashrut are deemed Kosher foods and
may be consumed. Every friday evening, dinner is usually the most popular Shabbat meal. It begins
with a blessing called Kiddush. They would usually eat Challah which is braided bread with wine
which are also blessed. Meat is also a part of their traditional meals. They consider it a luxury and a
special type of food. However, Christians only has the Bread and Wine which symbolises the Body
and blood of Christ. Furthermore, this is only eaten on Sunday when the Sabbath takes place and on
special occasions. This further, contributes to the fact that meals have little significance compared
to significance of meals of a Jewish adherent.

In conclusion, there are a vast majority of similarities and differences that separate the two
religions. However, the differences in prayer, the Shabbat/Sabbath and meals make the two
religion more significant in its own right.