Understanding of Covenant in Judaism

  • Covenant refers to an agreement between God and His believers. Within Judaism, two significant covenants hold importance: The Covenant with Abraham and the Covenant with Moses (Sinai).

  • The Covenant with Abraham: God promised Abraham both numerous descendants and the land of Canaan. This established Judaism as a faith of the chosen people.

    • Circumcision: This was introduced as a physical symbol of the lasting covenant between God and Abraham’s descendants. This covenant continues to uphold importance in contemporary Judaism.
  • The Covenant with Moses: This is considered the Sinai Covenant, witnessed by the Israelites at Mount Sinai.

    • The Ten Commandments: Given to Moses on Mount Sinai, they form an integral part of this covenant. The Commandments are God’s laws, providing guidance on moral and religious behaviour.

    • The Torah: Mosaic laws form the first five books of the Bible, known as the Torah. They provide further laws and instructions for Jewish life.

  • These covenants affirm that Jews are God’s chosen people. They implicate duties and special responsibilities, reinforcing the importance of the ethical code of conduct.

Impact of Covenant in Jewish Life

  • Jewish practises, such as the circumcision of male infants, reflect adhering to the Covenant with Abraham.

  • Observing the Sabbath and following dietary laws (Kashrut) demonstrates commitment to the Covenant with Moses.

  • Covenant impacts Jewish identity, creating a sense of belonging and distinctive relationship with God.

  • The concept of Tikkun Olam (repairing the world) is inspired by covenantal responsibilities, driving Jews to act ethically and contribute to societal betterment.

  • Covenant reinforces the importance of studying Torah, as it embodies God’s will and instructions for leading Jewish life.