Judaism as an ancient
religion resembles Hinduism in a number of respects. Ancient Judaism
employed similar fire offerings as the Vedic religion. Its emphasis
on Torah or the law is similar to the Hindu emphasis on Dharma. It
has actively promoted mysticism in its Kabbalistic tradition, which
contains an honoring of the Goddess. In fact some Jewish mystics
teach karma and rebirth and promote yogic like teachings and
practices, including non-violence.
In terms of social
practices, the Jews like the Hindus are a tolerant religion, not
promoting conversion, and a culture, not merely a belief system.
They have never sent armies on crusades and holy wars or sought to
impose their religion on others by the force of arms or propaganda,
like Christians and Muslims. The Jews respect other religions, even
those who follow very different practices, and do not claim that
their's is the only true religion.
Historically there was trade
between ancient Israel and India, via the Phoenicians, particularly
during the reign of King Solomon, the most famous Jewish king.
During the second millennium BC Syria was under the rule of the
Mittani, an Indo-European people worshipping Vedic Gods, so some
exchange of ideas even at that time might have been possible. Later
some Jewish communities went to India where they found protection.
There has been a long interchange between Hinduism and Judaism.
The main difference between
Hinduism and Judaism is theological, with the Jews being opposed to
the use of images that most Hindus use. However there are Hindu
groups, like the Arya Samaj, who also oppose the use of images. In
this respect Hinduism can include traditions like the Jewish as one
line of approach. Hinduism as a religion has no real quarrel with
Judaism, though unfortunately modern India under leftist and Islamic
influence has not properly supported Israel, though the two
countries have many common causes.