Are Hindus spiritual descendants of the Biblical Abraham? Find out in this class where we explore the many things that Judaism and Hinduism have in common, how our histories have been intertwined for millennia, and why India and Israel are natural allies on the global stage. Also discussed: Are there Lost Tribes of Israel in India? How does Judaism view reincarnation? What are the mystical 72 Names of God? And who was the Talmud’s mysterious Rabbi Yehuda the Hindu?
This week’s parasha, Chukat, begins with a description of the “Red Cow”, parah adumah, alone capable of removing the spiritual impurity of death. Some have described the Red Cow as Judaism’s “holy cow”, and have even compared it to the veneration of cows in Hinduism. The parallel is quite inappropriate, since the Red Cow in Judaism was not at all worshipped or honoured in any way, and it was slaughtered and burned to ashes—something that a Hindu would find reprehensible. Cow slaughter (and beef consumption) is prohibited in Hinduism. At least, this is the case today. In ancient times, Hindus actually did eat beef, and cow sacrifices were an important part of Hindu ritual, just as there are many bovine sacrifices in the Torah. In fact, there are an astounding number of parallels between Hinduism and Judaism.