Purity and Truth.
Judaism furthermore is the law of purity. Heathenism by its orgiastic cults of Baal-peor, Astarte, and the like, fostered impurity and incest (Lev. xviii. 3, 24-30; Num. xxv. 1-9; Deut. iv. 3). The Torah warns against fornication, and teaches purity of heart and of action (Num. xv. 39; Deut. xxiii. 18-19, xxiv. 15; Prov. vii. 5-27; Job xxxi. 1), because God is too pure to tolerate unchastity in man or in woman (see Holiness; Purity). Judaism resents every act of lewdness as "nebalah" = "villainy" (Gen. xxxiv. 7, 31; Deut. xxii. 21; Judges xix. 24; II Sam. xiii. 12; see Folly), and most severely condemns lascivious talk (Isa. ix. 16; Shab. 33a).
Judaism is, moreover, the law of truth. Its God is the God of truth (Jer. x. 10). "The seal of the Holy One is truth" (Gen. R. lxxxi.; see Alpha and Omega). Abraham, Moses, Jeremiah, Job, and Ḳohelet wrestled with God in doubt until He revealed Himself to them in a higher form (Gen. xviii. 25; Ex. xxxii.-xxxiii.; Jer. xii. 1; Job xxxi. 35). And as the Prophets had perfect faith in God as the God of truth and therefore shrank from hypocrisy (Yer. Ber. vii. 11c), so did all the Jewish philosophers show perfect confidence in truth while boldly expressing their lofty views concerning the Deity and divesting God of every trace of Anthropomorphism and Anthropopathism and of every attribute infringing upon the spirituality and unity of God. It was, says the Talmud, the last will of Canaan that his children should not speak the truth and should love lasciviousness (Pes. 113b). "The Torah of Moses is truth" and "desires men to speak the truth and assent to the truth, even as God Himself assents to the truth when honestly spoken"; for "Upon truth rests the world" (B. B. 74a; Ps. xv. 2; Ab. R. N. xxxvii.; Ab. i. 18). This honest search for truth made Judaism, indeed, the world's great power for truth as well as for righteousness.
Judaism promotes and fosters education and culture. In contrast to such systems of faith as foster ignorance of the masses, it renders it a duty for the father to instruct his children and for the community to provide for the general instruction of old and young (see Education; Philosophy). It sanctifies labor, and makes the teaching of a trade whereby a livelihood may be earned a duty incumbent upon the father or upon the municipal authority (see Labor, Holiness of). It makes the systematic care of the poor a duty of the community with a view to the dignity and self-help of the recipient (See Charity). It denounces celibacy as unlawful, and enjoins each man to build a home and to contribute to the welfare of human society (see Marriage). The high priest in Israel was not allowed to officiate on the Day of Atonement unless he had a wifeliving with him (Yoma i. 1; comp. Ta'an. ii. 2). It enjoins love of country and loyalty to the government, no matter how unfriendly it be to the Jew (Jer. xxix. 7; Ab. iii. 2; Ket. 111a; see Patriotism).
Judaism is a religion of joy, and it desires that man should rejoice before God and gratefully enjoy all His gifts, at the same time filling other hearts with joy and thanksgiving. Especially are its Sabbath and festal days seasons of joy with no austerity about them. Judaism discourages asceticism (see Asceticism; Joy).