This comparison chart examines the religious beliefs, practices, teachings, principles and philosophies of Hinduism and Judaism.

Comparison chart

Hinduism versus Judaism comparison chart
Edit this comparison chartHinduismJudaism
Place of worship Temple (Mandir) Synagogues, Western Wall of the Temple in Jerusalem
Place of origin Indian Subcontinent The Levant
Practices Meditation, yoga, contemplation, yagna (communal worship), offerings in the temple. Prayers 3 times daily, with a fourth prayer added on Shabbat and holidays. Shacarit prayer in the morning, Mincha in the afternoon, Arvit at night; Musaf is an extra Shabbat service.
Use of statues and pictures Common Ancient times: Not allowed as it is considered Idolatry. Today, great artwork is encouraged. Statues of people are fine, but not as religious icons.
Belief of God Many gods, but realize that they all come from Atman. Only one God (monotheism). God is the one True Creator. God has always existed, none existed before him and will exist forever. He transcends life and death.
Founder Not credited to a particular founder. Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, and Moses
Goal of religion To break the cycle of birth, death and reincarnation, and attain salvation. To celebrate LIFE! To fulfill the Covenant with God. Do good deeds. Help repair the world. Love God with all your heart. Strong social justice ethic.
Life after death A constant cycle of reincarnation until enlightenment is reached. World to come, Reincarnation (some groups); unifying with God, there are different opinions and beliefs
Clergy No official clergy. Gurus, Yogis, Rishis, Brahmins, Pundits, priests, priestesses, monks, and nuns. Ancient times: Hereditary privileged priest class--Kohen and Levi. Present day: Religious functionaries like Rabbis, Cantors, Scribes, Mohels.
Human Nature Depends on sects. You must choose good from bad. You are responsible for your actions, not thoughts.
Scriptures Vedas, Upanishad, Puranas, Gita. Smrti and Sruti are oral scriptures. Tanakh (Jewish Bible) , Torah.
Literal Meaning The followers of Vedas are called as Arya, noble person. Arya is not a dynasty, ethnicity or race. Anyone who follows the teachings of Vedas is considered Arya. A Jew (Hebrew: יְהוּדִי, Yehudi (sl.); יְהוּדִים, Yehudim (pl.); Ladino: ג׳ודיו, Djudio (sl.); ג׳ודיוס, Djudios (pl.); Yiddish: ייִד, Yid (sl.); ייִדן, Yidn (pl.))[1] is a member of the Jewish people/ethnicity.
Means of salvation Reaching enlightenment by the Path of Knowledge, the Path of devotion, or the Path of Good Deeds. Through belief in God, good deeds, complete faith.
Marriage Man may marry one woman. However, kings in mythology often married more than one woman. Ancient times: unlimited polygamy with concubinage. In modern times, monogamy officially since 1310 AD.
Holy days/Official Holidays Diwali, Holi, Janmashtami, Ganesh Chaturthi, etc. Sabbath, Rosh HaShanah, Yom Kippur, Sukkot, Simchat Torah, Chanukah, Tu BiShvat, Purim, Passover, Lag BaOmer, Shavout. Holidays given by God or historical events, Israeli holidays. Holocaust remembrance.
Original Language(s) Sanskrit Hebrew. Every word has a 3 letter root word. Yiddish: part Hebrew, part German/East European language. Sephardic: part Hebrew, part Arabic language.
Geographical distribution and predominance Mainly in India and Nepal. Existing in Israel for 1500 years, but the Romans in 70 AD kicked all Jews out. Jews are dispersed all over the world, at one time present in almost every country. Now the majority live in Israel, USA, Canada, Russia, France, England.
Confessing sins Repentance for unintentional sins are prescribed, but intentional sins have to be repaid through karmic consequences. Ancient times: there was a sin offering for individuals. Today people individually repair their sins. On Yom Kippur, they confess sins, and ask forgiveness from God. But also they must ask forgiveness directly from any people they may have wronged.
Followers Hindus. Jews
View of other Dharmic religions They believe that Buddhists, Jains, & Sikhs should reunite with Hinduism(which is the original Dharmic religion). N/A.
View of the Buddha Some Hindu sects claim Buddha was an avatar of Vishnu. Others believe he was a holy man. N/A.
Goal of Philosophy Salvation, freedom from the cycle of birth and reincarnation. To live a proper and Holy Life. To appreciate Life in every way. To do Good Deeds. To live Ethically. To make choice based on Free Will. Universal Education for every Jew; to study, learn. read and write.
About Devotion to the various gods & goddesses of Hinduism. Judaism is created by Abraham 2000 BCE and his descendants of Issac and Jacob. The Law: the 10 Commandments was given to Moses (and 600 000 Jews who left Egyptian slavery) in c, 1300 BCE to return to Israel and follow God's will.
Symbols Om, Swastika, etc. Star of David, Menorah.
God's role in salvation Beliefs vary by sect. Upanishads (scripture) say God chooses who gets salvation. Salvation is attained via good deeds and righteousness (following the "dharma" and avoiding sin) Divine revelation of God's law and to judge man's actions. Good deeds, and righteousness. Each New Year, during Yom Kippur, Jews fast and pray for forgiveness from God, and if accepted, are written into the Book of Life, for the next year.
Belief Diverse beliefs depending on sects. Jewish central belief is that they have chosen to follow the commandments of the One True God and God will look out for them in return. Every man is equal. Jews believe a Messiah coming and proof will be an end to war and hunger all over the world.
Religious Law Dharma shastras Halakhah. Ethics. Commandments. 613 mitzvahs to be followed. Charity. Prayer. Rabbinical rulings with minority opinions. Debate very important part of system. Debate is encouraged in schools. Part of Bible addresses specific laws for everyday life.
Place and Time of origin Indian Subcontinent, beginning with the Vedic civilization circa 3000 BC 1500 BC, Middle East. Religion formed over several centuries; was codified during the Babylonian exile. Literacy is encouraged to read Bible. Jews replaced animal sacrifice with prayer in Diaspora, after Romans destroyed Jerusalem Temple in 70 AD
Day of worship Orthodox schools prescribe three prayer times a day: at dawn, noon and dusk. Friday at sunset through Saturday sunset, is the Sabbath, THE most Holy Day (yes, all 52 of them). Taking time off from work, once a week, was invented by Judaism. It is more Holy than any other holiday, and is spent in contemplation and prayer.
Branches Shaivism and Vaishnavism Religious: Orthodox, Conservative, Reform, Renewel, Reconstruction. Traditions: Sephard, (Spain, Arab countries, Turkey). Ashkenazi: (Europe, Russia). MIzrachi: (Iraq, Persia, India).
Authority of Dalai Lama N/A. N/A.
Use of statues Allowed Forbidden to use in religion
Promised Holy one. Kalki, the 10'th avatar of Vishnu. Belief in the Coming of a Messiah.
Second coming of Jesus N/A. Not part of liturgy.
Status of Vedas Vedas are generally regarded as sacred in Hinduism. Post-Vedic texts like the Gita are also revered. N/A.
Status of Muhammad N/A. N/A.
Names of God Brahman and many other names in other languages HaShem, Adonai,
Prophets No prophets, but Rishis could be considered equivalent in Vedic times. Avataras of Vedic God are different from human reincarnations, but could be considered equivalent to Christian idea of God in flesh. Moses, and the subsequent Prophets of Israel as told in the Jewish Bible (Tanakh).
Position of Mary N/A. Not applicable, as Jews do not believe that Jesus is their Messiah, and therefore, his Jewish mother plays no role in the Jewish religion other than history.
Views on other religion Believe all religions have some truth in them. Judaism is the chosen faith, however, others are good too, provided that they follow Noahide Laws.
Population 1 Billion. Around 13-16 Million, debated. Population varies due to conversion (although some types are not recognized by the state of Israel) and "marrying out" (of the faith)
Belief of God The deity often varies from sect to sect. Smarta/Monists sect believes Everything is God. There are monotheistic sects also. Belief in the One God, often called HaShem—Hebrew for 'The Name', or Adonai— 'The Lord'. God is beyond human understanding. So, Jews do not pronounce the name of God during prayer.
Views on the afterlife A constant cycle of reincarnation until enlightenment is reached after which moksha is attained. Jews beleive in a human Soul, and Orthodox believe in A World To Come and a form of Reincarnation. Differing beliefs accepted. Very little discussion on afterlife. Focus is on time on Earth now.
Religion which atheists may still be adherents of Charvakas and Sankyas are atheistic groups in Hinduism. Yes, since Judaism emphasizes Deed over Creed; Many Jews profess to be atheists, and are committed and proud to be Jews.
Rites Some Hindus believe in a "thread ceremony" for men. Mitzvahs. Bar & Bat Mitvahs are the most well known, but, there are others too.
View of other Abrahamic religions Hinduism is a Dharmic religion, not an Abrahamic religion. Believe that Christians are wrong in believing that Jesus is the Messiah; they neither believe nor disbelieve that Muhammad and/or Bah-u-llah are prophets.
Use of statues, images Common. Forbidden
Birth of Jesus N/A. Normal man, normal birth. Not part of liturgy.
Virtue(s) in which religion is based upon Follow dharma (righteouness), eternal law. Justice; strict adherence to God's law. Reading the Holy Books, and following the Commandments.
imams identified as N/A. N/A.
Death of Jesus N/A. Not mentioned in Jewish texts.
Identity of Jesus N/A. Simply not part of liturgy. Not mentioned one way or the other.
Jesus N/A. A fellow Jew, a respected, learned scholar. Not mentioned in the Jewish texts.
Definition The word Hindu has geographical significance and was used originally for those people who lived beyond the river Sindhu or the region watered by the river Indus. Hindus themselves, call their religion "Sanatana Dharma, " meaning "Eternal Law." Of the tribe of Judah.
Virtue on which religion is based upon Follow righteousness. Justice.
Position of Abraham N/A. Father of Jewish Nation. From city of Ur. His father was an idol maker, but when he broke an idol, his father told him not to worry, the statue was not God Travelled to what is today Israel & purchased land. He found God during his travels in dessert
sects Vaishnava, Shaivaya, & Shaktism. Orthodox, Conservative, Reform, Sephardim, Karaite, Samaritan, and so on.
Abrahamic Lineage N/A. Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob are thanked every prayer day. Jacob's 12 sons became the 12 tribes of israel. Of these, 10 were lost during Assyrian Exile.
Status of women Women can become priestesses or nuns. Equal to men in eyes of God and in the Law (Halakha). Woman traditionally have been granted more equal rights than most other world cultures. Today, traditions among the Orthodox and the Reform movements differ greatly.
Principle To follow dharma, i.e. eternal laws By accepting the covenant, they choose to follow God's commandments. A unique ethnicity. Early monotheists.
Time of origin circa 3000 B.C.E c 1300 BC
Authority of Pope N/A. N/A
Views on Other Religions Some scriptures say the path they describe is the only path to God and salvation. Other scriptures are more philosophical than religious. Beliefs vary. Some believe that all spiritual paths lead to the same God. All people should obey 7 (Noahide) Commandments, a set of very basic moral laws. Non-Jews should follow their religion, and let Jewish people follow Judaism.
Can atheists partake in this religion's practices? Yes. Yes.
View of God Monists believe only Brahman exists, Pantheists believe all things/entities are God, Monotheistic sects consider God as immanent and transcendent and different from others. The Nasadiya Sukta even explores creation-ex-nihilo. God is the one True Creator. God has always existed, none existed before him and will exist forever. He transcends life and death. God is one and the only holiness. God is the creator. He is beyond human understanding, he is omnipotent.
Promised Holy One Kalki, the 10th Avatar of Vishnu The Messiah.
Concept of God God is in everything and everything is God. One God
View of Oriental religions Buddhism and Jainism were considered atheistic religions by traditional Hindu schools. Buddhists do not consider Buddha an avatar of Vishnu and believe that Hindu priests made that claim to stem the spread of Buddhism, which threatened Hinduism. Jews accept others can have different religions. Jews must obey the law of the land, if ethical.
Angels The concept of angels does not apply in Hinduism. Some mythological stories include rishis, who sometimes serve as the messengers of God. Angels serve God as messengers. World is full of beings existing that we cannot see or understand. Kabbalah includes mystical studies of this.
Status of Adam N/A. First known use of the Adam/Eve mythology.
Geographical predominance India, Nepal Israel, USA, Canada, France, England, Russia, Argentina. Has varied throughout history, Arabia, Persia, Babylonia, Rome, Greece, Ottoman Empire, Eastern Europe, due to various migrations and persecutions.

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