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What Are We Here For?

             In all of the religions of the world, one of the primary questions that they are to answer is that of the meaning of life and life after death. As long as man has been self-aware and cognizant of the passage of time, he has operated with the knowledge that he, at some time as a mortal man, must end his life and die. He is naturally unable to ascertain the nature of his purpose in life and what may pertain after death, and soon begins to develop an explanation for what happens to him, or his essence when he passes that barrier. The early monotheists developed the most structured and defined notions that came to be in the cradle of civilization, the Fertile Crescent. Of the two principal religions that the region is credited with developing, all have their similarities and differences that are reflective of the time, attitudes and culture of those who created it. The Jewish and Islamic depictions of the morals and ethics needed to live properly so one can reach the afterlife and their accompanying views of this life and the next are different though shaping forces in the religions.
             In each of the two religions, there are certain codes of conduct and ceremonies that must be performed, usually over the course of ones lifetime, that are prerequisites for one to be able to properly "pass on" to the next life. The religions vary from a strict moral code and ingrained ritual such as that in Judaism to the determination and zealotry that is inherent to the Islamic faith, but all have "entry requirements".
             The Jewish faith is one of a very strict moral code usually termed as "halakhah" This can be loosely translated from Hebrew as "the path that one walks". It is comprised of the teachings of the Written Torah, the Oral Torah, and the teachings of the Rabbis that have guided Judaism through the ages and customs that have arisen through their long and storied history.

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