Parallelisms and Differences:Rastafarianism and Judaism
The two religions of Rastafarianism and Judaism embody many of the same characteristics, as well as their ancestry. Although the Rastafarians, at times, inaccurately explain the bible, their belief in the Old Testament is still prevalent. Many of the customs are almost identical, but the rationale behind the traditions and laws contrast greatly.
In 1933, when Leonard P. Howell was arrested for using"seditious and blasphemous language,"to boost the sale of pictures of Haile Selassie, he stated that Selassie was,"King Ras Tafari of Abyssinia, son of king Solomon by the queen of Sheba."1 Howell knew that in later years factual information about Selassie's true origin would be declared. As an Ethiopian constitution of 1955 confirms, Haile Selassie in his position as Emperor,"descends without interruption from the dynasty of Menelik I, son of Ethiopia, the Queen of Sheba, and King Solomon of Jerusalem."2 This constitution, therefore, gives us direct evidence from Ethiopian sources of an existence of a section of the Ethiopian Population practicing the Jewish Religion.
According to the bible, King Solomon, King of Israel and the Jews, was paid by a visit from the Queen of Sheba, an Ethiopian Monarch. The Kebra Negast, the book of the glory of kings, states that by a trick, King Solomon inveigled the queen into sharing his bed with the result of a new born son, Menelik, who in due course became king or negus of Ethiopia.3 The queen was very impressed during her visit to the Holy Land, and adopted the Jewish Religion. But her son Menelik, when he grew up, visited his father, and transferred the Ark of the Covenant from Jerusalem to Axum. It is at this point where a new religion of the Falasha Jews began in Ethiopia.
The Falashas are the black Jews of Ethiopia, descendant from King Solomon and Queen of Sheba."Falasha means emigrant, exile, or stranger to the land and it is not impossible that the Jews of Ethiopia themselves originally adopted this term to indicate that they were exiles from the Holy Land into which, when the Messiah came, they would be gathered."4 The Ethiopian Jews depend entirely on written laws, without support from the Talmud or any Rabbinical interpretations. The Falashas adhere to the teachings of the Torah, the five books of Moses, as well as all the other books of the Old Testament.
Although, they reject any scriptures from the New Testament and the Koran, which are used by Christians and Muslims across the world. Orthodox rabbis have questioned the authenticity of their attachment to the Jewish religion because they do not follow the precepts of the Halachah, or Oral Law, which they follow. But the Talmud was not complete until about 500 AD, at a time when the Jews of Ethiopia were already cut off from their co-religionists in the rest of the world.
In the Jewish religion, Judaism is not only obtained through conversion but mainly through our mothers....