Rabbi Yehoshua asked:
I am a Kiruv Rabbi and I am trying to mekarev[i]a non-observant Jewish college student who told me recently that he heard that all academics and scholars say that Zoroastrianism predates Judaism and that Zoroastrianism is the first of the revealed religions in the world and the first monotheistic religion in the world and the mother of all other monotheistic religions in the world and that all the Eschatology concepts found in Judaism were copied from Zoroastrianism, like for example the messianic era, the messiah, every single last person in the whole entire world believing in one G-d alone when the messiah comes, heaven, hell, and everybody in the whole entire world who has ever died throughout all of human history being resurrected from the dead when the messiah comes and living forever and being in gathered to Persia and everybody in the whole entire world will only speak Persian.
Also that the concept of the kippah and tzitzis was copied from Zoroastrianism, also that Zoroastrianism had a national revelation just like Judaism's, all this stuff is giving him doubts whether or not Judaism is really the truth, and since I don't know anything about Zoroastrianism, so I wanted to ask you if you did and if you could come up with a defensive for why Judaism didn't copy from Zoroastrianism.
Shalom Rabbi Yehoshua,
According to the Encyclopaedia Britannica and most sources, Zoroastrianism was founded in the 6th century BCE.[ii] Although some of their sites claim a much older date the evidence dates it from the 6th century BCE, some 2600 years ago.
The Torah was given to us on Mt. Sinai over 3300 years ago which is many centuries before the founding of Zoroastrianism.
Someone is giving your friend false information. Virtually all sources say that Zoroastrianism is clearly dualism and not monotheism and this is why the Muslims destroyed it soon after Islam was founded.
Also Judaism does not begin with Moshe but much earlier with Avraham, Isaac, and Yacov. With Moshe came the written and oral Torah, but the roots were already in place with Avraham and even earlier with Shem and Ever. Besides the 7 Commandments of Noah, Avraham received the commandment to circumcise himself and the male members of his family, and these mitzvahs are still with us to this day.
But the main point your friend needs to understand is that all religions in the world except Judaism are based on belief. Whatever he (or she) believes that is his religion and he can change it every day just by getting a different book. But we are not Jews because of our belief. We are Jews because of our mother. We are a people not a religion, and people go by the mother.
For some very good reason your friend was born a Jew... there are no accidents. We are told that his deeds in his last lifetime caused him to come into this life as a Jew. So even if Zoroastrian would be a valid religion (and I am not saying it is) what does it matter to us? We are Jews so the Torah is our inheritance and it is designed for our particular lives in this world.
There are a number of serious problems that come when a Jew chooses not to live a Torah life. The greatest for your friend is that if he does not follow the Torah he will most likely not see any need to marry a Jewish girl. Almost every Jew who strays from a Torah life, he or his children will intermarry and he will have no Jewish descendants. The intermarriage rate in America today is 85%! This is one of the main benefits of keeping a Torah life... there will be a Jewish People in the world… and in your family.
Tell him that 1 out of 516 people in the world are Jews… a tiny percent of the world population, yet 1 out of 4 Noble prize winners are Jews. And this is what he has come into the world to do... to make a Jewish family, and to help to make the world a better place. When he fulfils his purpose he will live the happiest life.
I suggest you showing your friends the spiritual aspects of Torah so they will have something to seek other than just following rules.
Let me know what happens.
Keep up your good work.