I added the original answer below as announced.
Thanks to Eric Cadow for the request.
Unfortunately, I have to give a quick-shot answer first.But still a helpful one, which I can sometimes add.
My recommendation: To answer these and other similar questions, I suggest the book, The Year of Living Biblically by A.J. Jacobs.
The book actually begins as a joke: the author, a non-believing Jew from New York, decides to live literally after the Bible for a year.He has meticulously implemented all the provisions of the Old Testament. He thought it was stuff for a book that would bring a few laughs at the expense of religion.
The book is actually full of laughs.It’s very funny and intelligently written. But when he begins to question rabbis and theologians and to be accompanied by them, something astonishing happens: He begins to understand the whole thing. At first everything was absurd and oblique, but he now sees things from the other side.
As part of the exercise, he “must” pray daily.At first, of course, this was strange for him as an atheist. But he prayed, just as the rabbis explained to him. He came from experience, not as a believer, but over time he felt at least something greater than him. He could not describe or classify this thing. But also there — he has begun to understand it.
That is why I recommend the book to you.Not for conversion, but for understanding. Since I move between the worlds of secularism and religion, so to speak, I attach great importance to it.
Links on Amazon
- English version: Amazon.de: A J Jacobs: Books
- German translation: From one who went out to take the book of books literally: Amazon.de: A. J. Jacobs, Thomas Mohr: Books
Now specifically to the question.The Abrahamic religions (Jewishness, Christianity, Islam, Samaritans, etc.) are about an afterlife. Other religions, such as Egypt or Mexico, are also about an afterlife, an idealized other world as a reflection of ours.
“God” is ultimately a collective term for these longings.
This afterlife should be better than our world, perfection par excellence.Paradise. Our world is plagued with chaos: war, strife, crop failure, epidemics: all these things are frightening because they are unpredictable. Chaos.
So the afterlife must be the exact opposite.Absolute order, peace, happiness. Something that the whole people want to realize and achieve.
The temple was, so to speak, an outpost of this hereafter, the kingdom of God.Rites were developed as an expression of the heavenly, other order.These rites are literally alien to the world — alien to our world, but an expression of God’s all-encompassing order.
So the rites were designed as complex and precise as possible, with the idea that the rites are always executed exactly according to plan — just like God’s plan.A plan that is incomprehensible and alien to us human beings, but of paramount importance for our destiny.
This is the common thread that runs through the whole Old Testament.