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Torah

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Judaism --> Torah - 5 Books of Moses

Torah, (תורה) is a Hebrew word meaning "teaching", "instruction", or especially "law". It primarily refers to the first section of the Tanakhthe first five books of the Hebrew Bible, or the Five Books of Moses, but can also be used in the general sense to also include both the Written and Oral Law.

:

(Bereishit בראשית),
(Shemot שמות),
(Vayikra ויקרא),
Numbers (Bemidbar במדבר) and
Deuteronomy (Devarim דברים)

Collectively they are also known as the Pentateuch (Greek for "five containers", where containers presumably refers to the scroll cases in which books were being kept), Hamisha Humshei Torah (חמשה חומשי תורה) (Hebrew for "the five parts of the Torah", or just Humash חומש "fifth" for short) or Chumash.

A Torah is a specially written scroll of the five books, a Sefer Torah. Jews also use the word Torah, in a wider sense, to refer to the entire spectrum of authoritative Jewish religious teachings throughout history. In this sense it might include the entire Tanakh, the Mishnah, the Talmud and the midrashic literature.

 

Also See

 

Chassidus
Torah Readings

Selection from Torah Teachings
613 Miatzvah

Jewish view of the Torah
The Torah is the primary document of Judaism, and is the source of all the basic Biblical commandments, in an ethical framework. According to a well-accepted rabbinic tradition cited in the Talmud, the Torah contains 613 mitzvot [מצוות] (tractate Makkoth 23b).

According to Jewish tradition, these books were revealed to Moses by God; some of it is said to have been revealed at Mt. Sinai (the Ten Commandments.) Classical rabbinic literature offers various ideas on when the entire Torah was revealed. Some sources state that the entire Torah was given all at once on Mount Sinai. In the maxima list view, this dictation included not only the "quotes" which appear in the text, but every word of the text itself, including phrases such as "And God spoke to Moses...", and included God telling Moses about Moses' own death and what would happen afterward. Other classical sources hold that the Torah was revealed to Moses over many years, and finished only at his death. Another school of thought holds that although Moses wrote the vast majority of the Torah, a number of sentences throughout the Torah must have been written after his death by another prophet. All classical views, nonetheless, hold that the Torah was entirely or almost entirely Mosaic and of divine origin.
The rabbis hold that not only are the words giving a Divine message, but indicate a far greater message that extends beyond them. Thus they hold that even as small a mark as a kotzo shel yod (קוצו של יוד), the serif of the Hebrew letter yod (י), the smallest letter, was put there by God to teach scores of lessons. This is regardless of whether that yod appears in the phrase "I am the Lord thy God," or whether it appears in that oft repeated "And God spoke unto Moses saying." In a similar vein, Rabbi Akiva, who died in AD 135, is said to have learned a new law from every et (את) in the Torah (Talmud, tractate Pesachim 22b); the word et is meaningless by itself, and serves only to mark the accusative case. In other words, the Orthodox view is that "And God spoke unto Moses saying..." is no less important than the actual statement.
One kabbalis tic interpretation is that the Torah constitutes one long name of God, and that it was broken up into words so that human minds can understand it. While this is effective since it accords with our human reason, it is not the only way that the text can be broken up.

There is little support for higher biblical criticism in Orthodox Judaism. Applying the techniques of higher criticism to books of the Bible other than the Torah is frowned upon, but applying these techniques to the Torah itself is usually considered to be both mistaken and heretical. As such, the overwhelming majority of Orthodox Judaism views the documentary hypothesis to be heretical. Orthodox rabbis well-known for taking issue with documentary hypothesis: Meir Leibush Malbim and Samson Raphael Hirsch.


 

 

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Jan 1, 2008