Torah is a concept in the Judaic tradition that can be very confusing based on the numerous definitions that many people have of it in various concepts. However, the simplest definition of Torah is that it refers to the five books of Moses. These books include Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers and Deuteronomy. In English, Torah is known as Pentateuch. The word Torah can also be used to refer to the whole Jewish bible that non-Jews call the Old Testament. To the Jews, it is known as the Written Torah or Tanakh.
According to the Jews, the New Testament that is found in the bible is non-existent. In fact, they are not part of the Jewish scriptures. What the Christians today refer to as the Old Testament is called the Written Torah in Jewish culture. It contains a list of books with Jewish translations. The texts of these books in Jewish translations are more or less similar to what you see in the Christian bibles today. However, there are some occasional and slight differences that exist in the way the verses are numbered.
The five books of Moses that refer to Torah are as follows in Jewish translations:
To the Jews, the concept of Torah is much wider than just the books themselves. Apart from the written Torah, there is also the oral Torah also known as the Talmud. This refers to a tradition that explains what is meant by the scriptures in the above books, how they should be interpreted and application of the laws. Orthodox Jews believe that the Oral Torah was passed on to Moses by God who further taught it to other people whom he mandated to pass it down to the coming generations. The tradition was only kept in oral form until around 2D century when its compilation was done in writing in a document called Mishnah.
Both the written and oral teachings and laws that are contained in the Torah were given to Moses by God. Moses received part of the Torah at Mount Sinai while others at the Tabernacle. He is the sole author of all the teachings that are contained therein. Going by the Hebrew translation of the word Torah, it means to teach or guide. Thus, it was established for the purpose of offering lessons to Christians in the Jewish culture.
The Torah gives a documentation of God’s creation of the world, how the family of Abraham and Sarah grew with regards to their relationship with God in the land of Canaan, exile and also how the redemption from Egypt occurred. It gives an account of how the family grew to become Israel. Torah also contains the rules that God gave to Moses for the governing of a just society and establishment of appropriate worship.
Torah still remains a significant part of the Jewish culture and a centerpiece of their Sabbath, thus, its laws, stories and poetry are still held in high regards.
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