JTS Torah Online
Aug 13, Jews believe that God dictated the Torah to Moses on Mount Sinai 50 days after their exodus from Egyptian slavery. They believe that the Torah. Guide to Weekly Torah Commentaries Online Along the way, Israel enters into a covenanted relationship with God, and God reveals many of the rules for. The Torah, or Jewish Written Law, consists of the five books of the Hebrew Bible . the nature of God and His relation to man, cannot be attained by philosophy.
Judah Barzillai of Barcelona raised the problem of place.
BBC - GCSE Bitesize: The Jewish relationship with G-d
Where could God have kept a preexistent Torah? While allowing that God could conceivably have provided an ante-mundane place for a corporeal Torah, he preferred the interpretation that the Torah preexisted only as a thought in the divine mind. Similarly, the Ibn Ezra raised the problem of time.
He wrote that it is impossible for the Torah to have preceded the world by 2, years or even by one moment, since time is an accident of motion, and there was no motion before God created the celestial spheres; rather, he concluded, the teaching about the Torah's preexistence must be a metaphoric riddle.
Judah Halevi attempts to alleviate the argument by explaining that the Torah precedes the world in terms of teleology; God created the world for the purpose of revealing the Torah; therefore, since, as the philosophers say, "the first of thought is the end of the work," the Torah is said to have existed before the world.
Its purpose seems to be to make Israel "a kingdom of priests and a holy nation. The designation of the Torah by nomos, and by its Latin successor lex whence, "the Law"has historically given rise to the misunderstanding that Torah means legalism. It was one of the very few real dogmas of rabbinic theology that the Torah is from heaven; i.
According to biblical stories, Moses ascended into heaven to capture the Torah from the angels.
- Cookies on the BBC website
- Professional Training
- On this page
In one of the oldest mishnaic statements it is taught that Torah is one of the three things by which the world is sustained. Eleazar ben Shammua said: The Torah was often compared to fire, water, wine, oil, milk, honey, drugs, manna, the tree of life, and many other things; it was considered the source of freedom, goodness, and life; it was identified both with wisdom and with love. Hillel summarized the entire Torah in one sentence: The message of the Torah is for all mankind.
Before giving the Torah to Israel, God offered it to the other nations, but they refused it; and when He did give the Torah to Israel, He revealed it in the extraterritorial desert and simultaneously in all the 70 languages, so that men of all nations would have a right to it. Alongside this universalism, the rabbis taught the inseparability of Israel and the Torah.
One rabbi held that the concept of Israel existed in God's mind even before He created the Torah. Yet, were it not for its accepting the Torah, Israel would not be "chosen," nor would it be different from all the idolatrous nations. Saadiah Gaon expounded a rationalist theory according to which the ethical and religious-intellectual beliefs imparted by the Torah are all attainable by human reason.
He held that the Torah is divisible into two parts: In the period between Saadiah and Maimonidesmost Jewish writers who speculated on the nature of the Torah continued in this rationalist tradition. Judah Halevihowever, opposed the rationalist interpretation. He allowed that the Torah contains rational and political laws, but considered them preliminary to the specifically divine laws and teachings which cannot be comprehended by reason, e. The Torah makes it possible to approach God by awe, love, and joy.
It is the essence of wisdom, and the outcome of the will of God to reveal His kingdom on earth as it is in heaven. While Judah Halevi held that Israel was created to fulfill the Torah, he wrote that there would be no Torah were there no Israel. Maimonides emphasized that the Torah is the product of the unique prophecy of Moses. He maintained that the Torah has two purposes: Maimonides held that the Torah is similar to other laws in its concern with the welfare of the body; but its divine nature is reflected in its concern for the welfare of the soul.
Maimonides saw the Torah as a rationalizing force, warring against superstition, imagination, appetite, and idolatry. He cited the rabbinic dictum, "Everyone who disbelieves in idolatry professes the Torah in its entirety", and taught that the foundation of the Torah and the pivot around which it turns consists in the effacement of idolatry.
He held that the Torah must be interpreted in the light of reason. While Maimonides generally restricted analysis of the nature of the Torah to questions of its educational, moral, or political value, the Spanish kabbalists engaged in bold metaphysical speculation concerning its essence. The kabbalists taught that the Torah is a living organism.
Some said the entire Torah consists of the names of God set in succession or interwoven into a fabric. Ultimately, it was said that the Torah is God. This identification of the Torah and God was understood to refer to the Torah in its true primordial essence, and not to its manifestation in the world of creation. Influenced by Maimonides, Baruch Spinoza took the position that the Torah is an exclusively political law, however he broke radically with all rabbinic tradition by denying its divine nature, by making it an object of historical-critical investigation, and by maintaining that it was not written by Moses alone but by various authors living at different times.
Moreover, he considered the Torah primitive, unscientific, and particularistic, and thus subversive to progress, reason, and universal morality.
By portraying the Torah as a product of the Jewish people, he reversed the traditional opinion according to which the Jewish people are a product of the Torah. Moses Mendelssohn considered the Torah a political law, but he affirmed its divine nature.
He explained that the Torah does not intend to reveal new ideas about deism and morality, but rather, through its laws and institutions, to arouse men to be mindful of the true ideas attainable by all men through reason.
By identifying the beliefs of the Torah with the truths of reason, Mendelssohn affirmed both its scientific respectability and its universalistic nature. By defining the Torah as a political law given to Israel by God, he preserved the traditional view that Israel is a product of the Torah, and not, as Spinoza claimed, vice versa.
A pointer or Yad hand is used instead.
JTS Torah Online
This is in the shape of a hand with an outstretched finger. The reading or chanting is performed by a person who has been trained in this task. However it may be carried out by the rabbi. It is a very great honour for a congregant to be asked to attend at a reading during a synagogue service.Is Allah the same God as the God of the Torah?
This is called having an Aliyah which is Hebrew for going up. The weekly portion or Sedrah is followed by the recitation of part of another of the Jewish holy writings. How is a Torah scroll constructed?
The Torah scrolls are entirely handwritten in Hebrew by a sofer scribe on parchment from a kosher animal.
The Written Law - Torah
This is usually a cow. It can take up to 18 months to complete the whole process from the complex preparation of the animal skins to the writing of the final words. Great accuracy is needed when the sofer writes the scroll. If he makes any mistakes it can make the whole scroll pasul invalid.
The completed scroll is known as a Sefer Torah from sefer which is the Hebrew for book. A Sefer Torah is so sacred to Jews it is said that if one is accidentally dropped in the synagogue the whole congregation must fast for 40 days.
When Jewish communities have suffered persecution, great efforts would be made to preserve these scrolls. This demonstrates just how symbolically and physically important the Torah is to Jews. Oral law Alongside the written law Jews believe God also told Moses the spoken or oral law. The letter Pei as well as being the Hebrew word for mouth is the 17th letter of the Hebrew alphabet.
Pei has a numerical value of 80 which Jews believe is the age that Moses was when he led them out from slavery in Egypt. Although given at the same time this law was to be passed down orally from generation to generation. It is the information Jews need to practise fully the commandments in the written law.
It was codified in the 2nd Century C.