The Torah is an ancient scroll containing the books of Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, and Deuteronomy – the first five books of the Bible. In Hebrew, these books have very different names, each taken from the first Hebrew word that appears in the book.
The Torah provides a solid footing for the entire Bible. The Torah is the foundation of faith in Yeshua. It is often translated to mean “The Laws Of God” but the correct translation in Judaism, in the broadest sense, is “the substance of divine revelation to Israel, the Jewish people”: God’s revealed teaching or guidance for humankind. The meaning of “Torah” is often restricted to signify the first five books of the Hebrew Bible (Old Testament), also called the Law (or the Pentateuch, in Christianity).
Torah consists of the origin of Jewish peoplehood: their call into being by God, their trials and tribulations, and their covenant with their God, which involves following a way of life embodied in a set of moral and religious obligations and civil laws. It starts from the beginning of God’s creating the world, through the beginnings of the people of Israel, their descent into Egypt, and the giving of the Torah at biblical Mount Sinai. It ends with the death of Moses, just before the people of Israel cross to the promised land of Canaan. Interspersed in the narrative are the specific teachings (religious obligations and civil laws) given explicitly (i.e. Ten Commandments) or implicitly embedded in the narrative (as in Exodus 12 and 13 laws of the celebration of Passover).
Torah is meant to point one in the right direction and to keep one on the true path just like a road sign does. Not by leading via a narrow corridor or a tunnel. But with liberty to live life and make choices. God wants us to choose his path with full intention. Torah posts signs in a wide-open field to help us find a way to God’s will.
The Torah was written by Moses, so it is called “the book of the Law of Moses.” (Joshua 8:31; Nehemiah 8:1) Evidently, it was originally written as one book but was later divided for easier handling.
The Torah is one part of the “bible” for the Jewish people. This part covers the history of the Jewish people. It also includes the Law. The Torah also includes teachings on how the Jewish people are to worship God and how to live their lives.
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