[b-hebrew] Torah

Shoshanna Walker rosewalk at concentric.net
Sat Aug 14 21:38:15 EDT 2004

Yigal I think you misunderstood me

I did not say that Torah is holy because of the law, What I said DID 
imply that Torah is BEYOND the law, and that the law described within 
the Torah (oral and written, by the way.....) is for the purpose of 
connecting us to holiness, ie; God.  The law is a vehicle, not the 
goal.  The Torah is holy because that is its essence, it is the 
blueprint for the creation of the world.  We learn a lot from 
Kabbala, which is part of Oral Torah.

I would say that the word "Torah" is primarily related to the word 
which means " to show"  as in "to show someone the way"

Law is not the essence of Torah, it is only one aspect of Torah, as 
is the literal translation of the words - just one level of Torah.

In a Jewish setting, "Learning Torah" is much much more than learning 
the written words and the Talmud.


Here's an interesting topic for discussion: Just what does the word "Torah"
mean. Below are two recent posts by two Jewish women, Marianne and
Shoshanna. Both, I would assume, have immense reverence for "the Torah", but
they use the word in different ways. Notice that Marianne capitalizes the
word "Law". Shoshanna does not, even though Marianne claims that the Torah
is holy "beyond" the Law, and Shoshanna says that it's holy because of the
law (or at least, that the law is part of its holiness).

SO, what does the noun "torah" mean. Does in mean "law"? If so, what's the
difference between "torah", "xoq", "micwah" etc.

Is "teaching" a better translation? Or "instruction".

Obviously, one, narrow, meaning, is "Pentateuch", the five books of Moses.
Does any "later" biblical book use the word with this meaning?

In Judaism, "Torah" can mean:
a. The law (or Law) given by Moses.
b. The book(s) in which that law was written (traditionally by Moses) - the
c. The whole concept of all the Law(s) given to Moses, including the Oral
d. The entire body of Jewish learning, including the whole Tanakh, the
Talmuds, and the whole body of rabbinic literature. In a Jewish setting,
"learning Torah" is likely to mean studying the Talmud and its rabbinic
commentaries that the Bible.
e. All of Jewish thought, custom and ritual.

In many ways, this is similar to the way "Gospel" is used in Christianity
(though with a different meaning):
a. The "Good News" brought by Jesus.
b. The specific NT books that tell the story of Jesus.
c. The message of Christianity, as set out in the NT and in other writings.
d. The entire Christian way of thought, "evangelism" (e.g. "Gospel Music").

Any thoughts?


>Our Torah has been
> revered for so many generations, I believe, not just because it
> contains the Law
> of Moses.  I think it goes beyond even that and that Jews even forgot why
> Torah is so holy and just assumed it must be on account of the Law.

> That is not true at all.  Some Jews may have forgotten, but most of
> the Jews I know, know without a doubt that the Torah (written and
> oral) contains within it all knowledge, past present and future, and
> that the law it contains is DAVKA for the purpose of connecting
> ourselves with that holiness.
> Shoshanna
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