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What Is The Torah In The Bible

The Weekly Torah Portion

What is the Torah?

Readings from the Torah, which are divided into 54 weekly Torah portions , are the centerpiece of the Sabbath morning service. My Jewish Learning offers a summary, featured commentary and more than 10 additional commentaries for each Torah portion. .

During the Torah service, the Torah scroll is taken out and the weekly portion chanted or read aloud. The Torah scroll, also known as a sefer Torah, is hand-written on parchment according to numerous specifications by a sofer , a specially trained individual.

The Torahs stories, laws and poetry stand at the center of Jewish culture. They chronicle Gods creation of the world, the selection and growth of the family of Abraham and Sarah in relationship to God in the land of Canaan, the exile and redemption from Egypt of that family-become-nation known as Israel, and their travels through the desert until they return to the land of Canaan. Along the way, Israel enters into a covenanted relationship with God, and God reveals many of the rules for governing a just society and for establishing appropriate worship.

Evidence From Terminology: Chodesh Versus Shanah

On the other hand, Abraham ibn Ezra points out that the term for year is ש×Ö¸× Ö¸× , meaning repetition or change, and that this only works for a solar year, in which the sun re-commences its cycle. The term shanah does not suit a lunar calendar, which can have twelve or thirteen months, and where the new year is not always a repetition of the previous one.

This leaves us with a complex situation. The two words in biblical Hebrew for month fit only with a lunar calendar while the word for year in biblical Hebrew, shanah, is only suited to a solar calendar.

Ibn Ezra makes this point explicit in his gloss on Leviticus 25:9:

Moreover, the meaning of chodesh contradicts HaParsi Know that the moon has no year at all. Only those who made calculations wished for a number of months that would approximate a solar year, and they came up with twelve. At the same time, the sun has no month, and those who made calculations wished for a number to comprise a month, such that it would approximate the days in a lunar month. Therefore, our months are lunar, and our years return in the end to the solar years.

We are thus forced to conclude that the Hebrew terminology does not favor the existence of either a solar or lunar year in ancient Israel.

Identifying With The Babylonian Lunar Calendar

Earlier still, the postexilic books of the Bible adopt Babylonian month names this implies that the Jewish calendar was identified with the Babylonian one, which was lunar. Thus, in a number of biblical verses in exilic or postexilic works, Babylonian months such as Nisan and Sivan are used and explicitly equated with the numbered months of the Torah. For example,

Zech 1:7 On the 24th day of the 11th month, which is the month of Shevat

Furthermore, the Passover Papyrus from Elephantine confirms that Passover was celebrated on the 14th, and Unleavened Bread, on the 15th21st, of the Babylonian month of Nisan, indicating that his community used a lunar calendar. But even though the lunar calendar seems to have been standard among Second Temple period Jews, it was not without dissenters.

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Archaeological And Historical Research

Biblical archaeology is the archaeology that relates to and sheds light upon the Hebrew Scriptures and the Christian Greek Scriptures . It is used to help determine the lifestyle and practices of people living in biblical times. There are a wide range of interpretations in the field of biblical archaeology. One broad division includes biblical maximalism which generally takes the view that most of the Old Testament or the Hebrew Bible is based on history although it is presented through the religious viewpoint of its time. It is considered to be the opposite of biblical minimalism which considers the Bible to be a purely post-exilic composition. Even among those scholars who adhere to biblical minimalism, the Bible is a historical document containing first-hand information on the Hellenistic and Roman eras, and there is universal scholarly consensus that the events of the 6th century BCE Babylonian captivity have a basis in history.

Earliest Sources For The Lunar Calendar

Sefer Torah Scroll Hebrew Jewish Bible Synagogue Judaica ...

In Jewish tradition, the calendar is lunar, with the months beginning at the new moon. Years are made up of twelve such months, but sometimes a thirteenth month is added, to keep up with the seasons, ensuring that Passover is celebrated in the spring, Sukkot in the fall, etc.

Such a lunar calendar is already assumed by Philo of Alexandria in his Special Laws , and of course, in rabbinic literature . But long before them, it is already implicit in Ben Sirah , who describes the moon as an indicator of times a sign of the festival after whom the month is named also ×Ö¼×Ö°×ָרֵ×Ö· ×Ö¸×Öµ× ×Ö´Ö¼××Öµ× ××Ö¹×¢Öµ× implies a lunar calendar in which most festivals fall on the full moon.

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Torah: Covenant And Constitution

The Torah, the central Jewish scripture, provides Judaism with its history, theology, and a framework for ethics and practice. Torah technically refers to the first five books of the Hebrew Bible . However, it colloquially refers to all 24 books of the Hebrew Bible, also called the Tanakh.

Torah is the one Hebrew word that may provide the best lens into the Jewish tradition. Meaning literally instruction or guidebook, the Torah is the central text of Judaism. It refers specifically to the first five books of the Bible called the Pentateuch, traditionally thought to be penned by the early Hebrew prophet Moses. More generally, however, torah is often used to refer to all of Jewish sacred literature, learning, and law. It is the Jewish way.

The central event of these narratives, the climactic moment in biblical history, is Gods gift of the Torah to the Jewish people at Mount Sinai. The Torah thus accounts for its own origins, and even recounts the death of its traditional author, Moses. Traditionally, these paradoxes are resolved by believing the text to be the literal word of God, dictated to Moses atop Mount Sinai. Besides containing the history of Gods relation with Israel, these five books are interspersed with 613 divine laws . This divine law informs both ethical and ritual behavior, forming the basis of all subsequent Jewish law.

Main Differences Between Hebrew Bible And Torah

  • The Hebrew bible is one of the holy scripture of the Jewish people, and the Torah is one of the sections of the Hebrew bible.
  • The Hebrew bible is a set of a total of twenty-four books, and the Torah is subdivided into five books that are Numbers, Exodus, Leviticus, Genesis, and Deuteronomy.
  • The Hebrew Bible is also referred to as Tanakh, and the Torah is referred to as Chumash or books of Moses.
  • The Hebrew Bible has three main units or divisions the Torah or sayings, the Neviim, or the messengers, and the Ketuvim, or scribbles. And Torah is a part of the Hebrew Bible, and it is divided into five books.
  • The Hebrew Bible contains all the teachings related to the culture and traditions of the religion, while the Torah contains sayings or teachings of human life and the way a person must spend his/her life.
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    Lunar Calendars Were The Standard

    The Jewish tradition that the Torahs calendar was lunar finds support, finally, from the mere fact of the Torahs silence. This silence is inherently significant. As far as we know, in the second-first millennia B.C.E., the calendars of the whole of the Ancient Near East, from Persia and Mesopotamia to the Levant, were all lunar. Perhaps it is precisely because the lunar calendar was the norm in Near Eastern culture that the Torah does not bother to mention it.

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    Main Differences Between Torah Bible And Quran

    The Torah: a Quick Overview | Whiteboard Bible Study
  • The main difference between Torah Bible and Quran is the religious text they have- where Torah is about Jewish and Christ, on the other hand, Quran is an Islam script.
  • The Torah Bible was created primarily before Quran that is the reason where Quran subsumes the Torah as a part of it. Torah Bible incipient before the creation of the world by God till the Death of Moses in 6th BCE. Albeit Quran came up after the Death of Muhammad in 632.
  • Torah is considered to be the Holiest book in Judaism among the five books of Moses, which represents the outlined laws for Jews to perpetrate. Quran solely focuses on the God Allahs saying in the form of His messenger Muhammad.
  • Torah and Quran slightly have similarities, but Torah was the first text revealed to the world, and Quran was revealed as the final prophet-Muhammad to the Muslims.
  • The Torah Bible has 187 chapters with 5852 verses on it, and Quran has 114 chapters and 6346 verses.
  • Torah was published in the 6th BCE, whereas Quran was found after the death of His messager Muhammad in the 18th Century 10 A.H. in 632.
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    What Is The Jewish Bible Called

    In Jewish tradition, the scriptures are referred to as the Tanakh, which is derived from the initial letters of the titles of each of its three sections. T: The Torah, also known as the Teachings of Moses, is comprised of the first five books. N: Neviim, which are the prophets writings. Kh: Ketuvim, which is Hebrew meaning Writings, which includes the psalms and wisdom literature, among other things.

    The Prophets: The Neviim

    Included in this section are:

    It may seem odd to Christian readers that some books made the cut of the prophets section and others didnt. For instance, Joshua doesnt appear to have much prophecy, but Daniel does .

    We have to keep in mind that we will see differences in structure and even some of the content in the Tanakh versus the Old Testament. This article, for instance, mentions that in Christian Bibles, we have some more material for certain books such as Esther and Daniel, etc. that the Jews do not consider to be canonical.

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    What Is The Bibles Calendar

    The Torah prescribes the observance of festivals on very specific dates, but does not explain how the calendar must be reckoned: Is it lunar? Is it solar? Does it follow some other scheme? And why is the Torah silent on this?

    Creation of the Sun, Moon and Stars, Johann Sadeler, after Maerten de Vos, 1639. Rijkmuseum

    As part of its introduction to the Pesach offering, Exodus 12:2 declares that the month in which the exodus from Egypt will occur should be counted as the first month of the year:

    Exod 12:2 This month is unto you the beginning of months it is to you the first of the months of the year.

    The text here does not define the month of the exodus, though other passages clarify that it is the month of Aviv . The word aviv refers to a stage of ripening of the crops , suggesting that the month of Aviv is sometime in the spring. Yet, the Torah does not clarify exactly when this month, or any other month of the year, begins and ends.

    This is rather strange. Severe punishments are prescribed for those who transgress the festivals yet we are not told how the calendar works, and thus the dates when these festivals are supposed to fall. This ambiguity is highlighted by a debate between two medieval commentators about whether the Torah assumes a lunar or solar calendar.

    Evidence From Biblical Narratives: The Flood Versus Sinai

    What is Torah? (With images)

    Some scholars have tried to deduce the nature of the biblical calendar from dates in certain narratives, but these proofs cut both ways.

    The narrative of the Flood has been used, by some, as evidence that the calendar was lunar. According to Genesis 7-8 , the Flood began on the 17th of month 2 and ended on the 27th of the same month the next year . It thus lasted one year and ten days.

    As pointed out already in Genesis Rabbah 33, these ten days seem to represent the difference of 1011 days between the solar year and the lunar one .

    The verse should have said on the 16thof the month the land dried up, what does the verse teach us by saying on the 27th of the second month the land dried up? These are the 11 extra days in a solar year that are not part of the lunar year.

    The use of these two dates suggests, Genesis Rabbah argues, that the biblical calendar year was lunar. Since, for whatever reason, the flood had to last one solar year, ten days were added to the lunar, calendar year.

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    Summary Of Torah Vs Bible

    Both the Torah and the Bible provide religious guides while also showing the sacred relationship between God and human beings. Torah refers to the first five books of the Hebrew Bible namely Genesis, Numbers, Deuteronomy, Exodus and Leviticus. On the other hand, the Bible is a collection of sacred scriptures and texts which represents a sacred relationship between God and human being, and is used as a representation of faith by Christians, Samaritans, Jews, and Rastafarians.

    What Is The Jewish Bible

    Although Jewish readers have the same books in their Bible as we do in our Old Testament, they have a different way of classifying the different sections. Although we divide ours into sections such as the law, historical books, wisdom literature, etc., Jewish readers have three main categories they divide their Bible into: the law, the writings, and the prophets.

    The Jewish Bible, otherwise known as the Tanakh makes up what we as Christians know as the Old Testament.

    Although Jewish readers have the same books in their Bible as we do in our Old Testament, they have a different way of classifying the different sections. Although we divide ours into sections such as the law, historical books, wisdom literature, etc., Jewish readers have three main categories they divide their Bible into: the law, the writings, and the prophets.

    The article will also mention a few other subdivisions, addressed in the Got Questions article above.

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    What Does The Name Torah Mean

    The Old Testament, or the Hebrew Bible, is known as the Tanakh, often divides the work into three main sections: the Torah, the Ketuvim, and the Neviim. Well discuss the definitions of all three of these.

    • Torah Teachings, or Law especially ascribed to the laws that make up a good portion of the first five books of the Bible. We know these as the ones mentioned above: Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Number, and Deuteronomy.
    • Ketuvim Writings, this section comprises of the wisdom literature and the historical narratives of Israel . If it’s poetry or if it tells about the history of the Israelites people, you’ve likely found a Ketuvim book.
    • Neviim Prophets, both the major and minor prophets envelop this section of the Tanakh. These, in the Christian Old Testament, would be found at the end of the Old Testament, concluding with the Book of Malachi.

    Jesus refers to these three sections of the Old Testament in Luke 24:44.

    We do have to keep in mind that the ordering of the Jewish Bible will look a little different than the Christian Old Testament. The former often combines books such as the Samuels and Kings. Some books operate under other names. But the vast majority of the content is still the same.

    What Is Hebrew Bible

    Who wrote the Bible? (A history of the Torah)

    Hebrew Bible is the first sacred book followed by the Jewish people. It is the collection of old writings or scriptures, including the Torah. Hebrew Bible is a set of a total of twenty-four books, and it has three main sections the Torah or sayings, the Neviim, or the messengers, and the Ketuvim or scribbles.

    Hebrew Bible is a little bit similar to the Bible, which is obeyed by Christians. In the Hebrew bible, Jews are declared as Gods selected people. The initial six books of the Hebrew Bible contain the past and the study of the Israeli people. The next seven books in the Hebrew bible continue the life story of the Israeli people. And the final eleven books contain verses, creed, and more about the past.

    The new testament contains twenty-four books, but it is very much similar to the old testament, which contained a collection of thirty-nine books. Hebrew Bible is also referred to as Tanakh, which is the first alphabet of the three divisions.

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    Archaeological Evidence For Lunar Calendar

    An entirely different approach to the problem is to look for archaeological evidence about calendars in this period. A number of very small artefacts, discovered in the area of ancient Judah and dating from Iron Age II , have been convincingly identified as calendars.

    These pocket-size, animal-bone plaques are all perforated with three rows of ten holes, which were probably designed for tracking the days of the month: a peg would be inserted and moved along the holes on a daily basis, so as to keep track of the current date. One such plaque from Aroer, contains an additional twelve-hole row, for tracking the twelve months of the year.

    This common artefact might tell us something about the calendar of ancient Israel or the Hebrew Bible. Thirty peg holes are well suited for a lunar calendar. Solar calendars can have 31-day months, but the lunar month never has more than thirty days.


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