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Torah has a range of meanings. It can most specifically mean the first five books of the 24 books of the Tanakh (Hebrew.
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Conservative and Reform synagogues may read parashot on a triennial rather than annual schedule, [64] [65] [66] On Saturday afternoons, Mondays, and Thursdays, the beginning of the following Saturday's portion is read. On Jewish holidays , the beginnings of each month, and fast days , special sections connected to the day are read. Jews observe an annual holiday, Simchat Torah , to celebrate the completion and new start of the year's cycle of readings. Torah scrolls are often dressed with a sash, a special Torah cover, various ornaments and a Keter crown , although such customs vary among synagogues.

Congregants traditionally stand in respect when the Torah is brought out of the ark to be read, while it is being carried, and lifted, and likewise while it is returned to the ark, although they may sit during the reading itself. The Torah contains narratives, statements of law, and statements of ethics. Rabbinic tradition holds that Moses learned the whole Torah while he lived on Mount Sinai for 40 days and nights and both the Oral and the written Torah were transmitted in parallel with each other.

Where the Torah leaves words and concepts undefined, and mentions procedures without explanation or instructions, the reader is required to seek out the missing details from supplemental sources known as the Oral Law or Oral Torah. According to classical rabbinic texts this parallel set of material was originally transmitted to Moses at Sinai, and then from Moses to Israel.

At that time it was forbidden to write and publish the oral law, as any writing would be incomplete and subject to misinterpretation and abuse. However, after exile, dispersion, and persecution, this tradition was lifted when it became apparent that in writing was the only way to ensure that the Oral Law could be preserved. Other oral traditions from the same time period not entered into the Mishnah were recorded as Baraitot external teaching , and the Tosefta. Other traditions were written down as Midrashim. After continued persecution more of the Oral Law was committed to writing.

A great many more lessons, lectures and traditions only alluded to in the few hundred pages of Mishnah, became the thousands of pages now called the Gemara. Gemara is written in Aramaic, having been compiled in Babylon. The Mishnah and Gemara together are called the Talmud. The rabbis in the Land of Israel also collected their traditions and compiled them into the Jerusalem Talmud.

Since the greater number of rabbis lived in Babylon, the Babylonian Talmud has precedence should the two be in conflict. Orthodox and Conservative branches of Judaism accept these texts as the basis for all subsequent halakha and codes of Jewish law, which are held to be normative.

Reform and Reconstructionist Judaism deny that these texts, or the Torah itself for that matter, may be used for determining normative law laws accepted as binding but accept them as the authentic and only Jewish version for understanding the Torah and its development throughout history. Humanistic Judaism is willing to question the Torah and to disagree with it, believing that the entire Jewish experience, not just the Torah, should be the source for Jewish behavior and ethics.

Kabbalists hold that not only do the words of Torah give a divine message, but they also indicate a far greater message that extends beyond them. Exodus In a similar vein, Rabbi Akiva c. In other words, the Orthodox belief is that even apparently contextual text such as "And God spoke unto Moses saying Manuscript Torah scrolls are still scribed and used for ritual purposes i.

They are written using a painstakingly careful method by highly qualified scribes. This has resulted in, according to B.

Torah: Covenant and Constitution

Barry Levy, "The popular assumption that no changes were ever introduced into copies of the Bible during rabbinic times. The fidelity of the Hebrew text of the Tanakh, and the Torah in particular, is considered paramount, down to the last letter: translations or transcriptions are frowned upon for formal service use, and transcribing is done with painstaking care. An error of a single letter, ornamentation, or symbol of the , stylized letters that make up the Hebrew Torah text renders a Torah scroll unfit for use, hence a special skill is required and a scroll takes considerable time to write and check.

According to Jewish law, a sefer Torah plural: Sifrei Torah is a copy of the formal Hebrew text handwritten on gevil or klaf forms of parchment by using a quill or other permitted writing utensil dipped in ink.

The Hebrew Bible: The Sacred Books of the Jewish People

Written entirely in Hebrew , a sefer Torah contains , letters, all of which must be duplicated precisely by a trained sofer "scribe" , an effort that may take as long as approximately one and a half years. Most modern Sifrei Torah are written with forty-two lines of text per column Yemenite Jews use fifty , and very strict rules about the position and appearance of the Hebrew letters are observed. See for example the Mishnah Berurah on the subject. The completion of the sefer Torah is a cause for great celebration, and it is a mitzvah for every Jew to either write or have written for him a Sefer Torah.

Aron in Hebrew means "cupboard" or "closet", and kodesh is derived from "kadosh", or "holy". The Book of Ezra refers to translations and commentaries of the Hebrew text into Aramaic , the more commonly understood language of the time. These translations would seem to date to the 6th century BCE.

The Aramaic term for translation is Targum. At an early period, it was customary to translate the Hebrew text into the vernacular at the time of the reading e. The targum "translation" was done by a special synagogue official, called the meturgeman Eventually, the practice of translating into the vernacular was discontinued. However, there is no suggestion that these translations had been written down as early as this. There are suggestions that the Targum was written down at an early date, although for private use only. The official recognition of a written Targum and the final redaction of its text, however, belong to the post-Talmudic period, thus not earlier than the fifth century C.

One of the earliest known translations of the first five books of Moses from the Hebrew into Greek was the Septuagint.

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It contains both a translation of the Hebrew and additional and variant material. Later translations into Greek include seven or more other versions. These do not survive, except as fragments, and include those by Aquila , Symmachus , and Theodotion. Early translations into Latin—the Vetus Latina —were ad hoc conversions of parts of the Septuagint. From the eighth century CE, the cultural language of Jews living under Islamic rule became Arabic rather than Aramaic. The best known was produced by Saadiah the Saadia Gaon, aka the Rasag , and continues to be in use today, "in particular among Yemenite Jewry".

The Torah has been translated by Jewish scholars into most of the major European languages, including English, German, Russian, French, Spanish and others. The most well-known German-language translation was produced by Samson Raphael Hirsch. A number of Jewish English Bible translations have been published. As a part of the Christian biblical canons , the Torah has been translated into hundreds of languages.

Although different Christian denominations have slightly different versions of the Old Testament in their Bibles, the Torah as the "Five Books of Moses" or "the Mosaic Law " is common among them all. Islam states that the original Torah was sent by God. However, Some muslims also believe that this original revelation was corrupted tahrif or simply altered by the passage of time and human fallibility over time by Jewish scribes [80]. The Torah in the Quran is always mentioned with respect in Islam. The Muslims' belief in the Torah, as well as the prophethood of Moses, is one of the fundamental tenets of Islam.

The Torah, held to be the most ancient of histories, existeth today in three separate versions: the Hebrew, considered authentic by the Jews and the Protestant clergy; the Greek Septuagint, which was used as authoritative in the Greek and other eastern churches; and the Samaritan Torah, the standard authority for that people.

These three versions differ greatly, one from another, even with regard to the lifetimes of the most celebrated figures. In the Hebrew Torah, it is recorded that from Noah's flood until the birth of Abraham there was an interval of two hundred and ninety-two years. In the Greek, that time span is given as one thousand and seventy-two years, while the Samaritan, the recorded span is nine hundred and forty-two years.

Refer to the commentary by Henry Westcott for tables are supplied therein which show the discrepancies among the three Torahs as to the birth dates of a number of the descendants of Shem, and thou wilt see how greatly the versions differ from one another. Moreover, according to the text of the Hebrew Torah, from the creation of Adam until Noah's flood the elapsed time is recorded as one thousand six hundred and fifty-six years, while in the Greek Torah the interval is given as two thousand two hundred and sixty-two years, and in the Samaritan text, the same period is said to have lasted one thousand three hundred and seven years.

Reflect now over the discrepancies among these three Torahs. The case is indeed surprising. From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.

Walter Homolka and Aaron D. Panken

For other uses, see Torah disambiguation. First five books of the Hebrew Bible. Canons and books. Tanakh Torah Nevi'im Ketuvim.

Overview: TaNaK / Old Testament

Christian biblical canons. Deuterocanon Antilegomena. Authorship and development. Authorship Dating Hebrew canon. Pauline epistles Petrine epistles. Translations and manuscripts. Biblical studies.