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Jewish Sacred Text
Read pages 125-126 (stop at the end of “Parts of the Tanakh”)
The Torah
 The sacred writings of Judaism are called the Torah.
The name is translated as meaning “law”,
“revelation” or “teaching”.
The term Torah refers to the:
Laws of Moses (the first 5 books of the Hebrew Bible)
entire belief system of the Jewish faith
entire Hebrew Bible (Tanakh)
The commentaries (e.g. Talmud) because of the study
that went into them, are considered to be as valid as
the laws of Moses.
Torah Study
 Studying Torah has kept the Jewish people focused
on God.
Education and study are important Jewish values.
Other important values are worship/prayer and
Studying Torah is allowed on Shabbat
Jewish people try to study Torah in all its forms
(written and oral) .
Torah Scrolls
 In Jewish services, the Sefer Torah is read.
 It is written on parchment in Hebrew
 The scrolls are stored in the Holy Ark, symbolizing
the ark that was made to house the Ten
Commandments during the Exodus.
 The scrolls are touched only with a pointer
 it is seen as an honour for a congregant to be asked
to open/close the Ark.
The Hebrew Bible
 The Hebrew Bible includes the 5 books of Moses, but
also other books that are shared with Christians.
Another name for the Hebrew Bible is Tanakh.
The Tanakh includes the books of Moses, the
writings of the prophets and other writings (e.g.
The Hebrew Bible and the Christian (Greek) Bible
arrange the books in a different order
The Christian Bible also contains 27 extra books
that tell the stories of Jesus and Christianity.
The Talmud and “Halakhah” (the oral Torah)
 The Talmud is an enormous book of Jewish laws and
teachings of morality.
 the Pharisees were strict about following the laws of
ritual purity – to be holy, a person needs to only
come in contact with holy and pure things.
 The laws of ritual purity include food (kashrut laws
about food preparation, combination and
appropriateness), coming in contact with corpses,
impure people, and women who are menstruating.
The Talmud and “Halakhah” (the oral Torah)
 The laws originally were kept by the priests in the
Temple – purity allowed them to perform their
 After the destruction of the Temple, the laws were
compiled in the Talmud.
 The Talmud is written in the form of layers of
In the centre of this
page is the original
teaching (could be a
Midrash (story) or a
law) – surrounding
it are teachings of
various rabbis over
the centuries