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The Torah
There are actually three major parts to the Jewish scriptures:
The Torah
The Books of S-S-the Law
The most important of these is the Torah (‘teaching’) which is made up of the books
of Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers and Deuteronomy – the five ‘Books of the
Law’. These are handwritten on parchment scrolls for reading in the synagogue. In the
synagogue the scrolls are kept in the Holy Ark. The Torah contains teachings about
God and how Jewish people should live.
When the Torah is read in the synagogue, a special
pointer called a yad is used to point to each word.
Every Sabbath of the Jewish year, a different
passage is read out. This is designed to ensure that
all the books of the Torah are covered in one year.
The study of the Torah is very important to Jews. They will meet together to discuss
its meaning and learn more about God’s laws and how they can be applied.
An important part of the Torah is encapsulated in the Shema, a Jewish prayer found
in Deuteronomy chapter 6 verse 4 –
‘Hear, O Israel, the Lord our God, is one Lord’
the Shema continues
‘…and thou shalt love the Lord your God with all your heart and
with all your soul and with all your might’
In a Jewish home, a piece of parchment scroll with the Shema
written on it is kept in a small box called a mezuzah, which is
fixed to right-hand doorposts as a reminder of the presence of
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