Torah – Five Books of Moses

The five books of the Torah, along with the Nevi’im and the Ketuvim make up the Tanakh or Hebrew Bible. Often called the Pentateuch or the Five Books of Moses in English, the Torah is among the oldest religious texts in existence. Moreover, the Torah is the source of religious beliefs of over half the world’s population whether they are Christians, Muslims or Jews.

Torah is often translated as meaning “law” although it may be more accurately translated as meaning “teaching” or “doctrine.” Torah derives from the verb ??? (“rah”) which in conjugation means “to guide/teach.” The Torah as described above contains the five most important religious books in the Jewish, Muslim and Christian religions. Those books are called in English – Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers and Deuteronomy. As mentioned above, the Torah as well as the Nevi’im and the Ketuvim are the three parts of the Hebrew Bible. The Tanakh and the Talmud, which is a collection of oral history and traditions, are the major religious texts of Judaism.

Of all the religious texts in Judaism though, the Torah is the most important and the most celebrated. This is reflected in the manner in which the Torah is created and maintained throughout its existence. A Torah is written on dozens of sheets of sheep skin parchment by a specially trained religious writer known as a sofer, which means scribe. The sheets are written in the Ktav Ashurit (a Hebrew script without any vowels or punctuation). Then, the sheets are sewn together and attached to two large rollers.

The Torah is the most cherished item in Judaism and it is cared for as such. A Torah is decorated with a crown of gold or silver and it wears a mantle of very rich cloth that covers the parchment and the rollers. In addition, a breastplate of engraved silver hangs from both rollers. Also, a small pointing item (often designed as a hand pointing with an index finger) called a yad (or “hand” in English) also hangs from one or both of the rollers. The yad is used to touch the parchment and to help a Torah reader maintain his place. The reason a yad is used is that if a person touches the parchment of the Torah with his/her bare hands, then the Torah is desecrated and cannot be used any more in religious services. Finally, the Torah is kept in an Ark which is a large cupboard-like structure that is specially designed to maintain a temple’s Torah (and often several copies of the Torah).

The Torah is a fascinating religious artifact not only for the text which has inspired the faith of billions of people but the creation and the maintenance of a Torah shows the devotion that Jews show to G-d’s law. Please review our website and see any of the Torah or religious products that we have available.

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