The Torah

What is the Torah? How do we know that we heard G-d at Sinai? How and when was the Torah written?

Judaism's sacred scroll and teachings
Torah refers to the Five Books of Moses, the entire Hebrew Bible, and the entire corpus of religious Jewish knowledge. Torah is how the Creator shares the purpose, intent, and desire behind all that exists.
Since it has entered the common parlance, let’s discuss what people mean when they use the term.
If Judaism Is Spiritual, Why All the Rules?
On Freedom By Choice
More than Torah is about keeping rules, it’s about breaking them. Torah is about transcending the rules of the universe and creating freedom.
Do You Really Believe That the Torah Is Historical?
Experts have compared the Bible to other writings of 3,000 years ago . . .
Can We Add to the Torah?
Unfolding the voice from Sinai
How Do We Know that We Heard G-d at Sinai?
The greatest conspiracy theory of all time is materialism. The second greatest conspiracy theory is that the Jews invented the Torah...
If Torah Is Divine Wisdom, Why Doesn't It Read That Way?
When a story isn’t just a story
I’m kinda disappointed about this Torah. I keep reading on your site about it being the ultimate divine wisdom. To me, it reads like a book of stories. If it’s really a divine document, shouldn’t it read more like one of those ancient mystical texts, like the wild and wonderful Zohar or the cryptic and mystical Book of Formation?
Torah Vs. Talmud
On the Need for the Oral Torah
The Torah’s commandments are brief and sometimes cryptic. As recorded in the Talmud, rabbinic tradition and scholarship unpacks, elucidates, and expands them into Judaism as we know it.
Why Can't the Rabbis Agree on Anything?
The Jewish obsession with arguments
How can we rely on these rabbis if they can’t even agree with one another?
What is the
G‑d told Moses that he will give him "the Torah and the commandments." Why did G‑d add the word "commandments?" Are there any commandments which are not included in the Torah?
How Is the Torah Interpreted?
Our sages tell us that Torah can be interpreted in four different general ways: peshat, remez, drush and sod.
Why Get So Caught Up in Torah's Details?
Imagine Albert Einstein walking down the street and dropping a pen. As he bends down to pick it up, the unfortunate occurs. His pants split. He heads back home, and mends the pants...
Should the Torah be Rated PG?
It seems like every story in the Torah needs to be edited for children.
How and When Was the Torah Written?
To explain that, I would need a long conversation with you about what is G-d and how G-d talks to people and why....
How Can the Commentaries All Be Right?
There are so many differences of opinion as to what happened and what it means--how can they all be right?
Is It Really the Torah, Or Is It Just the Rabbis?
We claim to believe in the Bible, but it seems to me that in reality we're controlled by a small group of old men and their Talmud...
How Can the Rabbis Add to Torah?
Why do the rabbis add so many laws to the Torah? Isn't that what caused Adam and Eve to sin--the fact that Eve made unwarranted additions to G‑d's law?
G-d in the Talmud
In what way are the laws of the Talmud "the wisdom and will of G-d"? What's so "wise" about the how to divide a garment that two people are fighting over? Why G-d would "will" the procedures for buying a donkey?
The Two Talmuds
Why are there two Talmuds? And why is the "Babylonian Talmud" considered more authoritative than the "Jerusalem Talmud"?
The Murky Truth About Truth
Is Torah really absolute, all-encompassing Truth? Do the rabbis never disagree? Could we have invented Teflon™ and Superglue™ just by reading Torah?
How Did the Torah Exist Before it Happened?
How could Jacob have studied the Torah, if it was given to Moses centuries later? Did he learn, in advance, how Laban would trick him on his wedding night or how Joseph would thrown in a pit and sold as a slave by his brothers?
Is the Torah Timeless?
I wonder about how the Orthodox view the fluidity of the Torah and the teachings of the past. Clearly there are aspects of the Torah that have been outdated since it was written, such as stoning etc.
Did Human Rights Begin With Torah?
Democracy and human rights are cornerstones of our moral vision in the modern era. Where do we Jews fit--historically and ideologically--into this picture?
Torah, Slavery and the Jews
Yes, there's tension here, and as every good dramatist and massage therapist knows, tension is a good point to play with
Aren’t Moses’ and Mohammad’s Stories Similar?
Didn’t G‑d give Moses the Torah while he was on top of Mount Sinai away from the rest of the Jews who were waiting down below? Isn’t this similar to the stories of Jesus and Mohammad, because no one was actually there to verify that anything was unequivocally given from G‑d to Moses?
Why Toil in My Torah Studies?
I find studying Torah to be very inspirational, exciting, and mostly enjoyable. Can you please explain the meaning of “toiling in the study of Torah”?
Where Are the 600,000 Letters of the Torah?
The black are the letters we see, while the white, the inverse space between the black, are the letters we don't see. Some souls, like the black letters of the Torah, have a clear purpose and focus. Others are more like the white letters...
Progressive Ancient Jewish Education
How does our site score on answers and dialogue?
You think that wisdom flows in one direction only. The supplicant asks, and the rabbi answers.
Why No Vowels in the Torah?
Why is that? Is it just to make it super-hard to become a Jewish adult?
Why Do Sephardim Keep Their Torahs in Cylindrical Cases?
I recently had occasion to pray in a Sephardic synagogue, and they kept the Torahs in some kind of ornamental cylindrical case with the scroll in the upright position. Then, when it came time to read the Torah, they simply set it on a flat table and cracked open the case.
Why Two Rollers for a Torah and One for a Megillah?
Why does a Torah scroll have two poles or rollers, while the Megillah (Book of Esther), which is also read from a scroll of parchment, only has one rollers (or none at all)?
Why the Torah Was Given to a Nation of Trauma Survivors
If you're going to bring the ultimate divine wisdom into the world, why are shattered souls the channel for its reception?
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