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Why is the Torah so special to Jews?

Discussion in 'Religious Debates' started by arcanum, Mar 9, 2014.

  1. arcanum

    arcanum Active Member

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    Having been exposed to a fair share Hebrew sacred scripture and writings since I was a child, and now with the critical eye of a rational adult and able to compare them ( if I may be so bold) I have to ask, why is it that the Torah is the most central piece of Jewish literature above all others? I ask this in no disrespect, I'm just trying to understand why the Torah is so important to Jews? I guess the same question could be said, why is the Quran so special to Muslims or why are the gospels so central to Christians, but I'm asking so that non Jews understand, why is it that the Torah is so central out of all the biblical literature?
     
    #1 arcanum, Mar 9, 2014
    Last edited: Mar 9, 2014
  2. dantech

    dantech Well-Known Member

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    Religion:
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    Every other scripture is developed from it. It represents our eternal contract (covenant) with God.
     
  3. Caladan

    Caladan Agnostic Pantheist

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    When you say 'Torah' you need to be more technical. Do you mean why is the Hebrew Bible or the Tanach more important than contemporary (or later) extra Biblical literature? Or why are the 5 books of Moses more important than the rest of the Bible? I'm trying to understand what you mean by 'all the biblical literature', since the term Torah can also be used to refer to the Bible in its entirety. If you mean specifically the first 5 books of the Bible, then personally I do not consider them more important than the rest of our scripture (the 'Bible'). The Torah/Hebrew Bible or more accurately Tanach is a canonized form of our sacred texts.
     
  4. arcanum

    arcanum Active Member

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    Yes Caladan, I was referring specifically to the first five books of Moses. Is there any obscurity in reference to the Torah? It seems to me that time and time again, that of all the books that comprise the Hebrew scriptures that they are held up as something separate, they are indeed the inner court, the holy of holies, while the other scriptures are the considered the outer court.
     
  5. CMike

    CMike Well-Known Member

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    All jewish law from G-D comes from the Torah. Also, all jewish law in general stems from the Torah.

    The Torah is the centerpiece of judaism. It's also the moral guide for Judaism.

    The Torah is extremely intricate, Every word has significance and can be analyized in deep levels. Even the numerical value of the word has sigificance.

    The Torah is perfect as it is from G-D.

    The Torah is about the journey of the jewish people from the beginning of time until they get to Israel.

    Prophets were written by the prophets. They were by definiton prophesies.

    Scriptures consists mainly of prayers.

    Also, the Torah can not be changed. Deuterenomy 13:1 says do not add nor subtract from the commandments.
     
  6. CMike

    CMike Well-Known Member

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    Torah is the five books of moses. Tanach is the five books of moses plus prophets and scriptures. It does mean something specific.
     
  7. Caladan

    Caladan Agnostic Pantheist

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    Expand your education a little Mike because what you said above is certainly not as clear cut as you made it to be. Obviously Torah means 'law' in the Tanach 'acronym' no one disputes that. However it is not uncommon for people to refer to the whole Jewish Bible as Torah, so no need to pretend that is not the case. As you can see above I was inquiring to see if that was the case.
     
  8. Caladan

    Caladan Agnostic Pantheist

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    Like I said, to me the Hebrew Bible in its entirety is a sacred text. The Law, the Prophets, and the Writings. It is all 'Bible' or scripture.
     
  9. arcanum

    arcanum Active Member

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    But my understanding, and correct me if I'm wrong, it is not as you put it that all scriptures are on equal footing, but that the Torah is set apart as the words of god, while the books of the Tanakh could have had some human interpolation. Is this close?
     
  10. CMike

    CMike Well-Known Member

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    You can call it whatever you wish.

    However Torah is the five books of Moses. Tanach is the five books of Moses plus prophets and scriptures. It's not murky.

    That said if I am saying I am going to study Torah that can mean the Talmud as well since all jewish law comes from the Torah.
     
  11. CMike

    CMike Well-Known Member

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    It is close.

    Since prophets were written by the prophets and the prophets were human they are not perfect.

    Also since King David wrote most of Psalms, and King David was human, Psalms isn't perfect.

    The Torah is perfect.
     
  12. Caladan

    Caladan Agnostic Pantheist

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    Ignoring the fact that this is the second time you are parroting what I already said in my first post, the second sentence in your post is astoundingly ironic in light of the 'interpretation' you have provided to my posts. :facepalm:
     
  13. CMike

    CMike Well-Known Member

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    I am not interpreting. I am stating facts.

    The Torah is the five books of Moses.

    The Tanach is the five book of Moses, plus prophets and scriptures.

    What is unclear?
     
  14. Sleeppy

    Sleeppy Fatalist. Christian. Pacifist.

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    History passed down from their forefather(s).. It's not completely accurate/pure, but it is gold!
     
  15. technomage

    technomage Finding my own way

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    Imagine if G_d Himself had come to one of your ancestors and said "I choose you specifically, and your descendants, as a nationality that is set apart and sacred to me. Because I have chosen you, I will bless you, but to be worthy of that blessing, you must comply with certain conditions, in the form of a contract."

    At its very simplest, the Torah is the Contract, with passages that give context to the actual wording of the Contract, and with the specific conditions--things they are required to do, things they are required to refrain from. The other books of the Tanakh tell about the people of the Covenant, but the Torah is the Covenant in and of itself.

    Now, I have to mention that as an agnostic, I have strenuous doubts as to the historicity of the Torah ... but for the sake of this discussion, my doubts are irrelevant. My explanation above is a pale shadow of how central the Torah is to Jewish religious culture.
     
  16. arcanum

    arcanum Active Member

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    Thank you, I think you put it quite well and I understand it's implications and impact now. The real reason for this question is I've been trying to re read the Torah again and after Genesis it's frankly hard going. I don't find a lot of spiritual food so to speak. Maybe this is due to the nature of my goyim mind?:shrug:
     
  17. Caladan

    Caladan Agnostic Pantheist

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    Absolutely nothing is unclear to me. Only it seems to be unclear to you as I have already covered it in my first post. You are simply grinding water as usual. :facepalm:
     
  18. CMike

    CMike Well-Known Member

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    Oy vey :rolleyes::facepalm:
     
  19. CMike

    CMike Well-Known Member

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    I think you need to read it with the proper commentary which explains what you are reading.

    Keep Rashi's commentary on.

    Genesis - Chapter 1 (Parshah Berei****) - Tanakh Online - Torah - Bible
     
  20. Caladan

    Caladan Agnostic Pantheist

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    Much of the Torah obviously is foreign and alien to gentiles, even to devout Christians by its very nature of Hebraic tradition, legal, and law.
     
    #20 Caladan, Mar 9, 2014
    Last edited: Mar 9, 2014
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