Encyclopedia

Torah

the scroll containing the first five books of the Jewish Bible or Five Books of Moses. The Torah contains the essence of the Jewish religion, including the 613 commandments or mitzvot. The highest ideal for every Jew is the study of Torah.

The verses must be written in hand by a qualified sofer, or scribe. The scribe must take a ritual bath before beginning to inscribe a Torah and rules dictate which mistakes can be corrected and which mistakes require starting over. The Torah scrolls are stored on the East wall of the synagogue facing Jerusalem in the Ark or Aron Kodesh. Above the Ark hangs the ner tamid or eternal light.

Another major usage of the word "Torah" refers to classical Jewish religious texts in general and to the total corpus which they form. Hence, someone studying Talmud, Tanach, Midrash or Codes is also "learning Torah." Source: Rosten, The Joys of Yiddish.



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