TORAH SUB-PAGES

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TORAH

As a Jew, my first interest, goal, way of life, and priority of importance is living by the commandments* of God revealed in The Torah. That is why, of all the topics presented on this website, the first section is chosen to be The Torah. What follows is a overly simplified explanation of what The Torah is according to the Jewish tradition which, through my investigations, I am convinced beyond a reasonable doubt to be trustworthy and accurate.

The Torah (the first five books of the bible) is the revealed word of God**. It was transmitted through the unique and unsurpassed prophecy of Moses, and entirely written by his hand (with the possible exception of the last few verses, which may have been written down by Joshua).

The Torah, along with the rest of the Hebrew Bible (Tanach), is collectively known as the `Written Torah'. The other books of the Bible were written either by prophets who received their prophecy from God through visions and dreams (Naviim), or by prophets and other authors through Divine inspiration (Kesuvim).

Along with The Torah, God also transmitted to Moses the Oral Torah. The Oral Torah (forbidden to be publicly published in written form until around 150 C.E.) was the definitive explanation of the Written Torah, describing the multiple meanings of verses and the details of the implementation of its laws. Included in the Oral Torah were 13 literary methods of extracting and deriving details of laws and ideas out of The Torah. These methods were used throughout the generations by sages until around 400 C.E. when the correct manner and skill to utilize these processes were lost. Due to God-directed historical events (mainly the destruction of the temple in Jerusalem, and the subsequent exile of Jewry), parts of the Oral Torah started to be forgotten. During this time period, the Oral Torah was first published in a terse form in what is called Mishnah, which was later expanded upon and codified into the Talmud (there is both a Babylonian and a Yerushalmi Talmud). The underlying concepts and method of learning the Talmud was (and is) passed down from teacher to student. The Talmud also contains additional teachings and Rabbinic enactments designed to help people steer clear of violating Torah law and/or enactments to fix societal issues. Other portions of the Oral Torah were passed on and written down within works such as the Midrash, Toseftos, and Beraisos.

Even after the Talmud and other writings concerning the Oral Law were codified, the Oral Torah continued to grow, and does so to this day, by means of applying the principles laid out in the Talmud to current halachic (Jewish law) problems. In addition, new ways of explaining and extracting insights out of The Written Torah and the Talmud have (and continue) to be produced, which also adds to the collective `Oral Torah'.

*These commandments (or mitzvos), of which there are 613, are obligatory for every Jew to live by. In The Torah, God also sets down 7 categories of laws which all the people of the world are obligated to keep. These 7 categories, as well as other information can be found here. Although Judaism does not seek converts, non-Jews who wish to form a closer connection to God than following the 7 categories can take them, and are willing to take on the responsibility of observing all 613 mitzvos, can convert. Afterwards, they are fully accepted as members of the Jewish people.

**Obviously there are those who do not believe this is the case. However, consideration of evidence along with personal experiences have lead me to believe that this is indeed true. The evidence of the validity of the divine origin of The Torah and the Oral Torah given along side it can be found in many publications and lectures. The links to some are listed on the Torah Links sub-page.

Here is a quick description of each Torah sub-page:

Book List This page provides a listing of some essential and interesting books on Torah. Each book is described/reviewed, and a link to where to buy it is provided where possible.
Links Here,I have listed numerous sites related to Torah. They cover a large range, including evidence for the Divine origin of the Torah, Torah-related blogs, places to download lectures, useful tools for religious Jews, and more.
Priesthood I am a Kohen (Priest). That means that I am a direct paternal descendant of Moses's brother Aaron, who was the first Kohen. This page describes what that means, and provides information and links about it.
My Thoughts This links to my Torah Thoughts blog. There, I post interesting quotes I find during my learning of Torah. Typically these are sources that contain insights that I feel are important and not widely known.
Audio Lectures This links to a collection of audio lectures that I have either recorded live or have been sent. They are lectures that cannot be found elsewhere on the internet.