First published 1914 Arabian Jew reading from the torah

- Image ID: CN8BMM
SOTK2011 / Alamy Stock Photo
Image ID: CN8BMM
Torah is a central concept in the Jewish tradition. It has a range of meanings: it can most specifically mean the first five books of the Tanakh, it can mean this, plus the rabbinic commentaries on it, it can mean the continued narrative from Genesis to the end of the Tanakh, it can even mean the totality of Jewish teaching and practice. Common to all these meanings, Torah consists of the foundational narrative of the Jewish people: their call into being by their God, their trials and tribulations, and their covenant with their God, which involves following a way of life (halakha) embodied in a set of religious obligations and civil laws.In its most specific meaning, it consists of the first five books of the Tanakh written in Biblical Hebrew. The names of each of these books in Hebrew are taken from the first phrase in each book: Bereshit ("In [the] beginning", Genesis), Shemot ("Names", Exodus), Vayikra ("He called", Leviticus[1]), Bamidbar ("In the desert", Numbers) and Devarim ("Words", Deuteronomy). In rabbinic literature the word Torah denotes both these five books, Torah Shebichtav (תורה שבכתב, "Torah that is written"), and an Oral Torah, Torah Shebe'al Peh (תורה שבעל פה, "Torah that is spoken"). The Oral Torah consists of the traditional interpretations and amplifications handed down by word of mouth from generation to generation and now embodied in the Talmud (תַּלְמוּד) and Midrash Traditionally, the words of the Torah are written on a scroll by a sofer on parchment in Hebrew. A Torah portion is read publicly at least once every three days, in the halachically prescribed tune, in the presence of a congregation.[Reading the Torah publicly is one of the bases for Jewish communal life. According to religious tradition, all of the teachings found in the Torah, both written and oral, were given by God to Moses, some of them at Mount Sinai and others at the Tabernacle, and all the teachings were written down by Moses, which resulted in the Torah