Torah Pentateuch

Dillon Davis, Emily Wilson, Hwanhee Kim (Knowles 2B)

Basic Background Information

Religion: Judaism

Important Figures:

Abraham- called the father of Hebrew people and Judaism

Moses- founder of Judaism

Diffusion: Forced migration through exile, after exile the Jews spread everywhere, taking the Torah with them.

Books of Torah

Bereshit (בְּרֵאשִׁית, literally "In the beginning")

Shemot (שִׁמוֹת, literally "Names")

Vayikra (ויקרא, literally "And He called")

Bəmidbar (במדבר, literally "In the desert [of]")

Devarim (דברים, literally "Things" or "Words")

Books of Torah Compared to the Bible

Genesis: "origin"

Exodus: Exodos, "going out"

Leviticus: Leuitikos, "relating to the Levites"

Numbers: Arithmoi, contains a record of the numbering of the Israelites in the wilderness of Sinai and later on the plain of Moab.

Deuteronomy: Deuteronomion, "second law", refers to the fifth book's recapitulation of the commandments reviewed by Moses before his death.

Basics of Torah

  • Torah consists of the foundational narrative of the Jewish people: their call into being by God, their trials and tribulations, and their covenant with their God, which involves following a way of life embodied in a set of religious obligations and civil laws.
  • 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 Sanai and others at the Tabernacle and all the teachings were written down my Moses, which resulted in the Torah we have today. According to a Midrash, the Torah was created prior to the creation of the world and was used as the blueprint for Creation. The majority of Biblical Scholars believe that the written books were a product of the Babylon Exilic period (c. 600 BCE) and that it was completed by the Persian Period(c. 400 BCE).

God in Torah

  • The creation story in Torah differs from many creation stories in that the God of Torah is given no origins nor family life. He simply acts and things come to be. In the Hebrew, God is referred to varying as Elohim, El, and the Tetragrammaton (The Tetragrammaton appears to be a personal name for God, but is not to be pronounced in the Jewish tradition.)
  • The word Elohim is considered in the tradition to refer to a more abstract universal aspect of God. While the Torah is concerned with God's relationship with the Jewish people primarily, the beginning of Genesis and other episodes establish that this god is a universal god. This is one of the major concepts of Judaism.


The Torah contains narratives, statements of law, and statements of ethics. Collectively these laws, usually called biblical law or commandments, are sometimes referred to as the Law of Moses, Mosaic Law, or Sinaitic Law.

Quotes from Torah

  • Listen Israel, YHVH is our God, YHVH is One. (Deuteronomy, 6:4)

  • That you will know that God is the Supreme Being and there is none besides Him. (Another quote pointing to non-duality – the Ultimate Oneness. Deuteronomy 4:35)

  • YHVH your God is the God of gods and the Master of masters. (Deuteronomy, 10:17)

  • But now see – it is I! I am He! There are no (other) gods with me! (Deuteronomy 32:39)

  • … into the heart of every wise-hearted individual have I given Wisdom so that they may make all things that I have commanded you. (Exodus, 31:6)

  • The rich man shall not give more and the poor man shall not give less than half a shekel when giving Terumah to YHVH to atone for your souls. (Exodus 30:15)

  • Do not get equal with one who has done you wrong, or keep hard feelings against the children of your people, but have love for your neighbor as for yourself: I am the YHVH.(Leviticus, 19:18)