The Bible and the Torah

Carol RoachStarred Page By Carol Roach, 20th Jul 2015 | Follow this author | RSS Feed
Posted in Wikinut>Family>Religion

This articles is a brief discussion of the books of the Bible, the Torah and other Jewish religious books.

The Bible

The Bible is the Christian holy book. It is divided into two testaments, the old and the new. There are 66 books of the bible. The 27 books in the New Testament contain the books pertaining to Jesus Christ and his teachings. The Bible also contains the writings of the apostles and early church people like Paul.

There are 39 books in the Old Testament which is the Jewish history, laws, and religious doctrine. However, the Jews do not refer to the Bible as such. They have their own books. Only Christians call the Old Testament the Jewish holy books. The Jews call the books by several names including the TANAKH, which is a Hebrew acronym for the three sections it contains: Torah (Pentateuch), Nevi'im (Prophets), and Ketuvim (Writings). The Tanakh contains 39 books.

The Torah

The Torah is the first five books and is the history of the Jewish people from the beginning to the death of Moses when he reached the promised land. The Haftarah is the readings from the prophets which follows the reading of the Torah each Shabbat.

The siddur is a prayer book. When Moses was on Mount Sinai God gave him two books, the written word which is the Torah and the oral Torah which is the Mishnah and a commentary on the Mishnah called the Gemara.

Not many people (such as Christians) know that there are two Talmuds; one originating in Babylonia and the other in Palestine. According to Rabbi Scheinerman,

“The Talmud serves as the core of rabbinic tradition. Its approach to Jewish legal issues makes clear that as much as performing mitzvoth (commandments) is important to living a full Jewish life, study is as well. In more than one place, issues so esoteric as to be entirely inapplicable are discussed in detail and at great length and it is pointed out that the purpose of the study is for its own sake, and that study brings its own reward.

The Mishnah is written in a terse and simple style of Hebrew. Most of the Gemara is written in Aramaic, though it contains passages in Hebrew, as well. The Gemara is often divided into two styles: Halakhah and Aggadah. Halakhah is legalistic material and Aggadah is legend. They are interwoven into a seamless whole, as are obligation and story in our own lives.”

Bringing together two religions

I was brought up Christian and I attended Sunday school as a child and then sat through the church service as an adult. When I grew up I married a Christian man and had a son. We divorced when my son was young but I took him to church with me. I was confirmed in the Anglican Church after I was divorced. When my son was young I worked as a lunch monitor at one of the Talmud Torah schools for a while.

I was single for many years after that; but, I always had a yearning to learn about other religions. I took religion courses in university and I met and fell in love with a Jewish man. We have been going to the synagogue ever since. I love the music sung in Hebrew by the cantor. Listening to the beautiful voices transports me to another place in time. I envision myself on the shores of Galilee singing with the Hebrews around a campfire or tent. The service is conducted in English with English and Hebrew readings. I love learning about the Old Testament stories I already knew with a Jewish perspective.

I love the ceremony of bringing the ancient Torah written on sheepskin down to the people to touch. I enjoy this special time I have with my partner in life and the congregation. As a Christian I am part of both worlds; the Christian and the Jewish, the old and the new.

All photos taken from the public domain

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Aggadah, Gemara, Halakhah, Holy Prayer Book, Ketuvim, Mishnah, Mitzvoth, Neviim, Pentateuch, Prophets, Siddur, The Bible, The Haftarah, The New Testament, The Old Testament, The Tanakh, The Torah

Meet the author

author avatar Carol Roach
Retired therapist and author of two books, freelance writer, newsletter editor, and blogger. I write, health, mental health, women's issues, animal , celebrity, history, and SEO articles.

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author avatar Carol
20th Jul 2015 (#)

Very well explained.

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author avatar brendamarie
20th Jul 2015 (#)

Carol wonderful explanation

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author avatar Legend
20th Jul 2015 (#)

Well that certainly illuminates a lot of your content here on wikinut. I would be glad to discourse Talmudic philosophy at some later date...

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author avatar Sivaramakrishnan A
20th Jul 2015 (#)

Very interesting to know how you are inspired to share on various topics with an intimate knowledge.

I too like to understand all faiths and not have a preconceived view that one is better than the other - siva

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author avatar Kingwell
22nd Jul 2015 (#)

How wonderful Carol! I am so pleased that you enjoy the best of both religions. I too was born and raised an Anglican and my first wife was Anglican. We raised our three boys in that faith. My first wife died in 1995 and since then I've married a woman who is Roman Catholic. Although I rarely go to any church anymore we have attended both churches. My whole life has been a search for the meaning of life and death and what if anything follows. I enjoyed reading your post. Blessings.

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