What is the meaning of the Torah

Keyword: Torah, instruction

The Hebrew word Torah means "doctrine", "instruction", "rule" or "law", specifically in the sense of the instructions that Moses received from God on Mount Sinai and that are contained in the five books of Moses (Greek " Pentateuch "from pente =" five "and teuchos =" book "), are written down (1st Chronicle 16.40; 22.12; 2nd Chronicle 17.9). The Torah thus comprises the first and most important part of the Hebrew Bible or the Old Testament. Accordingly, at the time of Jesus, the books of the Old Testament were referred to as "the law and the prophets" (Matthew 5:17; 7:12; 11:13; 22:40).

In a broader sense, "Torah" is then also a comprehensive term for God's revelation to his people. That is why, on the one hand, individual instructions or groups of instructions on a specific topic (e.g. sacrificial regulations, Leviticus / Leviticus) are referred to as the Torah, but on the other hand the Hebrew Bible as a whole (John 10:34; 12:34; Romans 3:19 ; 1 Corinthians 14:21); even the orally transmitted interpretation of the Hebrew Bible can still be included.

By observing the rules of life in the Torah and following the instructions (e.g. for circumcision, the Sabbath and the purity regulations) from the five books of Moses, Jews clearly differ from other people. In the Jewish religion, the Torah determines all life.

During the translation of the Hebrew Bible into Greek and then especially during the translation into Latin, the term Torah was rendered as "law" and its meaning was thereby narrowed. This could easily lead to the misunderstanding that Judaism was a rigid and petty "law-religion". However, Torah is something completely different from a rigid law. It wants to be a guide to a successful and fulfilled life and to come into its own again and again in a design of individual life situations in accordance with the Word of God.

In Psalm 1, the Torah means all of the Holy Scriptures, the Word of God. Constant reflection on the word of God is man's true happiness. The Torah is seen here as a way of life that enables a happy and successful life.

Psalm 119 is a single praise to the Torah. Torah is paraphrased here as instruction, commandment, order, rule, word, will of God, law, way, promise etc. Torah is understood here as God's living word, which is true and reliable and which shows the way to God.

As is not uncommon in Judaism, Jesus developed his own new interpretations of the Torah (Matthew 5: 21-42: "You know that our ancestors were told ... But I tell you ..."; Mark 10: 2-12) . In doing so, he did not want to contradict the Torah, but rather to reveal its true meaning (Matthew 5: 17-20). For him, the highest norm and at the same time the core of the Torah is the double commandment of love, which includes love for God and love for fellow human beings (Mark 12: 29-31).

On Paul and his understanding of the Torah see the factual explanation of the law.