By Jonah Doctura | 2015
The Torah is Judaism´s most important text. It is composed of the Five Books of Moses and also contains the 613 commandments. The word Torah in Judaism means "to teach".
The writings of the Torah are also part of the Tanakh (Hebrew Bible), which contains not only the five book of Moses but 39 other important Jewish texts. The word Tanakh is actually an acronym: "T" is for the Torah, "N" is for the Nevi´im (Prophets) and "K" is for Ketuvim (Writings).
The five books of Moses begin with the creation of the world and end with the death the Moses. In Hebrew, the name of each book is derived from the first unique word that appears in that book.
Genesis (B´reishit), means "In the Beginning". This book talks about the creation of the world, the Great Flood, and also tells the stories of Judaism´s patriarchs and matriarchs. These stories begin with Abraham and Sarah and end with Joseph in Egypt.
Exodus (Sh´mot), means "names" in Hebrew. This book tells the story of the Israelites´ bondage in Egypt, their journey to Mt. Sinai (where the Ten commandments are received)and their wanderings in the wilderness.
Leviticus (Vayikra), means "and He called" in Hebrew. This book deals mostly with priestly matters such as rituals, sacrifice, atonement and ritual purity.
Numbers (BaMidbar) means "in the wilderness" in Hebrew. This book talks about the Israelites wanderings in the desert as they continue towards the Promised Land.
Deuteronomy (D´varim) means "words" in Hebrew. This is the final book of the Torah. It recounts the Israelites´ journey according to Moses and ends with his death just before they enter the Promised Land.
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