Torah is bound together with the experiences of Jewish people, linked with their self identity. It contains a message from God to man mediated through Jewish prophets. Also central in the covenant between God and his special people of Israel – the Jews.
Halakhah = the jewish law, rules and practices that Jews are bound to follow i.e the commandments. The Halakah still plays a major role today i.e rules of the mother being Jewish in order to have a Jewish child. Jewishness is expressed through ceremonies, rituals and laws, thise give different styles of jewish life and culture. The Torah is therefore of paramount importance especially among traditional Jews. Some Jews see Judaism as participating in their lifestyle rather than a strict adherence to the halakhah, its rituals and beliefs. Others follow the Halakah and its prescriptions on everyday behaviour.
Professor Yehoshua Leibowitz believes that the Torah plays a big role. He sees Judaism depending on it as it is the only thing that gave Judaism its continuity and preserved its identity. (Unterman 1999) ‘All the different changing ideas and opinions in Judaism were only supra-structures erected upon the Halakah’ (P 8 ) (This being an orthodox view)
Central in Judaism to many = Halakhah and the legal side of Mitzvot. Most Jews take on a wide perspective for orthodox they follow the Halakhic dimension while reforms don’t do this as much
The two central concepts of Judaism is arguably the Torah and Mitzvah Torah= the living, organic tradition of Jewish teaching. The study of the Torah and the search for the new one is of the highest of Jewish values ‘He who occupies himself with Torah and with deeds of loving kindness is forgiven all his sins’ (Page 109) TB Berakhot 5a
How did it become so important? In the late 4th century there was the ‘Jerusalem Talmud’ but as Jewish life was deteriorating in Palestine along came the Babylonian Talmud a century later. This caused a...