What is Torah?
Understanding the meaning of the word "Torah"
The Torah is an ancient scroll containing the books of Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers and Deuteronomyâ€”the first five books of the Bible.
The Torah is the foundation of faith in Yeshua. All of the concepts associated with the Gospelâ€”such as God, holiness, righteousness, sin, sacrifice, repentance, faith, forgiveness, covenant, grace and the kingdom of heaven on earthâ€”are introduced in the Torah. Basic sacraments and rituals like baptism, communion, prayer and blessing all come from the Torah. Faith in Jesus is meaningful because of the Torah. Without the Torah, the Gospel has no foundation on which to stand.
The Hebrew word torah is translated "law" in most of our English Bibles. The Torah is called the Law of Moses because Moses wrote it, but the Torah is more than just a legal code. The word "Torah" (×Ş×•×¨×”) is from the Hebrew root, yara (×™×¨×”) which means "to instruct," or "to teach." Although it does contain laws, Torah itself is not only a "law," but it is Godâ€™s "teaching" and "instruction." That explains why the word Torah is often used to refer to the whole Bible. From our perspective, even the Gospels, Acts, Epistles, and Revelation fall under the broad definition of Torah. Itâ€™s all Godâ€™s instruction, and itâ€™s all rooted in the Torah of Moses.
The Torah is the story of Godâ€™s people and how they came to be the people of God in the first place. The Torah is something all believers have in common. We all have this common ground. The Torah is our shared origin. It is Godâ€™s book.
What is the Torah Cycle?
The Weekly Synagogue Reading
The Torah Club follows the weekly Torah readings that are read in Jewish and Messianic synagogues every Sabbath. "For Moses from ancient generations has in every city those who preach him, since he is read in the synagogues every Sabbath" (Acts 15:21). In the synagogue, the Torah begins with Genesis 1:1 in the fall, usually around October. Each week several chapters are read aloud to the congregation in Hebrewâ€”a total of fifty-four Torah portions. Each reading is called a parashah, which means "portion." The names of the weekly portions are derived from a significant Hebrew word in the first sentence of that week's reading. A year after beginning the first portion, the congregation finishes Deuteronomy and begins Genesis again.
In addition to readings from the five books of Moses, the Torah Cycle includes a weekly reading from the prophets. At First Fruits of Zion, we have created an accompanying reading cycle for the Gospels and Acts as well.
Visit our special Torah PORTIONS Web site where you can read and listen to the weekly Torah portion online, and explore the different portions week by week.
The Torah Club Concept
The concept for Torah Club is simple. As a club member, you receive commentary on the weekly portions in both written form and audio CDs. Each week, beginning a week before the Torah portion is read in the synagogue, you are encouraged to read the assigned passages from the Torah, read the written commentary and listen to the audio CD. In a year's time, you've completed one cycle through the Torah.
Don't be discouraged if you find you can't keep up with all the reading every week. You can always go back later. The Torah cycle is read every year. If you prefer, you can ignore the weekly cycle and study through the material at your own pace
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