Torah

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A Torah scroll in the British Museum, open at Exodus

Torah (Hebrew: תורה) is a Hebrew word that means "instructions". When most people say the word Torah they are either referring to the whole Jewish Bible, the Tanakh, the first 5 books of the bible or all of the Jewish teaching in general.

These five books are the beginning of both Jewish and Christian holy writings.

The five books are:

  1. Genesis (Hebrew: Bereishit, בראשית),
  2. Exodus (Hebrew: Shemot, שמות),
  3. Leviticus (Hebrew: Vayikra, ויקרא),
  4. Numbers (Hebrew: Bemidbar, במדבר) and
  5. Deuteronomy (Hebrew: Devarim, דברים).

Other names for this set of books are the "Five Books of Moses," or "Pentateuch" (a Greek word).

Some people may use the word Torah as a name for all the main Jewish teachings.

Each of the books in the Torah are separated into parts called "Parshiyot." Parsha is a Hebrew word meaning "portion." Every Shabbat one parsha is read in the synagogue, but sometimes two are read. This is so that all the parshiyot are finished every year, on the Jewish holiday of Simchat Torah.

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