Centuries before Yeshua walked the earth, Ezra the Scribe divided the first five books of the Bible, the Torah, into 54 portions so that in the course of a year the entire scroll would be recited during services. This practice is still observed around the world today.
Yeshua said that these Scriptures plainly testify of Him:
“And beginning with Moses and all the Prophets, He interpreted to them in all the Scriptures the things concerning Himself.” Luke 24:27
WHAT IS THE TORAH?
Torah means “teaching,” or “instruction.” It is derived from the Hebrew word “yara,” meaning “to shoot an arrow,” or “to hit the mark.” Most translations of the Bible miss this point when they translate it as “law.” Torah not only contains laws and decrees, but it also contains history, blessings, curses, poetry, and narrative. To translate the word as “law” is only partially correct.
Moses’ five books (B’resheet/Genesis, Sh’mot/Exodus, Vayikra/Leviticus, B’midbar/ Numbers, and D’varim/Deuteronomy) are named Torah. These books include the history of the earth, man, the nations, the patriarchs (Abraham [Avraham], Isaac [Yitzhak], and Jacob [Ya’akov]) and Israel. They also contain laws and decrees for the sons of Noah (Noach) (Genesis [B’resheet] 9:1-7), as well as for the nation of Israel. They contain provisions for blessings and curses. These five books comprise God’s instruction to Israel, and to everyone who embraces Israel’s God.
Often, the entire Tanakh, that is the Torah/first 5 books of Books of Moses, Nevi’im/the Prophets and Ketuvim/Writings, is referred to as Torah. The Tanakh is sometimes referred to in the New Covenant Scriptures (Brit Hadashah) as Torah. For example, 1 Corinthians 14:21 states, “In the Torah it is written: ‘With men of other tongues and other lips, I will speak to this people; and yet for all that, they will not hear me.” The writer quotes Isaiah [Yeshayahu] 28:11-12 (one of the prophets), yet refers to it as Torah.
Since Torah means “instruction,” any teaching based on the five books of Moses (Moshe) can be called Torah. Yeshua’s teaching in Matthew (Mattityahu) chapters 5-7, and elsewhere, can be considered Torah. In fact, we should consider all Yeshua’s teaching His Torah to us.
The Torah is divided into Parashah (Torah portions) and each Parashah is read, in order, each Shabbat throughout the year, in a yearly cycle which begins and ends on Simchat Torah (a holiday which follows at the end of Sukkot). On holy days, festivals and other special occasions, special passages outside the cycle of reading are read. Each fall at the conclusion of Sukkot the Torah cycle begins again with the reading of Genesis (B’resheet) 1:1 – 6:8.
Pick up your copy of this year’s “Weekly and Holy Days Parashah Readings” from the Marketplace and read through the Torah this year.