Torah?

Ok, here:

http://boards.straightdope.com/sdmb/showthread.php?p=6187572&posted=1#post6187572

in the PIT, Scott Plaid claimed that “However, in actual fact, the answer to jews is yes. If you are a good jew, you need to good to shul every weekend, and read one chapter of the torah each week. After one year, you have read it once.”

I pointed out that the Jews in shul were only reading the Torah, which I have always though was just the 1st 5 books of the OT. And that the Torah was only about 1/4 the whole OT, then there was the Talmud and the Mishnah, etc

But others point out that the term “Torah” can sometimes include the whole of the sacred writings.

So- Jewish dopers- when you think “Torah” do you think just the Pentateuch, or do you think it refers to the Mishnah, the Talmud and all? When you read “the Torah” in shul- it is just the Pentateuch? :confused:

Either definition works, but for me the Torah is just the five books. The talmud, haftorah, kabbalah, haggadah, megillah, etc. are all commentary or historical narrative.

Couldn’t you have just asked me in the thread?

Oh, wait. You did. You already have your answer.

Note that what Christians refer to as the “Old Testament” is called the Tanach by Jews, glossing over various differences between the texts. The haftorah are selected texts from the Tanach which lend insight into the sections of the Torah that they are paired with. The talmud, kabbalah, haggadah, etc. are not part of the Tanach.

OK, a short rundown:

Scared Writings = Tanakh + Talmud (and maybe a bit more)

Talmud = Mishna + G’mara

TaNaKH (“Old testament”) = Torah + Nevi’im + K’tubim

Torah = The five Books – Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Ba’Midbar, D’varim (Deutoronomy and Numbers, but I can’t remember which is which in English)

So, Torah is, properly, just the Five Books, and the cycle of Parashat Ha’Shavua (Weekly Reading from the Torah) does, in fact, cover all of the Torah

HTH

Dani

It depends on context. ‘Torah’ can narrowly refer to the Pentateuch (AKA chumash), more broadly to the entire Tanach, or most broadly to all Jewish religious knowlege/learning. (I think the latter usage is most common among the Orthodox.) It’s usually not that hard to tell which one somebody means when they use the term.

FWIW, nobody ‘needs to go to shul once a week.’ Men are required to pray communally three times a day, and there’s nothing more special about Saturday morning than, say, Monday or Thursday morning, when there’s also Torah reading. Women are almost never required to go to shul at all, and mostly pray by ourselves. (We tend to show up only for Saturday morning services, more for social reasons than anything else. I have female friends who tried to pray with a minyan at least daily, but they’re the exception.)

The yearly cycle, which starts/finishes on Simchat Torah, in the fall, covers the Pentateuch, which is only 180 chapters out of the 927 in the Jewish Bible. Each weekly reading also has a section (usually about a chapter) of the Prophets that’s read after it, known as the Haftorah. I know plenty of people I’d call good, religious Jews who haven’t read the entirety of the rest. Most of the Orthodox Jews I know haven’t; I have, but that was a special project I decided to do outside of my regular schooling. I had a fairly rigorous, Bible-oriented Orthodox education (Jewish girls’ schools tend to focus more on the Bible, guys’ schools on Oral law), but even there we didn’t get to a few of the Prophets (Ezekiel, Kings II, and some of the shorter ones) or most of the Writings. By high school, I had daily classes in the Pentateuch, Early Prophets, and Later Prophets, and we still couldn’t cover all of the Pentateuch in depth, or more than highlights from each of the later Prophets.