Study Torah
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Study Torah
VALUES
 
Studying Torah
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In Jewish tradition, Torah not only is a scroll that contains the narrative of the Jewish people, and it not only is a collection of ideas, teachings, and traditions, but Torah encompasses all of Jewish thought. As such, Torah represents a blueprint for living Jewishly and presents guidelines that allow us to live out Jewish values. As Pirke Avot 1:2 says, “The entire world stands on three things: Torah, Avodah (Worship), and G’milut Chasadim (Acts of Loving Kindness). By engaging in the study of Torah, one is engaging in discovering the wisdom of Judaism.

The study of Torah, Talmud Torah is a lifelong ideal; one is commanded to continue to study until one dies (Mishneh Torah, Laws of the Study of Torah, 1:8-10). One should totally immerse him or herself in Torah. Through study, we are “doing Torah;” we are studying Torah so that it may shape our lives and guide our actions.

“Torah” literally means “teaching.” One of the greatest lessons the study of Torah teaches us is that there are many interpretations and understandings of what is taught. If Torah shapes our lives and guides our actions, we must realize that each of us experiences Torah differently. There are a variety of commentaries within Jewish tradition that present different viewpoints of the same text. Some commentaries focus specifically on the grammar of a biblical verse or law, while others focus on the historical context by which the verse or law was written. The important thing to remember is that no interpretation is right or wrong; it is simply an interpretation.

Judaism stresses that in anything we do, we should constantly be asking questions and explore answers from different vantage points. When we responsibly work together and examine something through different lenses, we are able to do our best as answering our questions.

Questions for Reflection


1. Why is the study of Torah important for living out a Jewish life?

2. How has the study of Torah impacted how you live a Jewish life?

3. How can various opinions and understandings of something help you make better decisions?

4. How can you incorporate the concept of Talmud Torah in the classroom?

The study of Torah is central Judaism’s teachings guides us to be good people.

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