in Judaism, in the broadest sense the substance of divine revelation to
Israel, the Jewish people: God's revealed teaching or guidance for mankind.
The meaning of "Torah" is often restricted to signify the first
five books of the Old Testament, also called the Law or the Pentateuch.
These are the books traditionally ascribed to Moses, the recipient of the
original revelation from God on Mt. Sinai. Jewish, Roman Catholic, Eastern
Orthodox, and Protestant canons all agree on their order: Genesis, Exodus,
Leviticus, Numbers, and Deuteronomy.
The written Torah, in the restricted
sense of the Pentateuch, is preserved in all Jewish synagogues on
handwritten parchment scrolls that reside inside the ark of the Law. They
are removed and returned to their place with special reverence. Readings
from the Torah (Pentateuch) form an important part of Jewish liturgical
The term Torah is also used to
designate the entire Hebrew Bible. Since for some Jews the laws and customs
passed down through oral traditions are part and parcel of God's revelation
to Moses and constitute the "oral Torah," Torah is also understood
to include both the Oral Law and the Written Law.
Rabbinic commentaries on and
interpretations of both Oral and Written Law have been viewed by some as
extensions of sacred oral tradition, thus broadening still further the
meaning of Torah to designate the entire body of Jewish laws, customs, and