Torah (hebrew Insight)

What does TOrah mean in HebrewThe word תּורָה – Torah most often refers to the Five Books of Moses.

Although the Torah contains many stories, such as those of Cain and Abel, the Exodus from Egypt, as well as the story of Abraham’s life, it also contains various laws, statutes and commandments.

Many have gone to great lengths to count how many various commandments there are in the Torah and the general consensus is that there are 613 commandments and prohibitions. The Torah can therefore be understood as a mix of stories and laws that lay the foundation for Israel as God’s covenantal people.

But what does the word Torah actually mean in Hebrew?

Simply put, the word תּורָה – Torah, means teaching, instruction and even direction. The root of the word comes from the verb יָרָה – yarah/לִירות – Lirot, which illustrates the idea of hitting a target while throwing/shooting something.

Like an arrow aimed at its mark, the תּורָה Torah is dedicated to teaching people about God – His magnificent being, His holy character and His faithful and providential acts in His world. To explore more click HERE.

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Dr. Eli Lizorkin-EyzenbergTo secure your spot in our new course “The Jewish Background of New Testament” - CLICK HERE NOW

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  1. Brad Thompson

    I have always struggled with how much of Torah instructions I, as a follower of Yeshua the Messiah / Jesus Christ, am responsible for keeping. Isra’el is the tribe He claims as His heritage. I ask myself, if He has done this then do I? Perhaps a question all of us are asking in our various ways.

  2. Kelvin God's watchman

    Torah (/ˈtɔːrə/; Hebrew: תּוֹרָה, “Instruction”, “Teaching”) is a central concept in the Jewish tradition. It has a range of meanings: it can most specifically mean the first five books of the Tanakh, it can mean this plus the rabbinic commentaries on it, it can mean the continued narrative from Genesis to the end of the Tanakh, it can even mean the totality of Jewish teaching and practice.[1] Common to all these meanings, Torah consists of the foundational narrative of the Jewish people: their call into being by God, their trials and tribulations, and their covenant with their God, which involves following a way of life embodied in a set of religious obligations and civil laws (halakha).

  3. Edelmiro Zuniga

    Your very right brother Christian fail to understand the meaning of alot of what the Torah is trying to convey simply because they don’t know the original Hebrew and they miss it greatly by not knowing.But those that truly search for truth as truth as”YeShua(Jesus)himself said God well lead them to truth which is the original Hebrew the Holy One is good like that blessed is He 🙂

  4. Wiseman

    Thank you so much Dr Eli for that insight on hitting a target as this is what the Law of God does

    1. Dr. Eli Lizorkin-Eyzenberg

      You are welcome, friend.

  5. david

    Dr. Eli,tenho uma pergunta.Eu sou cristão e gostaria de sabre se os cristão precisam guardar o sábado (shabat).Se possível ,me indique um material para pesquisas.Obrigado.

    1. Alfredo

      Hi David. I speak spanish but I could understand your question in Portuguese. Please read Isaiah 56. If you are not Jewish, then you are biblically considered a foreigner (estrangeiro). This should give you a start about whether or not you should begin keeping Shabbat. You must consider having a better understanding about what is Shabbat and what does it represent. You might also consider reading Hebrews chapters 3 and 4.

  6. marinete

    Torah is the teaching of the principle of humanity, and the old covenant with the jews, and the old, but we Christians, have a renewed covenant through Christ. this new alliance does not revoke the first, but is the fulfillment of the first covenant.

    1. Luis R. Santos

      Aren’t both covenants with Israel?

      1. Dr. Eli Lizorkin-Eyzenberg

        Luis, which 2 are you referring too. Please, clarify.

        1. Luis R. Santos

          Dr. E.
          My reply question was to Marnete’s post above of ” the old covenant with the jews, and the old, but we Christians, have a renewed covenant through Christ”

          Though she didn’t identify which I am assuming that she meant the covenant on Mount Sinai “for the Jews” and the “renewed covenant through Christ” to be Jeremiah’s New covenant inaugurated/fulfilled on Pentecost/Shavuot Acts 2, though Peter quotes Joel.

          Both covenants are with Israel, are they not?

          1. Dr. Eli Lizorkin-Eyzenberg

            Absolutely. Gentile Christians can speak of this covenant as their only because they were joined to Christ, the root of the olive tree who gives life to all branches Jewish and not.

  7. jose daniel

    Shalom, the concept of the Torah is important and its meaning because what it really means is that those who are not instructed by the Torah are missing the way, those who want to know the LORD, and did not make it through the Torah are missing the objective.

    Shalom, el concepto de la tora es importante y su significado porque lo que realmente significa es que los que no son instruidos por la tora estan errando el camino, los que quieren conocer al ETERNO y no lo hacen a traves de la tora estan errando el objetivo.

    1. Dr. Eli Lizorkin-Eyzenberg

      Yes, for the New Covenant believer the question is not whether to live in accordance with Torah, but how best to do it, given the revelation of Christ, his person, works and teachings.

      1. Luis R. Santos

        Yes but did He change the Torah or restore? Do Christians have an obligation to Torah? If so are there separate obligations for Jews and Gentiles? That is the struggle/tension in the Hebraic/Jewish roots movement.

        1. Dr. Eli Lizorkin-Eyzenberg

          It is a struggle and a tension you are absolutely correct. In this group we accept this tension and a struggle as good for us with much respect and appreciation for each other. Dr. Eli

  8. Kat Hobaugh

    I am confused as to what Judaism is. I have often heard Judaism referred to as the 613 (i.e you can divorce a woman if she uses too much salt), yet the concepts I see in the Torah are aimed at a higher way of life.

    1. Dr. Eli Lizorkin-Eyzenberg

      Judaism does not teach that you can divorce a woman for using too much salt. It is an ill informed malice. Dr. Eli

  9. Anne

    What is the significance of not mixing linen and wool in the Torah

    1. Dr. Eli Lizorkin-Eyzenberg

      Habad (a Jewish outreach group most well known around the world) has this on their site – http://www.chabad.org/library/article_cdo/aid/882920/jewish/Shatnez-A-Mixture-of-Wool-and-Linen.htm You should also check this response similar but says it in other ways – http://judaism.stackexchange.com/questions/11565/why-wool-and-linen

      If you ask me, I think the Cain/Abel explanation may be the best one.

  10. Gaea Singer

    I recently heard an explanation to explain the Torah (to Christians), and it was very clarifying to me as a Christian.

    Since Torah teaches us about the origin of God, sin, and Man; about what is Good?; how to be human, be good family and community members, and how to make right laws, the Torah instructs us in a “Culture of godliness.” It teaches us how to be like God. I liked that.

    —I guess I should ask–is that how students of Torah are taught to think of Torah?

  11. Gaea Singer

    How interesting, the definition of ‘Sin’ in Christian cultures is explained as “missing the mark”. We are off the target of God’s Torah instructions!

    1. Dr. Eli Lizorkin-Eyzenberg

      it is interesting indeed.

    2. Louie Modling

      1 John 3:4 says, “Sin is lawlessness”; meaning sin is breaking Torah. Sin is described as “missing the mark” because of the Mission of Yeshua HaMashiach for His first appearance on earth. The mission for his first coming was and is “to destroy lawlessness” and the mission for his second appearance is to bring salvation. See Hebrews 9:28. So many times I was taught in church that Jesus came to bring us salvation, when he really came to teach us how to be lawful, how to obey His laws (which is “to destroy lawlessness”).

  12. Luis R. Santos

    I have heard your explanation of “Torah being to hit the mark” repeated before. I would like to add something that I read some time ago (sorry source long forgotten since I didn’t note it).

    Hebrew word for rain has the same root, the throwing of water as well as the word arrow. The emphasis is on “throw”.

    Torah can mean instruction, teaching & direction by the actions of the teacher (also same root) of throwing of the hand to point the way. Walking in the Way is synonymous with Torah observance.

    1. Dr. Eli Lizorkin-Eyzenberg

      Luis, welcome to our group and thanks for writing and sharing. Dr. Eli

      1. Luis R. Santos

        Thank you Dr. E. Is there a Hebrew/Jewish source for interpreting Torah as hitting the mark or sin as missing the mark? Or does it come to Christianity via the Greek ans English translations that followed?

        1. Dr. Eli Lizorkin-Eyzenberg

          I don’t think Christians have interpreted Torah as I did in the post. I think they interpreted sin as that. So, I think what we have here is the missing side of the half that Christians did not grasp well. (this is said with all respect). Dr. Eli

      2. Luis R. Santos

        BTW, next time your following falls short, please post some more of your daughter’s poems. It will boost participation.

        1. Dr. Eli Lizorkin-Eyzenberg

          Absolutly!!!!:-)