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Holy Books: The Torah

Length - 06:00
Published - Apr 2015
Keystage(s) - 3 and 4

Holy Books: The Torah – A Rabbi and two Jewish scribes (who happen to be married – to each other, not to the Rabbi) describe the Torah – what it contains, how the scrolls are copied, and the ways in which the Torah is used in worship.

TrueTube films are designed for use in a number of ways. Some ideas of where this film could link to your curriculum are below:



Component 1 - The study of religions: beliefs, teaching and practices - Judaism - The synagogue and worship - The written law (Tenakh) and the oral law (Talmud) and their study, use and significance in daily life.



Area of Study 1 – Judaism - Section 1: Jewish Beliefs - The nature of the Almighty: how the characteristics of the Almighty are shown in the Torah, and why they are important in Jewish life today, including One, Creator, Law-Giver and Judge, including reference to Genesis 2.



Component Group 1 - Judaism - Practices -Worship• The structure of the synagogue service •The importance of the synagogue, in relation to the following religious features: •• Design •• Artefacts •• Synagogue services •• The role of the synagogue within the Jewish community •• Worship in the home •• The place of worship in the home •The significance of the Ark, the Bimah, the lack of representation of G-d, the Ner Tamid and the Mikveh • The nature and importance of the Torah readings, other readings, prayers and sermons •The connection between the synagogue and the Temple • Issues related to worship and the synagogue, including the length and structure of synagogue services and different uses of Hebrew in the service • Common and divergent emphases placed on the features of a synagogue by different Jewish groups, including separating women and men in an Orthodox synagogue •Different interpretations and emphases given to sources of wisdom and authority by different Jewish groups

Prayer• The role and importance of prayer in Jewish worship, including the Amidah (the standing prayer) • The role and importance of private prayer for Jews • The importance of: •• The three daily periods of prayer •• The concept of spontaneous prayer •• Recitation of the Shema •• Recitation of Grace after meals •• Teaching children to pray •• The direction faced when praying •• Prayer and the observance of the Mitzvot in the home • The importance of prayer for praise, confession, thanks giving and supplication.

Law• The form and content of the Tenakh (the Written Law) • The Chumash and the Sefer Torah • The nature of the Talmud (the Oral Law) •The relationship between the Talmud and the Torah, including the ways in which the Talmud is used in relation to the Torah • The use of the Torah in the synagogue • The use of the Tenakh in private worship • The way that the Torah provides structure to the life of a Jew, including the use of the Neviim and Ketuvim in public and private worship •The significance of the use in daily life of the Tenakh and the Talmud •Issues related to the law, including the different views held amongst religious Jews regarding the nature of the Torah and the Talmud • Common and divergent emphases placed on the Tenakh and Talmud by different Jewish groups •Different interpretations and emphases given to sources of wisdom and authority by different Jewish groups.



2.1 Unit 1 PART A - Part A Judaism - Core beliefs, teachings and practices - Practices - Worship in the home and synagogue  The importance of the synagogue: internal features- aron hakodesh (ark), ner tamid, bimah, Torah, Ten Commandments, seating  Reading of the Torah during synagogue worship  Diverse practices within Orthodox and Reform synagogues – worship and the role and gender of the Rabbi  The importance of the home for worship in Judaism: challenges and benefits of observing Shabbat (Exodus 20:8-10) 2.2 Unit 2 PART A – Judaism - - Core beliefs, teachings and practices Beliefs - Sacred Texts  Importance of The Tenakh (Torah, Nevi'im, Ketuvim) as revealed and/or inspired Word of God  Importance of the Talmud



Component 3 (Route A) - Option 4: Judaism - Practices - The Synagogue ➢ Features of different synagogues in Britain: significance of bimah, aron hakodesh, Torah scrolls, ner tamid, seating, minyan; Exodus 20:4-5

Holy Books: The Torah

Rabbi Benji Stanley    Torah the word means teaching. The way teaching is often given in Judaism is through books.

Avielah Barclay           The Torah has a lot of valuable lessons and a lot of interesting things to say, even to people who are not Jewish.

Mordechai Pinchas    That's totally correct, because the reason that the Torah was given in the desert, for everyone to see, was that everybody has a piece of the Torah.

Rabbi Benji Stanley    People sometimes call it the Five Books of Moses, because he's one of the main characters, and also he was involved in writing them down. So Torah can mean the five books, or it can mean all those books and conversations that have grown up around the five books, with people trying to figure out how to live responsibly and kindly.

Rabbi Benji Stanley    We read the five books of Torah on a scroll written in Hebrew.

Mordechai Pinchas    So the Torah is really five books in one.

Rabbi Benji Stanley    Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, numbers, and Deuteronomy. Or actually the Jewish terms for those books are Bereshit, Shemot, Vayikra, Ba Midbar and D'varim. So at the beginning of the Torah, we have the story of creation, the story of Adam and Eve, the story of Noah, and then we have the story of Abraham, who had a child, Isaac, and the first book of the Torah tells us about their travels and their missions.

Mordechai Pinchas    Second book is called Shemot, Exodus, and that's about the Jews who were stuck in Egypt, and then they were freed from slavery, lots of miracles, and then moved off on to their journey to the Promised Land, which is Israel.

Rabbi Benji Stanley    Moses leads the people to Mount Sinai, and Moses runs up the mountain, has some conversations with God, and then carries some of God's laws down the mountain on two tablets of stone.

Mordechai Pinchas    The third book is kind of a bit of an interruption. It's called Vayikra, and it's about the priests and the offerings, and it's lots and lots of rules.

Rabbi Benji Stanley    Nowadays in Judaism, we don't sacrifice animals, but we do give up our time, in order to think about how to behave well in the world.

Mordechai Pinchas    And then the fourth book is Bamidbar. It's all about the wandering in the desert for 40 years, really, that's about them stopping being slaves and learning to actually be a people.

Rabbi Benji Stanley    They tend to complain a lot. They argue with Moses, they argue with God, but eventually they're getting towards a new land, and that's what we have in the fifth book of the Torah.

Mordechai Pinchas    Finally, the last book just before they go into Israel is Moses telling them all the rules, reminding them of everything that's been happening. That's called D'varim, Deuteronomy.

Rabbi Benji Stanley    Moses dies just before the people enter the land of Israel. So in a way, the five books of Torah end with Moses being buried.

Rabbi Benji Stanley    The Torah scroll is treated with great respect. So it has clothes like a queen or a king. It has wonderful silver crowns and it has this special robe. Now we undress it on Saturday morning during our service, and also some synagogues have services on Monday and Thursday morning as well, when you would also undress the scroll in order to read from it. Hagbah means lifting up, and it's a moment when someone lifts up the scroll so the whole community can see the section which is going to be read, and you would show all directions so that everyone can see it. (Reads passage from the Torah in Hebrew)

Avielah Barclay           We read the Torah from right to left, and we read it using something called a yad, which means hand in Hebrew. And as you can see, there's a little hand carved at the end of this, and we use it to point at the letters as we read them.

Rabbi Benji Stanley    We don't want to touch the parchment, the stuff that the scroll is written on directly with our fingers. And that's one of the reasons we also dress the scroll so that when we're not using it, it's well respected. It's in its special ark, which is where the scroll lives, where the scroll is kept.

Avielah Barclay           The scrolls that we use today are essentially the same as the first ones written thousands of years ago, because we can only copy from one to another, and then it has to be checked three times, because one mistake can change the whole meaning of what it says. It's important for it to be written by hand. A computer can print out a book that you can read, and you can still learn it that way, but you can't use it in public ritual because it hasn't been imbued with the holiness that a person with a soul can give to it.

Mordechai Pinchas    So originally all the Torahs were written with one of these. This is a reed quill. Nowadays most people use a feather. This is a swan's quill. But this quill is from a vulture. The bird we can't eat, so I can't use it to write. The parchment sheets, they're joined together with animal sinew and gold plated needle.

Rabbi Benji Stanley    But the book is never finished. You can roll up the scroll, but really, the scroll continues. In all those conversations we have about what does this mean and how does it affect my life?

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