Welcome to A Journey Through Torah.  If you have opened the pages of this manuscript to receive an in-depth description of Torah[1], akin to the Talmud[2], with its myriad of discussions, arguments and contradictions, then you have opened the wrong book.  This book is exactly as the sub-title implies – A Journey Through Torah.  It has been designed for someone who has not fully read the first five books of Moses, known as The Torah.  Rather, if they have read the Bible at all, they often perceive these five books as belonging to the Old Testament and, therefore, irrelevant, out-moded and of little current use.  The following comments are fairly typical of most Christians and their views of Torah and its contents: “We are to keep the 10 Commandments. However, keeping the Sabbath (as God established it from Friday evening to Saturday evening) is also in the 10 Commandments yet isn’t kept”. “Christianity claims that this was “changed” by God”; “Bible believers’ often view perceive “the age of the church has rendered the law inoperative”;  “New Covenant Theology claims that all Old Covenant laws have been fulfilled by Christ, nailed to the Cross and are thus cancelled or abrogated”, and so on. 

Then why this book?  Well, I might ask you why you are reading it now?  Are you curious?  Have you been challenged by a family member or friend to find something out about Torah?  Is this a religious class assignment?  Whatever the reason for your opening the pages of this book, I guarantee you will not find long, drawn-out discussions of theology, which might tax your brain cells.  On the contrary, this book attempts to explain the Torah, the five books of Moses, in a simple yet clearly accurate way, so as you do read Torah, it will have deeper meaning for you.  Or, at least, that is its intent.

Like every good book, assuming Torah is a very good book, which, being authored by God is a certainty, Torah has a preface and an introduction. Unlike other books, good or not, the preface and the introduction are part of the body of Torah and are essential to its understanding.  So, let’s begin there.

 When books first began to be published, authors needed to attract their readers by providing a reason for their reading what was written.  Many saw the preface as an explanation of the book’s contents, a defence, if you will, for the book having been written, while others viewed the preface as an apologetic.  No, not the ‘I’m sorry’ form of apology but the literary form, in which the author provides a personal explanation for her/his having taken paper to pen to your eye and, hopefully, heart.  Since God is God, the preface of Torah is to be found in the first three chapters of Genesis, the first ‘Book’ of Torah.  It is here the Creator of the universe describes how He created, well, the universe and, especially, the earth.  As is the style in Torah, God’s preface is the story of creation of the world and the love and care He took in its creation.  This also tells us a good deal about God, His power, His vastness and His desires.  Reading the preface of Torah is a little like reading a short love story about the Potter and His Creation.  But, then, the introduction to Torah, provides us with a reason for reading further into the five Books.  As you read further into this brief exploration of Torah, written just for you, you may see how we human beings have a habit of often spoiling the blessings given to us.  Now the tension begins to build, as we learn why Torah was written.  So, I urge you to sit back in a comfortable chair or sofa, have a cup of tea, coffee or water close by your side and open the first book of God’s Story of His desire for a relationship with you and with me.  Before we proceed, let me introduce you to Rebbe.  Rebbe will point the way to a particularly interesting fact or a significant learning which comes through the pages of God’s Torah. Enjoy your reading of God’s Life Instructions, God’s Torah.

[1] Torah (usually translated from the Hebrew as teaching), in this context, refers to the five Books of Moses – Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers and Deuteronomy

[2] The Talmud (usually translated from the Hebrew as instruction) is a collection of writings from ancient times.  It is composed of the Mishna, rulings of the rabbis, and the Gemara, rabbinic discussions.

Genesis 37:1 to 40:23 – Parashah Vayeshev (He continued living)

Genesis 32:4 to 36:43 – ParashahVayishlach (He sent)

Genesis 28:10 to 32:3 – Parashah Vayetze (He went out)

Genesis 25:19 to 28:9 – Parashah Tol’dot  (History) 

Genesis 23:1 to 25:18 – Parashah Hayyei Sarah  (Life of Sarah) 

Genesis 18:1 to 22:24 – Parashah Vyera  (He appeared) 

Genesis 12:1 to 17:27 – Parashah Lech L’kha (Get yourself out)  

Genesis 6:9 to 11:32 – Parashah Noach (Noah)

Genesis 1:1 to 6:8 – Parashah B’resheit (In the Beginning)

By heartformessiah

Dr. Michael Wodlinger is a Messianic Jew, living in Quebec, Canada. He has been a university professor and a rabbi of a Messianic Fellowship.

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