Where Does Torah Come From?

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Torah is at the very center of Judaism.  When we talk about “Torah,” though, not everyone means the same thing.  A literalist approach would argue that the Torah is what was given to Moses at Mt. Sinai as described in this week’s Torah portion, Yitro; those same individuals might include the Oral Torah as also having been received at the same time.

Others think of Torah more broadly.  Torah is from the same word as Moreh/Morah–teacher.  It is roughly translated as instruction.  There are those who think of Torah as any kind of Jewish learning.

Parashat Yitro relates the “official” story of where instruction came from.  There is a sense, however, that what was revealed to Moses and our people at Mt. Sinai continues to be revealed on a regular basis.  As time goes on and we make more discoveries, we further uncover God’s instructions and God’s will.  In this respect, Torah not only comes from our past–and from a place far away, but Torah also comes from a place very close to us every day.

Our lives are enriched by Torah–by the instructions we receive from many sources; those instructions help us to find our place in the world and what God wants from us.  Do not believe that all there is to know about Torah and the world is known already.  The search for Torah is never-ending.

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