Torah (tôrˈə) [key] [Heb., = teachings or learning], Hebrew name for the five books of Moses—the Law of Moses or the Pentateuch, the first five books of the Bible. The Torah is believed by Orthodox Jews to have been handed down to Moses on Mt. Sinai and transmitted by him to the Jews. It laid down the fundamental laws of moral and physical conduct. The Torah begins with a description of the origin of the universe and ends on the word Israel, after the story of the death of Moses, just before the conquest of Canaan by the Israelites. In a wider sense the Torah includes all teachings of Judaism, the entire Hebrew Bible and the Talmud.
The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.
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