Community and Torah Life

Question

Hello sir. I am a non-jewish man that has been assigned several questions from my prof. at school regarding jewish life. If I may please ask the following questions 1) What is the role of Torah in the life of the Jewish community? 2) What is the relatinship between the Oral Torah and th eWritten Torah? 3) Are there practical measures by which the local Jewish community maintains a strong relationship with the Hewish community in Eretz Israel? I hope these questions aren’t offensive, and I appreciate your help.

16 years

Answers

  1. 1) The Torah is the heart and soul of the Jewish People. The Torah is all-encompassing and it teaches the Jewish People how to lead every facet of our lives. That means that nothing should be done, either on a communal level or on an individual level, without following the Laws and the guidelines laid down by the Torah. These are all delineated in the Code of Jewish Law which is the mainstay of Jewish life. The four different sections that it is comprised of allow the Laws of the Torah to be defined and expressed in a practical way that covers all scenarios and eventualities and it is impossible to lead an authentic Jewish life without the Torah.

    2) The Torah is the Written Law written down by Moshe. The Talmud is the Oral Law that was given during the forty years that the Jewish People learnt the Torah in the desert. The Talmud was written down at a much later time. Jewish Tradition teaches that the Written Law is not understandable without the Oral Law to clarify and explain. The Written Torah is like notes that a person writes in a lecture. The Oral Law takes those notes and turns them into something clear.

    That means that Judaism needs both the Written and the Oral Torah to be comprehensible. It is impossible to accept the Written Torah, disregard the Oral Torah and lead a life according to the dictates of the Written Torah. The Written Torah cannot be understood in its pure form, without the Oral Torah to supplement the Written Torah, the Written Torah cannot be deciphered.

    3) The most practical measure is prayer. There are many prayers that are recited by the communities in the Diaspora for the benefit of the community in Israel. Coupled with that are the many prayers that show our longing and desire to return to the Land of Israel and specifically Jerusalem. In fact, the Law is that when praying in the Diaspora the community should face towards Israel. One of the reasons for this is to serve as a constant reminder of the connection that exists between all the various different communities.

    Best wishes from the AskTheRabbi.org Team