Moshe Rabbenu and Torat Moshe

Willing to communicate with mankind the Elohim giving them His Torah shot his arrows at mankind [y-r-h, “to shoot (an arrow),”] and gave them a first teacher or instructor of God’s Laws, hence also often called Torat Moshe. Moshe not writing down a Fable or Fairy tale, but bringing a real life story of man or history of the peoples in an easy way to remember.

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The Most High Master Maker wanting to communicate with man has used His arrows to hit the world so that they would know.

Good parents try to instil their children with a strong identity and want to give them a good education so that they can make it in the world. The Elohim who created man in His image sees them as His children and wants them to see Him as their heavenly Father. In the previous article we saw how

“Torah” also stands for “Teachings, Instruction” and derives from the root y–r–h, “to shoot (an arrow),” and thus etymologically refers to that which “hits the mark.”

One of the most powerful truths is when it becomes clear that everything is in the Torah. It has all been done before, there is nothing new, and we can keep learning deeper on how to navigate this thing called life. Like every parent, The Divine Creator wants His children also to listen to Him and to follow His directions. Knowing what is best for them God is willing to provide them with His Words, His Guidance which is much better than any guidance man can give. A father also wants to see his children to be united. The same with God, Who wants to see all His children growing up to love each other and to be there for each other.

That Holy or Set Apart Word He has given the world, is to be taught in the family and at school, and should set the standard for all of us. God would love to see that man finds Ruach chayyim or breath of life by Neshemet El (His Breath). His Voice should be the live giving Force.

The heavenly Father sends His arrows soaked in His separate Word now, so that man would hearken unto the statutes and unto the mishpatim (or judgments), which He teaches the world. The judicial system is not just a human creation for the humans’ convenience. Rather, it is a conversation between each one of us as individuals and as part of a society, and the Divine, and that conversation goes through everyone and everything around us. We should come to realise that we all are created in that image of God to be His Children and that he expects us to make a spiritual journey which is inseparable from how we treat each other. Every day of our life should be filled with those arrows from God, making us to think how we too could hit a mark, or win the race. Mankind is now involved in a constant search for God’s image. All those arrows of instruction are there, so that man may be hit by them, becoming a new arrow to hit others and to let the heart of the Adonai stream over the world so that people may live, and go in and possess the land which the Lord of lords, the Most High God of our fathers has given them.

“And now, O Israel, hearken to the laws and the regulations that I am teaching you to observe, in order that you may live and enter and take-possession of the land that YHWH, the God of your fathers, is giving to you.”
(Deuteronomy 4:1 SB)

The appeal to “give heed” (lit., “hear”), like “see” in verse 5, is employed frequently in urging Israel to consider Moshe’s words carefully.

“See, I am teaching you laws and regulations as YHWH my God has commanded me, to do thus, amid the land that you are entering to possess.”
(Deuteronomy 4:5 SB)

The verb “instruct” (often rendered “impart,” as in v. 5) illustrates Moshe’s role as teacher of the laws and therefore we often speak of the Torat Moshe (Mosaic Law).

To keep order in the house or in the family there have to be certain rules, regulations or instructions or imparted knowledge, to which everybody keeps. A certain code facilitates the way of living. God’s arrows hit the marks of those points to be taken at heart. A·dham may have given advice to his kids and may have told what happened in the Gan Eden. Probably his children very well knew why life had become so difficult for them. In the book of books we can see how they too where weak and did not manage to live up to God’s standard. The Midrash Bereshit Rabba and Jacob Neusner give us to remember that the first man from the earth had a mere six commandments to follow, but failed. If he was not able to keep those few commandments how could he himself ask his children to follow more rules than he had received? Therefore, he was not up to the task of receiving the Torah. The distant descendant Moshe was very aware of the need to build up a good relationship with his heavenly Father and therefore wished to be as faithful as possible in everything. As such can be said

“What Adam could not accomplish, Moses did…what man could not do, Israel, represented by Moses, can do.” {Webster, Hutton. Rest Days, p. 254.}

When the arrows of God came down to earth and hit the heart of Moshe, he was fully aware of the importance of those Guiding Words of the Most High. In stones, the Words of God had to be recorded forever as a sign of the union between man and His Creator.

A variety of arrows for all sorts of people

By the choice of God this man was chosen to be a worldly guide but also a teacher from God. Many in the world were (and still are) asleep, not hearing God’s Word and not seeing the Works of God. Therefore they had (have) to be awakened. A good ‘sting’  could hep them to react. God has a variety of arrows of all sorts of colours for all sorts of people, bringing fire in the haystack. But He also needed man to shoot them and to hit the people, making wood becoming flame in fire. Moshe, who desired to do the wish of God, was the one who could receive the epithet Moshe Rabbenu, “Moses our teacher.” According to Devarim, this role was assigned to him at Mount Sinai.

“And me, YHWH commanded at that time to teach you laws and regulations for you to observe them in the land that you are crossing into to possess.”
(Deuteronomy 4:14 SB)

“And YHWH hearkened to the voice of your words when you spoke to me, YHWH said to me: I have heard the voice of this people’s words that they have spoken to you; it is well, all that they have spoken!”
(Deuteronomy 5:25 SB)

The earlier books do not use “instruct” in describing Moshe’s role; it is characteristic of the Devarim’s focus on wisdom and intellect.

The Artscroll Chumash or Ḥumash or Torah in printed form (i.e. codex)

The Hebrew terms torah and torat moshe (“the Torah of Moses”), already in use in late biblical literature to describe what is later called the Torah, offer a better clue to the nature and unity of the books which were written by Moshe: the Bereshith, Shemoth, Wayyiqra, Bemidvar and Devarim, also known as the Chumash or Pentateuch.

Torah is often understood as “law,” and indeed this is one of its frequent meanings in the Bible, as in Exodus 12:49:

“There shall be one law [Heb torah] for the citizen and for the stranger who dwells among you.”

Indicating that it is not just for the people of Israel, but also for those around them. From the other books, written later by the other prophets, like Yeshayahu and Yehezeqel we come to learn that God wants all people to subdue to His Laws. though we can say that

Law is a predominant genre of the Torah,

File:Mishnah Torah.jpg
The Title page of Mishnah Torah by Moshe ben Maimon haRambam, published in Venice in 1575

which contains not only the Aseret HaDibrot (Ten Words or Decalogue) in Shemoth chapter 20 and devarim chapter, but extensive legal collections in Shemoth chs 21-23, Wayyiqra chs 17-26, and Devarim chs 12-26, as well as selected laws within various narratives, such as the law of circumcision in the narrative about Abraham in Bereshith ch 17 and the law concerning inheritance of the land by women in Bemidvar ch 36, embedded within a section about the possession of the land. The Commandments are recorded virtually identically in Shemo or Exodus 20: 2–17 and Devari or Deuteronomy 5: 6–21.

In those Ten Words we find the essence of our faith and what our Creator wants us to hold on, most important to recognise Him as the Only One True God, Maker of heaven and earth, having no other gods in front of Him. It is that prohibition against false gods and idols (the second commandment) which seems to be a very difficult one for man. Several times throughout history we see people going away from the Divine Creator, making themselves different idols and pagan gods. Like we can find Hebrews having made a golden calf, we too can find so called Christians who made a golden cross. Several people who are calling themselves Christian, what should mean they would be following the Nazarene rebbe Jeshua (Jesus) the Christ have made him into their god, going in against God His first and second commandment and being guilty of avodah zarah, having many images of that three godhead. It is for those who are blinded by false human teachings that God wanted His Words written down to be read, studied and to be listened to. He has brought them down, sometimes with very hot arrows, so that people would feel them very well and learn their lesson. [My father said always “Who does not want to hear must feel it”.]

The bible is the guidebook and best road map for life. Road markings and direction indicators for all people given to find the narrow road to the small gate of the Kingdom of God with the best possible life.

God has chosen Moshe to put up the billboards, road markings and direction indicators, so that people could come to find the right path to follow. The ish and isha or the first man and mannin thought they could organise everything better than God. Today we still find such people. Soon it was clear they really could not. Though God was willing and is still willing to help and provided material or notes to organise everything in a reasonable good way. Therefore we may find several examples in the Book of books how people acted and reacted. We also can see that many narrative sections contain material that is of legal significance. For example, the first creation story in the Bereshith culminates with the “creation” of the Sabbath (Bereshith 2:2–3), though this would only be legislated in Shemoth ch 16, and then as part of the Decalogue, in Shemot 20:8–11. Similarly, the story of the construction of the Tabernacle (Shemot. chs 25-40), a temporary temple for God in the wilderness, is not narrated for its own sake, but as an introduction to the various laws of sacrifice, narrated at the beginning of Wayyiqra (Leviticus, the book that immediately follows these chapters).

Yet “law” is not the only possible translation of torah, and the Torah should not be typified as a book of law. The Hebrew term torah also means “instruction” or “teaching,” as in Mishlê (Proverbs) 1:8,

“My son, heed the discipline of your father, / And do not forsake the instruction [Heb torah] of your mother.”

Teaching is not confined to law; indeed narratives or stories are as effective a medium of instruction. Throughout history several writers have told stories or used a narrative form, usually featuring animals that behave and speak as human beings, to highlight human follies and weaknesses. A moral—or lesson for behaviour—is woven into the story and often explicitly formulated at the end. Fro the ancient Greek fable the world has Aesop. in the Middle Ages the medieval fable gave rise to an expanded form known as the beast epic —a lengthy, episodic animal story replete with hero, villain, victim, and an endless stream of heroic endeavour that parodied epic grandeur. Folktales have received literary treatment from early times, and, conversely, literary tales have found their way back into the oral tradition.  The oral fictional tale, from whatever ultimate origin, is practically universal both in time and place. Certain peoples tell very simple stories and others tales of great complexity, but the basic pattern of tale-teller and audience is found everywhere and as far back as can be learned. Differing from legend or tradition, which is usually believed, the oral fictional tale gives the storyteller absolute freedom as to credibility so long as he stays within the limits of local taboos and tells tales that please. People had to remember several things, and they had to give on the teachings to their children. Therefore short stories were a good way to bring over the most important lessons. everything had to be condense enough to have it easy to remember and to tell. It is in that light that we always should look at the stories of the bible too. They are not provided to be a diary presenting a minute report from hour to hour, but to provide a general event in short.

Given the predominance of narrative in significant portions of the Torah, especially in Bereshith, the beginning of Shemoth, and Bemidvar, it is best to understand the biblical term torat moshe, the earliest extant term for these five books, as

“the instruction of Moses.”

Moshe did not write down a Fable or Fairy tale, but brought the real life story of man, the history of the peoples. We can see that those stories were notated with good intention, giving some insight into the thinking and handling of human beings. As such those stories could serve as an instruction, realized through narratives and laws, which together elucidate the proper norms of living and the relationship between God and the world.

That the Torah is more than a set of laws is made explicit in the comments of Rashi. The great Jewish medieval French commentator on and interpreter of the Bible and the Talmud, Rabbi Shlomo Yitzḥaqi, illustrated vividly the coexistence and, to some extent, the successful reconciliation of the two basic methods of interpretation: the literal and the nonliteral. Rashi looked for the literal meaning, deftly using rules of grammar and syntax and carefully analyzing both text and context, but did not hesitate to mount Midrashic explanations, utilizing allegory, parable, and symbolism, upon the underlying literal interpretation. Quoting earlier sources, he also defended the fact that Torah begins with the stories of Genesis rather than with the laws of Exodus.

The terms torat moshe, and torat (ha)elohim/YHVH,

“God’s/the Lord’s torah, are found predominantly in various late biblical sections and books, such as Ezra, Nehemiah, and Chronicles. These phrases suggest that the Torah was then understood to be a divine revelation mediated by Moses, as explicitly stated in Ezra 7:6 (cf. Nehemiah 8:1), “The Torah of Moses which the Lord God of Israel had given.” The Torah in the time of Ezra is more or less identical to the Torah as it now exists. It is significant, however, that these terms for it never appear in the Torah itself, suggesting that in the Torah, the word torah never refers to the Torah. In fact, the Torah does not explicitly suggest that it was compiled by Moses himself. (The phrase “the Torah” in passages such as Deut. 4:44, “This is the torah that Moses set before the Israelites,” never refers to the complete Torah.)

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Preceding

To shoot with words to bring man on the right track

An other tool bringing words for understanding and wisdom

Reading to grow and to become wise concerning the most important thing in life 1 Times of reading

How to Read the Bible (sequel 1)

 

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Additional reading

  1. Concerning Man
  2. Colour-blindness and road code
  3. Words God speaks unto all and the Spirit that quickens
  4. Adar 6, Matan Torah remembering the giving of Torah
  5. 29. Laws that Value People
  6. Best intimate relation to look for
  7. Scripture words written for our learning, given by inspiration of God for edification
  8. Necessity of a revelation of creation 9 Searching the Scriptures
  9. Bible, God speaking words profitable for doctrine, for reproof and for correction
  10. Hearing words to accept
  11. The God of hope filling us with all joy and peace
  12. Necessity of a revelation of creation 9 Searching the Scriptures
  13. Necessity of a revelation of creation 10 Instructions for insight and wisdom
  14. Necessity of a revelation of creation 11 Believing and obeying the gospel of the Kingdom of God
  15. Jewish and Gentile Disciples
  16. Israel, Fitting the Plan when people allow it
  17. The Exodus Story: History or Myth?
  18. Materialism, would be life, and aspirations

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Related

  1. All of me wants to know all of you
  2. The Gospel, life and thorns … part 3
  3. Deuteronomy 4:1-2, 6-9 – What are we teaching our children?
  4. Should christians follow mosaic law or not? It depends.
  5. Catechism Is not the soul then of the nature of the Godhead?
  6. Romans 7:7-13 — The law is NOT our moral compass! (Bible study notes)
  7. Alexandrians vs. Antiochenes on Mosaic Law (Part 1)
  8. Part 2d What Are The Terms?
  9. Dissing the Decalogue?
  10. Decalogue 1-3
  11. Bible Myth Debunked: The 10 Commandments Were Lifted From the Egyptian Book of the Dead
  12. How Should New Covenant Believers Think About the Old Covenant Law?
  13. What is the Place of the Ten Commandments for Christians?
  14. The Golden Calf: The Background of Israel’s Idolatry
  15. Drawing Ourselves Nearer to God
  16. Oneness: What Could Compare?
  17. Oneness: Living Communion
  18. The Mystic Path: Union with God

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