"The Torah and Talmud together form the background of Judaism today, with the Biblical commands often being re-interpreted in the light of the Talmudic debates (e.g., 'an eye for an eye does not mean literal physical retribution but financial compensation for the pain, public embarrassment, time off work, medical fees, etc.)."
The Torah: An ultimate guide to life, law, and legacy
While the Torah is the subject of debate as to what is most important to have in your possession and the most important book in Judaism, there is no doubt that it is the foundation of the Jewish faith.
The first five books of the Hebrew Bible make clear and concise references to the laws and teachings of God. But that is just the pinnacle of its scribe. Also known as the Five Books of Moses or Pentateuch, it lays the foundation for the Halakha or way of life.
If we delve even deeper into what these five books keep alive within their words, the practitioners of the faith have reference to:
- All Jewish beliefs and practices.
- The Jewish calendar.
- The Jewish holidays.
- Dietary laws.
- The source of the Ten Commandments.
- Concept of justice and charity.
- Jewish concept of the Messiah.
- Afterlife and the resurrection of the dead.
- Covenant between God and the Jewish people.
- Jewish relationship with God.
- Concept of the chosen nation.
- The Sabbath, and the Sabbath day.
- The Temple.
- The Land of Israel and the homeland of the Jewish people.
The Talmud: A true, timeless text compendium for the Torah
The Talmud is an ancient Jewish text that is considered one of the most important in the practice of Judaism, as witnessed throughout various debates and interventions of the Tannaim Rabbinic teachings in the 2nd-5th century.
It is within this collection of rabbinic discussions that highlight the divine interpretations of the Torah, where the prophecies, moral codes, and parables are passed down worldwide from generation to generation.
The Talmud is an essential part of Jewish life and culture that offers pride and comfort through the detailed records of ancestry and how strong the faithful are.
While some families have an entire collection of religious articles in their homes, if this isn't your style or within your budget, you can always keep with the essentials to maintain and show your connection with God and have a sense of unity and belonging within the home.
For a minimalist approach, the following are a perfect blend of traditional and a newer flair on some old-world ritual items:
The Mezuzah: The mezuzah is a small parchment scroll affixed to a Jewish home's doorpost. It contains two passages from the Torah, a reminder of the Jewish faith and the importance of following the commandments.
The Menorah: The menorah is a seven-branched candelabra that is lit during the Jewish holiday of Hanukkah. It is a symbol of the miracle of the oil that lasted for eight days and a reminder of the importance of faith and perseverance.
Tzedakah Box: Jewish families have filled their boxes with funds for the poor. Having a tzedakah box (called a push in Yiddish) on display, where all can see, is a powerful reminder to donate funds to the poor. Many Jewish women put money in their family's tzedakah box before they light Shabbat candles; some Jews place charity in their family's push as a way of celebrating good moments such as weddings, bar or bat mitzvahs, or good news.
The Seder Plate: The seder plate is a special plate that is used during the Passover seder. It contains six symbolic foods that represent different aspects of the Passover story.
The Challah: Challah is a special type of bread that is eaten on the Sabbath and other Jewish holidays. It is a reminder of the importance of rest and reflection.
Add a set of everyday candlesticks and holders for every Shabbat, A Siddur prayer book, and even a Tehillum Book of Psalms, and you will have all you need to help comfort you, alight your Jewish faith, invite others to enjoy and give and receive as gifts.