The Tanakh as the Hebrew scripture which contains three components of
1. Torah: and the Torah contains 5 books of Moses which are Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus,
numbers and Deuteronomy
2. Nevi’im (prophets)-stuff coming from Moses after the establishment of Isreal
3. Ketuvim (writtings)- classified as short stories and poems
Pentateuch: The first five books of the Hebrew Bible, the five books of Moses were Genesis,
Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers and Deuteronomy. Makes up the first section of the bible.
Torah has multiple meanings. It can mean literally the first five books in Hebrew Bible
(Pentateuch) which include Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, and Deuteronomy.
It can also refer to the Hebrew bible in its entirety.
It is also a reference to God’s Law or the ten Commands.
The master theme of the Torah is the expressions of divine love for Israel and of Israel’s
inability to accept and respond to that love.
It describes God’s ongoing engagement with people, moments of success and failure
Devout Jews believed Moses received the revelation
Compiled and written down with historical certainty by 200 BCE
A word meaning “teaching” or “instruction”
Traditionally the torah is written on a scroll that is then wound around two wooden
poles, and this type of torah is called a sefer torah.
Exile is a dominating and recurring theme of the Abrahamic religions
Punished (exile), but it’s not a permanent thing, god always gives second chances.
One of the first instances of exile was demonstrated through the informal contract with
God and Adam and Eve. They were instructed to not eat the fruit from the Tree of
Knowledge of Good and Evil and due to their failure to abide; Adam and Eve were exiled
from the Garden of Eden.
Exile was a metaphor for separation from God, land of Israel, from the Torah which the
God commanded them to live by, and from the non-Jewish world in general.
The most prominent exile that the Hebrews faced was that of the Babylonian exile. In
586 B.C.E the first Hebrew temple was destroyed and many followers were taken to
Babylon. After the Persian King took over Babylon, he allowed many Hebrews to go back
to Jerusalem thus splitting up Hebrews and ultimately creating the different sects of
Jewish religion (Rabbinic and traditional). It is a common theme seen throughout Jewish stories. The pattern of reward
(acceptance and home) and punishment (exile). We see this all throughout history, the
story of Adam and Eve. It can also refer to the time when the first temple was
destroyed, later believed that this was a radical punishment from God. The Jews were
then exiled from Judah and were taken to Babylonia. This concept can also be related to
Islamic history where the Prophet Muhammad was exiled from Mecca, as he was not
accepted by the people who did not believe in his words. Plays a vital part in Jewish and
The deportation of Jewish leaders from Jerusalem to Mesopotamia by the conquering
Babylonians in 586 BCE; disrupting local Israelite political, ritual, and agricultural
institutions, it marked the transition from Israelite religion to Judaism. The exile caused
a Diaspora and gave focus and impetus to a number of significant social and religious
changes. Life became more urban than agricultural. Also, with the absence of a temple,
focus shifted from formal worship to congregational life. Also the idea of the synagogue
From 6th Century BCE: the Hebrews/ Israelites religion are referred to as Jews and
Judaism. Urbanization: since life was less agriculturally based, many laws had to be
rethought. No Temple: The absence of temple shifted focus from formal worship to
congregational life. Synagogue was formed; Temple never regained importance (even
after being rebuilt)
Refers to the dispersal of the Jews
Refers to the exile of the Jews from Judah and roman lands and later emigration to
the Jewish world outside the land of ancient Israel, began with the Babylonian Exile,
from which not all Jews returned
the reality of the Diaspora meant Judaism had to evolve new ways of understanding and
Exile was the most prominent reason for the Diaspora of all Hebrews. This led to
different sects of Judaism
‘Sowing of seed’ or better known as the dispersal. In Judaism it meant that Judaism had to
spread and find new ways of explaining itself to those unaware and provide a better
understanding to those who were aware after the destruction of the Temple. Because of the
increase in trade and cultural contact, rise to cosmopolitan outlook was given which eventually
diminished the Judean’s connections with their ancestors. This was more so for the Jews that
were physically away such as the ones who lived in Mediterranean and Mesopotamia which is
outside the land of ancient Israel. Diaspora is also used for members of other religions and faith
living outside of their spiritual homeland
Dispersal”, the Jewish world outside the land of ancient Israel; it began with the Babylonian
exile, from which not all Jews returned. Judaism had to evolve new ways of understanding and
explaining itself since most of the Jews did not live in Israel anymore. Documentary Hypothesis: The theory that the Pentateuch was not written by one person
(Moses), but compiled over a long period of time from multiple sources, and composition of
many authors. It was created by Julius Wellhausen. It has been extremely criticized, but was
one of the greatest intellectual achievements of the nineteenth century.
Passover (Pesach in Hebrew)
- Origin: God tells Moses to request to pharaoh to free the Hebrews but the pharaoh refuses and
God sends a plague on the Egyptians and spares the Hebrews. God asks Moses to mark the
houses of the Hebrews with lambs blood so that when the spirit comes down it kills the first
sons of the Egyptians only. This marked the Passover that is now celebrated.
- Celebrates the end of the 10 plague and beginning of the exodus from Egypt – freedom from
Egyptian slavery from 400 years of oppression under Moses
- It was first celebrated around 70CE
- Observed on the 15 day of the Hebrew month of Nisan (late March, Early April); it is observed
for seven days in Israel & 8 days for Jews in the diaspora
- Traditional food consists of bread, vegetables, nuts and dessert and these have various
- Matzoh, unleavened bread represent the Israelites’ lack of time to cook and poor diet while
wandering in the desert (exiled from entering Israel)
- The vegetables consisting of bitter herbs represent the bitter life of a slave
- Nuts – Haroset: represents the mortar the Jews used to build the pyramids
- Dessert: Apples & honey cake represent the sweetness of freedom
- the seven branched candlestick a Jewish symbol since ancient times
- It became a symbol for the Jewish culture and today it’s the official symbol of the state