OF LIFE BOOKMARK
term Torah is primarily applied to the Five Books of
Moses. In its expanded sense, signifies the entire Jewish
tradition. The word "Torah" itself comes from
the Hebrew verbal root that means "to guide"
or "to instruct". Jewish liturgy proclaims
Torah as ''a tree of life to those that hold fast to
it." The parchment Torah scroll is wound around
two wooden rods, called eytz chayeem (tree of life).
Throughout the history of the Jewish people, the written
word has been revered. Jews have been called the "People
of the Book". As early as the second century B.C.E.,
many Jewish people owned their own texts, and during
Talmudic times school children were using them.
Imagery of the tree is found throughout the Bible. In
many cultures the tree signifies among other things,
strength, life, mortality and majesty, since its vitality
and endurance long outlast the human span of life.
God planted the Tree of Life in the Garden of Eden when
the world began. That has been described in the Midrash
(the early rabbinic elaboration of the Biblical text)
as bearing thousands of varieties of fruits and fragrances,
spreading it's foliage and shading the entire garden.
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