Torah has a range of meanings. It can most mean the first five books of the 24 books of the Tanakh, it is printed with the rabbinic commentaries, it can mean the continued narrative from the Book of Genesis to the end of the Tanakh, it can mean the totality of Jewish teaching and practice, whether derived from biblical texts or rabbinic writings. Common to all these meanings, Torah consists of the origin of Jewish peoplehood: their call into being by God, their trials and tribulations, their covenant with their God, which involves following a way of life embodied in a set of moral and religious obligations and civil laws. In rabbinic literature the word Torah denotes both the Oral Torah; the Oral Torah consists of interpretations and amplifications which according to rabbinic tradition have been handed down from generation to generation and are now embodied in the Talmud and Midrash. According to rabbinic tradition, all of the teachings found in the Torah, both written and oral, were given by God through the prophet Moses, some at Mount Sinai and others at the Tabernacle, all the teachings were written down by Moses, which resulted in the Torah that exists today.
According to the Midrash, the Torah was created prior to the creation of the world, was used as the blueprint for Creation. The majority of Biblical scholars believe that the written books were a product of the Babylonian captivity, based on earlier written sources and oral traditions, that it was completed during the period of Achaemenid rule. Traditionally, the words of the Torah are written on a scroll by a scribe in Hebrew. A Torah portion is read publicly at least once every three days in the presence of a congregation. Reading the Torah publicly is one of the bases of Jewish communal life; the word "Torah" in Hebrew is derived from the root ירה, which in the hif'il conjugation means'to guide' or'to teach'. The meaning of the word is therefore "teaching", "doctrine", or "instruction"; the Alexandrian Jews who translated the Septuagint used the Greek word nomos, meaning norm, doctrine, "law". Greek and Latin Bibles began the custom of calling the Pentateuch The Law. Other translational contexts in the English language include custom, guidance, or system.
The term "Torah" is used in the general sense to include both Rabbinic Judaism's written law and Oral Law, serving to encompass the entire spectrum of authoritative Jewish religious teachings throughout history, including the Mishnah, the Talmud, the Midrash and more, the inaccurate rendering of "Torah" as "Law" may be an obstacle to understanding the ideal, summed up in the term talmud torah. The earliest name for the first part of the Bible seems to have been "The Torah of Moses"; this title, however, is found neither in the Torah itself, nor in the works of the pre-Exilic literary prophets. It appears in Joshua and Kings. In contrast, there is every likelihood that its use in the post-Exilic works was intended to be comprehensive. Other early titles were "The Book of Moses" and "The Book of the Torah", which seems to be a contraction of a fuller name, "The Book of the Torah of God". Christian scholars refer to the first five books of the Hebrew Bible as the'Pentateuch', a term first used in the Hellenistic Judaism of Alexandria.
The Torah starts from the beginning of God's creating the world, through the beginnings of the people of Israel, their descent into Egypt, the giving of the Torah at biblical Mount Sinai. It ends with the death of Moses, just before the people of Israel cross to the promised land of Canaan. Interspersed in the narrative are the specific teachings given explicitly or implicitly embedded in the narrative. In Hebrew, the five books of the Torah are identified by the incipits in each book, it is divisible into the Primeval history and the Ancestral history. The primeval history sets out the author's concepts of the nature of the deity and of humankind's relationship with its maker: God creates a world, good and fit for mankind, but when man corrupts it with sin God decides to destroy his creation, saving only the righteous Noah to reestablish the relationship between man and God; the Ancestral history tells of the prehistory of Israel, God's chosen people
In Judaism, a rabbi is a teacher of Torah. The basic form of the rabbi developed in the Pharisaic and Talmudic era, when learned teachers assembled to codify Judaism's written and oral laws; the first sage for whom the Mishnah uses the title of rabbi was Yohanan ben Zakkai, active in the early-to-mid first century AD. In more recent centuries, the duties of a rabbi became influenced by the duties of the Protestant Christian minister, hence the title "pulpit rabbis", in 19th-century Germany and the United States rabbinic activities including sermons, pastoral counseling, representing the community to the outside, all increased in importance. Within the various Jewish denominations there are different requirements for rabbinic ordination, differences in opinion regarding, to be recognized as a rabbi. For example, Orthodox Judaism does not ordain women as rabbis. Non-Orthodox movements have chosen to do so for what they view as halakhic reasons as well as ethical reasons; the Hebrew word "master" רב rav, which means "great one", is the original Hebrew form of the title.
The form of the title in English and many other languages derives from the possessive form in Hebrew of rav: רַבִּי rabbi, meaning "My Master", the way a student would address a master of Torah. The word Rav in turn derives from the Semitic root ר-ב-ב, which in biblical Aramaic means "great" in many senses, including "revered", but appears as a prefix in construct forms. Although the usage rabbim "many" "the majority, the multitude" occurs for the assembly of the community in the Dead Sea scrolls there is no evidence to support an association with the title "Rabbi." The root is cognate to Arabic ربّ rabb, meaning "lord". As a sign of great respect, some great rabbis are called "The Rav". Rabbi is not an occupation found in the Hebrew Bible, ancient generations did not employ related titles such as Rabban, Ribbi, or Rab to describe either the Babylonian sages or the sages in Israel; the titles "Rabban" and "Rabbi" are first mentioned in the Mishnah. The term was first used for Rabban Gamaliel the elder, Rabban Simeon his son, Rabban Johanan ben Zakkai, all of whom were patriarchs or presidents of the Sanhedrin in the first century.
The title "Rabbi" occurs in the books of Matthew and John in the New Testament, where it is used in reference to "Scribes and Pharisees" as well as to Jesus. Sephardic and Yemenite Jews pronounce this word רִבִּי ribbī. Other variants are rəvī and, in Yiddish, rebbə; the word could be compared to the Syriac word ܪܒܝ rabi. In ancient Hebrew, rabbi was a proper term of address while speaking to a superior, in the second person, similar to a vocative case. While speaking about a superior, in the third person one could say rabbo; the term evolved into a formal title for members of the Patriarchate. Thus, the title gained an irregular plural form: רַבָּנִים rabbanim, not רַבָּי rabbay; the governments of the kingdoms of Israel and Judah were based on a system that included the Jewish kings, the Jewish prophets, the legal authority of the high court of Jerusalem, the Great Sanhedrin, the ritual authority of the priesthood. Members of the Sanhedrin had to receive their ordination in an uninterrupted line of transmission from Moses, yet rather than being referred to as rabbis they were called priests or scribes, like Ezra, called in the Bible "Ezra, the priest, the scribe, a scribe of the words of God's commandments and of His statutes unto Israel."
"Rabbi" as a religious title does not appear in the Hebrew Bible. All of the above personalities would have been expected to be steeped in the wisdom of the Torah and the commandments, which would have made them "rabbis" in the modern sense of the word; this is illustrated by a two-thousand-year-old teaching in the Mishnah, Ethics of the Fathers, which observed about King David, "One who learns from their companion a single chapter, a single halakha, a single verse, a single Torah statement, or a single letter, must treat them with honor. For so we find with David King of Israel, who learned nothing from Ahitophel except two things, yet called him his teacher, his guide, his intimate, as it is said:'You are a man of my measure, my guide, my intimate'. One can derive from this the following: If David King of Israel who learned nothing from Ahitophel except for two things, called him his teacher, his guide, his intimate, one who learns from their companion a single chapter, a single halakha, a single verse, a single statement, or a single letter, how much more must they treat them with honor.
And honor is due only for Torah, as it is said:'The wise shall inherit honor','and the perfect shall inherit good'. And only Torah is good, as it is said:'I have given you a good teaching, do not forsake My Torah'." With the destruction of the two Temples in Jerusalem, the end of the Jewish monarchy, the decline of the dual institutions of prophets and the priesthood, the focus of scholarly and spiritual leadership within the Jewish people shifted to the sages of the Men of the Great Assembly. This assembly was composed of the earliest group of "rabbis" in the mor
In Abrahamic religions, Noah was the tenth and last of the pre-Flood Patriarchs. The story of Noah's Ark is told in the Bible's Genesis flood narrative; the biblical account is followed by the story of the Curse of Ham. In addition to the Book of Genesis, Noah is mentioned in the Old Testament in the First Book of Chronicles, the books of Tobit, Sirach, Ezekiel, 2 Esdras, 4 Maccabees. Noah was the subject of much elaboration in the literature of Abrahamic religions, including the Quran; the primary account of Noah in the Bible is in the Book of Genesis. Noah was the tenth of the Pre-Flood Patriarchs, his father was Lamech and his mother is not named in the biblical accounts. When Noah was five hundred years old, he became the father of Shem and Japheth; the Genesis flood narrative makes up chapters 6–9 in the Book of Genesis, in the Bible. The narrative, one of many flood myths found in human cultures, indicates that God intended to return the Earth to its pre-Creation state of watery chaos by flooding the Earth because of humanity's misdeeds and remake it using the microcosm of Noah's ark.
Thus, the flood was no ordinary overflow but a reversal of Creation. The narrative discusses the evil of mankind that moved God to destroy the world by the way of the flood, the preparation of the ark for certain animals and his family, God's guarantee for the continued existence of life under the promise that he would never send another flood. After the flood, Noah offered burnt offerings to God, who said: "I will not again curse the ground any more for man's sake. "And God blessed Noah and his sons, said unto them, Be fruitful, multiply, replenish the earth". They were told that all fowls, land animals, fishes would be afraid of them. Furthermore, as well as green plants, every moving thing would be their food with the exception that the blood was not to be eaten. Man's life blood would be required from man. "Whoso sheddeth man's blood, by man shall his blood be shed: for in the image of God made he man". A rainbow, called "my bow", was given as the sign of a covenant "between me and you and every living creature that with you, for perpetual generations", called the Noahic covenant or the rainbow covenant.
Noah died 350 years after the flood, at the age of 950, the last of the long-lived Antediluvian patriarchs. The maximum human lifespan, as depicted by the Bible diminishes thereafter, from 1,000 years to the 120 years of Moses. After the flood, the Bible says that Noah became a husbandman and he planted a vineyard, he drank wine made from this vineyard, got drunk. Noah's son Ham, the father of Canaan, saw his father naked and told his brothers, which led to Ham's son Canaan being cursed by Noah; as early as the Classical era, commentators on Genesis 9:20–21 have excused Noah's excessive drinking because he was considered to be the first wine drinker. John Chrysostom, Archbishop of Constantinople, a Church Father, wrote in the 4th century that Noah's behavior is defensible: as the first human to taste wine, he would not know its effects: "Through ignorance and inexperience of the proper amount to drink, fell into a drunken stupor". Philo, a Hellenistic Jewish philosopher excused Noah by noting that one can drink in two different manners: to drink wine in excess, a peculiar sin to the vicious evil man or to partake of wine as the wise man, Noah being the latter.
In Jewish tradition and rabbinic literature on Noah, rabbis blame Satan for the intoxicating properties of the wine. In the field of psychological biblical criticism, J. H. Ellens and W. G. Rollins address the narrative of Genesis 9:18–27 that narrates the unconventional behavior that occurs between Noah and Ham; because of its brevity and textual inconsistencies, it has been suggested that this narrative is a "splinter from a more substantial tale". A fuller account would explain what Ham had done to his father, or why Noah directed a curse at Canaan for Ham's misdeed, or how Noah came to know what occurred; the narrator relates two facts: Noah became drunken and "he was uncovered within his tent", Ham "saw the nakedness of his father, told his two brethren without". Thus, these passages revolve around sexuality and the exposure of genitalia as compared with other Hebrew Bible texts, such as Habakkuk 2:15 and Lamentations 4:21. Other commentaries mention that seeing someone's nakedness could mean having sex with that person as seen in Leviticus 18:7-8 and Leviticus 20:11.
Genesis 10 sets forth the descendants of Shem and Japheth, from whom the nations branched out over the earth after the flood. Among Japheth’s descendants were the maritime nations. Ham’s son Cush had a son named Nimrod, who became the first man of might on earth, a mighty hunter, king in Babylon and the land of Shinar. From there Asshur built Nineveh. Canaan’s descendants – Sidon, the Jebusites, the Amorites, the Girgashites, the Hivites, the Arkites, the Sinites, the Arvadites, the Zemarites, the Hamathites – spread out from Sidon as far as Gerar, near Gaza, as far as Sodom and Gomorrah. Among Shem’s descendants was Eber; these genealogies differ structurally from those set out in Genesis 5 and 11. It has a segmented or treelike structure, going from one father to many offs
The Talmud is the central text of Rabbinic Judaism and the primary source of Jewish religious law and Jewish theology. Until the advent of modernity, in nearly all Jewish communities, the Talmud was the centerpiece of Jewish cultural life and was foundational to "all Jewish thought and aspirations", serving as "the guide for the daily life" of Jews; the term "Talmud" refers to the collection of writings named the Babylonian Talmud, although there is an earlier collection known as the Jerusalem Talmud. It may traditionally be called Shas, a Hebrew abbreviation of shisha sedarim, or the "six orders" of the Mishnah; the Talmud has two components. The term "Talmud" may refer to either the Gemara alone; the entire Talmud consists of 63 tractates, in standard print is over 6,200 pages long. It is written in Mishnaic Hebrew and Jewish Babylonian Aramaic and contains the teachings and opinions of thousands of rabbis on a variety of subjects, including halakha, Jewish ethics, customs, history and many other topics.
The Talmud is the basis for all codes of Jewish law, is quoted in rabbinic literature. Talmud translates as "instruction, learning", from a root LMD "teach, study". Jewish scholarship was oral. Rabbis expounded and debated the Torah and discussed the Tanakh without the benefit of written works, though some may have made private notes, for example of court decisions; this situation changed drastically as the result of the destruction of the Jewish commonwealth and the Second Temple in the year 70 and the consequent upheaval of Jewish social and legal norms. As the rabbis were required to face a new reality—mainly Judaism without a Temple and Judea without at least partial autonomy—there was a flurry of legal discourse and the old system of oral scholarship could not be maintained, it is during this period. The oldest full manuscript of the Talmud, known as the Munich Talmud, dates from 1342 and is available online; the process of "Gemara" proceeded in what were the two major centers of Jewish scholarship and Babylonia.
Correspondingly, two bodies of analysis developed, two works of Talmud were created. The older compilation is called the Talmud Yerushalmi, it was compiled in the 4th century in Galilee. The Babylonian Talmud was compiled about the year 500; the word "Talmud", when used without qualification refers to the Babylonian Talmud. While the editors of Jerusalem Talmud and Babylonian Talmud each mention the other community, most scholars believe these documents were written independently. Here the argument from silence is convincing." The Jerusalem Talmud known as the Palestinian Talmud, or Talmuda de-Eretz Yisrael, was one of the two compilations of Jewish religious teachings and commentary, transmitted orally for centuries prior to its compilation by Jewish scholars in the Land of Israel. It is a compilation of teachings of the schools of Tiberias and Caesarea, it is written in Jewish Palestinian Aramaic, a Western Aramaic language that differs from its Babylonian counterpart. This Talmud is a synopsis of the analysis of the Mishnah, developed over the course of nearly 200 years by the Academies in Galilee Because of their location, the sages of these Academies devoted considerable attention to analysis of the agricultural laws of the Land of Israel.
Traditionally, this Talmud was thought to have been redacted in about the year 350 by Rav Muna and Rav Yossi in the Land of Israel. It is traditionally known as the Talmud Yerushalmi, but the name is a misnomer, as it was not prepared in Jerusalem, it has more been called "The Talmud of the Land of Israel". Its final redaction belongs to the end of the 4th century, but the individual scholars who brought it to its present form cannot be fixed with assurance. By this time Christianity had become the state religion of the Roman Empire and Jerusalem the holy city of Christendom. In 325, Constantine the Great, the first Christian emperor, said "let us have nothing in common with the detestable Jewish crowd." This policy made a Jew an pauper. The compilers of the Jerusalem Talmud lacked the time to produce a work of the quality they had intended; the text is not easy to follow. The apparent cessation of work on the Jerusalem Talmud in the 5th century has been associated with the decision of Theodosius II in 425 to suppress the Patriarchate and put an end to the practice of semikhah, formal scholarly ordination.
Some modern scholars have questioned this connection. Despite its incomplete state, the Jerusalem Talmud remains an indispensable source of knowledge of the development of the Jewish Law in the Holy Land, it was an important resource in the study of the Babylonian Talmud by the Kairouan school of Chana
Righteous Among the Nations
Righteous Among the Nations is an honorific used by the State of Israel to describe non-Jews who risked their lives during the Holocaust to save Jews from extermination by the Nazis. The term originates with the concept of "righteous gentiles", a term used in rabbinic Judaism to refer to non-Jews, called ger toshav, who abide by the Seven Laws of Noah; when Yad Vashem, the Shoah Martyrs' and Heroes' Remembrance Authority, was established in 1953 by the Knesset, one of its tasks was to commemorate the "Righteous Among the Nations". The Righteous were defined as non-Jews. Since 1963, a commission headed by a justice of the Supreme Court of Israel has been charged with the duty of awarding the honorary title "Righteous Among the Nations". Guided in its work by certain criteria, the commission meticulously studies all documentation including evidence by survivors and other eyewitnesses, evaluates the historical circumstances and the element of risk to the rescuer, decides if the case meets the criteria.
Those criteria are: Only a Jewish party can put a nomination forward Helping a family member, or helping a Jew who converted to Christianity is not a criterion for recognition. It has been given to royalty such as Princess Alice of Battenberg, Queen Mother Helen of Romania and Queen Elisabeth of Belgium but to others like the philosopher Jacques Ellul and to Amsterdam department store employee Hendrika Gerritsen. A person, recognized as Righteous for having taken risks to help Jews during the Holocaust is awarded a medal in their name, a certificate of honor, the privilege of having the name added to those on the Wall of Honor in the Garden of the Righteous at Yad Vashem in Jerusalem; the awards are distributed to the rescuers or their next-of-kin during ceremonies in Israel, or in their countries of residence through the offices of Israel's diplomatic representatives. These ceremonies are given wide media coverage; the Yad Vashem Law authorizes Yad Vashem "to confer honorary citizenship upon the Righteous Among the Nations, if they have died, the commemorative citizenship of the State of Israel, in recognition of their actions".
Anyone, recognized as "Righteous" is entitled to apply to Yad Vashem for the certificate. If the person is no longer alive, their next of kin is entitled to request that commemorative citizenship be conferred on the Righteous who has died. In total, 26,973 men and women from 51 countries have been recognized, amounting to more than 10,000 authenticated rescue stories. Yad Vashem's policy is to pursue the program for as long as petitions for this title are received and are supported by evidence that meets the criteria. Recipients who choose to live in the State of Israel are entitled to a pension equal to the average national wage and free health care, as well as assistance with housing and nursing care. At least 130 Righteous Gentiles have settled in Israel, they were welcomed by Israeli authorities, were granted citizenship. In the mid-1980s, they became entitled to special pensions; some of them settled in British Mandatory Palestine before Israel's establishment shortly after World War II, or in the early years of the new state of Israel, while others came later.
Those who came earlier spoke fluent Hebrew and have integrated into Israeli society. The Righteous are honored with a feast day on the liturgical calendar of the Episcopal Church in the United States on 16 July. A Righteous from Italy, Edward Focherini, was beatified by the Catholic Church on 15 June 2013. In 2015, Lithuania's first street sign honoring a Righteous Among the Nations was unveiled in Vilnius; the street is named Simaites Street, after Ona Šimaitė, a Vilnius University librarian who helped and rescued Jewish people in the Vilna Ghetto. As of June 16, 2017, the award has been made to 26,513 people. European Day of the Righteous Individuals and groups assisting Jews during the Holocaust List of Righteous Among the Nations by country Righteousness Virtuous pagan Żegota The Heart Has Reasons: Holocaust Rescuers and Their Stories of Courage, Mark Klempner, ISBN 0-8298-1699-2, The Pilgrim Press. Righteous Gentiles of the Holocaust: Genocide and Moral Obligation, David P. Gushee, ISBN 1-55778-821-9, Paragon House Publishers.
The Lexicon of the Righteous Among the Nations, Yad Vashem, Jerusalem.. To Save a Life: Stories of Holocaust Rescue, Land-Weber, Ellen, ISBN 0-252-02515-6, University of Illinois Press; the Seven Laws of Noah, Aaron, New York: The Rabbi Jacob Joseph School Press, 1981, ASIN B00071QH6S. The Image of the Non-Jew in Judaism, David, ISBN 0-88946-975-X, New York and Toronto: Edwin Mellen Press, 1983; the Path of the Righteous: Gentile Rescuers of Jews During the Holocaust, Mordecai, ISBN 0-88125-376-6, KTAV Publishing House, Inc. Among the Righteous: Lost Stories from the Holocaust's Long Reach into Arab Lands, Robert Satloff, Washington Institute for Near East Policy, ISBN 1-58648-399-4; when Light Pierced the Darkness: Christian Rescue of Jews in Nazi-Occupied Poland, Nechama, ISBN 0-19-505194-7, Oxford University Press. Zegota: The Council to Aid Jews in Occupied Poland 1942-1945, Irene & Werbowski, Tecia, ISBN 1-896881-15-7, Price-Patterso
Adam is the name used in the opening chapters of the Book of Genesis and in the Quran for the first man created by God, but it is used in a collective sense as "mankind" and individually as "a human". Biblical Adam is created from adamah, Genesis 1–8 makes considerable play of the bond between them, for Adam is estranged from the earth through his disobedience; the majority view among scholars is that the book of Genesis dates from the Persian period, but the absence from the rest of the Hebrew Bible of all the other characters and incidents mentioned in chapters 1–11 of Genesis, has led a sizable minority to the conclusion that Genesis 1–11 was composed much possibly in the 3rd century BCE. The Bible uses the word אָדָם in all of its senses: collectively, gender nonspecific, male. In Genesis 1:27 "adam" is used in the collective sense, the interplay between the individual "Adam" and the collective "humankind" is a main literary component to the events that occur in the Garden of Eden, the ambiguous meanings embedded throughout the moral and spiritual terms of the narrative reflecting the complexity of the human condition.
Genesis 2:7 is the first verse where "Adam" takes on the sense of an individual man, the context of sex is absent. A recurring literary motif is the bond between Adam and the earth: God creates Adam by molding him out of clay in the final stages of the creation narrative. After the loss of innocence, God curses the earth as punishment for his disobedience. Adam and humanity is cursed to return to the earth from which he was formed; this "earthly" aspect is a component of Adam's identity, Adam's curse of estrangement from the earth seems to describe humankind's divided nature of being earthly yet separated from nature. God himself who took of the dust from all four corners of the earth with each color created Adam therewith, where the soul of Adam is the image of God. Genesis 1 tells of God's creation of the world and its creatures, with humankind as the last of his creatures: "Male and female created He them, blessed them, called their name Adam...". God blesses mankind, commands them to "be fruitful and multiply", gives them "dominion over the fish of the sea, over the fowl of the air, over the cattle, over all the earth, over every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth".
In Genesis 2, God forms "Adam", this time meaning a single male human, out of "the dust of the ground" and "breathed into his nostrils the breath of life". God places this first man in the Garden of Eden, telling him that "Of every tree of the garden thou mayest eat: But of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it: for in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt die". God notes that "It is not good that the man should be alone" and brings the animals to Adam, who gives them their names, but among all the animals there was not found a companion for him. God causes a deep sleep to fall upon Adam and forms a woman, Adam awakes and greets her as his helpmate. Genesis 3, the story of the Fall: A serpent persuades the woman to disobey God's command and eat of the tree of knowledge, which gives wisdom. Woman convinces Adam to do whereupon they become conscious of their nakedness, cover themselves, hide from the sight of God. God questions Adam. God passes judgment, first upon the serpent, condemned to go on his belly the woman, condemned to pain in childbirth and subordination to her husband, Adam, condemned to labour on the earth for his food and to return to it on his death.
God expels the man and woman from the garden, lest they eat of the Tree of Life and become immortal. The chiastic structure of the death oracle given to Adam in Genesis 3:19 forms a link between man's creation from "dust" to the "return" of his beginnings. A you return B to the ground C since from it you were taken C' for dust you are B' and to dust A' you will returnGenesis 4 deals with the birth of Adam's sons Cain and Abel and the story of the first murder, followed by the birth of a third son, Seth. Genesis 5, the Book of the Generations of Adam, lists the descendants of Adam from Seth to Noah with their ages at the birth of their first sons and their ages at death; the chapter notes that Adam does not name them. Adam possessed a body of light. According to Jewish mystical tradition the original glory of Adam can be regained through mystical contemplation of God; the rabbis, puzzled by the verse of Genesis 1 which states that God created man and woman together, told that when God created Adam he created a woman from the dust, as he had created Adam, named her Lilith.
Judaism is the religion of the Jewish people. It is an ancient, Abrahamic religion with the Torah as its foundational text, it encompasses the religion and culture of the Jewish people. Judaism is considered by religious Jews to be the expression of the covenant that God established with the Children of Israel. Judaism encompasses a wide body of texts, theological positions, forms of organization; the Torah is part of the larger text known as the Tanakh or the Hebrew Bible, supplemental oral tradition represented by texts such as the Midrash and the Talmud. With between 14.5 and 17.4 million adherents worldwide, Judaism is the tenth largest religion in the world. Within Judaism there are a variety of movements, most of which emerged from Rabbinic Judaism, which holds that God revealed his laws and commandments to Moses on Mount Sinai in the form of both the Written and Oral Torah; this assertion was challenged by various groups such as the Sadducees and Hellenistic Judaism during the Second Temple period.
Modern branches of Judaism such as Humanistic Judaism may be nontheistic. Today, the largest Jewish religious movements are Orthodox Judaism, Conservative Judaism, Reform Judaism. Major sources of difference between these groups are their approaches to Jewish law, the authority of the Rabbinic tradition, the significance of the State of Israel. Orthodox Judaism maintains that the Torah and Jewish law are divine in origin and unalterable, that they should be followed. Conservative and Reform Judaism are more liberal, with Conservative Judaism promoting a more traditionalist interpretation of Judaism's requirements than Reform Judaism. A typical Reform position is that Jewish law should be viewed as a set of general guidelines rather than as a set of restrictions and obligations whose observance is required of all Jews. Special courts enforced Jewish law. Authority on theological and legal matters is not vested in any one person or organization, but in the sacred texts and the rabbis and scholars who interpret them.
The history of Judaism spans more than 3,000 years. Judaism has its roots as an organized religion in the Middle East during the Bronze Age. Judaism is considered one of the oldest monotheistic religions; the Hebrews and Israelites were referred to as "Jews" in books of the Tanakh such as the Book of Esther, with the term Jews replacing the title "Children of Israel". Judaism's texts and values influenced Abrahamic religions, including Christianity and the Baha'i Faith. Many aspects of Judaism have directly or indirectly influenced secular Western ethics and civil law. Hebraism was just as important a factor in the ancient era development of Western civilization as Hellenism, Judaism, as the background of Christianity, has shaped Western ideals and morality since Early Christianity. Jews are an ethnoreligious group including those born Jewish, in addition to converts to Judaism. In 2015, the world Jewish population was estimated at about 14.3 million, or 0.2% of the total world population. About 43% of all Jews reside in Israel and another 43% reside in the United States and Canada, with most of the remainder living in Europe, other minority groups spread throughout Latin America, Asia and Australia.
Unlike other ancient Near Eastern gods, the Hebrew God is portrayed as solitary. Judaism thus begins with ethical monotheism: the belief that God is one and is concerned with the actions of mankind. According to the Tanakh, God promised Abraham to make of his offspring a great nation. Many generations he commanded the nation of Israel to love and worship only one God, he commanded the Jewish people to love one another. These commandments are but two of a large corpus of commandments and laws that constitute this covenant, the substance of Judaism. Thus, although there is an esoteric tradition in Judaism, Rabbinic scholar Max Kadushin has characterized normative Judaism as "normal mysticism", because it involves everyday personal experiences of God through ways or modes that are common to all Jews; this is played out through the observance of the Halakha and given verbal expression in the Birkat Ha-Mizvot, the short blessings that are spoken every time a positive commandment is to be fulfilled.
The ordinary, everyday things and occurrences we have, constitute occasions for the experience of God. Such things as one's daily sustenance, the day itself, are felt as manifestations of God's loving-kindness, calling for the Berakhot. Kedushah, nothing else than the imitation of God, is concerned with daily conduct, with being gracious and merciful, with keeping oneself from defilement by idolatry and the shedding of blood; the Birkat Ha-Mitzwot evokes the consciousness of holiness at a rabbinic rite, but the objects employed in the majority of these rites are non-holy and of general character, while the several holy objects are non-theurgic. And not only do ordinary things and occurrences bring with them the experience of God. Everything that happens to a man evokes that exp