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Sacred Texts, Places of Worship, and Symbols
Brenna Oateson 7 December 2012
Transcript of Sacred Texts, Places of Worship, and Symbols
The compilation of the three main texts in Judaism is the Tanakh. "Tanakh" is an acronym of Torah, Nevi'im and Ketuvim (Law, Prophets and Writings). It consists of the same books as the Christian Old Testament, although in a slightly different order and with other minor differences.
Although the word "Torah" is sometimes used to refer to the entire Tanakh or even the whole body of Jewish writings, it technically means the first five books of the Tanakh. These books are also known as the Five Books of Moses or the Pentateuch.
The Nevi'im consists of 21 books of narrative and prophecy.
The 13 books of the Ketuvim include wisdom literature, prophecy, and stories. Talmud: The Oral TorahThe Talmud is a collection of rabbinical writings that interpret, explain and apply the Torah scriptures. The Talmud was written between the second and fifth century CE, but Orthodox Jews believe it was revealed to Moses along with the Torah and preseved orally until it was written down. The Talmud is thus known as the "Oral Torah," with the first five books of the Tanakh designated the "Written Torah."
MidrashA third group of Jewish literature is the Midrash, which is a large body of rabbinical material derived primary from sermons (the Hebrew word for "sermon" is d'rash). The primary collections of Midrash were compiled between the fourth and sixth centuries, but the midrashic form continues to the present day.
ResponsaA further set of Jewish writings is the responsa, a vast collection (thousands of volumes) of answers to specific questions on Jewish law. If the Talmud is a law book, the responsa are case law.
ZoharThe Sefer ha-Zohar (Book of Splendor) is the central text of Kabbalah, the mystical branch of Judaism. Jewish Sacred Texts, Places of Worship, and Symbols Tallit, a prayer shawl Yad, means ‘hand’ in Hebrew, a pointer in the shape of a hand used to the reader's place while reading the Torah Shofar, a polished ram’s horn used in Jewish services at certain times of the year such as New Year • Mezuzah, attached to a doorway to show that the household is Jewish. Made up of a parchment scroll of prayers and a protective container.
• Menorah • The Jewish star (Magen David) is a modern universal Jewish symbol •Kippah, hat or skull cap worn as a pious custom
• Chai, has the numerical value of 18, is made up of the Hebrew letters chet and yud and means life In Jerusalem, there was a temple that was the center of Jewish religion. This was where all the sacrifices to God and rituals were done. The original temple was somewhat destructed and therefore a replica was produced. However, there are remains of the first temple, the “Wailing Wall” or the Kotel. Some believe that these temples are the only ones that are identical to the Temple in Jerusalem. The temples are places for praying and rituals like the synagogue. Jews who identified themselves with Judaism pray at synagogues, also known as temples. The Hebrew word for synagogue is “beit k’nesset” meaning “House of Assembly”. There are places to study Judaism, which are known as schuls. Although daily prayers may be fulfilled at a synagogue, people may pray anywhere. The synagogue is where prayer services in a community are held. There is a requirement of at least ten adult males to be present, known as minyan, in order to perform some prayers. It is believed to be more beneficial if people prayed in a group versus praying alone. Services for praying are not the only purpose that synagogues serve; they also play a role in the social welfare agency. This supports the malnourished, the destitute and those who are in need of money or other necessities, throughout a communities. Usually, in the synagogue, there is an ark, a menorah and an Eternal Lamp symbolizing the curtain, menorah and commandment on keeping the flame going, in Jerusalem.