- Количество слайдов: 21
Judaism 2 Places and Forms of Worship Candidates should have explored the ways in which Jews use symbols and artefacts in their worship. There should be a consideration of the ways in which these symbols and artefacts might support and influence the beliefs and attitudes of the worshippers. Candidates should have considered: • the design and artefacts of a synagogue, especially Aron Hakodesh (ark), Sefer Torah (scrolls) and their ornaments, bimah (reading desk), Ner Tamid (eternal light), Magen David (shield/star of David); the absence of any representations of G-d; the different ways in which the synagogue is used by the community; • the roles of the rabbi and chazan (cantor); • ritual dress – Kippah (Yamulkah, Capel), tallit (prayer shawl), tzizit (fringes), tefillin (phylacteries); • The home as a place of worship: • the mezuzah and other ritual objects; • Sabbath worship, preparations, Havdalah (division); • daily prayers. The main place of Jewish worship is the home, however, the central place for community worship is the Synagogue. The first place of worship was the Temple, however, once that was destroyed Jews met temporarily at the Beth Ha-Midrash to study the scriptures. By the time of the second destruction of the Temple, most communities has a synagogue. Now though, the only places available for worship were the Synagogues. As sacrifices could no longer be made they were replaces with prayer. Words for Synagogue: • • Beth Ha-tefilla (House of Prayer) Beth Ha-Midrash (House of Study) Shul – School Assembly or gathering in Greek. Modern Synagogues combined the tradition of teaching and worship. They also contain the cheder (room), which is a religious school for children. Synagogues are often plain buildings with the Magen David (Star of David) symbol to make them recognisable. According to the Talmud, the entrance to the synagogue should be on the side of the building that faces 1 Jerusalem
Objects found in a Synagogue Ner Tamid – The eternal light that hangs above the ark – it is a symbol of G-d’s eternal presence. 10 Commandments – These are seen above the Ark and represent the Torah Scrolls. Menorah – a seven branched candle that is the symbol of Judaism. The Torah Scrolls – The holiest scrolls in Judaism The Ark – This is called Aron Kodesh or Holy Ark. It is a closet that holds the Torah scrolls. Bimah – A raised platform that the Torah scrolls are read from. Seating – In an Orthodox synagogue men and women sit separately. 2
Differences between Orthodox and Reform The different ways in which the synagogue is used by the community • • Before a full service can take place a Minyan must be present. In an Orthodox Synagogue these 10 Jews can only be men. In a Reform Synagogue they can be men or women. Some of the social events include coffee mornings, mother and toddler groups and wedding receptions. Another name for the Synagogue is Shul, which means school, and gives a hint about its importance as a centre of learning and it holds the Scriptures. There are classes for children especially those studying for their Bar/Bat Mitzvah ceremony. Jews can consult the Rabbi about problems concerning them on such issues as kosher food laws. Older synagogues may have a mikveh, ritual bath. 3
The roles of the rabbi and chazan (cantor) The Rabbi • A rabbi is simply a teacher, a person sufficiently educated in halakhah (Jewish law) and tradition to instruct the community and to answer questions and resolve disputes regarding halakhah. • When a person has completed the necessary course of study, he is given a written document known as a semikhah, which confirms his authority to make such decisions. • Since the destruction of the Temple, the role of the kohanim has diminished, and rabbis have taken over the spiritual leadership of the Jewish community. • A Rabbi’s role includes ministering to the community, leading community religious services and dealing with many of the administrative matters related to the synagogue. The Chazan • A chazan (cantor) is the person who leads the congregation in prayer. Any person with good moral character and thorough knowledge of the prayers and melodies can lead the prayer services. In smaller congregations, the rabbi often serves as both rabbi and chazzan. • However, because music plays such a large role in Jewish religious services, larger congregations usually hire a professional chazzan, a person with both musical skills and training as a religious leader and educator. • Professional chazzans are ordained clergy. • One of their most important duties is teaching young people to lead all or part of a Shabbat service and to chant the Torah or Haftarah reading, which is the heart of the bar mitzvah ceremony. • But they can also perform many of the pastoral duties once confined to rabbis, such as conducting weddings and funerals, visiting sick congregants, and teaching adult education classes. • The rabbi and chazzan work as partners to educate and inspire the congregation. 4
Ritual dress Kippah (Yamulkah, Capel) • Jews cover their heads as a sign of respect for God. • A woman can wear any hat or scarf but a man usually puts on a small round cap called a Kippah, or Yamulkah. • Some Orthodox Jewish men and boys wear a Kippah throughout the day as a constant reminder that God is higher than they are. Tallit (prayer shawl) • The tallit is a prayer shawl worn by Jews during weekday morning services, on the Sabbath, and on holidays. • The tallit is normally made of wool and has special twined and knotted fringes (tzizit) attached to each of its four corners. • The shawl is wrapped around a Jew to remind him that God surrounds him. “Make tassels on the corners of your garments and put a blue cord on each tassel. You are to do this for all time to come. The tassels will serve as reminders, and each time you see them you will remember all my commands and obey them” Tzizit (fringes) • The longer tassels are called the tzizit, they represent the 10 commandments. • When a Jewish man dies he is often buried with the tallit on and the fringes are cut to show that they no longer have to keep the commandments. Tefillin (phylacteries) • The Tefillin are two small black boxes, made from the leather of a kosher animal, which are strapped to the forehead and left arm, which is nearer the heart. • They are worn on the head and arm so God is constantly in their mind and in their heart. • The Tefillin is a physical reminder of the Torah. • Inside the Tefillin is the Shema. • By wearing the Tefillin, a Jewish man is fulfilling the command in the Shema: “…tie them on your arms and wear them on your foreheads as a reminder. ” 5
Jewish Prayer and Worship Other important Jewish prayers The Kaddish – The act of Santification, it praises G-d and asks for his blessing. It is said near the end of a service in the synagogue, and during Festivals and Rites of Passage ceremonies. The Amidah – means ‘standing’. It is repeated silently facing the Ark in the synagogue. Siddur – Jewish Prayer Book. It contains: • Morning, afternoon and evening prayers • Psalms • Prayers for the New moon • Kaddish • Amidah • Prayers for holy days There are 3 periods of prayer: Early morning, afternoon and evening. • All prayers are said facing Israel • Each prayers consists of readings from the Torah and prayers praising G-d. 6
The ways in which these symbols and artefacts might support and influence the beliefs and attitudes of the worshippers. • • • The Ritual dress is a visible sign of being Jewish – its what identifies them. The Ritual dress is a commandment. The Ritual dress acts as a constant reminder to remember G-d and keep his commandments The Synagogue is a reminder of Jewish history and what Temple worship used to be like. The synagogue develops a sense of community spirit. 7
Religion in the Community and the Family Candidates should have considered the following aspects of Judaism: • the role of the synagogue and the community in caring for people; • the work of Jewish charitable organisations within the Jewish community and beyond, e. g. Jewish Care. • Kashrut (dietary laws). • Birth rites (Brit Milah) and the nurture of the young; • Bar/Bat Mitzvah (son/daughter of the commandment); • the marriage ceremony (Kiddushin); • the role of the family; • funeral rites, mourning rituals, and beliefs about death and dying, life after death. • There should be consideration of the ceremonies which mark these events, the significance of the events for Jews , and the ways in which the ceremonies reflect Jewish belief. The Role of the synagogue • • The Members of the synagogue will take care of their local community, trying to ensure that people are not poor and hungry. This is shown at times of Festivals - Purim Weddings – Chuppah (welcomes everyone in) Funerals – Mourning period – shiva – Food is provided by the local community. The work of Jewish charitable organisations within the Jewish community and beyond, e. g. Jewish Care. • Jews are commanded to care for the poor • Tzedaka (righteousness) • Jews are required to give 10% of their wealth to help the poor. • The best way to give money is to lend it forever, without interest. • At home Jews may have collection boxes called Pushkes – to encourage children to donate. • Jews believe that the love of money can make people forget G-d. “. . . “After the LORD your God gives land to each of you, there may be poor Israelites in the town where you live. If there are, then don't be mean and selfish with your money. Instead, be kind and lend them what they need” 8 (Deuteronomy 15: 7 -8)
Kashrut (dietary laws) Kosher = Food which is allowed Trefah – Food which is forbidden All Vegetables and fruit and dairy products are kosher “. . . But the LORD will give you cattle, sheep, and goats, and you can butcher any of those animals at home and eat as much as you want. . . ” (Deuteronomy 12: 21) General Rules Although the details of kashrut are extensive, the laws all derive from a few fairly simple, straightforward rules: • Certain animals may not be eaten at all. This restriction includes the flesh, organs, eggs and milk of the forbidden animals. • Of the animals that may be eaten, the birds and mammals must be killed in accordance with Jewish law. • All blood must be drained from meat and poultry or broiled out of it before it is eaten. • Certain parts of permitted animals may not be eaten. • Fruits and vegetables are permitted, but must be inspected for bugs (which cannot be eaten) • Meat (the flesh of birds and mammals) cannot be eaten with dairy. Fish, eggs, fruits, vegetables and grains can be eaten with either meat or dairy. (According to some views, fish may not be eaten with meat). • Utensils (including pots and pans and other cooking surfaces) that have come into contact with meat may not be used with dairy, and vice versa. Utensils that have come into contact with non-kosher food may not be used with kosher food. This applies only where the contact occurred while the food was hot. • Grape products made by non-Jews may not be eaten. • There a few other rules that are not universal. Kosher Non- Kosher chicken Pig Sheep Rabbit Cow Camel Fish with fins Eel Goat Most birds 9
• • The Brit Milah Ceremony Kvatter or Kvatterin (Godparents) Sandek – The baby is placed on his lap while the circumcision is performed. Mohel (A specially trained doctor who performs the circumcision). A Rabbi will also be present to read the blessings. Jewish Circumcision – Brit Milah 1. A tradition that dates back to the time of Abraham. 2. Performed by a mohel (specially trained circumciser) 3. Baby is male and 8 days old 4. Firstly, the child is passed around family and friends. 5. The father asks the Mohel to circumcise his son in accordance with Jewish tradition. 6. Baby is placed on the lap of the Sandek (usually grandparent). The Mohel will the perform the circumcision. 7. The spirit of Elijah (a prophet) looks down on the child to check the procedure runs smoothly. 8. Some Mohel’s will suck the wound because it is believed that saliva has healing properties in it. 9. The Rabbi will bless the child and place some wine on it’s lips – to numb the pain. 10 The Child’s Hebrew name will be announced for the first time. 11. It is a sign of the covenant made between Abraham and God. 12. It makes you religiously Jewish because you are keeping the covenant of G-d, and its a sign of being his people. 13. Many circumcisions are performed at home. 14. Women are traditionally not present for the Circumcision Bar Mitzvah • Means ‘Son of the commandment’ • It is the ceremony to mark the point in a child’s life when they become responsible for keeping the Covenant. • In the Talmud it states: "At five years old a person should study the Scriptures, at ten years for the Mishnah, at thirteen for the commandments. . . “ • The Talmud gives thirteen as the age at which a boy's vows are legally binding, and states that this is a result of his being a "man, " as required in Numbers 6: 2. What Happens at a Bar Mitzvah? 1. On the Sabbath after his 13 th Birthday, the change is marked with a ceremony in the synagogue. 3. At the ceremony the boy will stand at the Bimah and read his portion from the Torah for the first time in front of family and friends. 2. Before the ceremony the boy will be given a portion of the Torah to learn. The Rabbi will teach him Hebrew and about Jewish history and law. 4. The boy will then read a second reading call the Haftarah before the Torah is returned to the Ark. 5. The boy’s father will then read a speech called baruch shepatrani thanking God for bringing the boy to maturity and declaring him responsible for his own actions. 10
6. The Rabbi will then ask God for his blessing upon the boy and will explain to him his new responsibilities. Bat Mitzvah Bat mitzvah means ‘daughter of the commandment’. A girl becomes Bat Mitzvah at 12 since Judaism recognises that girls mature before boys. • These are only found in the Progressive communities. The ceremony is very similar to that for a boy. Bat Chayil - Daughter of Excellence • Orthodox communities have a ceremony for 12 year old girls called Bat Chayil (Daughter of Excellence). • Girls prepare by studying their responsibilities as women - the laws of Shabbat, festivals and kashrut (food laws) as well as Jewish history, prayers and blessings. • Bat Chayil usually happens on a Sunday. Synagogues are decorated and family and friends join in the celebrations. The girl often makes a short speech and reads a passage in Hebrew. She is often presented with a siddur (prayer book). • • 11
Kiddushin The marriage ceremony • The wedding day is the happiest and holiest day of one’s life. • This day is considered a personal Yom Kippur for the chatan (groom) and kallah (bride), for on this day all their past mistakes are forgiven as they merge into a new and complete soul. Key people at the Wedding Chatan: Groom Challah: Bride Rabbi: performs the ceremony Edin: witnesses, ensure the Jewish ceremony is carried out correctly Kiddushin – The Wedding Ceremony 1. Tish – Chatan’s (Groom) reception where the Ketubah is signed in front of 2 witnesses. 2. Kabbalat Panim – Bride’s reception where prayers are said. 3. Bedeken – Lifting of the veil to check the Groom has the right Bride. 4. The Bride and Groom then walk and stand under a canopy called a Chuppah. 5. The Jewish wedding ceremony combines two formerly separate ceremonies: Erusin (betrothal) and Nissuin (marriage). 6. Erusin (betrothal) - The Rabbi makes two blessings over two glasses of wine. One blessing the wine and the other blessing the couple and forbidding adultery. 7. The chatan now takes the wedding ring in his hand, and in clear view of two witnesses, declares to the Challah, “Behold, you are betrothed unto me with this ring, according to the law of Moses and Israel. ” Rings are placed on the right hand. 8. The Ketubah is read out. 9. Nissuin (marriage) – Rabbi recites of seven blessings, called the sheva berakhot. 10. The Groom smashes a glass. 11. The civil signing of the register. 12. Yihud – Bride and Groom have private seclusion. 13. Seudat Mitzvah – Meal and party to celebrate the wedding. Why is Marriage so important to Jews? • Marriage is both physically and spiritually important. • Kiddushin - Hebrew word for Marriage, meaning Holiness. 12
Why is marriage so important to the Jews? K – Kids – ‘Go forth and multiply’ The commandment in Genesis is to have children, Jews believe marriage is the right place to raise children. I – It’s not good to be alone. ‘“. . . a man will leave his own father and mother. He marries a woman, and the two of them become like one person” D – Delays of Marriage should only happen if you are studying the Torah. 18 was the ideal age to get married. D – Develops the individual within a special, committed relationship. U – underpins society and promotes the continuation of Judaism. S – Sins are forgiven when someone gets married. H – Happiness. In the Talmud it says that an unmarried man lives without joy, without blessing and without good. I – Increases stability in a troubled and changing world. N – Natural state for all, including Rabbi’s. The only people who should delay being marriage are those who study in the Yeshiva, College for study of the Torah. The role of the family • For many Jews, life revolves around their family. • Each week, if possible, the family will come together to celebrate shabbat and worship at the Synagogue together. • At other times of the year the family meets to celebrate the important festivals which commemorate Jewish history (e. g Pesach, Passover) and the way that God has kept his promise to be with them as long as they keep his commandments. • Jews believe that they are all truly part of one family because they are all descendents of Abraham. • Abraham received God’s promise that he would be the father of a great nation and his descendents would be as numerous as the stars in the sky. • In traditional Judaism, women are for the most part seen as separate but equal. Women's obligations and responsibilities are different from men's, but no less important. • Women are exempted from all positive commandments that are time-related (that is, commandments that must be performed at a specific time of the day or year), because the woman's duties as wife and mother are so important that they cannot be postponed to fulfill a commandment. • In Jewish tradition, there are 3 mitzvot (commandments) that are reserved for women: nerot (lighting candles), challah (separating a portion of dough), and niddah (ritual immersion after the end of a woman's menstrual period). • Rosh Chodesh, the first day of each month, is a minor festival. There is a custom that women do not work on Rosh Chodesh. • In many Synagogues, women are not allowed to read from the Torah, they do not count as part of the minyan (10 men needed for a service) and sit separately. However, in many Reform Synagogues women can sit together and lead services. 13 • A women’s role is to care for the Family and provide children.
Funerals What happens when someone has died? 1. Kriah - Tearing of the clothes – represents the sadness that they feel upon hearing that a loved one has died. It also mirrors the actions of characters in the Tenakh. Example of Jacob who tore his clothes when he thought Joseph had died. 2. 7 family members are obligated to perform this ritual, son, daughter, mother, father, sister, brother and spouse. 3. A candle is lit near the head of the deceased to represent that the soul of the person. 4. Tahara - The body is washed and placed in plain white garments, called takhrikin, to show respect and 5. The body will be placed in a plain wooden coffin (called an aron) so that the body doesn’t decompose before the coffin. 6. This is in keeping with the commandment, “unto dust shalt thou return” (Genesis 3: 19). This links in with the modesty laws. It means that rich and poor alike are equal in death. 7. Earth from Israel may also be placed in the coffin to show that the connection between Jews and Israel and the worldwide community. 8. The Coffin will not be open and flowers will not be placed on the grave, as these actions could mask the reality of death. 9. A Shomer (Guardian) is always with the body until burial. This is done as a sign of respect for the deceased. Prayers are read during this time to thank God for the gift of life. 10. Funerals generally take place in a funeral home, although they sometimes take place in the Chapel. The burial must take place as soon as possible, ideally with 24 hours of death. This is done also as a sign of respect to the deceased. 11. At a Funeral, readings will be made from the book of Psalms. The Kaddish prayer is said, as well as prayers. Mourning Rituals Rabbi’s recognised that individuals go through certain stages of mourning, and so developed a certain rituals to help mourners express their grief. Stage 1: Aninut (Deep sorrow or distress) This is the time from death until burial. During this time the mourners are not obliged to carry out mitzvots, as they will be consumed with funeral arrangements. Stage 2: Shiva Focus is the mourners: Parent, child, spouse or sibling 7 Day period of mourning that takes place in the house of the deceased. After leaving funeral, hands are washed 3 times for each hand to symbolise life. Family have condolence meal in silence. The meal is provided by the 14 Jewish community and contains food that is round to symbolise the cycle of life.
A memorial candle will burn 24 hours a day for the duration of Shiva. This represents the soul of the deceased - “the soul of man is the lamp of the Lord” – Proverbs 20: 27. Also, during this time mourners will sit on low chairs as a sign of mourning and depression. Mirrors are also turned over or covered as the focus is on your loss, not on vanity. Stage 3: Shloshim • Means a period of 30 days. Many of the restrictions are not lifted. • Mourners can now leave their house and go to work, however they should keep social engagements to a minimum. • Mourners do not shave or cut their hair during this time. They will also not use any unnecessary products to make themselves beautiful. Stage 4: Yizkor • Yizkor means "remembrance" and is marked with a special service held in the synagogue on significant holidays. • The connection to generations past and loved ones gone is made at Yizkor. • A yartzeit candle is lit at home in memory of the loved one. These candles burn continuously for approximately 24 hours YARTZEIT – One year anniversary Each year on the anniversary of the death, mourners will: • Light a yartzeit candle at home the night before, because the Jewish day begins in the evening. • Give tzedakah (charity) in your loved one's memory. • Learn Torah that day. Read from a book about Judaism or Torah ideas, or arrange to learn with someone from the community. • Recite Kaddish. If you cannot, arrange for someone to recite it on your behalf. Sponsor a kiddush in synagogue on that day, or on the Shabbat that falls at the end of that week. • Fast from sunrise to sunset. 15
Jewish beliefs about the afterlife • The Jewish teacher Maimonides said that a belief in resurrection is one of the 13 Principles of Judaism. • The Orthodox Jews who follow this teaching believe that there will be a physical resurrection so they do not agree with cremation. They call the cemetery Bet ha. Hayyim which means the House of Life. • Reform Jews do not believe that the body will be resurrected and so they will allow cremation. They believe that a dead person will live on through the good that they have done in the memories of the people they leave behind. • Jews used to believe that the soul would go to sheol, a place of waiting beneath the earth, but most Jews now think that this is merely symbolically trying to convey an idea which we cannot fully explain. • They do believe, however, that God will judge them, and what happens to them after death will depend on what they have done in this life. In the book of Daniel it says ‘those who sleep in the dusty earth will awaken. ’ (Daniel 12: 2) • Some Jews believe in heaven and hell. They say that those who are judged to have lived good lives by God will go to Gan Eden (paradise) while those who have done wrong will go to Gehenna. • Jews believe that God will judge them after the Messiah comes. What is the significance of these events for Jews? • Many of the Rites of Passage ceremonies are mitzvots (commandments) so Jews want to carry them out. • Many of the customs link back to their history, for example the practice of circumcision dates back to Abraham and the lifting the veil of the Bride links backs to Jacob. • The Brit Milah ceremony welcomes the child into the Jewish faith and Tradition. • The Bar Mitzvah ceremony is important because before this the boy is now responsible and accountable for keeping the mitzvots himself. • The rituals of the afterlife are for the relatives left behind a specifically designed to help families to grieve and mourn. 16
Sacred Writings Candidates should have explored the nature of the Tenakh • Torah (Law), • Nevi’im (Prophets) and • Ketuvim (Writings); • and of the Talmud (learning, commentary on the Torah), and their importance for Jews. • There should be a consideration of the reasons why the Tenakh is a sacred text for Jews, the ways in which it is shown respect by Jews, and the ways in which it is used in private and public worship. The Jewish Bible • It is written in Hebrew. • In Hebrew it is called the Tenakh. • It is often written: Te. Na. Kh to highlight its 3 sections. 17
Why is the Tenakh a sacred text for Jews? • The 24 books of the Tenakh give a history of the first 3, 500 years from creation to the building of the 2 nd Temple in Jerusalem. • The practice of Judaism links back to its history and following the Law (Tenakh)!! • The Tenakh also provides G-d’s plan for humanity and the rest of the world. Deuteronomy 10: 12 -13 “People of Israel, what does the LORD your God want from you? The LORD wants you to respect and follow him, to love and serve him with all your heart and soul, and to obey his laws and teachings that I am giving you today. Do this, and all will go well for you. ” Torah • When this section of the Tenakh is written and kept in the form of a scroll it is called the Sefer Torah. • Key word: Sefer Torah – The scroll of the Torah used in the synagogue. • It is kept in the Aron Kodesh (Holy Ark) in the Synagogue. • It is handwritten on animal skin (parchment) and placed on large rollers • It is copied by a specially trained scribe. • It is written in Hebrew and read from left to right. • When the Torah is being read from it is not touched, instead a pointer called a yad is used. • • The Hebrew word for Torah means Law or teaching. It is at the centre of Judaism because it is believe to contain G-d’s words. It is believed its words were given to Moses on Mount Sinai when the Israelites were wandering in the desert. This means the Jews can live in the way that G-d wants them too. The Oral Torah • • • In Judaism: There are two Torahs: The written Torah and the Oral Torah. Both of these were given to Moses and were taught to the Israelites while wandering the desert. 18 The Oral Torah is sometimes said to ‘fill the gaps’ in the Written Torah.
Oral Torah Written Torah Mitzvot to wear tefillin: • “Bind them as a sign upon your arm and let them be ornaments between your eyes” Deuteronomy 6: 8. Mitzvot to slaughter animals for food: • “. . . You may slaughter from your cattle and your flocks that G-d has given you. . . ” Deuteronomy 12: 21 • How to wear Tefillin? Oral Torah! • How to slaughter animals for food? Oral Torah! Mishnah • • • The Mishnah Berurah is the first major Rabbianic writing. It is the outline of the Oral Torah. Up until the Roman persecution of the Jews 1, 700 years ago the Oral Torah had been passed around by word of mouth. It was feared the oral Tradition may be lost, so. . A man called Rabbi Yehuda Hanasi (Rabbi Judah the Prince) wrote down the outline of the Oral Torah is a book called the Misnah. The Mishnah Berurah is the first major Rabbianic writing The Mishnah is divided into 62 sections, which them come under 6 main categories: • Seeds – agricultral laws, prayer, crops, tithes • Festivals – Laws of Shabbat, forbidden work • Women – Marriage, family, Divorce • Damages – Civil and criminal law, court system • Holy Matters – The Temple and Sacrifices. • Purities – Laws of ritual purities. Why is it important to some Jews? • Is provides a basis for dicussion on Jewish life and belief. • It provides guidance on the issues of law and practical rulings. (Halakhah) • It provides guidance on preaching and the spiritual aspect of the law (Haggadah). 19
Midrash • Rabbinic commentary and Interpretation of the Scriptures. Contains teachings on Laws • Morality • Religious life based on the Torah. • Oldest collection of Jewish stories and legends, dating from 200 ce. Talmud • During the 2 nd and 3 rd centuries CE the Jews continued to be persecuted and so the Rabbi’s of Babylon created a more detailed version called the Gemara. • Together the Mishnah and the Gemara from the Talmud (Teachings). • The Talmud is Rabbinic discussions about Jewish law, ethics, customs and history. Mishnah: Judaism's Oral Law. The Talmud Gemara: a discussion of the Mishnah and other Rabbinic writings on other subjects and the Tenakh. What is the importance of the sacred texts for Jews? • • Torah: Early history of the Jews and their relationship with G-d. They contain the Laws and Covenants Jews are supposed to follow. Other books contain Laws, prophecy, poetry, liturgy and History, which all help the Jews to follow G-d’s laws. Prophets wrote about the coming of a Messiah who will bring peace to the Earth. Isaiah 9: 5 -6 “A child has been born for us. We have been given a son who will be our ruler. His names will be a Wonderful Advisor and Mighty God, Eternal Father and Prince of Peace. His power will never end; peace will last forever. He will rule David's kingdom and make it grow strong. He will always rule with honesty and justice. The LORD All-Powerful will make certain that all of this is done. ” 20
• The Torah is an essential part of worship in the synagogue. In an Orthodox synagogue the seating arrangements are in a circle, centred around the Torah. • They contain the 613 mitzvots telling Jews how they should live. • If they are followed Jews will be cared for by G-d, if not they will suffer (Covenant). • The reading of the Torah scroll plays an important part in Festivals and Rites of passage ceremonies. • The truth lies in the holy Scriptures. • The Shema – “Listen, Israel! The LORD our God is the only true God! So love the LORD your God with all your heart, soul, and strength. ” Showing Respect The Sefer Torah is so important that it is dressed and decorated with care. It has a fabric cover, such a velvet. It has a breastplate hung over it. (This represents the breastplate worn by the high priest in the Temple). There will often be a cluster of silver bells that ring when it is being carried. A yad (pointed finger) will be attached to use to read the Torah. Kept in a Holy Ark for safe keeping. • • • Respect in the Synagogue • • • During worship, the Torah is paraded around. Every stands and faces it out of respect. Some close to it will let the tassels of their tallit touch the cover and then kiss the tassels as a mark of devotion. It is read from a Bimah (Platform). It is unroled a little and held above the head for all to see the text. During a typical service there will be special readings fro the Torah depending on the time and day of the service. Passages from the Tenakh will also be read. When a Sefer Torah is damaged or too old, it is removed to a room in the synagogue called a genizah where it can be stored with respect. A Sefer Torah is unlikely to be kept on the home, but a Jewish family are likely to have a copy of the Tenakh. 21