- The Written Torah and its interpretations in the Oral Torah were given to the Jewish People by Hashem. This, the Word of Hashem, is described and developed in the Prophets and Writings which are recorded in the TANACH and written with Divine Inspiration (רוח הקודש). These writings provide us with a general code of conduct as individuals and a society. They also serve as the foundation of Jewish Culture.
- The holiness of the Bible applies to all 24 books of the Tanach according to the Masoretic text.
- The continued existence and peace of our people in Eretz Yisrael are intricately tied to our fulfillment of Hashem’s Torah and Mitzvot. This is the meaning of the Pasuk: “ושמרת את חוקיו ואת מצוותיו אשר אנכי מצווך היום אשר יטב לך ולבניך אחריך, ולמען תאריך ימים על האדמה אשר ד’ אלוקיך נתן לך כל הימים” (דברים ד, מ).
- The Ingathering of the Exiles and the Establishment of the State of Israel in our day mark the beginning of the fulfillment of the words of the Torah and the vision of the prophets regarding the redemption of Israel.
- There are 70 facets to the Torah, however:
- Our aim is generally to understand the “P’shat” of the text according to the classical commentaries (e.g., Rashi, Rashbam, Ibn Ezra, Ramban, Radak, etc.)
- The Halachic Midrashim reveal the meaning of the Biblical text according to the Oral Torah, thereby bridging between the text and the Halachah and directing us toward the fulfillment of Mitzvot.
- The Aggadic Midrashim were written to express ideas, opinions, ethics and ideologies as they rely upon the Biblical text and direct us toward Jewish values and ideals.
- 6. When studying the Halachik material in the Torah, we place extra emphasis on the sources expounding on the Halachah (especially the Halachik Midrashim) and Rashi’s gloss, as the Halachik interpretations are generally explicated by Rashi.
Accordingly, the methodology we use to teach the non-Halachik material is different from the Halachik material in two ways:
Difference 1: When teaching the non-Halachik sections, we emphasize understanding the P’shat of the text, while when learning the Halachik sections we emphasize the Rabbinic commentaries that help us understand and live a Halachik lifestyle.
Difference 2: When teaching the non-Halachik sections, we tend to focus our interpretations and ideas on the Biblical text itself and its message. When teaching the Halachik material, however, we often include topics of Halachik importance that may be only tangentially related to the text itself, even as the text may be clear without these inclusions.
- The study of Tanach in our school marks the beginning of a life-long pursuit of Torah study that should be ever-expanding in scope and creativity. Such study also leads to Mitzvah observance in all areas of daily life and livelihoods.