How can ancient text inform global issues today?
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Read the first piece in JustThought below…
Echoes of Sinai: How can an ancient book of myth and law have something to say about the challenges of the 21st century?
We recently celebrated Simchat Torah and began the cycle of Torah readings anew. Many Jews know the Torah as the scroll that they read weekly in synagogue. But in the rabbinic tradition, “Torah” means much more than that.
The Torah began with the written Bible—which includes the five books of Moses, the works of the Prophets, and other writings, such as Psalms, Proverbs and the book of Esther. It later expanded to include the Mishnah and the Talmud—the voluminous works of the “oral Torah” that serve as the foundation for Jewish law and practice.1 Over time, as Jews produced more religious commentary and analysis, that too became Torah. The Rabbis considered all of this—old and new—divine revelation. In fact, there is a midrash that claims that “even the sayings of students in the future” were known by Moses on Mount Sinai.2
What makes Torah so powerful is that it’s not a static book or ideology—it is a living thing that keeps changing and growing as each generation interprets it and builds upon its wisdom. The spiral of new insight and commentary added each year and in each age allows the divine revelation issued on Mount Sinai to echo through history and into our time.
So—how does an ancient text relate to modern-day life? The answer is within us.