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                                                                                                Interpreting the Torah


The Uniqueness of the Torah Tradition

In the next several lessons, we are going to study the seven Noahide laws, how they are derived, and how they structure and shape the Divine vision for mankind. Since this exploration will be rooted in the ancient texts that make up Torah thought and theology, we should first introduce these texts and explain their purpose and how they work.

Although the seven Noahide laws have their origins in Adam and Noah, God chose to transmit and preserve them via Moses and the giving of the Torah at Sinai. This placed the Seven Mitzvos within the structure and system of Torah study and learning. Therefore, the seven Noahide laws must be interpreted and understood within the context of the Torah.

This point cannot be stressed enough: Jewish, and therefore Noahide, study and interpretation of the Torah is unique and unlike the study of any other religious texts.

The uniqueness of the traditional approach to Torah interpretation cannot be emphasized enough. Jewish biblical interpretation exists in a completely different universe than non-Jewish modes of biblical interpretation. In fact, they overlap so little that no amount of background in biblical studies can prepare one for the unique approach that has been used by the Jewish people for centuries since the Torah’s giving at Sinai.

As we shall see in this lesson, the term “Torah” encompasses far more than what could ever be put into writing. At Sinai, Moses received not only the Torah, in all of its various forms, but he also received a divinely ordained method of study and interpretation.

This larger conception of the Torah, along with its method of study, forms the basis of the two true religious paths ordained for mankind: Judaism, and Noahism.