Jewish Literature

Jewish Literature
From Living Judaism by Rabbi
Wayne Dosick
• Means teaching/instruction/law—1st section of
Hebrew Bible
• First 5 Books—Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus,
Numbers, Deuteronomy
• 3 main concepts: Creation, Redemption and
• Creation: God Created the Universe and
everything in it, The covenant was created between
God and Humanity (specifically between God and
the Jewish people)
• Redemption: Israelites were saved from bondage
in Egypt (in order to experience revelation)
• Revelation: God gave his 613 mitzvot as a
standard for conduct and behavior
▫ Mixed with ritual practices this provides the
framework of lifestyle for all humanity.
• Genesis (Bereshit): contains stories of creation, records the
establishment of the covenant between God and the Jewish people,
tells of the lives of the patriarchs and matriarchs
• Exodus (Sh’mot): account of Israelites enslaved in Egypt, the
exodus from Egypt, the receiving of the 10 Commandments at Mt.
• Leviticus (Vayikra): gives God’s ethical and ritual laws and
specific instructions to priests on how to perform their duties
• Numbers (Bamidbar): recounts the of the Israelites through the
desert and gives more of God’s ethical and ritual laws
• Deuteronony (Devarim): Moses reviews the laws and the people
prepare to enter the promised land.
• 2nd section of the Hebrew Bible, prophets
• Not a soothsayer but rather a messenger of God
to the people
• Prophets admonished the Jewish people for
forgetting and forsaking God’s commands
• They called on the people to examine their lives
and their conduct
• Nevi’im is divided in two sections: early and
latter prophets
• Early Prophets: Joshua, Judges, Samuel (2),
Kings (2)
• Latter Prophets:
▫ Major Prophets: Isaiah, Jeremiah, Ezekiel
▫ Minor Prophets: Hosea, Joel, Amos, Obadiah,
Jonah, Micah, Nachum, Habakkuk, Zephaniah,
Haggai, Zechariah, Malachi
• 3rd section of Hebrew Bible, writings
• Contains wisdom literature, poetry, songs,
narrative, history, religious philosophy, and love
hymns…12 books in total
• Books include: Psalms, Proverbs, Job, Songs,
Ruth, Lamentations, Ecclesiastes, Esther,
Daniel, Ezra, Nechemiah, Chronicles
• Hebrew name for Hebrew Bible
• Created by taking the first letter of each of the
three sections of the Bible and making a word
out of those three letters.
▫ T: for Torah
▫ N: for Nevi’im
▫ CH: for Ketuvim
• The first compilation of the Oral Law between
200 BCE and 200 CE
• Collects all of the Jewish legal material from the
post-Torah era.
• Divided into 6 orders (or chapters)
▫ Seeds, Festivals, Women, Damages, Holy Things,
• A compilation of the discussions,
interpretations, explanations, and theological
arguments about the Mishnah.
• New interpretations and new laws that arose
after Mishnah from about 200-600 CE
• Contains both Jewish law and Jewish stories
• Is the combined Mishnah and Gemara
• Largest compilation of post-biblical law
• Remains the basic and central document of postbiblical law
• Talmud is studied:
▫ For the practical application of its laws
▫ For its mind-expanding challenges in logic and
▫ For its total immersion in Jewish concerns
▫ For its wisdom and insights into the human experience
▫ And for the simple love of learning and growing