Love and Law: Rejoicing in the Torah
Dr. Ida Glaser
Sundays, November 14 - December 19, 10:15 - 11:00 am
No class on November 28
Room 208 and through The Teaching Center
‘Oh how I love your Torah!’ (Psalm 119:97). Our English translations miss it–they use ‘law’ or ‘teachings’. More seriously, we miss it in the New Testament, where the Greek uses ‘law’ (nomos) or ‘Moses’ to refer to the Torah–what we know as the first five books of the Bible. When Jesus says that not one dot of the law (nomos) will pass away (Matt 5:17-18), he means the Torah. When he begins with ‘Moses’ in order to explain his death and resurrection to the disciples (Lk 24:27), he begins with the Torah. When Paul says that he delights in the holy, spiritual, and good law (Rom 7:12, 13, 14, 22), he means the Torah.
Of course, Paul also tells us that, in the Messiah, we are not ‘under’ Torah; but, in another sense, the Torah is under us. It is the foundation of our faith, and of all the Abrahamic faiths. It is God’s basic revelation, to which Jews and Muslims, as well as Christians, look back. It tells us who God is, what the world is, who we are, and how God wants to relate to us. It is the constitution of the Jewish people, the human vehicle of the Messiah, Jesus. And it was Jesus’ Bible and the Bible of the New Testament writers.
During the past year, I have been completing a commentary on Genesis 1-11, which I have been writing with and for Muslim heritage believers in Bangladesh. I have also been reading the whole Torah according to the weekly portions allocated in Jewish tradition, and thus re-owning some of my own Jewish heritage. The yearly journey through Torah ends with the Rejoicing in Torah festival (Simchat Torah, which is September 29th this year.
So...I want to share with y’all some of the insights I have been gaining into Torah–not just into the meanings of particular stories and laws, but into the whole Torah. What is it? What is its purpose? How does it all fit together? From the loss of fruitful Eden to the edge of fruitful Canaan, with the day of atonement right at the center...come and celebrate God’s love in Torah with me, and learn to love His law!