Torah Study Resources

 

New to this?  Learn the meaning and pronunciation of basic vocabulary

Reading and Information Sources for Self-study:

  • Animated videos of each portion at BimBam.com 
  • Shabbat Sha’Raps — a rap for each portion (thanks Evan Traylor and friends!)
  • Summary and multiple commentaries from My Jewish Learning  (click on the name of the parashah [portion] to access many more essays and commentaries)
  • Summary and 10 Minutes of Torah from Reform Judaism 
  • This week’s portion in Hebrew and English at Sefaria.org.  
    • Desktop: click on the menu in the upper-left corner (a stack of 3 short horizontal lines), then scroll down and choose “Parashat Hashavua” (Torah portion of the week)
    • Mobile: scroll down and choose “Parashat Hashavua” (Torah portion of the week)

Click here for instructions on Sefaria, if it’s not intuitive


Beginner’s Torah Vocabulary:

  • Torah (English TORuh or TOEruh, Hebrew toe-RAH) = Teaching, Instruction, 5 books of Moses  
    • To remember the order of the 5 books say: “G. E. Lights Never Dim”
      (Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, Deuteronomy)
  • Parashah (pah-rah-SHAH or PARshuh) = portion  
  • Shavua (shahVOOuh) = week  
  • Parashat ha-shavua (pah-ruh-SHOT ha-shahVOOuh) = Torah portion of the week.  Most of the year, all Jewish communities around the world are reading from the same few chapters of Torah on each Shabbat.  More info at MyJewishLearning.com, “What is the Torah Portion?
  • Sefaria (safari-AH) = library.  Really cool website with all the basic Jewish texts (and lots of obscure ones), lots of commentary, and a library of study sheets.
  • Sefer (SAYfair) = book.  Originally meant “scroll” because that was the format of earliest books.
  • Sefer Torah always means a Torah scroll, written on parchment with a quill pen using all-natural ink.  More info at MyJewishLearning.com, “The Making of a Torah Scroll.”  
    • Learn about the Community Torah Project and the Sefer Torah that Rabbi Linda Motzkin is writing in Saratoga Springs, NY.
  • Verse when talking about the Torah simply means “sentence in the original Hebrew.”  One Hebrew verse can be translated into English as one or more sentence, or as part of a longer sentence.  It’s up to the translator.  To eliminate confusion, when we talk about words  or phrases in the Torah we refer to their location by book name, chapter number, and [Hebrew] verse number.  For example:
    • Leviticus 25:10 = the book of Leviticus, Chapter 25, verse 10.  The inscription on the Liberty Bell is from this verse.   At Sefaria.org, the verse (one sentence in Hebrew) is translated as two and a half English sentences.
    • Genesis 1:1-3 (the first 3 verses of the first chapter of Genesis) and Deuteronomy 34:10-12 (the last 3 verses of the last chapter of Deuteronomy) are each translated as one long English sentence (at Sefaria.org).

Instructions for Sefaria on the big screen (small screen instructions below):

  • If you see the animated calligraphy and the headline”A Living Library of Jewish Texts,” click on the menu in the upper-left corner just above the video.  Immediately take a look at the small print at the top of the page, just under “Sefaria” and the bold line.  That gives you the verses of this week’s Torah portion.  As you scroll down, those verses will remain visible; but if you scroll up, those numbers will be replaced with the chapter number you are actually in.  (They will still be visible in the address box of your browser.)  
  • Scroll down slowly until you see the verses of this week’s portion.  There will be a light gray title word (or two) in Hebrew (the name of the portion) and this week’s text will have a dark gray background.  
  • If you see only Hebrew, click on the pale gray “Aא” above the text and below the bold black line, right side.  Then can choose one language or both, plus how you want the text laid out and font size.
  • To return to the entire Sefaria library, either click on the Menu icon (3 horizontal bars) in the upper left corner, or X out of the text using the pale gray X above the text and below the bold black line, left side.
  • This description accurate as of January 2018

Notes for Sefaria on handheld devices:  

  • Consider downloading the Sefaria app
  • This week’s portion has a dark gray background
  • This description accurate as of January 2018