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Torah Judaism is an English term used by a number of Orthodox Jewish groups to describe their Judaism as being based on an adherence to the laws of the Torah's mitzvot as expounded in Orthodox Halakha. These laws include both the Biblical and rabbinic mitzvot.
"Torah Judaism" is also an ideological concept used by some Orthodox thinkers to describe their movement as the sole Jewish denomination faithful to traditional Jewish values.
Followers of Torah Judaism may also follow the Daat Torah, i.e., the guidelines of rabbis or hakhamim based on the Talmud. In recent time, these hakhamim may include the followers' rebbes (Hasidic rabbis), rosh yeshivas (deans of yeshivas), or a posek, often identified as an expert in the Shulkhan Arukh. (This recognition of a posek is often limited to Haredi communities, as opposed to Modern Orthodox Jews, although the latter are also Torah-observant.)
The phrase Torah Judaism implies a belief and practice of Judaism that is based on the inclusion of the entire Tanakh and Talmud, as well as later rabbinic authorities, as sources of conducting oneself in life, and on the premise that the Torah emanates directly from God as revealed at Mount Sinai. The concept of a Sinaitic covenant is further expressed through such Hebrew phrases as:
- Torah min ha-Shamayim ("Torah from Heaven/sky")
- Torat Hashem ("Torah of God")
- Torah mi-Sinai ("Torah from Sinai")
- Kedushat HaTorah ("Holiness of Torah")
- Torat Hashem temimah ("Torah of God is pure/complete")
- Notein ha-Torah ("Giver of the Torah")
- Kabbalat HaTorah ("receiving/acceptance of Torah")
- Na'aseh ve-nishma ("we shall do and we shall hear")
The term "Torah Judaism" is a reaction to the perceived inappropriateness in the meaning of "Orthodox" (from Greek, 'correct opinion'), as well as a conscious intent to label non-Orthodox Jewish movements as being divorced from the Torah.
- Schwab, Shimon. Selected speeches: a collection of addresses and essays on hashkafah, contemporary issues and Jewish history. CIS Publishing. 1991.