Hello, my child. I have noticed you have been tipping the books off of my desk and sliding them around the floor. This surprising to me because you are too young to read, let alone talk! I can only assume this means you wish to know the mysteries held within these beautiful books of mine. As your grandfather, I feel it is my duty to tell you. We are Jewish people, little one, and no other people respect tradition more than us. In fact, we are known as "people of the book." Here, I will teach you about each book of Judaism while you play. Please, do not tear the pages.
Yes, little one, take a book. You have made a great choice there! I'm just sorry it bonked you on the head when you pulled it off the table. The Hebrew Bible
is the collection of all the most holy texts in Judaism. According to our faith, it has everything you need to know about the world and God. It tells you how to be a good person. What does one do when one is struggling through life? Where do you turn when all of life seems against you? How do you not be angry when your granddaughter starts chewing on the most important book in the world? I'll be taking that back from you now . . .
Listen to me, my child. This book I am holding is made up of three parts.
1. The first part of the Hebrew Bible is the Torah
, which is our most sacred text. The word means "to teach." It teaches us how to pray. It teaches us our history.
2. The second part of this book holds the words of the Hebrew Prophets.
3. And the third and last part is the Writings. It holds eleven books of poetry, songs, and stories.
Yes, yes, it is very nice when you sing "Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star." The poems in here are a little different than that.
Even though you cannot speak, you might be asking, who gave us these fine books? Well, God did, of course. He chose us, the Jewish people, as the chosen people. But he chose one man to give us his word. A man named Moses, the greatest prophet and teacher of Judaism, went up Mount Sinai and came down with something written in stone. The Ten Commandments
are ten laws or rules that Jewish people are expected to follow every day to be good people. Some of the laws are easy. Don't kill anyone. Don't steal from anyone. Others are not so easy. Like, do not be jealous of anything. Even the fact that I can read and you cannot.
I know. So many words to remember! Well, I am sorry to say it only gets more complicated. While we have our own words for many of these books, other people call them something different. Some religions took our holy book and made it a part of their holy book, and then they gave it a new name. The Old Testament
is the name other religions call the Torah. The Torah is not only the most important book for the Jewish faith, it is also the jumping off point for many other religions. Yes, honey, I supposed you could wear it as a hat, as well.
I can see all of this is too much to remember for one as young as you. So let's go over those one more time. Can you say Hebrew Bible? That's the collection of the three most holy books in Judaism. Can you say Torah? That's the most important part of the Hebrew Bible that teaches about our history and how to pray. Can you say Ten Commandments? Those are the laws of God that teach Jewish people how to be good people. Can you say Old Testament? That's what other religions call the Torah. Well . . . it was worth a try. I cannot wait until you can read all by yourself. References:
Religions Facts. "Jewish Sacred Texts" religionfacts.com, 2011. <http://www.religionfacts.com/judaism/texts
>Israel & Judaism Studies. "Judaism - An Overview" ijs.org, 2014. <http://www.ijs.org.au/Judaism-an-Introductory-Overview/default.aspx>