The Torah (Hebrew: "Instruction, Teaching"), or the Pentateuch, is the central reference of the religious Judaic tradition. It has a range of meanings. It can most specifically mean the first five books of the twenty-four books of the Tanakh, and it usually includes the rabbinic commentaries.
The term Torah means instruction and offers a way of life for those who follow it; it can mean the continued narrative from Genesis to the end of the Tanakh, and it can even mean the totality of Jewish teaching, culture and practice. Common to all these meanings, Torah consists of the foundational narrative of the Jews: their call into being by God, their trials and tribulations, and their covenant with their God, which involves following a way of life embodied in a set of moral and religious obligations and civil laws (halakha).
In rabbinic literature the word "Torah" denotes both the five books, Torah Shebichtav ("Torah that is written"), and an Oral Torah, Torah Shebe'al Peh ("Torah that is spoken"). The Oral Torah consists of interpretations and amplifications which according to rabbinic tradition have been handed down from generation to generation and are now embodied in the Talmud and Midrash.
According to rabbinic tradition, all of the teachings found in the Torah, both written and oral, were given by God through Moses, a prophet, some of them at Mount Sinai and others at the Tabernacle, and all the teachings were written down by Moses, which resulted . . . more