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The Torah

How Is the Torah Interpreted?

By Naftali Silberberg

 

Torah is G‑d‘s wisdom. Intellect, by its very nature, allows for – and indeed demands – different avenues of understanding; how much more so when dealing with the infinite wisdom of the Infinite G‑d.

Our sages tell us that Torah can be interpreted in four different general ways: peshatremezdrush and sod.

1) Peshat is the simple interpretation of the Torah. When the verse says (Genesis 1:1) that “In the beginning G‑d created the Heaven and Earth,” it means exactly what it seems to mean, in a very literal sense.

2) Remez is the different hints and allusions which are contained within the Torah. One of the methodologies the Torah employs to make these hints is gematryia, the numerical value of the letters of the Hebrew alphabet. For example, the gematriya of “Bereshit bara” (“In the beginning He created)” is the same as “b’Rosh Hashanah nivra ha’olam” (on Rosh Hashanah the world was created)!” (more…)