Fundamental to understanding the Jewish Bible – Hebrew Scriptures or Tenach is the fact that the Scriptures may be divided in to Haggadah and Halacha – that is Story and Torah.
Story is the narrative or the telling of how it happened and this involves the account of how G_D created the Heavens and the Earth and every living creature. The crown of his creation was humankind – male and female he created them. The narrative relates how the perfect humans that G_D made quickly rebelled and this resulted in their subsequent fall and alienation. The rest of the story relates to how G_D went about enacting his plan of redemption.
Torah or instruction involves the laying out or down of that framework of redemption and what G_D expected of humankind for them to experience his plan of salvation. This involves not only obeying his laws and commandments, but also the divine provision for their redemption.
Haggadah or Story needs explaining.
Equally Halacha or how to walk according to the teaching of the Torah requires interpretation – and in Judaism the interpretation of Scripture and tradition as given in the Tulmud involves Midrash. This is also know as Hermeneutics science of interpretation or Hermanutical studies.
PaRDeS – is an acronym for the four main levels of Midrash –
“Pardes” refers to (types of) approaches to biblical exegesis in rabbinic Judaism or to interpretation of text in Torah study. The term, sometimes also spelled PaRDeS, is an acronym formed from the same initials of the following four approaches:
- Peshat (פְּשָׁט) – “surface” (“straight”) or the literal (direct) meaning.
- Remez (רֶמֶז) – “hints” or the deep (allegoric: hidden or symbolic) meaning beyond just the literal sense.
- Derash (דְּרַשׁ) – from Hebrew darash: “inquire” (“seek”) – the comparative (midrashic) meaning, as given through similar occurrences.
- Sod (סוֹד) (pronounced with a long O as in ‘lore’) – “secret” (“mystery”) or the esoteric/mystical meaning, as given through inspiration or revelation.
Listen and learn from this programme on Jewish Spirituality – If you missed Part 1 listen below:
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