The obvious answer is that they didn't have DVDs back in Moshe Rabeinu's time. But still, Hashem could have created them back then.

My question, "Why wasn't the Torah given as a DVD?", is really about why the Torah was given in a written and oral format, instead of a visual and audio format. One would think that because we live in a visual and audio world, the Torah should have been given in a visual and audio format, like a DVD, with actual video footage of the events described.

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    Because the Torah is universal and DVDs only play in certain regions. Nov 27, 2013 at 18:57
  • I really like the various premises assumed in your question and think that the answer(s) can bring out some truly fundamental points of what Torah is. In a similar vein I was always amazed that the Torah was given at the point in history that it was, and that the Gemarah was sealed when it was. Cows, wagons, swords, chariots, etc.
    – Gavriel
    Nov 27, 2013 at 21:09
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3 Answers 3


I've heard the previous UK Chief Rabbi, Lord Sacks, quote another scholar as saying: "Greek literature is televion; Bible is radio." Generally the Torah has much more emphasis on what's said/heard than what's seen. We have virtually no description of what any Biblical character looked like, unless it occasionally serves to drive the plot ("Joseph was very good looking ... and then his master's wife said...").

On a different level, the written format forces us to do the hard work of thinking about the meaning of things, and how to interpret them. Rabbi Yitzchak Breitowitz has compared this to the difference between baking a cake for your 4-year-old child, vs. baking a cake with your 4-year-old child. The latter is a lot more work, but it shows a lot more love.

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    A Chief Rabbi (or, indeed, any educated person) in the UK would surely be familiar with the aphorism that the pictures are better on the radio.
    – TRiG
    Jan 20, 2015 at 14:55

This question mirrors Rabbi Levi Yitzchak Bardishov's famous complaint that Gan Eden and Gehinom are written in books, but the pleasures of this world are readily seen and experienced. If we could experience Gan Eden and Gehinom and only find the pleasures of this world in a book, things would be very different.

There is a lot written and spoken about this fundamental problem. For example, you will find online many videos of Rabbi Mannis Friedman associating this with Modesty. Not seeing something visually allows you to work on knowing it, which is a much more profound connection, whereas seeing removes the desire for the intellectual connection and replaces it with a visceral one.

  • I heard that complaint attributed to R' Chaim Volozhin, not the Berditchover.
    – Yitzchak
    Nov 27, 2013 at 15:52
  • @Yitzchak, I put in a quick source I could find for it coming from LYB, but I find a lot of similar Chassidic stories that are attributed to Litvish Gedolim (or the other way around). Clearly one side heard the story from the other side and didn't want to attribute it to the other side, so they changed the attribution to someone they respected. Each case would have to be investigated to know which way it went.
    – Yishai
    Nov 27, 2013 at 15:57

there are many reasons for this. one reason is that if that were the case, it would be the end of free will, noone could deny the authenticity of the torah, and this would defeat the purpose of creation as brought down in the beginning of the book Derech Hashem by Rabbi Luzzato. (assuming it could not be claimed to be fake)

Furthermore, the text version allows for many allusions in permutations of letters, gematrias, comparison to other words - basically a whole world of hidden layers of information and meanings which can only be analyzed in text format.

For example, The text of parsha Haazinu is said to allude to everything that will happen in the creation until the time of moshiach.

Another reason, thoughts of wisdom are best transmitted by the written word - not by video. Video is best for documenting visual events.

  • Re the second point, the whole תורה could be stored in a couple kB. The potential for encrypted messages is orders of magnitude greater on a DVD (easily 10GB)
    – WAF
    Nov 27, 2013 at 23:18
  • @WAF how would you encode layers of meanings in video? beside, the torah in its current form contains everything. no need for even one extra letter. there is literally an infinite amount of information packed in the hidden codes and expanding of letters, etc.
    – ray
    Nov 28, 2013 at 13:31

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