Within the Torah we find many places where God commands us 'to walk His way(s).' What does 'to walk' mean? And what is His way?

some examples of walking:

It is written: walk in that which is engraved (vayikra 26:3)
It is said: to walk in Torah (Tehillim 119:1, Nechemyah 10:30)
It is written: to to walk in them (chukot v'mishpatim, vayikra 18:4)
To walk in the mitzvot (1 malachim 6:12)
To walk as our fathers did (shoftim 2:22)
To walk after God (2 malachim 23:3)
To walk before His presence (1 malachim 8:25)

examples of way: way of His mitzvot (tehillim 119:32)
derech of his chukot (tehillim 119:33)
derech mishpat (devarim 32:4)

The way is tamim (tehillim 18:30), Torah is tamim (tehillim 19:7), we should walk tamim like Avraham (bereshit 17:1 & tehillim 86:11).

I can't literally walk as HaShem does, so what is it He's asking for? Is way a methapor or synonym for His Word(s) which of course we know as Torah and exist of mitzvot, chukot and mishpatim and other spoken ways (life rules, goals, settings, characteristics, teachings) of HaShem? What do the rabbis teach us?

  • 1
    I do not believe this use of God's name is appropriate for this community.
    – Yirmeyahu
    Jan 9, 2014 at 16:26
  • 1
    @Yirmeyahu then edit.
    – msh210
    Jan 9, 2014 at 18:27

3 Answers 3


The collective term for Jewish Laws is called "Halacha" (litterally, "The walking", or "the path", or "the way") Halacha includes the misphatim, chukim, Mitzvot, Torot, etc.

"Walking in the way of Hashem", normally means doing good deeds, visiting the sick, clothing the naked, taking care of the poor, burrying the dead, and other good acts that the Torah describes Gd as doing for individual people.(Talmud Bavli, Sota 14a and Shabbat 133b)

The hebrew term "Holech", can mean both "walk", but also "go". So an alternative translation might be, "Go in the way of Hashem". Act how he does towards others (the pleasant ways, not the harsh punishing ways.. as it says "Her ways are ways of pleasantness" (Proverbs 3:17)) and follow the Mitzvot, and other teachings which we call "Halachot" (Or "walkings")

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    A source for this explanation would improve your post vastly.
    – msh210
    Jan 9, 2014 at 16:14

In the talmud shabbat 133b on the verse in parsha beshalach "Zeh keli v'anveyhu." Abba Shaul states that "V'anveyhu" teaches us to emulate Hashem: "Ma hu rachum v'chanun, af ata rachum v'chanun - Just as Hashem is merciful and compassionate, so too, you [i.e., man] should be merciful and compassionate." (Shabbos 133b). This is how we "beautify" Hashem - by emulating His attributes.

the reason it is called "walking" in his ways is because it requires training until it becomes second habit, like walking. in fact the hebrew word for foot "regel" has the same root as "ragil" (habit) see Rambam hilchos deot.


My own way of understanding this, is that:

All paths that walk toward G-d, lead to G-d.

That is, not all paths walk toward G-d! But all that do, will lead to G-d. Judaism never says that only Torah leads a person to G-d. The seven Noahide laws are provided as a way for gentiles to get to G-d.

But even Talmud says "It is not in Heaven." That is, G-d has given us so much information, and now we must use it the best we can, and make the most of it. If we are honestly doing what we can to walk a righteous path toward G-d, we will indeed get there.

There is no single path. Even the most traditional rabbi will agree, that if the tradition in one village is slightly different than in another, it is not because one is more right than the other! The system allows for many branches over all time. It is what keeps Judaism alive.

The answer to your question is that the path is a metaphor, but even more than that. As a metaphor, imagine G-d is the top of the mountain, and the various paths up are difficult and require hard work and often a guide. Some paths are easier as they are warn smooth by many followers. Some are treacherous, and untested. Still, as long as you keep working with the goal in mind, you will get there. But if you turn around and take the easy way downhill, you are going the wrong direction. You must climb the path toward G-d to get up to the top, to G-d. That is the way.

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    Welcome to Mi Yodeya, where your own thoughts are welcome, but sourced answers are much more so.
    – msh210
    Jan 9, 2014 at 18:30

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