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Can anyone explain the idea that God "created the world with the Torah," an idea that apparently has a long heritage, such that it does not appear to be the crazy bizarre notion that it seems to me now? I just want to understand what the idea is. For me, saying the Torah existed before the creation of the world would not be an answer, as it would be an equally crazy and bizarre statement. I do not mean to offend anyone with my questions.

It would seem that there is some kind of understanding of what the Torah is that is unknown to me. Perhaps that can be explained. My starting point, for anyone who cares to explain this to me, is that the Torah is a book; a holy book, transcribed by Moses long after the creation of the world.

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Rabbi Tatz says in his book "Jewish Teenager's Guide to Life" that God created the world by speaking the words in the Torah. Apparently, the letters and their combinations are a system of spiritual powers God created and can be combined in certain ways to "create things". This is the basis of the sefer yetzira. Though one has to be one a very high spiritual level to use it properly.

According to the Talmud (sanhedrin 65b,67b), the Rabbis of the Talmudic era used its system to miraculously create a calf every friday and eat it on the Sabbath. Mystics assert that the Biblical patriarch Abraham used the same method to create the calf prepared for the three angels who foretold Sarah's pregnancy in the Biblical account at Genesis 18:7 (Chesed L'Avraham Mein Chamishi).

  • Thank you for your answer. But how could Rabbi Tatz or anyone else possibly know this? As far as the letters and their combination being a system of spiritual powers that can create things, – GottschalkIsrael Nov 1 '15 at 6:56
  • Agreed, this is a good statement, but just seems to reinforce the premise @GottschalkIsrael asked the question with, not answer his/her philosophical concerns – andrewmh20 Nov 1 '15 at 7:00
  • @GottschalkIsrael from the sefer yetzira and other sources which speak on it – ray Nov 1 '15 at 7:09
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One widely accepted way of understanding this is that the purpose of creation was to have people overcoming natural desires and serve God by following His commandments. Therefore, the commandments, or the concept thereof precedes the creation.

Another understanding, which is more common in Kabbalistic circles, is that the Torah as we have it is essentially God's thought as applied to earthly matters. By following and learning the Torah we are training ourselves to think like God.

This God-thought is also a designed, somewhat-finite entity, which is designated as God's working overall plan for the creation. It is thought, which is essentially what Torah is, from which the world was created.

In other words, it is saying that the Torah that we have encompasses the same logic upon which the universe is based.

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    Editing specific sources into your answer would improve its value. – msh210 Nov 1 '15 at 16:33

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