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Torah prior to the world


There are multiple sources in chazal regarding the Torah that are not referring to the “Torah” that we know (the 5 books etc). For example; the statement in chazal regarding Hashem looking into the Torah and creating the world, this Torah probably was ours that records the stories of the avos and physical commandments (as this was Moshe’s argument). In addition to the statements like “2000 years the Torah preceded the world” and the like.

What was this Torah? Are there sources in Kabbalah that give insight? It seems that there is a more subtle and transient concept called “Torah”. Our version is undoubtedly “Torah” from shamayim given to us at Sinai but just as our Torah can be understood on many levels, it must also be a developed form of the organic and transcendental “Torah” that could exist on a non-physical plain.

Obviously if this is true, and there is a higher, more compact and more spiritual collection called “Torah” then it is difficult to understand how our 5 books can rightfully and accurately be called Torah (which seems to record events and information)?

Can you offer any insight?




It is all the same Torah, however there are many ways to read the Torah and many levels of understanding the Torah. As an example, it is well known idea of PaRDeS, that there is Pshat, Remez, Drush, and Sod. (The simple meaning of the words, ideas that the words are alluding to, ideas that are extrapolated from the text, and the hidden meaning behind the words.)

Additionally, we are taught, that the world is only a manifestation of the Torah on a physical level, however as you write, the Torah, which is the will of Hashem, existed way before there was a physical world. Therefore, the Torah exists on many different levels, and in Olam Haba, which will be an existence without our physical bodies, we will have the same Torah, but with a deeper and different understanding.

To explain. There is a kabalistic idea that we are taught, that the physical world is considered a “levush”, a garment for our soul, and a covering for it. The body has its unique shape, and each organ has its unique shape and capabilities to match our real essence, which is our soul. Similar to the way our clothing cloth our body and are shaped according to the specific organ that it is covering A shirt doesn’t have the same shape as pants do, nor do socks have the same shape as a hat does, because each one is meant to cover a different part of the body, which have different shapes. We are also taught that our physical body has 248 organs, and 365 sinews, which as a sort of clothing for our soul which has 248 organs etc. Our soul, which is really our inner self, our personality, is very complex. We have a myriad of feeling, wants, tendencies, talents, strong points and weaknesses, all of which are part of our soul. We see from tis that even we exist on various levels, physical and spiritual. It is the same with the Torah, for us in the present existence that we now have, we understand the Torah in a very physical way, which is true. However, there are many more, deeper understandings of the Torah, which is the understanding of Hashem, who is infinite. So too is the depth of the Torah in infinite, as the Posuk in Iyov 11 says ארוכה מארץ מדה ורחבה מני ים The Torah is “wider than earth which has a measurement, and deeper than the sea”.

Best wishes


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