The Importance of Torah to the Jews
Torah has kept us together as a people. We have always been a minority. Throughout history, Jews have been exiled, persecuted, and decimated. Yet not only have we survived, but we’ve retained our heritage. There are no other such examples in world history. Our secret is the Torah, the blueprint of the universe.
According to Midrash (Beraishis Rabbah, 8), Torah was created 2,000 years before the universe was created. The Torah was G-d’s blueprint to build the universe. We were created to enable us to observe or to transgress the Commandments. For example, we have parents to enable us to honor them and we have hands to enable us to give to charity. We have mouths so that we can pray, eat Matzah on Passover night, and to forbear from gossip.
Torah also gives holiness. The act of studying Torah draws us closer to G-d. Our rabbis teach that "The Torah was given to purify mankind" (Midrash Beraishis Rabbah 44:1). Each part of the Torah elevates and purifies something else. Thus the more we study, the more we elevate and purify the world. G-d’s intention is that we be engrossed in the study of Torah so that our souls get strengthened and united with the essence of the spirituality and holiness of the Source of the Torah. As Torah says, "...speak of them: when you sit at home, when you travel, when you get ready for sleep, and when you wake up" (Deuteronomy 6:7). G-d told the Prophet Joshua: "This Book of the Torah must not depart your mouth. You must study it day and night..." (Joshua 1:8). Therefore, G-d gave Israel the Torah of truth as a gift, and we will never forget the Torah, so that our souls and bodies will be bound to the Commandments of the Torah.
Torah is G-d instructions on how to elevate our lives and avoid sin. G-d tells us that each of us can make choices to avoid the evil inclination. 'If you do good, you will be more powerful. If you do not do good, sin awaits crouching at the door; it desires to control you, but you can overpower it' (Genesis 4:7). "Our rabbis teach that as long as you are engrossed in the Torah, you will not be controlled by the Evil Inclination. It is the Torah that makes it possible for us to fulfill G-d’s will.
King David describes the Torah eloquently in Psalm 19
The law of the Lord is perfect, restoring the soul; the testimony of the Lord is faithful, making the simple one wise. The orders of the Lord are upright, causing the heart to rejoice; the commandment of the Lord is clear, enlightening the eyes. The fear of the Lord is pure, existing forever; the judgments of the Lord are true, altogether just. They are to be desired more than gold, yea more than much fine gold, and are sweeter than honey and drippings of honeycombs.
Micah 6:6. With what shall I come before the Lord, bow before the Most High G-d? Shall I come before Him with burnt offerings, with yearling calves? 7. Will the Lord be pleased with thousands of rams, with myriad streams of oil? Shall I give my firstborn for my transgression, the fruit of my body for the sin of my soul? 8. He has told you, O man, what is good, and what the Lord demands of you; but to do justice, to love loving-kindness, and to walk discreetly with your G-d.