Torah

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“ You think you know the Torah? I once danced the Torah for the Queen. ”
~ Oscar Wilde on Torah

“ It's just two Torahs duct-taped together.”
~ Chris Hecker on The Bible
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The Torah (from the Hebrew root harah, meaning "Shut up and learn it or you'll get no Bar Mitzvah presents") is the first division of what Jews call the Tankah and Christians call the Old Testament. Other names for the Torah are the Pent-up Tuchis and the Five Books of Moe, Larry and Curly. The Torah was allegedly dropped on Moe, Larry, and Curly on top of Sinai Hospital.

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Torah

The original, and completely indecipherable, manuscript of the Torah, c. 1200 B.C.

Part of a series of articles on
Holy Scripture
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Judaism and Christianity
Torah
Bible
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Islam
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Hinduism
Vedas

Buddhism
The Sutras


The Torah consists of five books:

Gentle Sis. God, lacking anything more sensible to do with himself, mashes some quarks together and creates the universe. All goes well until the first humans, Adam and Steve, decide it's wrong to go naked, have fun, or make their own choices. Generations later, Noah floods his basement while trying to invent animal crackers, causing a worldwide chain reaction. An attempt to create the Babelfish program fails when no two people can agree on the same programming language. Abraham stops taking his medication and hears voices telling him to move to Canaan, bang his Egyptian maidservant, lop off the good bit of his son's penis, and other crazy stuff. Sarah draws the line at child sacrifice and has him committed. Jacob and sons invent organized crime, excelling at protection rackets (involving foreskins) and slave trading, even volunteering their own brother Joseph. Seeing that his legitimate agriculture business is doing well, they too go straight and join Joseph in Egypt--the first mistake in Jewish history.

Eggs 'R' Us. Pharaoh founds the first international discount store chain, recruits the Israelites as employees, then forbids them to unionize, receive benefits, or leave the store at night. Moses and Aaron, having seen Norma Rae numerous times, defy Pharaoh by staging ten strikes. Tired of the bad publicity, Pharaoh sends the Israelites out of Egypt, although that wasn't what they were after. Moses hears of good investment opportunities in Canaan and bids his people be patient as they set off, subsisting on Manischewitz from the sky. Meanwhile, God remembers he's supposed to be the star of this whole shindig and stages a dazzling comeback with the revelation of the Ten Suggestions. Suffering shin splits from all that walking, the Israelites create a Golden Calf Muscle as their new god, but Moses, having too much invested in his Monotheism Money Market fund, orders it destroyed.

Levity Cuss. Finally, after all these boring stories, we get a whole book of the good stuff: laws. Some examples: Thou shalt not eat pork, except at a Chinese restaurant. If a man contracteth leprosy, the priest shall lead him outside the camp, crying "Mr. Clean! Mr. Clean!" until he getteth better. Thou shalt not uncover the nakedness of thy father's sheep. If a man lieth with another man, they must both help organize the Pride parade. Half of thy holy days shall be packed into three weeks, and they shall always fall on weekdays, causing thy Gentile boss to hate thee for requesting so much time off.

Number Nine, Number Nine. All hell breaks loose. The Israelites demand Dan Quayle to eat. Moses dispatches twelve corporate headhunters to Canaan, and all but two falsely report that the Canaanites would rather receive welfare, drink beer and churn out kids than work. The Jerusalem Stock Exchange crashes as a result, and God bars the Israelites from investing for forty years. Korach Inc. attempts a hostile takeover of Moses and Aaron Ltd., but is swallowed by litigation. Moses decides to stay in the desert when he strikes oil instead of water. The hippie troubador Balaam ingests some bad acid and swears he can hear his ass talking.

Do Her off of Me. Moses, now a wealthy oil tycoon, gives his people some final financial advice and Canaanite economic forecasts. He appoints a new CEO, Joshua, and with a cry of "So long, suckers!" climbs up to his retirement villa on Mount Nebo, where he drops dead of a heart attack. Serves him right, the show-off, doing all that climbing at the age of 120.

edit Authorship

Since the nineteenth century, scholars have generally attributed the Torah to God, with Moses as his inerrant stenographer. This theory, however, is utter heresy. Every devout Jew and Christian knows that four source documents, written entirely by humans, lie behind the text as we know it:

J, for Just Kidding, consists of all the passages in which God reneges on his word, such as the binding of Isaac (who actually enjoyed being tied up, thank you), and the promises of a land filled with milk and honey (land of dried-up falafel, more like).

E, for Ecstasy, includes those sections seemingly composed under the influence, such as the splitting of Red Skeleton and Aaron's staff turning into a trouser snake.

P, for Pippy Longstocking, comprises all the content suitable for children. It is by far the smallest section, consisting only of the words "In the beginning." Some even question the age-appropriateness of the word "beginning."

D, for Dull as Dishwater, is made up of every passage in which the most common word is "begat," "cubit," "tabernacle," or "white scaly flesh." In other words, the sections which Jewish children inevitably are assigned for their Bar or Bat Mitzvah, or those from which rabbis, ministers and priests always derive their sermons.

Another theory posited by Church historian Eusebius states that the Torah was written by Plato.

edit Language

Contrary to popular belief, the original language of the Torah is neither Hebrew nor Latin nor Renaissance English, but Ebonics, the native tongue of Black Jesus. Because of widespread racism, few throughout history have deigned to learn this sacred language, making translations necessary. Popular translations include the Sepgooeygant (Pig Latin), the Tarbubblegum (Leet), and the Rick James (Otaku). None of these versions succeed in capturing the poetic cadence of the original. One example will suffice, from Gentle Sis Chapter 42, Verse 7, Amendment 200:

Sepgooeygant: Ethay Ordlay aidsay otay Damay, Erilyvay outhay artay ondemnedcay.

Tarbubblegum: Teh L0rd 5@|d 2 @d@m, D00d U R s0 pwned.

Rick James: The Sensei said to Adam-chan, Baka, you are not sugoi.

Original Ebonics: The Landlord said to Adam, You so busted, bitch.

edit Liturgical Use

Jewish tradition divides the Torah into 613 portions of 50 chapters each. Every Sabbath, an entire portion is chanted in synagogue, unless the congregation is fidgety, hungry, or sleepy. If the congregation does get antsy, the Rabbi will try to take twice as long to gloat his power over the rest of the congregation. When the Rabbi is also fidgety though, he also rushes things. Thus, for all intents and purposes, the Torah is never really chanted at all, but rather a bunch of off-key gibberish is chanted which sounds authentic. Nevertheless, the clergy do make a show of taking it from the Ark, kissing it, laying it on the lectern, undressing it, then saying, "Hey Torah, you were fantastic, but I've got an early meeting tomorrow so I gotta go. I'll call you." Aruchbay Tahay Donaiay Lohanueay Elechmay A-olamhay.


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