The website of Rabbi Moshe Pitchon

Israel defines itself in terms of a collection of books

A culture’s literature is essential to forming a people’s character. Its value is not only in tracing the cultural evolution of a specific people: it is the expression of that particular people’s intellectual life, the bond that unites and guides its cultural energy.

The TaNaKh as the expression of Jewish culture is-in the words of professor of biblical literature at the Hebrew University, Yair Zakovitz, “the highest achievement of ancient Israel and the Hebrew spirit and is the primary factor in creating our modern identity and shared memory.

Even “for Jews who no longer acknowledge the covenant and the promise in their literal sense, the TaNaKh is, at any rate, the most important creative work produced by the people of Israel in its land.” [1]

Judaism began with the formation of the larger part of the Hebrew Scriptures, the Pentateuch, and the main constituents of the prophetic books.[2]

The TaNaKh’s role as the foundation text of the Jewish people is not dissimilar to the role of the Declaration of Independence and the Federal Constitution, giving being, name, and status to the American nation.

Jews regard the TaNaKh as their most important asset and heritage, a shared foundation of values and worldview, and a great contribution to humankind. [3]


The TaNaKh is the foundation of  Jewish tradition. But it is also a record of the ideals of truth, justice, equality, goodness, and peace. Whether realized or not, the ideals remain as commandments, human and historical forces. [4]

[1] SCHWEID, ELIEZER: The Land of Israel: National Home or Land of Destiny, p. 15

[2] NEUSNER, JACOB: Self-Fulfilling Prophecy: Exile and Return in the History of Judaism, p. 21

[3] SHAVIT, YAACOV and ERAN, MORDECAI: The Hebrew Bible Reborn: From Holy Scripture to The Book of Books: A History of Biblical Culture and The Battles Over the Bible in Modern Judaism, p. 3

[4] KONVITZ, MILTON, R.: Judaism and Human Rights, p.12