Hebrew for Christians
Temimut Torah - The Law of the LORD is Perfect

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Temimut Torah...

The Law of the LORD is Perfect

by John J. Parsons

Psalm 19:7a (BHS)

The law of the LORD is perfect, converting the soul.
– Psalm 19:7

ccording to Jewish midrash, before you were born, the LORD called your soul to appear before Him and said, "After you are born, become a tzaddik (righteous person); don't become a rasha (wicked person)." Then He brought you into the world, but tested you by means of the yetzer hara --

the natural inclination to be selfish and bad. You therefore entered the world incomplete, lacking the wholeness and integrity that could only be obtained by submitting yourself to His righteous will.

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This verse says that the Torah of the LORD is temimah, an adjective that means faultless, whole or complete (temimut is the state of being tam, meaning unblemished or defect-free). The Jewish scribal arts maintain that if a Torah scroll has a single blemished or missing letter, it is no longer

temimut and therefore posul (unfit) for use in services. Animal sacrifices offered at the mishkan (Tabernacle) were required to be temimah (Lev. 4:32), as was the red heifer (Num. 19:2).

When applied to the human soul, temimut  means wholly committed to the paths of righteousness. Therefore Noah was called ish tamim b'dorotav -- "a blameless person in his generation" (Gen. 6:9); Job was described as tam v'yashar – "blameless and upright" (Job 1:8; 2:3); and Abraham was instructed to walk before God and "be tamim" -- blameless (Gen. 17:1). Indeed all Israel was told, tamim tiheyu im Adonai Elohekha -- "you must be wholehearted with the LORD your God" (Deut. 18:13), indicating the uncompromised devotion that is required to be in a sanctified relationship with Him. Those permitted to dwell with the Lord in His holy mountain are tamim, doing what is right, and acknowledging the truth in their hearts (Psalm 15:1-2).

Psalm 119 begins, "Happy are those who are blameless (tamim) in their way, who walk in the Torah of the Lord."  For those of us who are sinful, broken, and incomplete, the Torah of the Lord is indeed temimut, providing all we need to have our souls turned back to the way of true righteousness, soundness, and integrity.


Psalm 19:7a (BHS) Transliteration

Torat Adonai temimah, meshivat nafesh.

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