What Does “Torah Observant” Mean?

The most likely answer would be obeying everything the Torah says we should do. However, we all know that this is something which no one can do. Only Yeshua was able to be 100% human and still 100% Torah observant. In fact, He went beyond just doing what the Torah says we should do- He not only did it, He felt it, He thought it, He breathed it. He was, and is, the Living Torah.

In Judaism we say the Torah should be a mirror, so that when we look into it we see our own reflection. It is a shame that, even though there is nothing in and of itself that is too difficult for us to do in the Torah, we just can’t do it all, all of the time.

We are told that to disobey or transgress even a single stroke of the Torah is to transgress the entire Torah, and that no one is without sin, so if observance is impossible then how can anyone really be Torah Observant? Or even say they are?

The answer is obvious: no one can say they are completely Torah observant. However, I do say I am Torah observant, and I will share with you why I feel justified in saying so.

I consider myself “Torah observant” not because I do everything the Torah says I should, but because I want to. My heart wants to be observant, and I try to be observant. I respect the Word of God, and honor what He said we should do. Being Torah observant is the goal of my spiritual and physical life.

I know that on my own I can never be completely and perfectly obedient to the Torah, so I ask the Ruach HaKodesh (Holy Spirit) to guide me in what I do and say, constantly helping me to better understand what Yeshua was teaching about the Torah: not just the P’Shat (literal meaning of the words), but the Remez, the Drash and the Sod (the deeper spiritual and mystical meanings) as well.

Most of Christianity has been taught that the Torah, as far as Christians are concerned, was “nailed to the Cross with Jesus”: totally wrong, totally inaccurate, and totally against everything that Jesus and all His Apostles taught in the New Covenant writings. Yeshua died so that those areas of Torah which we cannot perform will not be a stumbling block with regards to our ability to be with God forever. Without forgiveness of sin we cannot come into God’s presence, and Yeshua made that forgiveness available through His sacrifice. The only thing that was “nailed”, if anything, could be the need to bring a sacrifice to the Temple in Jerusalem. That requirement in the Torah no one can obey anymore, yet thanks to Yeshua we don’t have to. Everything else in Torah is still valid.

Torah observance is like that ultimate goal we know we may never reach, but is what drives us to be better than we were. As you have heard me say many time before, we can never be sinless but we can always sin less. That is the goal, that is the light at the end of the tunnel, that is the laurel wreath we all seek: to be in accordance with what God wants in our life and to be pleasing to the Lord in all we say and do.

The first step in being Torah observant is having the desire to be so. Just like accepting Yeshua starts with T’Shuvah (repentance), we must want to obey all of God’s commandments. When you have that desire in your heart, then you will be able to say you are Torah observant, despite what physical things you do or don’t do.

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