Torah Judaism is actually an ideal that was never really fulfilled by the Jewish people themselves. Ever. But first, what is Torah? The word itself comes from hora’ah–teaching, and it means just that: a code of conduct which applies to every aspect of life. As the verse says, “in all your ways know Him (G-d).”
On a deeper level, Torah is a direct projection of the Divine Mind which makes the rectification of all reality, with Israel the bearers of the Messianic mantle, basically a done deal. What an awesome role, to be called upon to makes ourselves whole, to make the whole universe whole! To link our consciousness with the Divine Mind! Ultimately, the Torah is the means to remedy a cosmic exile, the self-exile of this world from its own real, optimal state. Thus, everything we do can either further this goal or temporarily obstruct it. The way we do everything we do can literally heal the world. It’s our choice, and the Torah is our manual.
So, perhaps the most basic thing that characterizes Torah living is a sense of mission, of grand purpose. There’s a Divine framework to the human condition, to the situation we’re in. There’s a Divine structure to history. We’re plugged in.
So, how does this manual work? The Torah is like a body, and the mitzvot are the limbs. Basically the Torah and its mitzvot are our personal and collective job, nothing less. But please, don’t be discouraged by “Torah living” as most people conceptualize it today. Can you imagine driving a car with half your body paralyzed? Well, no. You can’t. So instead you get a machine you can run. That’s Torah living as most people understand it. But real Torah living– step on board for the glorious ride and strap on your seat belts. It’s a work in progress.