Religion Wiki

Part of a series on
Star of David.svg        Lukhot Habrit.svg        Menora.svg
Portal | Category
Jewish religious movements
Orthodox (Haredi · Hasidic · Modern)
Conservative · Reform
Rabbinic · Karaite
Jewish philosophy
Principles of faith · Kabbalah · Messiah · Ethics
Chosenness · Names of God · Mussar
Religious texts
Tanakh (Torah·Nevi'im·Ketuvim)
Ḥumash · Siddur · Piyutim · Zohar
Rabbinic literature (Talmud·Midrash·Tosefta)
Religious Law
Mishneh Torah · Tur
Shulchan Aruch · Mishnah Berurah
Kashrut · Tzniut · Tzedakah · Noahide laws
Holy cities
Jerusalem · Safed · Hebron · Tiberias
Important figures
Abraham · Isaac · Jacob
Moses · Aaron · David · Solomon
Sarah · Rebecca · Rachel · Leah
Rabbinic sages
Jewish life cycle
Brit · Pidyon haben · Bar/Bat Mitzvah · Marriage
Niddah · Bereavement
Religious roles
Rabbi · Rebbe · Posek · Hazzan/Cantor
Dayan · Rosh yeshiva · Mohel · Kohen/Priest
Religious buildings & institutions
Synagogue · Beth midrash · Mikveh
Sukkah · Chevra kadisha
Holy Temple / Tabernacle
Jewish education
Yeshiva · Kollel · Cheder
Religious articles
Sefer Torah · Tallit · Tefillin · Tzitzit · Kippah
Mezuzah · Hanukiah/Menorah · Shofar
4 Species · Kittel · Gartel
Jewish prayers and services
Shema · Amidah · Aleinu · Kaddish · Minyan
Birkat Hamazon · Shehecheyanu · Hallel
Havdalah · Tachanun · Kol Nidre · Selichot
Judaism & other religions
Christianity · Islam · Judeo-Christian
Abrahamic faiths · Pluralism · Others
Related topics
Antisemitism · Zionism · Holocaust
File:The Chumash.jpg

The Artscroll Chumash

Chumash (Hebrew: חומש‎, pronounced [xuˈmɑʃ]; also Humash) is one of the Hebrew names for the Five Books of Moses, also known as the Pentateuch or Torah. The word comes from the Hebrew word for five, chamesh. A more formal term is Chamishah Chumshei Torah, "five fifths of the Law".

Origin of the term

The word "Chumash" may be a misreading of chomesh, meaning "one-fifth", alluding to any one of the five books: as the Hebrew חומש has no vowel signs, it could be read either way. It could also be regarded as a back-formed singular of chumashim/chumshei (which is in fact the plural of chomesh).

In early scribal practice there was a distinction between a Sefer Torah, containing the entire Pentateuch on a parchment scroll, and a copy of one of the five books on its own, which was generally bound in codex form, like a modern book, and had a lesser degree of sanctity. The term chomesh strictly applies to one of these. Thus, Chomesh Bereshit strictly means "the Genesis fifth", but was misread as Chumash, Bereshit and interpreted as meaning "The Pentateuch: Genesis", as if "Chumash" was the name of the book and "Bereshit" the name of one of its parts.[1]

In the legal codes, such as Maimonides' Mishneh Torah, it is laid down that any copy of the Pentateuch which does not comply with the strict rules for a Sefer Torah, for example because it is not a parchment scroll or contains vowel signs, has only the same sanctity as a copy of an individual book (chomesh). In this way, the word chomesh (or chumash) came to have the extended sense of any copy of the Pentateuch other than a Sefer Torah.


The word chumash generally only refers to "book" bound editions of the Pentateuch, whereas the "scroll" form is called a Sefer Torah ("book [of the] Torah").

In modern Jewish practice:

  • A printed Chumash usually sets out the Hebrew text of the Torah with vowel points and cantillation marks, separated into its 54 constituent parshiyot (weekly reading portions), together with the haftarah for each parsha and, often, translations and notes.
  • A Chumash-Rashi also contains the Targum of Onkelos and the commentary of Rashi, and usually has no vernacular translation of the text.
  • A multi-volume set in Hebrew only, including the entire Tanakh with masoretic notes, Targumim and several classical commentaries, is referred to as Mikraot Gedolot.

Various Publications

see also Jewish English Bible translations


  1. Cf. the misunderstanding of "Tur" to mean the entirety of the Arba'ah Turim.

See also

fi:Humaš yi:חומש