What Is It?

Halakhic Texts 101

Halakhah is a system of legal interpretation and application of the Bible.

Rabbinic Responsa

Answers to practical--and sometimes theoretical--questions of Jewish law.

Goals of the Mishneh Torah

Maimonides deliberately omitted sources and did not reference his predecessors.


The first halakhic code.

Geonic Responsa

The earliest exchange of halakhic questions and answers.

Central Texts

Mishneh Torah

Maimonides' halakhic magnum opus.

Shulhan Arukh

The ultimate code of Jewish law.

Mishnah Berurah

The writings of the "Hafetz Hayyim," Rabbi Israel Meir Kagan.

Arukh HaShulhan

The writings of Rabbi Yehiel Mekhel Epstein.

Kitzur Shulhan Arukh

The writings of Solomon Ganzfried.

Major Figures

Rabbi Isaac Alfasi (Rif)

Author of a legal code for the Jews of medieval North Africa and Spain.

Joseph Caro

Medieval lawyer and mystic.

Rema's Commentary

Moses Isserles' gloss on the Shulhan Arukh offers halakhic options for Ashkenazic Jews.

Elijah, the Gaon of Vilna

Renowned scholar lead non-Hasidic Jewish world into modernity.

Moshe Feinstein

"The Great One of the Generation" for Modern Orthodoxy.

Denominational Differences


Orthodox leaders responded to modernity by producing legal works on a variety of topics, in a variety of genres.


An attempt to make halakhah relevant and meaningful in a changing world.


Reform Judaism is more halakhic than you think.

Writing Jewish Law

A survey of the great post-Shulhan Arukh legal authorities.

Evolving Halakhah: A Progressive Approach to Jewish Law

By Moshe Zemer