Jewish Law

Jewish Law

Introduction to Halacha, the Jewish Legal Tradition

Halacha, from the Hebrew word for "walking" or "path," is the rabbinic interpretation of Jewish law.

Sages & Scholars

Maimonides (Rambam) and His Texts

One of the greatest Jewish scholars of all time, he was both a traditionalist and an innovator.

Jewish Law

The Shulchan Aruch

This 16th-century text by Joseph Caro is the ultimate code of Jewish law.

How to Handle Troubling Jewish Texts

Many of the injunctions in the Torah appear immoral from a human perspective.

Jewish Custom (Minhag) Versus Law (Halacha)

Though often widely practiced, customs are not considered mandatory by traditional Jews.

Kosher Slaughter: An Introduction

A survey of some of the laws governing the slaughter of kosher animals for meat.

Gemara: The Essence of the Talmud

Together with the Mishnah, these texts make up what is known as Rabbinic Judaism.

Halacha Quiz

How much do you know about Jewish law and its foundational texts?

Halakhah: The Laws of Jewish Life

Halakhah is the "way" a Jew is directed to behave, encompassing civil, criminal and religious law.

Havruta: Learning in Pairs

A modern emphasis on peer-guided text study--an approach with ancient roots--reflects new social realities in the world of traditional Jewish learning.

What Is the Mishnah?

A description of Judaism's primary book of Jewish legal theory.

Maimonides’ Legal Writings

Maimonides' extensive writings on Jewish law, or halachah, remain an unsurpassed accomplishment.

Ask the Expert: Mourning Missing Persons

How do we mourn without a body?

Moshe Feinstein

This 20th-century rabbi was the leading Jewish law authority of his generation.

Vilna Gaon

This renowned scholar led the non-Hasidic Jewish world into modernity.