EVOLUTION OF JEWISH LAW

Aria Klein 10c

JEWISH LAW IN HEBREW IS HALACHA. HALACHA PROVIDES GUIDELINES THAT SHOW US HOW TO PHYSICALLY LIVE AS A JEWISH PERSON. THE WORD HALACHA COMES FROM THE HEBREW WORD "HOLECH" MEANING "TO WALK". HALACHA IS A PATHWAY THAT YOU NEED TO STAY FOLLOWING IF YOU WANT TO LIVE YOUR LIFE ACCORDING TO JEWISH LAW. AS SOCIETY DEVELOPS, LAW MUST AS WELL.

written law - tanach

TORAH

  • Also known as the "chumash", "pentateuch" or "5 books of Moses"
    http://www.jewfaq.org/torah.htm
  • when the Jewish people received the Torah at Mount Sinai, it was called the revelation as G-d was finally revealing himself, his will and his law to Moshe and Bnei Yisrael
  • "consists of the foundation narrative of the Jewish people"
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Torah
  • the Torah can be interpretative to mean the totality of Jewish teaching and practice
  • there are two different reactions to the giving of the Torah which are the bases for Jewish controversy:
    Reform: the Torah wasn't actually written by G-d but by people who were inspired by his words and therefor don't have to obey the Torah as it is not a direct command from G-d
    Orthodox: the Torah was written only by G-d and must be obeyed by the Jewish people to every detail as it is straight from G-d's mouth

NEVI'IM

  • also known as the "Prophets"
  • some of the books inside Nevi'im include Joshua, Judges, Samuel and Kings
  • In Shule we read Nevi'im after the reading of the Torah, this is called Haftorah
  • These books are thought by scholars to be profoundly influential on the direction and development of the the Jewish religion
  • these books show Jewish history from the time of Moses' death until the destruction of the First Temple and the subsequent exile to Babylonia in 598 bce
    http://www.hebrew4christians.com/Scripture/Nevi_im/nevi_im.html

KETUVIM

  • also known as the "writings"
  • Ketuvim includes the Megillot ( song of songs, Ruth, Esther Lamentations and Ecclesiastes) other books include Ezra-Nehemia, Daniel and Job, Proverbs and Psalms

Oral law - Toshba

Why?

The Oral Law explains how commandments are to be carried out, It explains the practical details that are help explain the Torah's laws that would be problematic to carry out literally, especially in this day and age. Rabbi Yehuda Hanasi wrote the Oral Law.


TALMUD

There are two types of Talmudim:
Talmud Yerushalmi: written in circa 350 ce from Rav Muna and Rav Yossi but was never completed
Talmud Bavli: written in 500 ce in Babylonia by Rav Ashi and Rav ina
MISHNAH:
  • Mishnah = orders
  • the Mishnah is divided into six books (Zeraim, Moed, Nashim, Nezilun, Kodshim and Teharot)
  • was compiled and codified by Rabbi Yehuda Hanassi in 200 ce following the destruction of the second temple
    http://talmud.faithweb.com/articles/whatis.html

GEMARA:

  • Gemara means "learning" or "studying" in arabic
  • Jewish people have the Gemara because the world and culture continues to change
  • the Gemara is commentaries from Rabbis throughout Israel and Babylonia after countless debates and discussions on issues in both the Mishnah and Torah
  • These discussions were recorded in writing and make up the Gemara
  • there are two versions of the Gemara:

Yirushalmi: compiled by scholars in Israel and finished in 350 - 400 ce

Bavli: compiled by scholars from Babylonia which was finished around 500 ce

COMMENTATORS / COMMENTARIES

  • commentaries were intended to help with the studying and teaching of texts written thousands of years ago - they help us understand the Torah and Talmud as they explain the ancient terms and meanings behind them
  • Rashi (1040 - 1106), Rambam (1194 - 1270), Ibn Ezra (1092 - 1167) and the Tosafot are all famous commentators
  • these were all written between 1000 and 1500

CODES

  • codes = publish
  • as there were so many commentaries written on Jewish Law, rabbis decided they needed to 'codify' all of this material
  • when 'codifying' the rabbis would need to separate the Halachic discussions and the actual bottom lines from each other in order to give Jewish people the final decisions on a topic
  • Codes, gives the more complex Jewish laws a definite answer
  • most famous Codes are: Shulchan Aruch (written by Joseph Caro in 1564) and the Mishneh Torah (written by Rambam and compiled between 1170 and 1180)
  • most codes were written during the middle ages

http://www.jewfaq.org/halakhah.htm

RESPONSA

The Responsa is where you ask questions to and receive answers from Rabbi's. These questions have to do specifically with the more modern and individual issues or questions. This method in questioning Halacha is still used today.