The Evolution of Halacha
The Written and Oral Teachings
The Foundation of Halacha
What is the Tanach?
The Tanach contains the Torah (The Written Law) which includes the sections of:
- Bamidbar; and
These sections are further divided into smaller portions, each one is called a Parasha. Each Shabbat (The Seventh Day of the Week, a rest day) a Parasha is read, with the first one being read at the beginning of the Jewish Year. The Torah details the evolution of the world and the history of the Jewish people.
Other sections of The Tanach include, Nevi'im (Prophets) and Ktuvim (Writings), this section includes Megillot (Scrolls plural) such as Megilat Esther which is read on the festival of Purim. The Megillot usually describe people, events or periods of time that have greatly influenced the Jewish people. In the section of Ktuvim there are also three poetic books.
The Evolution of Oral Law
From the age where Jews were wandering in the desert after receiving the Torah, the Oral Law, the details which allowed Jews to practice and understand the Written Law was passed down, generation to generation by word of mouth. In 160CE, Jewish Oral Law was written down for the first time in the Mishna by Rav Yehuda HaNassi, this was then followed by the Gemara in the 4th Century.
After the various conquests of the Land of Israel, Jews were exiled to foreign lands, Jews continued to extend on the Jewish Oral Law from across the many kingdoms in which they were exiled. This division of Jews across the globe produced two different 'Talmuds', which is a combination of both the Mishna and Gemara. The two Talmuds created were the Talmud Yerushalmi (Jerusalem Talmud) which was complied in approximately 350CE by Rav Muna and Rav Yossi. The other is called the Talmud Bavli (Babylonian Talmud) which was compiled in approximately 500CE by Rav Ashi and Ravina of Babylonia. The various commentaries (such as those by Rabbi Shlomo Yitzchaki and The Tosafot) detailed in these two Talmuds are still used today to help solve modern day issues.