Evolution of Halacha

By Taya Hazan


Halacha is translated from the hebrew language into 'pathway' we interpret this as the pathway to judaism the way you must go and rules you must obey. Halacha provides the jewish people with guidelines as to how they should live their every day average life.

Written Law

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History of written law

Passed down to the jews from Moses and to Moses from the Almighty God. The written law consists of the 5 books of Moses consisting of

  • Genesis/ Bereisheet
  • Exodus/ Shemot
  • Leviticus/ Vayikra
  • Numbers/ Ba Mdbar
  • Deuteronomy/ D'varim,
Torah, Neviim and Ketuvim.

Attitude towards Written law

Orthodox; orthodox jews believe that the Torah was written by God making it authoritative and binding and therefore each jew must obey each law with in the torah. Reform; Reform jews believe the Torah was written by the people who had faith, believed and were inspired by god therefore these laws that are to be obeyed are to be interpreted as the ones who wrote them interpreted them differently from god, in this case not all laws are authoritative and binding and must be obeyed



Neviim is the second section of the תנך tanach which is why נ n comes before ך ch. The Neviim was written from 625 BCE till the 5th century BCE, the Neviim consists of Neviim Rishonim which translates to the first Neviim this contains the narrative books of Judges, Shmuel and Joshua. Neviim Achronim which translated to the last Neviim contain the book of Jeremiah and Esekiel and Isaiah.


The Ketuvim meaning writings consists of 5 scrolls which are read throughout the Jewish year, Shir Hashirim read During the falling of the sabbath on Pesach, Rut read during shavuot, Eicha read on the night of Tisha B'Av, Kohelet is read on sabbath of Sukkot and Megillat Esther which is read during Purim.

Oral Law

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What is it made up of?

The Oral Law is made up of the Mishnah, Gemara, Talmud (made up of both the Mishna and Gemara), Midrash and Responsa


  • Devided into 6 different books
  • Published from 200 bce till 200 ce
  • Rabbi yehuda hanassi wrote it during the diaspora (160 BCE)
  • Collection of jewish oral
  • Discussions and decisions by Rabbis


  • Formal discussions explaining Mishnah and the Torahh


  • Two versions of Talmud Jerusalem Talmud (Talmust Yerushalmi) and Babylonian Talmud (Talmud Bavli)
  • Jerusalem Talmud - Compiled by Rav Muna and Rav Yossi 350 CE
  • Babylonian Talmud - Compiled by Rav Ashi and Ravina in 500 CE


  • Explanations and Commentaries
  • Dealing with Passages from the Tanach
  • Explained by Rabbinic Scholars


  • Questions and answers
  • Dealing with modern issues that uprise
  • Answered by Rabbinic Scholars

Why do we need the oral law if we have the written law?

We need the Oral Law due to the fact thins change over years and things that before were not relevant and not included in the written law can be answered through Oral Law. The Oral Law helps us to have a better understanding, tells us how we can apply Halacha in modern and unheard of situations and Gives better explanations

The Oral Torah helps us apply Halacha to modern day situations, it is interpretable and changeable