What is Jewish Law?
Jewish Law is called Halakha in Hebrew. Halakha from the Hebrew word Halakh, which means "to walk" or "to go;" thus a literal translation does not yield "law," but rather "the way to go".
- Judaism classically draws no distinction in its laws between religious and ostensibly non-religious life
- Jewish religious tradition does not distinguish clearly between religious, national, racial, or ethnic identities.
- Halakha guides not only religious practices and beliefs, but numerous aspects of day-to-day life.
TIP: Start With Secondary Sources
- Researching Jewish Law can be complicated.
- Primary sources are not in English, but many have been translated.
- Sources lack the organization and structure found in more modern legal systems. Researchers will find a lack of clear distinctions between primary and secondary sources and a lack of comprehensive finding tools.
- Use Secondary Sources like: A living tree : the roots and growth of Jewish law / Elliot N. Dorff and Arthur Rosett
Using This Guide
Terms Bolded are defined and located under the Glossary tab.
This guide relieved heavily on the excellant work of David A. Hollander. Law & Legal Studies Librarian at the Princeton University and his publication "Jewish Law for the Law Librarian," 98 Law Library Journal 219 (2006).