Halakha

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Halakha (Hebrew: הלכה‎) — also transliterated Halocho (Ashkenazic Hebrew pronunciation), Halacha, or Halakhah — is the collective body of Jewish law, including biblical law (the 613 mitzvot) and later talmudic and rabbinic law, as well as customs and traditions.

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.[1] Halakha guides not only religious practices and beliefs, but numerous aspects of day-to-day life. Halakha is often translated as "Jewish Law", although a more literal translation might be "the path" or "the way of walking". The word is derived from the Hebrew root that means to go or to walk.

Historically in the diaspora, Halakha served many Jewish communities as an enforceable avenue of civil and religious law. Since the Age of Enlightenment, emancipation, and haskalah in the modern era, Jewish citizens are bound to Halakha only by their voluntary consent. Under contemporary Israeli law, however, certain areas of Israeli family and personal status law are under the authority of the rabbinic courts and are therefore treated according to Halakha. Some differences in Halakha itself are found among Ashkenazi, Mizrahi, Sephardi, and Yemenite Jews, which are reflective of the historic and geographic diversity of various Jewish communities within the Diaspora.

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