Guide to the Sources of Jewish Law

This book is a translation of the Hebrew book "Moreh Derekh b'mekorot haMishpat HaIvri", by Prof. Nahum Rakover.

This book provides a basic layman's introduction to the treasures of Jewish legal literature. Concentrating on the most fundamental works, The Guide to the Sources of Jewish Law presents each of the major sources, describes their internal structure and interrelationship, and the kinds of materials found in each source, and how such material is located and cited.

The Guide to the Sources of Jewish Law is designed to assist anyone with a need to study or work with the main sources of Jewish law. As no modern research guide exists to introduce the novice to Jewish law, the Guide to the Sources of Jewish Lawwas published to fill this void.

In order to show how the primary sources are utilized, the Guide follows the development of the law of bailment (shomerim). The principles of bailment in Jewish law are found in the Bible, elucidated in the Talmud, and presented systematically in the codes. In this, they are typical and, therefore, instructive. The Guidetraces this progression from Scripture through the Talmudand the codes, showing the interpretation of the biblical text in the exegetic literature, and the development and application of the laws of bailment in the responsa. With the assistance of the Guide to the Sources of Jewish Law, the reader can learn how to find, for instance, the hakakhic ruling that emerges from a talmudic discussion or the talmudic sources for the rulings of the codes. Wherever possible, the Guide to the Sources of Jewish Law directs the reader to the most recent editions of traditional sources, which are generally more accessible.

The English edition, which has been especially adapted for the English reader, also traces the development of the law of bailment (shomerim) through the Bible, the Mishnah and Talmud, and the Codes. For each source, it presents an illustrative passage, with translation and explanation.



Chapter One: SOURCES
   I. Scripture
      A. In General
      B. Biblical Commentary
      C. Translation of the Bible and Commentaries
      D. Halakhic Midrashim
      E. Commandment Lists
   II. Mishnah and Talmud
      A. Mishnah
      B. Commentary on the Mishnah
      C. Tosefta
      D. Talmud
      E. Talmudic Commentary
         1. Commentary on the Babylonian Talmud
         2. Commentary on the Jerusalem Talmud
      F. English Editions of the Talmud
      G. New Hebrew Editions of the Talmud
      H. Sages of the Mishnah and Talmud
   III. Geonic Literature
   IV. Halakhic Literature
      A. Codes
         1. Mishneh Torah
         Commentary on Mishneh Torah
         English Translation
         2. Tur
         Commentary on the Tur
         3. Shulhan Arukh
         Commentary on the Shulhan Arukh
         4. Arukh haShulhan
      B. Halakhic Glosses Following the Order of the Talmud
         1. Rif and the Commentaries
         2. Rosh and the Commentaries
      C. Rabbinic Decisions
         1. Responsa
         2. Decisions of Israeli Rabbinic Courts

   I. Books and Studies
   II. Journals and Collections

   I. Encyclopedias
   II. Indices to the Responsa Literature
   III. Biography
   IV. Bibliography
   V. Reference
      A. The Talmud and Rabbinic Decisions
      B. Parallel Passages Within the Talmud
      C. Rabbinic Literature and the Bible
   VI. Dictionaries
      A. Hebrew
      B. English
      C. German
   VII. Abbreviations
   VIII. Anthologies
      A. Halakhic Dicta
      B. Responsa
   IX. Modern Law
      A. Jewish Law in Contemporary Legislation
      B. Jewish Law in Contemporary Judicial Decisions
   X. Support Services

   I. Bailees Law, 5727-1967
   II. Tractates of the Mishnah and Talmud and their Abbreviations