Halacha(h)

HALACHA(H) ha’ lä kä' (הֲלָכָה, walk, behavior). All the laws, ordinances, and legal decisions of the rabbis that determined the Jewish way of life—religious, social, political, and civil. It was believed by the Pharisees and their followers that God had given to Moses on Mount Sinai not only the written law that was embodied in the Pentateuch, but also a large mass of oral law that He communicated to the Jewish people and which the rabbis passed on until it was written down in the Talmud. The object of the Halachah, which was actually the interpretation and the reinterpretation of the Mosaic law through a long succession of Jewish teachers from the time of Ezra onward, was to state in detail and to apply to all possible cases, the principles laid down in the Torah and to surround it with a hedge so as to render transgression impossible. It entered into every detail of private, family, and public life. It was a development and expansion of the written law, and ultimately succeeded in pushing into the background Scripture itself. It is not surprising that Jesus denounced it (Mark 7:6-13).