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The name Halakhah derives from the Hebrew language “halach” meaning “going” or the “[correct] way”; thus a literal translation does not yield "law", rather "the way to go". The term Halakhah may refer to a single rule, to the literary corpus of rabbinic legal texts, as well as to the overall system of religious law.

The Halakhah (plural: Halakhot) is the collective corpus of Jewish religious law, including biblical law (the 613 mitzvot "commandments", singular: “mitzvah”) and later Talmudic and rabbinic law as well as customs and traditions. Like the religious laws in many other cultures, Judaism classically draws no distinction in its laws between religious and non-religious life. Hence, Halakhah guides not only religious practices and beliefs, but numerous aspects of day-to-day life.

Historically, the Halakhah served many Jewish communities as an enforceable avenue of civil and religious law. In the modern era, Jewish citizens may be bound to Halakhah only by their voluntary consent. In Israel, though, certain areas of Israeli family and personal status law are governed by rabbinic interpretations of Halakhah.

Reflecting the diversity of Jewish communities, somewhat different approaches to Halakha are found among Ashkenazi, Mizrahi and Sefardi Jews.