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The Encyclopedia Americana (1920)/Halakah

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HALAKAH, ha-lä'kạ (from Heb. הלך, halak, to go), the legal part of Hebrew tradition. The term is used to connote all the laws, both civil and religious, which derive their sanction from custom rather than from the sacred Scriptures. “Midrash halakah” is the term used to cover the disputations, interpretations, etc., concerning the legal part of the Scriptures. At first handed down orally, the laws came to be written, and were modified and improved by successive editors and commentators.