The Tanach, Mishnah, Talmud, and Midrash are significant Jewish religious texts that have shaped Jewish thought, law, and tradition throughout history.
- Tanach: The Tanach is the Hebrew Bible, which is the foundational scripture of Judaism. It is an acronym for Torah, Nevi'im, and Ketuvim. The Torah contains the Five Books of Moses (Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, and Deuteronomy), Nevi'im refers to the Prophets, and Ketuvim denotes the Writings, which include historical accounts, wisdom literature, and poetic works.
- Mishnah: The Mishnah is a compilation of Jewish oral law and traditions that was written down around 200 CE. It serves as the basis for the Talmud and contains six major divisions called Sedarim, covering topics such as agriculture, holy days, marriage, civil and criminal law, and ritual purity.
- Talmud: The Talmud is a central text in Rabbinic Judaism and is a comprehensive compilation of Jewish law, ethics, and customs. It is composed of two parts: the Mishnah and the Gemara. The Gemara is a series of rabbinic commentaries and discussions on the Mishnah, further exploring and analyzing its teachings. There are two versions of the Talmud: the Babylonian Talmud and the Jerusalem Talmud, with the Babylonian Talmud being more widely studied and authoritative.
- Midrash: The Midrash is a collection of Jewish interpretative literature that seeks to explain, elaborate, and clarify the meanings of biblical texts. It comprises both halakhic (legal) and aggadic (narrative) elements, incorporating stories, homilies, and parables to convey ethical teachings and insights into the biblical text. Midrashim (plural of Midrash) often provide additional context and background information to help readers understand the underlying messages and significance of biblical stories and commandments.