Laws of Religion
Laws of Judaism Concerning Women and Men
from the Biblical Books of Moses (Torah)
and the Code of Maimonides (Mishneh Torah)
1. Introduction to the Laws of Judaism Concerning Women and Men
Our summaries of the Laws of Judaism (halakha) are based on two key source texts of Jewish law: the Torah (the first five books of the Bible, often called the “Books of Moses,” namely, Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers and Deuteronomy) and the Mishneh Torah of Moses Maimonides, written in the 12th century. The reasons for selecting these two sources, and the methods we used to prepare our summaries based on them, are described on the page Source Texts Used for Laws of Judaism.
There is no attempt in this work to explain contemporary interpretations of any of the passages or how they are applied in the practice of Judaism today except that we have included what Maimonides wrote concerning whether particular laws apply everywhere or only within the Land of Israel and whether such laws apply at all times or only, for example, when the Temple in Jerusalem is standing. Our summaries are emphatically not intended for use as guidance for religious practice. This work is simply a summary of what the cited texts say in the English translations referred to.
In some places we attempt to clarify what is written in the original texts by offering an interpretation of the meaning. Such comments are always placed in parentheses and are usually introduced with “Editor’s note.” The reader should have no problem recognizing these occasional comments by us.