The word "halakhah" (aka halacha, halakha, halachah or halochois) is usually translated as "Jewish Law". A more literal (and more appropriate) translation might be "the path that one walks." The word is derived from the Hebrew root Hei-Lamed-Kaf, meaning to go, to walk or to travel.
Broadly, the halakhah comprises the practical application of the 613 mitzvot ("commandments") in the Torah, as developed through discussion and debate in the classical rabbinic literature, especially the Mishnah and the Talmud (the "Oral Torah") and as codified in the Mishneh Torah ("Repetition of the Torah") or Shulchan Aruch ("Code of Law"). According to the Talmud (Tractate Makot), there are 613 mitzvot in the Torah:
- 248 positive ("thou shall") mitzvot and
- 365 negative ("thou shall not") mitzvot
supplemented by seven mitzvot legislated by the rabbis of antiquity.