JEWISH SUPPLEMENTARY RELIGIOUS & LEGAL TEXT
Tosefta means “supplement or addition. Tosefta serves as a supplement to the Mishnah and closely corresponds to the Mishnah, with the same divisions for orders “Sedarim” and tractates “masekhot.” It is mainly written in Hebrew, with some Aramaic. Tosefta offers additional aggadic and midrashic material, and it sometimes contradicts the Mishnah in the ruling of Jewish law, or in attributing in whose name a law was stated.
Alongside the Mishna and the Talmud grew a collection of texts dedicated to the explanation or interpretation of the Bible, known as the Midrash that contains interpretive traditions of the Sages from the times of the Tannaim. The word Midrash is derived from the root of the Hebrew verb darash (דָּרַשׁ), which means seek, resort to, seek with care, enquire. The Hebrew word for “sermon” is “d’rash” and Midrash actually is rabbinical material derived primarily from their sermons and compiled between 400 to 600AD but the midrashic form continues to the present day.
There are two types of Midrashi texts dedicated to both Halakhic (legal) and Aggadic (Preaching/explanatory) exposition. Halakhic Midrash was the ancient rabbinic method of Torah study that elucidated upon the traditionally received 613 Mitzvot, the commandments. Midrashim that seek to explain the non-legal portions of the Hebrew Bible are sometimes referred to as aggadah/ Haggadah. Midrash is actually best known for the Haggadah. With its parables, legends and creative insights, the Midrash tends to be more convenient to the average person than the Torah and Talmud.
Another collection of Jewish writings is the Responsa, a huge selection almost thousands of volumes of answers to specific questions on Jewish law. They are a Jewish “common law” originating in laypersons queries to rabbis. If the Talmud is a law book, the Responsa is case law. Responsa, a Latin word plural of responsum means “answers.” Responsa compilation started in the Middle Ages and continue to the present day. Recent responsa have dealt with topics even as the kashering of dishwashers and cosmetic surgery etc
HALACHAH & HALAKHIC LITERATURE:
Halakhah refers to Jewish law and guides the day-to-day life of a Jew. The word halakha is derived from the Hebrew root halakh “to walk” or “to go or “the way to walk”. It refers to the collection of rabbinic legal texts and to the overall system of religious law. As Jews clergy continued to improve and revisit the rulings of the Talmud, the discussions grew so vast, detailed, and complicated that the average believer could not access practical guidance for day-to-day living. To remedy this, Rabbi Moses Maimonides (known as Rambam in the 12th century compiled what he called Mishneh Torah “Torah Review.” It is a 14-volume encyclopedic repository of Jewish law. The Mishneh Torah a Hebrew word מִשְׁנֵה תּוֹרָה which means Repetition of the Torah” is also subtitled Sefer Yad ha-Hazaka (ספר יד החזקה “Book of the Strong Hand.”
But other than Mishneh Torah there are other Halachic collections like:
Tur authored by Rabbi Jacob ben Asher in14th Century.
Shulchan Aruch written by Rabbi Joseph Karo in16th Century.
Mapah: Notes & Commentaries by Rabbi Moshe Isserles in16th Century.
Siddur is a Jewish prayer book, containing a set order of daily prayers. The word siddur comes from the Hebrew root ס־ד־ר meaning “order”. The Jewish prayers were comprised by the Anshe Knesset Hagedolah, “Men of the Great Assembly” also known as the Great Synagogue, a panel of 120 prophets, scribes, and saints holding the ultimate religious authority at the start of the second Temple Era. In addition to the Amidah (“Silent Prayer”) and other compositions, the Jewish prayers include sections of Scripture, notably the Shema and a selection of Psalms.