Two of the best-attested genres of halakhic literature are (in English) referred to as codes and responsa. The former includes the Mishne Torah, the Arba'ah Turim, the Levush and the Shulchan Arukh (amongst others), while the latter includes collections like Shaagat Aryeh, Iggrot Moshe, etc. While responsa is referred to in Hebrew as She'alot uTeshuvot, or SHuT (שו״ת = שאלות ותשובות), it occurs to me that I've never seen the former so designated in Hebrew text.

Is there a Hebrew name for the genre of literature that is termed "Codes" in English?

  • 2
    perhaps ספרי הלכה?
    – Double AA
    May 7, 2014 at 4:03
  • @DoubleAA - there's no way to differentiate codes from teshuvot? I would think that "ספרי הלכה" would apply equally to Shaagat Aryeh, Sefer Ben Ish Chai and the Tur...
    – Shimon bM
    May 7, 2014 at 4:16
  • Off-topic as looking for a Hebrew word?
    – DonielF
    Jun 2, 2017 at 21:29

3 Answers 3


Wikipedia uses the term ספרי פסיקת הלכה

When referencing the Rosh the Tur and later poskim distinguish between his teshuvos and psakim. I have never seen a reference to Rambam's Yad as psakim though I guess it can be categorized as such.

  • 1
    Thanks, Yoni - that description makes sense! (Interesting that they include Mishna Berurah as a code, rather than as a peirush on a code, but I guess its status in that regard is debateable). I also haven't seen anybody refer to the Rambam's MT as ספר פסק הלכה, but it wouldn't seem so strange to me if they did...
    – Shimon bM
    May 7, 2014 at 4:41
  • @ShimonbM my pleasure..found your question interesting too!
    – Yoni
    May 7, 2014 at 4:47

I think these books would be referred to collectively as:

פוסקים / Poskim

There's a phrase, for instance, "Shas and Poskim", as in people talking about learning Shas and Poskim, meaning Talmud plus these codes that summarize decided halakhah.

  • Thanks, Paquda - I've heard that designation too, but always understood it to refer to the authors of all halakhic literature and not just to the authors of the codes. (After all, פוסקים is a participle and refers not to the books themselves but to the people who wrote them).
    – Shimon bM
    May 7, 2014 at 22:54

Another name for "legal code" is "Codex," which has two Hebrew translations:

  • Thanks, Shmuel, but I think you'll find that both of those words denote the form of a legal manuscript, bound together into the form of a book (as the Morfix page explains), rather than its content. Even if they're etymologically related, they no longer refer to the same thing. What's more, both words have entered the Hebrew language in recent years. The rabbinic Hebrew word for the physical codex was כרך, now used to denote a single volume.
    – Shimon bM
    May 7, 2014 at 4:54

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