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Entry into Rabbinic Literature
The ancient rabbis (late first-sixth centuries C.E.) developed the notion that the revelation at Mt. Sinai consisted of two complementary parts: the written Torah (the Pentateuch) and the Oral Torah. The Oral Torah was believed to provide the interpretations and explanations that make God’s written revelation applicable to life in every age. In turn, this Oral Torah is traditionally divided between law (halakhah) and lore (aggadah). These are complementary, expressing the two genres of tradition that came to be redacted as rabbinic literature. H. N. Bialik, the “poet laureate” of modern Israel, has succinctly expressed the relationship between Jewish law and lore:
“Like ice and water, Halakhah and Aggadah are really two things in one, two facets of the same entity.”a

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