Although the Hebrew term " Torah " is often translated as "Law", it can just as accurately be translated as "Instruction" or "teaching". Rabbinic Judaism maintains that the books of the Tanakh were transmitted in parallel with an oral tradition, as relayed by God to Moses and from him handed on to the scholarly and other religious leaders of each generation. Thus, in Judaism, the "Written Instruction" ( Torah she-bi-khtav תורה שבכתב) comprises the Torah and the rest of the Tanakh ; the "Oral Instruction" ( Torah she-be'al peh תורה שבעל פה) was ultimately recorded in the Talmud (lit. "Learning") and Midrashim (lit. "Interpretations"). The interpretation of the Oral Torah is thus considered as the authoritative reading of the Written Torah . Further, Halakha (lit. "The Path", frequently translated as "Jewish Law") is based on a "Written Instruction" together with an "Oral Instruction". Jewish law and tradition is thus not based on a literal reading of the Tanakh, but on the combined oral and written tradition.
As you can see, the body of Jewish tradition is very vast. Is there any place to get quick answers? In the middle ages, there were several attempts to create definitive codes of Jewish law . The best-known of these codes are Rambam 's Mishneh Torah and Joseph Caro's Shulchan Arukh. In their own time, these works were very controversial, because they did not identify the Torah or Talmudic basis for their opinions and generally ignored conflicting opinions. There was concern that such works would discourage Jews from studying the primary sources: Torah and Talmud. Today, however, these sources are well-respected. In fact, the Shulchan Arukh is often treated as a primary source.