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.
In Japan , to take another example, renowned members of the warrior aristocracy of the past, who have acquired the status of popular heroes, are in many cases supplied in their legend with four exceptionally brave and faithful retainers called their shi-tennō (“guardian kings”), who guard the four cardinal points; these form the closest entourage of their lord—who is usually depicted as excelling in command but not in physical strength—and defend him from dangers. The retainers reflect a mythological model, taken from Buddhism , of four deva kings, who guard the teaching of the Buddha against the attack of the devils.