Mishnah

Mishnah

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Encyclopedia
The Mishnah or Mishna is the first major written redaction
Redaction
Redaction is a form of editing in which multiple source texts are combined and subjected to minor alteration to make them into a single work. Often this is a method of collecting a series of writings on a similar theme and creating a definitive and coherent work...

 of the Jewish oral tradition
Oral tradition
Oral tradition and oral lore is cultural material and traditions transmitted orally from one generation to another. The messages or testimony are verbally transmitted in speech or song and may take the form, for example, of folktales, sayings, ballads, songs, or chants...

s called the "Oral Torah
Oral Torah
The Oral Torah comprises the legal and interpretative traditions that, according to tradition, were transmitted orally from Mount Sinai, and were not written in the Torah...

". It is also the first major work of Rabbinic Judaism
Rabbinic literature
Rabbinic literature, in its broadest sense, can mean the entire spectrum of rabbinic writings throughout Jewish history. However, the term often refers specifically to literature from the Talmudic era, as opposed to medieval and modern rabbinic writing, and thus corresponds with the Hebrew term...

. It was redacted c. 220 CE by Judah haNasi
Judah haNasi
Judah the Prince, or Judah I, also known as Rebbi or Rabbeinu HaKadosh , was a 2nd-century CE rabbi and chief redactor and editor of the Mishnah. He was a key leader of the Jewish community during the Roman occupation of Judea . He was of the Davidic line, the royal line of King David, hence the...

 when, according to the Talmud
Talmud
The Talmud is a central text of mainstream Judaism. It takes the form of a record of rabbinic discussions pertaining to Jewish law, ethics, philosophy, customs and history....

, the persecution of the Jews and the passage of time raised the possibility that the details of the oral traditions dating from Pharisaic times (536 BCE – 70 CE) would be forgotten. It is thus named for being both the one written authority (codex) secondary (only) to the Tanakh
Tanakh
The Tanakh is a name used in Judaism for the canon of the Hebrew Bible. The Tanakh is also known as the Masoretic Text or the Miqra. The name is an acronym formed from the initial Hebrew letters of the Masoretic Text's three traditional subdivisions: The Torah , Nevi'im and Ketuvim —hence...

 as a basis for the passing of judgment, a source and a tool for creating laws, and the first of many books to complement the Bible in a certain aspect. The Mishnah is also called Shas (an acronym for Shisha Sedarim - the "six orders"), in reference to its six main divisions. Rabbinic commentaries on the Mishnah over the next three centuries were redacted as the Gemara
Gemara
The Gemara is the component of the Talmud comprising rabbinical analysis of and commentary on the Mishnah. After the Mishnah was published by Rabbi Judah the Prince The Gemara (also transliterated Gemora or, less commonly, Gemorra; from Aramaic גמרא gamar; literally, "[to] study" or "learning by...

, which, coupled with the Mishnah, comprise the Talmud
Talmud
The Talmud is a central text of mainstream Judaism. It takes the form of a record of rabbinic discussions pertaining to Jewish law, ethics, philosophy, customs and history....

.

Unlike the Talmud the majority of the Mishnah is written in Hebrew, while the Talmuds are written in Judeao-Aramaic, European scholars over the past 1,000 years have termed this 'Mishnaic Hebrew'.

The Mishnah reflects debates between 70-200 CE by the group of rabbinic sages known as the Tannaim
Tannaim
The Tannaim were the Rabbinic sages whose views are recorded in the Mishnah, from approximately 70-200 CE. The period of the Tannaim, also referred to as the Mishnaic period, lasted about 130 years...

. The Mishnah teaches the oral traditions by example, presenting actual cases being brought to judgment, usually along with the debate on the matter and the judgment that was given by a wise and notable rabbi based on the halakha
Halakha
Halakha — also transliterated Halocho , or Halacha — is the collective body of Jewish law, including biblical law and later talmudic and rabbinic law, as well as customs and traditions.Judaism classically draws no distinction in its laws between religious and ostensibly non-religious life; Jewish...

, Mitzvot, and spirit of the teaching ("Torah") that guided his sentencing. In this way, it brings to everyday reality the practice of the mitzvot as presented in the Bible, and aimed to cover all aspects of human living, serve as an example for future judgments, and, most important, demonstrate pragmatic exercise of the Biblical laws, which was much needed at the time when the Second Temple
Second Temple
The Jewish Second Temple was an important shrine which stood on the Temple Mount in Jerusalem between 516 BCE and 70 CE. It replaced the First Temple which was destroyed in 586 BCE, when the Jewish nation was exiled to Babylon...

 was destroyed (70 CE). The Mishnah does not claim to be the development of new laws, but rather the collection of existing traditions.

The Mishnah consists of six orders , each containing 7-12 tractates , 63 in total, and further subdivided into chapters and paragraphs or verses. The orders and their subjects are: Zeraim
Zeraim
Seder Zeraim is the first and shortest Seder of the Mishnah, the first major work of Jewish law. The section of mishnah was written by the rabbis to inform all Jews what must be done to fulfill their biblical obligations of prayer and commandments about food.Observers of Jewish law are bound with...

 ("Seeds"), dealing with prayer and blessings, tithes and agricultural laws (11 tractates), Moed
Moed
Moed is the second Order of the Mishnah, the first written recording of the Oral Torah of the Jewish people . Of the six orders of the Mishna, Moed is the third shortest. The order of Moed consists of 12 tractates:# Shabbat: or Shabbath deals with the 39 prohibitions of "work" on the Shabbat...

 ("Festival"), pertaining to the laws of the Sabbath and the Festivals (12 tractates), Nashim
Nashim
Nashim is the third order of the Mishnah , containing the laws related to women and family life...

 ("Women"), concerning marriage and divorce, some forms of oaths and the laws of the nazirite
Nazirite
In the Hebrew Bible, a nazirite or nazarite, , refers to one who voluntarily took a vow described in . The term "nazirite" comes from the Hebrew word nazir meaning "consecrated" or "separated"...

 (7 tractates), Nezikin
Nezikin
For Jewish law on damages, see Damages Nezikin or Seder Nezikin is the fourth Order of the Mishna...

 ("Damages"), dealing with civil and criminal law, the functioning of the courts and oaths (10 tractates), Kodashim
Kodashim
Kodashim or Qodhashim is the fifth Order in the Mishna . Of the six Orders of the Mishna, it is the third longest...

 ("Holy things"), regarding sacrificial rites, the Temple
Temple in Jerusalem
The Temple in Jerusalem or Holy Temple , refers to one of a series of structures which were historically located on the Temple Mount in the Old City of Jerusalem, the current site of the Dome of the Rock. Historically, these successive temples stood at this location and functioned as the centre of...

, and the dietary laws
Kashrut
Kashrut is the set of Jewish dietary laws. Food in accord with halakha is termed kosher in English, from the Ashkenazi pronunciation of the Hebrew term kashér , meaning "fit" Kashrut (also kashruth or kashrus) is the set of Jewish dietary laws. Food in accord with halakha (Jewish law) is termed...

 (11 tractates) and Tohorot
Tohorot
Tohorot is the sixth order of the Mishnah . This order deals with the clean/unclean distinction and family purity. This is the longest of the orders in the Mishnah. There are 12 tractates:...

 ("Purities"), pertaining to the laws of purity and impurity, including the impurity of the dead, the laws of food purity and bodily purity (12 tractates).

The word Mishnah can also indicate a single paragraph or verse of the work itself, i.e. the smallest unit of structure in the Mishnah.

Structure


The Mishnah consists of six orders , each containing 7-12 tractates , 63 in total. Each is divided into chapters and then paragraphs or verses . The Mishnah is also called Shas (an acronym for Shisha Sedarim - the "six orders").

The Mishnah orders its content by subject matter, instead of by biblical context. Likewise it discusses individual subjects more thoroughly than the Midrash
Midrash
The Hebrew term Midrash is a homiletic method of biblical exegesis. The term also refers to the whole compilation of homiletic teachings on the Bible....

. It includes a much broader selection of halakhic subjects than the Midrash.

The six orders are:
  • Zeraim
    Zeraim
    Seder Zeraim is the first and shortest Seder of the Mishnah, the first major work of Jewish law. The section of mishnah was written by the rabbis to inform all Jews what must be done to fulfill their biblical obligations of prayer and commandments about food.Observers of Jewish law are bound with...

     ("Seeds"), dealing with prayer and blessings, tithes and agricultural laws (11 tractates)
  • Moed
    Moed
    Moed is the second Order of the Mishnah, the first written recording of the Oral Torah of the Jewish people . Of the six orders of the Mishna, Moed is the third shortest. The order of Moed consists of 12 tractates:# Shabbat: or Shabbath deals with the 39 prohibitions of "work" on the Shabbat...

     ("Festival"), pertaining to the laws of the Sabbath and the Festivals (12 tractates)
  • Nashim
    Nashim
    Nashim is the third order of the Mishnah , containing the laws related to women and family life...

     ("Women"), concerning marriage and divorce, some forms of oaths and the laws of the nazirite (7 tractates)
  • Nezikin
    Nezikin
    For Jewish law on damages, see Damages Nezikin or Seder Nezikin is the fourth Order of the Mishna...

     ("Damages"), dealing with civil and criminal law, the functioning of the courts and oaths (10 tractates)
  • Kodashim
    Kodashim
    Kodashim or Qodhashim is the fifth Order in the Mishna . Of the six Orders of the Mishna, it is the third longest...

     ("Holy things"), regarding sacrificial rites, the Temple
    Temple in Jerusalem
    The Temple in Jerusalem or Holy Temple , refers to one of a series of structures which were historically located on the Temple Mount in the Old City of Jerusalem, the current site of the Dome of the Rock. Historically, these successive temples stood at this location and functioned as the centre of...

    , and the dietary laws
    Kashrut
    Kashrut is the set of Jewish dietary laws. Food in accord with halakha is termed kosher in English, from the Ashkenazi pronunciation of the Hebrew term kashér , meaning "fit" Kashrut (also kashruth or kashrus) is the set of Jewish dietary laws. Food in accord with halakha (Jewish law) is termed...

     (11 tractates) and
  • Tohorot
    Tohorot
    Tohorot is the sixth order of the Mishnah . This order deals with the clean/unclean distinction and family purity. This is the longest of the orders in the Mishnah. There are 12 tractates:...

     ("Purities"), pertaining to the laws of purity and impurity, including the impurity of the dead, the laws of food purity and bodily purity (12 tractates).


In each order (with the exception of Zeraim), tractates are arranged from biggest (in number of chapters) to smallest.

The word Mishnah can also indicate a single paragraph or verse of the work itself, i.e. the smallest unit of structure in the Mishnah.
The Babylonian Talmud
Talmud
The Talmud is a central text of mainstream Judaism. It takes the form of a record of rabbinic discussions pertaining to Jewish law, ethics, philosophy, customs and history....

 (Hagiga 14a) states that there were either six hundred or seven hundred orders of the Mishnah. Hillel the Elder
Hillel the Elder
Hillel was a famous Jewish religious leader, one of the most important figures in Jewish history. He is associated with the development of the Mishnah and the Talmud...

 organized them into six orders to make it easier to remember. The historical accuracy of this tradition is disputed. There is also a tradition that Ezra
Ezra
Ezra , also called Ezra the Scribe and Ezra the Priest in the Book of Ezra. According to the Hebrew Bible he returned from the Babylonian exile and reintroduced the Torah in Jerusalem...

 the scribe dictated from memory not only the 24 books of the Tanakh
Tanakh
The Tanakh is a name used in Judaism for the canon of the Hebrew Bible. The Tanakh is also known as the Masoretic Text or the Miqra. The name is an acronym formed from the initial Hebrew letters of the Masoretic Text's three traditional subdivisions: The Torah , Nevi'im and Ketuvim —hence...

 but 60 esoteric books. It is not known whether this is a reference to the Mishnah, but there is a case for saying that the Mishnah does consist of 60 tractates. (The current total is 63, but Makkot was originally part of Sanhedrin, and Bava Kamma, Bava Metzia and Bava Batra may be regarded as subdivisions of a single tractate Nezikin.)

Interestingly, Reuvein Margolies
Reuvein Margolies
Reuvein Margolies, was an Israeli author and Talmudic scholar.- Early life :...

 (1889–1971) posited that there were originally seven orders of Mishnah, citing a Gaon
Gaon (Hebrew)
Gaon originally referred in Ancient Hebrew to arrogance and haughty pride . Later became known as pride in general: whether good or bad . Today it may refer to:...

ic tradition on the existence of a seventh order containing the laws of Sta"m (scribal practice) and Berachot (blessings).

Omissions


A number of important laws are not elaborated upon in the Mishnah. These include the laws of tzitzit
Tzitzit
The Hebrew noun tzitzit is the name for specially knotted ritual fringes worn by observant Jews. Tzitzit are attached to the four corners of the tallit and tallit katan.-Etymology:The word may derive from the semitic root N-TZ-H...

, tefillin
Tefillin
Tefillin also called phylacteries are a set of small black leather boxes containing scrolls of parchment inscribed with verses from the Torah, which are worn by observant Jews during weekday morning prayers. Although "tefillin" is technically the plural form , it is loosely used as a singular as...

 (phylacteries), mezuzah
Mezuzah
A mezuzah is usually a metal or wooden rectangular object that is fastened to a doorpost of a Jewish house. Inside it is a piece of parchment inscribed with specified Hebrew verses from the Torah...

, the holiday of Hanukkah
Hanukkah
Hanukkah , also known as the Festival of Lights, is an eight-day Jewish holiday commemorating the rededication of the Holy Temple in Jerusalem at the time of the Maccabean Revolt of the 2nd century BCE...

, and the laws of gerim (converts). These were later discussed in the minor tractates.

Rabbi Nissim Gaon in his Hakdamah Le'mafteach Hatalmud writes that many of these laws were so well known that it was unnecessary for Rabbi to discuss them. Reuvein Margolies
Reuvein Margolies
Reuvein Margolies, was an Israeli author and Talmudic scholar.- Early life :...

 suggests that as the Mishnah was redacted after the Bar Kochba revolt, Rabbi could not have included discussion of Hanukkah
Hanukkah
Hanukkah , also known as the Festival of Lights, is an eight-day Jewish holiday commemorating the rededication of the Holy Temple in Jerusalem at the time of the Maccabean Revolt of the 2nd century BCE...

 which commemorates the Jewish revolt against the Syrian-Greeks
Seleucid Empire
The Seleucid Empire was a Greek-Macedonian state that was created out of the eastern conquests of Alexander the Great. At the height of its power, it included central Anatolia, the Levant, Mesopotamia, Persia, today's Turkmenistan, Pamir and parts of Pakistan.The Seleucid Empire was a major centre...

 (the Romans would not have tolerated this overt nationalism). Similarly, there were then several decrees in place aimed at suppressing outward signs of national identity, including decrees against wearing tefillin and tzitzit; as Conversion to Judaism
Conversion to Judaism
Conversion to Judaism is a formal act undertaken by a non-Jewish person who wishes to be recognised as a full member of the Jewish community. A Jewish conversion is both a religious act and an expression of association with the Jewish people...

 was against Roman law, Rabbi
Judah haNasi
Judah the Prince, or Judah I, also known as Rebbi or Rabbeinu HaKadosh , was a 2nd-century CE rabbi and chief redactor and editor of the Mishnah. He was a key leader of the Jewish community during the Roman occupation of Judea . He was of the Davidic line, the royal line of King David, hence the...

 would not have discussed this.

David Zvi Hoffman
David Zvi Hoffman
David Zvi Hoffmann , was an Orthodox Rabbi and Torah Scholar. Born in Verbó in 1843, he attended various Yeshivas in his native town before he entered the college at Pressburg, from which he graduated in 1865...

 suggests that there existed ancient texts in the form of the present day Shulchan Aruch
Shulchan Aruch
The Shulchan Aruch also known as the Code of Jewish Law, is the most authoritative legal code of Judaism. It was authored in Safed, Israel, by Yosef Karo in 1563 and published in Venice two years later...

 that discussed the basic laws of day to day living and it was therefore not necessary to focus on these laws in the Mishnah.

Authorship


The Mishnah does not claim to be the development of new laws, but merely the collection of existing oral laws, traditions and traditional wisdom. The rabbis who contributed to the Mishnah are known as the Tannaim, of whom approximately 120 are known. The period during which the Mishnah was assembled spanned about 130 years, and five generations.

Most of the Mishnah is related without attribution
Attribution (copyright)
Attribution in copyright law, is the requirement to acknowledge or credit the author of a work which is used or appears in another work. Attribution is required by most copyright and copyleft licenses, such as the GNU Free Documentation License and Creative Commons licenses.Attribution is often...

 . This usually indicates that many sages taught so, or that Judah haNasi
Judah haNasi
Judah the Prince, or Judah I, also known as Rebbi or Rabbeinu HaKadosh , was a 2nd-century CE rabbi and chief redactor and editor of the Mishnah. He was a key leader of the Jewish community during the Roman occupation of Judea . He was of the Davidic line, the royal line of King David, hence the...

 (often called "Rabbi") who redacted the Mishnah together with his academy/court ruled so. The halakhic ruling usually follows that view. Sometimes, however, it appears to be the opinion of a single sage, and the view of the sages collectively is given separately.

The Talmud records a tradition that unattributed statements of the law represent the views of Rabbi Meir
Rabbi Meir
Rabbi Meir or Rabbi Meir Baal Hanes was a Jewish sage who lived in the time of the Mishna. He was considered one of the greatest of the Tannaim of the fourth generation . According to legend , his father was a descendant of the Roman Emperor Nero who had converted to Judaism. His wife Bruriah is...

 (Sanhedrin 86a), which supports the theory (recorded by Rav Sherira Gaon
Sherira Gaon
Rav Sherira Gaon was the head of the Academy of Pumbeditha. He was one of the most prominent Geonim of his period, and the father of Hai Gaon, who succeeded him as gaon.Sherira was born in 906 and died in 1006. Rav Sherira Gaon (Hebrew: רב שרירא גאון or R. Sherira ben Ḥanina Gaon, Hebrew: רב...

 in his famous Iggeret) that he was the author of an earlier collection. For this reason, the few passages that actually say "this is the view of Rabbi Meir" represent cases where the author intended to present Rabbi Meir's view as a "minority opinion" not representing the accepted law.

Rabbi is credited with publishing the Mishnah, though there have been a few edits since his time (for example, those passages that cite him or his grandson, Rabbi Yehuda Nesi'ah; in addition, the Mishnah at the end of Tractate Sotah refers to the period after Rabbi's death, which could not have been written by Rabbi himself). According to the Epistle of Sherira Gaon
Sherira Gaon
Rav Sherira Gaon was the head of the Academy of Pumbeditha. He was one of the most prominent Geonim of his period, and the father of Hai Gaon, who succeeded him as gaon.Sherira was born in 906 and died in 1006. Rav Sherira Gaon (Hebrew: רב שרירא גאון or R. Sherira ben Ḥanina Gaon, Hebrew: רב...

, after the tremendous upheaval caused by the destruction of the Temple and the Bar Kochba revolt, the Oral Torah
Oral Torah
The Oral Torah comprises the legal and interpretative traditions that, according to tradition, were transmitted orally from Mount Sinai, and were not written in the Torah...

 was in danger of being forgotten. It was for this reason that Rabbi chose to redact the Mishnah.

One must also note that in addition to redacting the Mishnah, Rabbi and his court also ruled on which opinions should be followed, though the rulings do not always appear in the text.

As he went through the tractates, the Mishnah was set forth, but throughout his life some parts were updated as new information came to light. Because of the proliferation of earlier versions, it was deemed too hard to retract anything already released, and therefore a second version of certain laws were released. The Talmud
Talmud
The Talmud is a central text of mainstream Judaism. It takes the form of a record of rabbinic discussions pertaining to Jewish law, ethics, philosophy, customs and history....

 refers to these differing versions as Mishnah Rishonah ("First Mishnah") and Mishnah Acharonah ("Last Mishnah"). David Zvi Hoffman
David Zvi Hoffman
David Zvi Hoffmann , was an Orthodox Rabbi and Torah Scholar. Born in Verbó in 1843, he attended various Yeshivas in his native town before he entered the college at Pressburg, from which he graduated in 1865...

 suggests that Mishnah Rishonah actually refers to texts from earlier Sages upon which Rabbi based his Mishnah.

One theory is that the present Mishnah was based on an earlier collection by Rabbi Meir. There are also references to the "Mishnah of Rabbi Akiva", though this may simply mean his teachings in general. It is possible that Rabbi Akiva and Rabbi Meir established the divisions and order of subjects in the Mishnah, but this would make them the authors of a school curriculum rather than of a book.

Authorities are divided on whether Rabbi recorded the Mishnah in writing or established it as an oral text for memorisation. The most important early account of its composition, the Epistle of Sherira Gaon, is ambiguous on the point, though the "Spanish" recension leans to the theory that the Mishnah was written. However, the Talmud records that, in every study session, there was a person called the tanna appointed to recite the Mishnah passage under discussion. This may indicate that, even if the Mishnah was reduced to writing, it was not available on general distribution.

Oral law



Before the publication of the Mishnah, Jewish scholarship was predominantly oral. Rabbis expounded on and debated the Tanakh
Tanakh
The Tanakh is a name used in Judaism for the canon of the Hebrew Bible. The Tanakh is also known as the Masoretic Text or the Miqra. The name is an acronym formed from the initial Hebrew letters of the Masoretic Text's three traditional subdivisions: The Torah , Nevi'im and Ketuvim —hence...

, the Hebrew Bible
Hebrew Bible
The Hebrew Bible is a term used by biblical scholars outside of Judaism to refer to the Tanakh , a canonical collection of Jewish texts, and the common textual antecedent of the several canonical editions of the Christian Old Testament...

, without the benefit of written works (other than the Biblical books themselves), though some may have made private notes , for example of court decisions. The oral traditions were far from monolithic, and varied among various schools, the most famous of which were the House of Shammai
House of Shammai
The House of Shammai was the school of thought of Judaism founded by Shammai, a Jewish scholar of the 1st century...

 and the House of Hillel
House of Hillel
The House of Hillel , also known as the Academy of Hillel, founded by the famed Hillel the Elder, is a school of Jewish law and thought that thrived in 1st century B.C.E.Jerusalem. The House of Hillel is most widely known for its hundreds of disputes with the Beit Shammai, founded by Shammai, a...

. The proprietary Aramaic (one of Judaism's holy languages with Hebrew) word for this type of allowing systematic disagreement in Jewish law, is "Machlokes" or argument.

The end of the Jewish commonwealth in the year 70 CE resulted in an upheaval of Jewish social and legal norms. The Rabbis were faced with the new reality of Judaism without a Temple (to serve as the center of teaching and study) and Judea without autonomy, both serving as sources of pride. It is during this period that Rabbinic discourse began to be recorded in writing.

The earliest recorded oral law may have been of the midrash
Midrash
The Hebrew term Midrash is a homiletic method of biblical exegesis. The term also refers to the whole compilation of homiletic teachings on the Bible....

ic form, in which halakhic
Halakha
Halakha — also transliterated Halocho , or Halacha — is the collective body of Jewish law, including biblical law and later talmudic and rabbinic law, as well as customs and traditions.Judaism classically draws no distinction in its laws between religious and ostensibly non-religious life; Jewish...

 discussion is structured as exegetical
Exegesis
Exegesis is a critical explanation or interpretation of a text, especially a religious text. Traditionally the term was used primarily for exegesis of the Bible; however, in contemporary usage it has broadened to mean a critical explanation of any text, and the term "Biblical exegesis" is used...

 commentary on the Torah
Torah
Torah- A scroll containing the first five books of the BibleThe Torah , is name given by Jews to the first five books of the bible—Genesis , Exodus , Leviticus , Numbers and Deuteronomy Torah- A scroll containing the first five books of the BibleThe Torah , is name given by Jews to the first five...

. But an alternative form, organized by subject matter instead of by biblical verse, became dominant by about the year 220 CE, when Rabbi Judah haNasi
Judah haNasi
Judah the Prince, or Judah I, also known as Rebbi or Rabbeinu HaKadosh , was a 2nd-century CE rabbi and chief redactor and editor of the Mishnah. He was a key leader of the Jewish community during the Roman occupation of Judea . He was of the Davidic line, the royal line of King David, hence the...

 redacted the Mishnah. In general, all opinions, even the non-normative ones, were recorded in the Mishnah and subsequently the Talmud.

In modern times, "the law" takes on a different meaning than discussed in the Mishnah and Talmud. "The law" in Judaism refers primarily to biblical law, given to the Israelites by God through Moses, as well as interpretations of the meaning and application of those rules. Thus, "the Law
The Law
- Music :* The Law , an English rock group** The Law * The Law , an indie rock band from Scotland* The Law * "The Law", a song by Leonard Cohen on the album Various Positions- Film :...

" is understood to be the religious teachings and rules given by God. Yet, since religion was infused in every area of life, rules for governing society, resolution of disputes, and enforcing safety and public order were also governed by the religious law, leading to an overlap of religion and modern conceptions of law.

Relationship with the Hebrew Bible


Rabbinic Judaism
Rabbinic Judaism
Rabbinic Judaism or Rabbinism has been the mainstream form of Judaism since the 6th century CE, after the codification of the Talmud...

 holds that the oral tradition
Oral Torah
The Oral Torah comprises the legal and interpretative traditions that, according to tradition, were transmitted orally from Mount Sinai, and were not written in the Torah...

 was received by Moses
Moses
Moses was, according to the Hebrew Bible and Qur'an, a religious leader, lawgiver and prophet, to whom the authorship of the Torah is traditionally attributed...

 at Mount Sinai
Mount Sinai
Mount Sinai , also known as Mount Horeb, Mount Musa, Gabal Musa , Jabal Musa meaning "Moses' Mountain", is a mountain near Saint Catherine in the Sinai Peninsula of Egypt. A mountain called Mount Sinai is mentioned many times in the Book of Exodus in the Torah and the Bible as well as the Quran...

 in parallel with the Five Books of Moses, the (written) Torah
Torah
Torah- A scroll containing the first five books of the BibleThe Torah , is name given by Jews to the first five books of the bible—Genesis , Exodus , Leviticus , Numbers and Deuteronomy Torah- A scroll containing the first five books of the BibleThe Torah , is name given by Jews to the first five...

 (Torah she-bi-khtav), and that these together have always been the basis of Jewish law
Halakha
Halakha — also transliterated Halocho , or Halacha — is the collective body of Jewish law, including biblical law and later talmudic and rabbinic law, as well as customs and traditions.Judaism classically draws no distinction in its laws between religious and ostensibly non-religious life; Jewish...

 (halakha). The "Written Law" consists of the "Five Books of Moses," the first five books of the Hebrew Bible
Hebrew Bible
The Hebrew Bible is a term used by biblical scholars outside of Judaism to refer to the Tanakh , a canonical collection of Jewish texts, and the common textual antecedent of the several canonical editions of the Christian Old Testament...

, and not the Bible as a whole.

According to the Rabbinic view, the Oral Law (Torah she-be'al-peh) was also given to Moses at Sinai, and is the exposition of the Written Law as relayed by the scholarly and other religious leaders of each generation. This Oral Law is authoritative in practical terms, as the traditions of the Oral Law are considered as the necessary basis for the interpretation, and often for the reading, of the Written Law.

Thus, Jewish law and custom
Halakha
Halakha — also transliterated Halocho , or Halacha — is the collective body of Jewish law, including biblical law and later talmudic and rabbinic law, as well as customs and traditions.Judaism classically draws no distinction in its laws between religious and ostensibly non-religious life; Jewish...

 is based not only on a literal reading of the Torah
Torah
Torah- A scroll containing the first five books of the BibleThe Torah , is name given by Jews to the first five books of the bible—Genesis , Exodus , Leviticus , Numbers and Deuteronomy Torah- A scroll containing the first five books of the BibleThe Torah , is name given by Jews to the first five...

, or the rest of the Tanakh
Tanakh
The Tanakh is a name used in Judaism for the canon of the Hebrew Bible. The Tanakh is also known as the Masoretic Text or the Miqra. The name is an acronym formed from the initial Hebrew letters of the Masoretic Text's three traditional subdivisions: The Torah , Nevi'im and Ketuvim —hence...

, but on the combined oral and written traditions. Notably, the Mishnah does not cite a written scriptural basis for its laws: since it is said that the Oral Law was given simultaneously with the Written Law, the Oral Law codified in the Mishnah does not derive directly from the Written Law of the Torah. This is in contrast with the Midrash halakha
Midrash halakha
Midrash halakha was the ancient Judaic rabbinic method of Torah study that expounded upon the traditionally received 613 Mitzvot by identifying their sources in the Tanakh , and by interpreting these passages as proofs of the laws' authenticity. Midrash more generally also refers to the...

, works in which the sources of the traditionally received laws are identified in the Tanakh
Tanakh
The Tanakh is a name used in Judaism for the canon of the Hebrew Bible. The Tanakh is also known as the Masoretic Text or the Miqra. The name is an acronym formed from the initial Hebrew letters of the Masoretic Text's three traditional subdivisions: The Torah , Nevi'im and Ketuvim —hence...

, often by linking a verse to a halakha. These Midrashim often predate the Mishnah.

By 220 CE, much of the Oral Law was edited together into the Mishnah, and published by Rabbi Judah haNasi. Over the next four centuries this material underwent analysis and debate, known as Gemara
Gemara
The Gemara is the component of the Talmud comprising rabbinical analysis of and commentary on the Mishnah. After the Mishnah was published by Rabbi Judah the Prince The Gemara (also transliterated Gemora or, less commonly, Gemorra; from Aramaic גמרא gamar; literally, "[to] study" or "learning by...

 ("completion"), in what were at that time the world's two major Jewish communities, in the land of Israel
Land of Israel
The Land of Israel is the Biblical name for the territory roughly corresponding to the area encompassed by the Southern Levant, also known as Canaan and Palestine, Promised Land and Holy Land. The belief that the area is a God-given homeland of the Jewish people is based on the narrative of the...

 and in the Babylonian Empire. These debates eventually came to be edited together into compilations known as the Talmud
Talmud
The Talmud is a central text of mainstream Judaism. It takes the form of a record of rabbinic discussions pertaining to Jewish law, ethics, philosophy, customs and history....

: the Talmud Yerushalmi (Jerusalem Talmud) for the compilation in Israel, and Talmud Bavli (Babylonian Talmud) for the compilation undertaken in Babylon.

Competing oral laws and acceptance



It is unclear, according to J. Sussman (Mehqerei Talmud III), whether there was any writing connected to the Oral Law, or whether it was entirely oral. Over time, different traditions of the Oral Law came into being, raising debates about what the laws or their rulings were. According to the Mevo Hatalmud many rulings were given about specific things that could have been taken out of context or where a ruling was revisited but the second ruling was not as popularly known. To correct this, Rabbi Yehuda haNasi took up the redaction of the Mishnah. If something was already there with no conflict, he used it without changes in language, he reordered and ruled on where there was conflict, and clarified where context was not given. The idea was not do this at his own discretion, but rather to examine the tradition as far back as he could, and only supplement as required.
Some Jews did not accept the written codification of the oral law at all; known as Karaites, they comprised a significant portion of the world Jewish population in the 10th and 11th Centuries CE, and remain extant, though they currently number in the thousands.

Textual variants


The earliest printed edition of the Mishnah was published in Naples ("the Napoli edition"). There have been many subsequent editions, including the late nineteenth century Vilna edition, which is the basis of the editions now used by the religious public.

As well as being printed on its own, the Mishnah is included in all editions of the Babylonian and Jerusalem Talmuds. Each paragraph is printed on its own, and followed by the relevant Gemara discussion. However, that discussion itself often cites the Mishnah line by line. While the text printed in paragraph form has generally been standardized to follow the Vilna edition, the text cited line by line often preserves important variants, which sometimes reflect the readings of older manuscripts.

The nearest approach to a critical edition is that of Hanoch Albeck
Hanoch Albeck
Hanoch Albeck was a professor of Talmud at the Hebrew University in Jerusalem, Israel. He was one of the foremost scholars of the Mishna in his time and he was one of the founders of the scientific approach to the study of the Mishna.Hanoch's father Shalom Albeck, known as the Talmudic scholar,...

. There is also an edition by Yosef Qafiḥ
Yosef Qafih
Yosef Qafih , widely known as Rabbi Kapach , was one of the foremost leaders of the Yemenite Jewish community, first in Yemen and later in Israel. He was the grandson of Rabbi Yihhyah Qafahh, also a prominent Yemenite leader and grandson of the founder of the Dor Deah movement in Yemen...

 of the Mishnah together with the commentary of Maimonides
Maimonides
Moses ben-Maimon, called Maimonides and also known as Mūsā ibn Maymūn in Arabic, or Rambam , was a preeminent medieval Jewish philosopher and one of the greatest Torah scholars and physicians of the Middle Ages...

, which compares the base text used by Maimonides with the Napoli and Vilna editions and other sources.

Oral traditions and pronunciation



The Mishnah was and still is traditionally studied through recitation (out loud). Many medieval manuscripts of the Mishnah are vowelized, and some of these contain partial Tiberian cantillation
Cantillation
Cantillation is the ritual chanting of readings from the Hebrew Bible in synagogue services. The chants are written and notated in accordance with the special signs or marks printed in the Masoretic text of the Hebrew Bible to complement the letters and vowel points...

. Jewish communities around the world preserved local melodies for chanting the Mishnah, and distinctive ways of pronouncing its words.

Most vowelized editions of the Mishnah today reflect standard Ashkenazic
Ashkenazi Jews
Ashkenazi Jews, also known as Ashkenazic Jews or Ashkenazim , are the Jews descended from the medieval Jewish communities along the Rhine in Germany from Alsace in the south to the Rhineland in the north. Ashkenaz is the medieval Hebrew name for this region and thus for Germany...

 vowelization, and often contain mistakes. The Albeck edition of the Mishnah was vowelized by Hanokh Yellin, who made careful eclectic use of both medieval manuscripts and current oral traditions of pronunciation from Jewish communities all over the world. The Albeck edition includes an introduction by Yellin detailing his eclectic method.

Two institutes at the Hebrew University in Jerusalem have collected major oral archives which hold (among other things) extensive recordings of Jews chanting the Mishnah using a variety of melodies and many different kinds of pronunciation. These institutes are the Jewish Oral Traditions Research Center and the National Voice Archives (the Phonoteca at the Jewish National and University Library). See below for external links.

Commentaries

  • The two main commentaries on the Mishnah are the Babylonian Talmud and the Yerushalmi Talmud. Neither work covers the whole Mishnah, but each work is on about 50%-70% of the text. The reason that the Talmud is not usually viewed as a commentary on the Mishnah, is because it also has many other goals, and can get involved in long tangential discussions. However, the main purpose of the Talmud is as a commentary on the Mishna.

  • In 1168, Maimonides
    Maimonides
    Moses ben-Maimon, called Maimonides and also known as Mūsā ibn Maymūn in Arabic, or Rambam , was a preeminent medieval Jewish philosopher and one of the greatest Torah scholars and physicians of the Middle Ages...

     published a comprehensive commentary on the Mishnah. It was written in transliterated Arabic
    Arabic language
    Arabic is a name applied to the descendants of the Classical Arabic language of the 6th century AD, used most prominently in the Quran, the Islamic Holy Book...

     (using Hebrew letters) and was one of the first commentaries of its kind. In it, "Rambam" condenses the associated Talmudical debates
    Gemara
    The Gemara is the component of the Talmud comprising rabbinical analysis of and commentary on the Mishnah. After the Mishnah was published by Rabbi Judah the Prince The Gemara (also transliterated Gemora or, less commonly, Gemorra; from Aramaic גמרא gamar; literally, "[to] study" or "learning by...

    , and offers his conclusions
    Posek
    Posek is the term in Jewish law for "decider"—a legal scholar who decides the Halakha in cases of law where previous authorities are inconclusive or in those situations where no halakhic precedent exists....

     in a number of undecided issues. Of particular significance are the various introductory sections - as well as the introduction to the work itself - these are widely quoted in other works on the Mishnah, and on the Oral law
    Oral law
    An oral law is a code of conduct in use in a given culture, religion or community application, by which a body of rules of human behaviour is transmitted by oral tradition and effectively respected, or the single rule that is orally transmitted....

     in general. Perhaps the most famous is his introduction to the tenth chapter of tractate Sanhedrin where he enumerates the thirteen fundamental beliefs of Judaism
    Judaism
    Judaism ) is the "religion, philosophy, and way of life" of the Jewish people...

    . The work has been translated a number of times. Rabbi Yosef Qafiḥ
    Yosef Qafih
    Yosef Qafih , widely known as Rabbi Kapach , was one of the foremost leaders of the Yemenite Jewish community, first in Yemen and later in Israel. He was the grandson of Rabbi Yihhyah Qafahh, also a prominent Yemenite leader and grandson of the founder of the Dor Deah movement in Yemen...

    's translation was popular in the twentieth century, but a recent translation by Machon MaOhr offers much more comprehensive footnotes.

  • Rabbi Samson of Sens (France
    France
    The French Republic , The French Republic , The French Republic , (commonly known as France , is a unitary semi-presidential republic in Western Europe with several overseas territories and islands located on other continents and in the Indian, Pacific, and Atlantic oceans. Metropolitan France...

    ) was, apart from Maimonides, one of the few rabbis of the early medieval era to compose a Mishnah commentary on some tractates. It is printed in many editions of the Mishnah. It is interwoven with his commentary on major parts of the Tosefta.

  • The Rosh
    Asher ben Jehiel
    Asher ben Jehiel- Ashkenazi was an eminent rabbi and Talmudist best known for his abstract of Talmudic law. He is often referred to as Rabbenu Asher, “our Rabbi Asher” or by the Hebrew acronym for this title, the ROSH...

    's commentary on some tractates

  • The Meiri's commentary on most of the Mishnah

  • Rabbi Obadiah ben Abraham
    Obadiah ben Abraham
    Obadiah ben Abraham of Bertinoro was a 15th-century rabbi best known for his popular commentary on the Mishnah, commonly known as "The Bartenura".He was born and lived in the second half of the 15th-century in Italy and died in Jerusalem, Palestine about 1500...

     of Bertinoro
    Bertinoro
    Bertinoro is a town and comune in the province of Forlì-Cesena, Emilia-Romagna . It is located on hill, Mount Cesubeo, in Romagna, a few kilometers from the Via Emilia.-History:...

     (15th century) wrote one of the most popular Mishnah commentaries. He draws on Maimonides' work but also offers Talmudical material (in effect a summary of the Talmudic discussion
    Gemara
    The Gemara is the component of the Talmud comprising rabbinical analysis of and commentary on the Mishnah. After the Mishnah was published by Rabbi Judah the Prince The Gemara (also transliterated Gemora or, less commonly, Gemorra; from Aramaic גמרא gamar; literally, "[to] study" or "learning by...

    ) largely following the commentary of Rashi
    Rashi
    Shlomo Yitzhaki , or in Latin Salomon Isaacides, and today generally known by the acronym Rashi , was a medieval French rabbi famed as the author of a comprehensive commentary on the Talmud, as well as a comprehensive commentary on the Tanakh...

    . In addition to its role as a commentary on the Mishnah, this work is often referenced by students of Talmud as a review-text, and is often referred to as "the Bartenura" or "the Ra'V".

  • After the Maharal of Prague had initiated organised Mishnah study (Chevrat ha-Mishnayoth), Yomtov Lipman Heller (who is often believed to be his pupil but came to Prague already as a mature scholar) wrote a commentary called Tosafot Yom Tov. In the introduction Heller says that his aim is to make additions (tosafoth) to Bertinoro’s commentary. The glosses are sometimes quite detailed and analytic. That is why it is sometimes compared to the Tosafot
    Tosafot
    The Tosafot or Tosafos are medieval commentaries on the Talmud. They take the form of critical and explanatory glosses, printed, in almost all Talmud editions, on the outer margin and opposite Rashi's notes...

     - discussions of Babylonian gemara by French and German scholars of 12-13th C. In many compact Mishnah printings, a condensed version of his commentary, titled Ikar Tosafot Yom Tov, is featured.

  • Other Acharonim
    Acharonim
    Acharonim is a term used in Jewish law and history, to signify the leading rabbis and poskim living from roughly the 16th century to the present....

     who have written Mishnah commentaries:
    • The Melechet Shlomo (Rav Shelomo Adeni)
    • The Vilna Gaon
      Vilna Gaon
      Elijah ben Shlomo Zalman Kramer, known as the Vilna Gaon or Elijah of Vilna and simply by his Hebrew acronym Gra or Elijah Ben Solomon, , was a Talmudist, halachist, kabbalist, and the foremost leader of non-hasidic Jewry of the past few centuries...

       (Shenot Eliyahu on parts of the Mishnah, and glosses Eliyaho Rabba, Chidushei HaGra, Meoros HaGra)
    • Rabbi Akiva Eiger (glosses, rather than a commentary)
    • The Mishnah Rishonah on Zeraim and the Mishnah Acharonah on Taharot (Rav Efrayim Yitzchok from Premishla)
    • The Sidrei Taharot on Kelim and Ohalot (the commentary on the rest of Taharot and on Eduyot is lost) by the Grand Rabbi Gershon Henoch Leiner, the Radziner Rebbe
    • The Gulot Iliyot (Rav Dov Ber Lifshitz) on Mikvaot
    • The Ahavat Eitan by Rav Avrohom Abba Krenitz (the great grandfather of Rav Malkiel Kotler)
    • The Chazon Ish on Zeraim and Taharot

  • A prominent commentary from the 19th century is Tiferet Yisrael by Rabbi Israel Lipschitz
    Israel Lipschitz
    Israel Lipschitz was rabbi and one of the Acharonim first at Dessau and then at the Jewish Community of Danzig. He was the author of Tiferet Yisrael a well-known commentary on the Mishna...

    . It is subdivided into two parts, one more general and the other more analytical, titled Yachin and Boaz respectively (after two large pillars in the Temple in Jerusalem
    Temple in Jerusalem
    The Temple in Jerusalem or Holy Temple , refers to one of a series of structures which were historically located on the Temple Mount in the Old City of Jerusalem, the current site of the Dome of the Rock. Historically, these successive temples stood at this location and functioned as the centre of...

    ). Although Rabbi Lipschutz has faced some controversy in certain Hasidic circles, he was greatly respected by such sages as Rabbi Akiva Eiger, whom he frequently cites, and is widely accepted in the Yeshiva
    Yeshiva
    Yeshiva is a Jewish educational institution that focuses on the study of traditional religious texts, primarily the Talmud and Torah study. Study is usually done through daily shiurim and in study pairs called chavrutas...

     world. The Tiferet Yaakov is an important gloss on the Tiferet Yisrael.

  • A popular commentary was written in Yiddish by Dr. Symcha Petrushka. It's vocalization is supposed to be of high quality.

  • The commentary by Rabbi Pinhas Kehati, which is written in Modern Israeli Hebrew and based on classical and contemporary works, has become popular in the late Twentieth Century. The commentary is designed to make the Mishnah widely accessible to a wide spectrum of learners of all ages and all levels of experience in Torah study. It is popularly referred to as "Kehati". Each tractate is introduced with an overview of its contents, including historical and legal background material, and each Mishnah is prefaced by a thematic introduction. The current version of this edition is printed with the Bartenura commentary as well as Kehati's.

  • The encyclopedic editions put out by Mishnat Rav Aharon (Beis Medrosho Govoah, Lakewood) on Sheviit, Challah, and Yadayim.

  • The above-mentioned edition edited by Hanokh Albeck and vocalized by Hanokh Yellin (1952–59) includes the former's extensive commentary on each Mishnah, as well as introductions to each tractate (Masekhet) and order (Seder). This commentary tends to focus on the meaning of the mishnayot themselves, without as much reliance on the Gemara's interpretation and is, therefore, considered valuable as a tool for the study of Mishnah as an independent work. It is currently out of print.

  • Rabbi Yehuda Leib Ginsburg
    Yehuda Leib Ginsburg
    Yehuda Leib Ginsburg was an Rabbi in Denver, Colorado. He moved to Denver from Yaroslavl, Russia where he had been the town's Rabbi previously...

     wrote a commentary looking for the ethical messages found within the text in his "Musar HaMishnah". The commentary appears for the entire text except for Taharot and Kodashim
    Kodashim
    Kodashim or Qodhashim is the fifth Order in the Mishna . Of the six Orders of the Mishna, it is the third longest...

    . Using the text itself and various halachic rulings, Ginsburg finds hidden meaning in the text. It is currently out of print, though it is available for free online.

As a historical source


Both the Mishnah and Talmud contain little serious biographical studies of the people discussed therein, and the same tractate will conflate the points of view of many different people. Yet, sketchy biographies of the Mishnaic sages can often be constructed with historical detail from Talmudic and Midrash
Midrash
The Hebrew term Midrash is a homiletic method of biblical exegesis. The term also refers to the whole compilation of homiletic teachings on the Bible....

ic sources.

Many modern historical scholars have focused on the timing and the formation of the Mishnah. A vital question is whether it is composed of sources which date from its editor's lifetime, and to what extent is it composed of earlier, or later sources. Are Mishnaic disputes distinguishable along theological or communal lines, and in what ways do different sections derive from different schools of thought within early Judaism? Can these early sources be identified, and if so, how? In response to these questions, modern scholars have adopted a number of different approaches.
  • Some scholars hold that there has been extensive editorial reshaping of the stories and statements within the Mishnah (and later, in the Talmud.) Lacking outside confirming texts, they hold that we cannot confirm the origin or date of most statements and laws, and that we can say little for certain about their authorship. In this view, the questions above are impossible to answer. See, for example, the works of Louis Jacobs
    Louis Jacobs
    Rabbi Dr. Louis Jacobs was a Masorti rabbi, the first leader of Masorti Judaism in the United Kingdom, and a leading writer and thinker on Judaism...

    , Baruch M. Bokser, Shaye J. D. Cohen, Steven D. Fraade.

  • Some scholars hold that the Mishnah and Talmud have been extensively shaped by later editorial redaction, but that it contains sources which we can identify and describe with some level of reliability. In this view, sources can be identified to some extent because each era of history and each distinct geographical region has its own unique feature, which one can trace and analyze. Thus, the questions above may be analyzed. See, for example, the works of Goodblatt, Lee Levine, David C. Kraemer and Robert Goldenberg.

  • Some scholars hold that many or most of the statements and events described in the Mishnah and Talmud usually occurred more or less as described, and that they can be used as serious sources of historical study. In this view, historians do their best to tease out later editorial additions (itself a very difficult task) and skeptically view accounts of miracles, leaving behind a reliable historical text. See, for example, the works of Saul Lieberman
    Saul Lieberman
    Saul Lieberman , also known as Rabbi Shaul Lieberman or The Gra"sh , was a rabbi and a scholar of Talmud...

    , David Weiss Halivni
    David Weiss Halivni
    David Weiss Halivni is an American-Israeli rabbi, scholar in the domain of Jewish Sciences and professor of Talmud.-Biography:...

    , Avraham Goldberg and Dov Zlotnick.

Cultural references


The most notable literary work on the composition of the Mishnah is probably Milton Steinberg
Milton Steinberg
Milton Steinberg was an American rabbi, philosopher, theologian and author.-Life:Born in Rochester, New York, he was raised with the combination of his grandparents' traditional Jewish piety and his father's modernist socialism...

's novel As a Driven Leaf
As a Driven Leaf
As a Driven Leaf is a 1939 novel by Milton Steinberg based on the life of Elisha ben AbuyahSteinberg's novel wrestles with the 2nd century Jewish struggle to reconcile Rabbinic Judaism both culturally and philosophically with Greek Hellenistic society...

.

See also


  • Beraita
  • Jewish commentaries on the Bible
    Jewish commentaries on the Bible
    This article describes the first printing of the Hebrew Bible with major Jewish commentaries, notes concerning translations into Aramaic and English, lists some universally accepted Jewish commentaries with notes on their method of approach and lists modern translations into English with notes.-...

  • Midrash
    Midrash
    The Hebrew term Midrash is a homiletic method of biblical exegesis. The term also refers to the whole compilation of homiletic teachings on the Bible....

  • Minor Tractates
  • Talmud
    Talmud
    The Talmud is a central text of mainstream Judaism. It takes the form of a record of rabbinic discussions pertaining to Jewish law, ethics, philosophy, customs and history....

  • Tannaim
    Tannaim
    The Tannaim were the Rabbinic sages whose views are recorded in the Mishnah, from approximately 70-200 CE. The period of the Tannaim, also referred to as the Mishnaic period, lasted about 130 years...

  • Tosefta
    Tosefta
    The Tosefta is a compilation of the Jewish oral law from the period of the Mishnah.-Overview:...


English Translations

  • Philip Blackman. Mishnayoth. The Judaica Press, Ltd., 2000 (ISBN 0-910818-00-X). Available online for free download in PDF format at HebrewBooks.org: Zeraim, Moed, Nashim, Nezikin, Kodashim, Taharoth.
  • Herbert Danby
    Herbert Danby
    Herbert Danby was an Anglican priest and writer who played a central role in the change of attitudes toward Judaism in the first half of the twentieth century.- Education :...

    . The Mishnah. Oxford, 1933 (ISBN 0-19-815402-X).
  • Jacob Neusner
    Jacob Neusner
    Jacob Neusner is an American academic scholar of Judaism who lives in Rhinebeck, New York.-Biography:Born in Hartford, Connecticut, Neusner was educated at Harvard University, the Jewish Theological Seminary of America , the University of Oxford, and Columbia University.Neusner is often celebrated...

    . The Mishnah: A New Translation. New Haven, reprint 1991 (ISBN 0-300-05022-4).
  • Various editors. The Mishnah, a new translation with commentary Yad Avraham. New York: Mesorah publishers, since 1980s.
  • [Yoseph Milstein + Various editors.] The Mishnah, a new integrated translation and commentary based on Rabbeinu Ovadiah M'Bartenurah, Machon Yisrael Trust, available online at eMishnah.com.

Historical study

  • Shalom Carmy (Ed.) Modern Scholarship in the Study of Torah: Contributions and Limitations Jason Aronson, Inc.
  • Shaye J.D. Cohen, "Patriarchs and Scholarchs", Proceedings of the American Academy for Jewish Research 48 (1981), pp. 57–87
  • Steven D. Fraade, "The Early Rabbinic Sage," in The Sage in Israel and the Ancient Near East, ed. John G. Gammie and Leo G. Perdue (Winona Lake, Indiana: Eisenbrauns, 1990), pp. 417–23
  • Robert Goldenberg The Sabbath-Law of Rabbi Meir (Missoula, Montana: Scholars Press, 1978)
  • John W McGinley 'The Written' as the Vocation of Conceiving Jewishly ISBN 0-595-40488-X
  • Jacob Neusner Making the Classics in Judaism (Atlanta: Scholars Press, 1989), pp. 1–13 and 19-44
  • Jacob Neusner Judaism: The Evidence of the Mishnah (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1981), pp. 14–22.
  • Gary Porton, The Traditions of Rabbi Ishmael (Leiden: E.J. Brill, 1982), vol. 4, pp. 212–25
  • Dov Zlotnick, The Iron Pillar Mishnah (Jerusalem: Bialik Institute, 1988), pp. 8–9
  • Reuvain Margolies, Yesod Ha-Mishnah V'Arichatah (Heb.)
  • David Tzvi Hoffman, Mishnah Rishonah U'flugta D'tanna'e (Heb)

Recitation

  • Frank Alvarez-Pereyre, La Transmission Orale de la Mishna. Une methode d'analyse appliquee a la tradition d'Alep: Jerusalem 1990

Wikimedia projects


Wikisource's Open Mishna Project is developing Mishnah texts, commentaries, and translations. The project is currently available in four languages: Hebrew (the largest collection), English, French and Portuguese.

Other electronic texts


Mishnah study & the Daily Mishnah

  • Aaron Ahrend, "Mishna Study and Study Groups in Modern Times" in JSIJ 3: 2004 (Hebrew). Available online here (Word & PDF).
  • The Daily Mishna - uses the Kehati commentary (in English translation).
  • Mishna Yomit - One Mishnah per day. (Note: this study-cycle follows a different schedule than the regular one; contains extensive archives in English).
  • Mishnah Yomit - MishnahYomit.com hosts a weekly publication complementing the learning of people studying the regular program. It include articles, review questions and learning aids.
  • Mishna of the Daf - a new Mishnah study cycle that parallels the progress of the Daf Yomi
    Daf Yomi
    Daf Yomi "page [of the] day" or "daily folio") is a daily regimen undertaken to study the Babylonian Talmud one folio each day...

    .
  • Kehati Mishna a program of two Mishnayot per day. Currently inactive, but archives contain the complete text of Kehati in English for Moed, Nashim, Nezikin, and about half of Kodashim.
  • Dafyomireview - custom learning and review programs for Mishnah

Audio lectures


Oral traditions and pronunciation