משנה Mishnah

By Levi Clancy for לוי on

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There are six orders of the משנה Mishnah.

There are six orders, containing a total of 63 tractates.

The most widespread tradition is that Rabbi was the editor of the Mishna.

According to a trustworthy (ancient and unanimous) tradition, Rabbi, i. e. Judah Ha-nasi (born 135 C.E.), the great-grandson of Gamaliel I, is held to have been the editor of the code of traditional law which has come down to us and is known as the 'Mishna' par excellence. Strack, p 20


There are divergent theories on the origin of the Mishna and subsequently the Talmuds. One is that the Mishna was codified by Rabbi; and the other is that the Mishna (and Gemara too) was codified by the Saboraim.

The Mishna was definitely codified by the time of Roman emperor Justinian (527 - 565) Novella 146. The Epistle of Gaon Sherira deals with the question of the Mishna's authorship but unfortunately it only exists in two recensions (a French version and a Spanish version) and these contradict each other.

Rabbi view

The Mishna was committed to writing by Rabbi himself, the Palestinian Gemara by Johanan, the Babylonian Gemara by Rab Ashi and Rabina Strack, p 18 - 19. In addition to the Talmudists in general of Spain, Italy and Germany, the greatest supporters of this theory are enumerated below Strack, p 18 - 19.

  • Rabbenu Nissim [to whose father Jacob and the men of Kairwan Sheriras Epistle was addressed] in the introduction to the Sefer ha-Mafteah.

  • Samuel ha-Nagid (1027 - 1055, secretary and adviser to king Habus of Granada and to his son Badis) in his Introduction to the Talmud.

  • The well-known poet and philosopher Judah Ha-levi in his Kuzari [3, 67].

  • Abraham ben David in his Sepher ha-kabbala (written in 1160).

  • Moses Maimonides, in his introduction to the Mishna [Berachoth, introd, 3b, 4a, 8a, 10a] and still more unreservedly in his preface to Mishne Torah.

  • Menahem b Solomon Meiri of Perpignan, in his work Beth ha-behira [commentary on Aboth, 6a, 8b, 9a].

  • Hisdai Kreskas

  • Prophiat Duran (about 1391)

  • Isaac Arabanel (1437 - 1508)

  • Abraham Zakuth, Sepher Yuhasin (written in 1504).

  • Z Frankel in his Hodegetica, p 216 - 218.

  • I H Weiss in Dor v II (216 f) and v III (243 - 248)

  • Hamburger in Dor v II 796 f

  • J Brull in Dor v II 10-13

  • Wolf Jawitz in Toledoth Yisrael v VI 340 ff

Saboraim view

The Mishna (and Gemara) was written for the first time by the Saboraim -- entirely after Rabbi and the Amoraim. The greatest supporters of this theory are glossed below Strack, p 19.

  • Rashi (R Solomon Yishaki, 1040 - 1105)

  • Several Tosaphists. On Meg 32a the Tosaphoth say: The Talmud teachers were in the habit of reciting the Mishnayoth in a specific chant, for the reason that the Mishnayoth, even after Rabbi, were not committed to writing and so impressed themselves upon the memory with greater ease.

  • Zerahiah Ha-levi (in Lunel, died 1186) in his Sepher ha-maor.

  • Moses of Coucy (near Soissons, about 1140) in his Sepher miswoth gadol.

  • Simeon ben Semah Duran (died in 1444) in his Responsa I 73, II 53.

  • Jacob Hagiz (Hagiz, died in 1674) in the introduction to his commentary on the Mishna.

  • Hirsch Chajes, in Torah Nebiim.

  • Samuel David Luzzatto, in the introduction to 'Oheb Ger (Philoxenus). See also Kerem Hemed and Luzzatto's Hebrew letters.

  • Gratz

  • L Low in Graphische Requisiten u. Erseugnisse bei den Juden II 112-115, 166f; compare Schriften I 10.


Halakic codifications antedate the effort of Rabbi. Strack neatly summarizes some examples where tractates had taken shape and were known orally in that form.

Jose ben Halaphta, a contemporary of Meir, apostrophizes the tractate Kelim: "Hail to thee, Kelim [אשריך כלים], that beginning with uncleanness thou endest with cleanness [Kelim 30.4]." Meir and Nathan conspire to expose Rabban Simeon b Gamaliel II by bidding him recite the tractate Uksin of which he was ignorant; whereupon Jacob b Korshai seats himself near by Simeon's chamber and proceeds to rehearse the tractate peshat, geras u'thena; Simeon listens and memorizes it, and on the following day he is able to recite the whole of it [Hor 13b]. Accordingly the tractate Uksin had then assumed complete shape with which Meir, Nathan and Jacob b. K. were familiar and which SImeon b. G. might likewise be expected to command. Strack, p 21

These were no casual bodies of memory -- they were strict, likely written down at least in part.

Great stress was laid on memorizing and retaining in memory the enormous material; witness the remark of Dosthai ben Jannai in the name of Meir: "When a scholar forgets a single word of his Mishna, they account it to him as if he forfeited his life [Aboth 3.8; compare Aboth 3.7b]." Strack, p 21

If at least some of the tractates had been formally structured, it is likely that they had also been written in at least a limited fashion: as private collections personally and written and kept by Rabbis so that they might refresh their memories.

Is it not reasonable to suppose that the matter had at least in part been committed to writing? In all probability, by this time most of the Tannaim of standing had composed written collections of Halakoth for the purpose of refreshing their memory while preparing their lectures in private, though not for us in the school house [nor for any public use]; possibly also those who were preachers owned similar collections of Haggadoth in writing. Of course, we do not know just how much had then been written down and how much was memorized by constant rehearsing. Strack, p 21

In fact, the Mishna authors likely used such works for reference when composing the comprehensive Mishna.

The codifiers of comprehensive Mishna works availed themselves of collections of this sort, in particular when they dealt with specific parts of the entire field of traditional lore. It is in this sense that certain tractates (i. e. in the oldest elements which go by no name, setham) are attributed to certain Tannaim, as e.g. Middoth to Elizer ben Jacob, who lived when the Temple was still standing [Yoma 16a], Tamid and Yoma to Simeon of Mizpah (a contemporary of Gamaliel I) [see Pe'a 2.6, Yoma 14b], Kinnim to Joshua ben Hananiah [Zeb 67b, 68a], [and] Kelim to Jose ben Halaphta [REJ, XXXII, 200 ff]. Strack, p 21 - 22

Origins in midrash

The Mishna was likely preceded and developed from the Midrash and centuries of Halakahic development. Indeed, not only is the mishna as we have it today certainly influenced by midrash, but in several instances mishna statements are presented in the extant Tosephta in the form of midrash.

Passages of the Pentateuch to which the Mishna offers expositions, expansions, etc. are for the most part not cited at all, but are often taken for granted. Thus in the tractate Kil'aim neither Levit. 19.19 nor Deut. 22.9-11 are cited; without any introduction whatsoever the opening reads: "Wheat and rye-grass (zunin) are no mixed seed." Strack, p 24

There are many examples where the mishna takes on the character of midrash, as shown below: Strack, p 251

In M Sh 5.10-14 we find an exposition of Deut 26.13-15.

In Yeb 8 we read several regulations concerning maimed persons and castrates in accordance with Deut 23.2; in immediate sequence the law touching the exclusion of Ammonites and Moabites from the Israelitish community and the admission of Egyptians and Edomites is taken up as in Deut. 23.4 ff.

Sota 8 deals with the allocution of the priest anointed for warfare and in general expounds Deut 20.2-9; then follows in 9 the law concerning the heifer whose neck is broken in expiation of a murder by an unknown criminal, Deut. 21.1-9.

B. M 2.10 mention is made of the ass succumbing under its burden = Exod 23.5; the subject is entirely foreign to the context, and its introduction was entrained by the reference to the animal gone astray = Exod 23.4.

In Mak. 2 the regulations concerning unpremeditated manslaughter = Deut. 19.4 ff and the cities of refuge = Deut 19.2 ff which are in no way related to the subject matter of the tractate, but are introduced at this point simply because the matter in chapter 1 concerns the punishment with stripes which is meted out to false witnesses, compare Deut 19.19.

The tractate shebuoth is composed of the exposition of two biblical passages, Leviticus 5 (chapter 1-5) and Exodus 22.5-14 (chapters 6-8).

A Z 3.3 cites Deut 13.18; the section which follows immediately deals with Rabban Gamaliel in the bath-house of Aphrodite for the reason that the identical verse is adduced; compare in addition the words of Akiba in section 5 showing up in scriptural context.

The tractate Bekoroth deals with the first-born according to Leviticus 27.26 f; hence in Bekor 8.10 the regulations concerning property which does not revert in the year of jubilee in accordance with Leviticus 27.17-24 and in Bek 9 concerning the title of cattle, compare Leviticus 27.32.

The biblical passage underlying the tractate Arakin is Lev 27.2 ff; hence Arak 8 treats of devoted things, compare Lev 27.28 f, and Arak 9 deals with the redemption on the year of jubilee of a field previously sold = Lev 25.8-28 as well as of walled cities = Lev 25.29 ff.

Nega'im 12.5-7 is a running commentary on Lev 14.35ff.

See also M Sh 5; Sukka 3; Sots 6, 7, 11; Sanh 14; Shebu 1.3; Para 1.

Earlier משנה mishna

Rabbi's mishna was not the first. There were earlier codifications, though these were not likely written down in whole (though individual parts, perhaps tractates, could have been).

Rabbi's Mishna very soon put all the other codifications of the Mishna in the background; with the Amoraim it enjoyed canonical authority. A concurrent factor lay in the circumstance that Rabbi had taken counsel with his Beth-din. Strack, p 25

The Mishna codified by Rabbi was built upon Meir's mishna. Strack, p 22

Rabbi made of Meir's Mishna the groundwork of his own code, which he called by the same name and which was more comprehensive, taking note of the later development. ... Rabbi based himself upon the scholastic course of Meir and Judah, but at the same time the course pursued by Jose exercised a potent influence; another feature was that he appended the names of the Tannaim from the disciples of Akiba to his own day, and then again excluded this and the other item. Of the additions introduced may be singled out the pieces opening with zeh ha-kelal or with ma'aseh. Strack, p 22 - 23

And in turn, Meir's mishna was preceded by Akiba's mishna.

According to Johanan bar Nappaha, "our Mishna, whenever an opinion is reported anonymously, rests on Meir, the Tosephta on Nehemiah, Siphra on Judah ben El'ai, Siphre on Simeon ben Johai, but all of them ultimately on R. Akiba [Sanh 86a]." Strack, p 22

Not only does Sanh 86a directly mention a mishna by Akiba, but Jose ben Halaphta also repeatedly mentions Akiba's mishna Sanh 3.4; Tosephta M Sh 2. Compare such statements as "when Akiba ordered halakoth for his pupils" Tos Zabim 1.5 or those in Pal Shek 5.48c. Also, certain passages in Epiphanius, especially XXXIII 9, and Haeres XV 2. And also, Midrash Cant 8.2, Midrash Kohel 6.2, 12.7.

Akiba frequently broke up the sequence of the old order of instruction and established new concatenations; his innovations became particularly marked in Nezikin. Of Akiba's pupils, Meir and Judah ben El'ai range [arrange?] themselves often on opposite sides. Meir arranges Akiba's Mishna, while Judah harks back to the Mishna of the older Tannaim. Jose and Simeon illuminate and vitalize the material with their elucidations. The greater number of the statements by Simeon ben Gamaliel II occur in Nashim and Nezikin; there are in many respects points of contact with the traditions of his house and with Jose. Strack, p 23

And before Akiba's mishna were yet more. Strack, p 22

This is clearly stated by Kose ben Halaphta: "This is Akiba's Mishna, but the earlier Mishna taught differently Sanh 3.4." Many of the differences between the Shammaites and Hillelites point to the existence of a Mishna text.


At the very least, the Mishna was modified by later authors.

It is quite evident that the work was in the course of time enlarged by numerous additions. Such are obviously in particular all those sections in which Rabbi's own opinions are adduced with the explicit mention of his name [Nazir 1.4, 4.5; Mak 1.8], or divergent views of his contemporaries, then opinions which do not square with those taught by Rabbi elsewhere. Though rarely, authorities are cited from times subsequent to Rabbi's [Sota 9.15; A Z 2.6; compare Pal Git 48d]. Strack, p 20

There is reason to believe that the text underwent alteration. Thus elements from the Tosephta were inserted at an early date. THe first business of the Strack, p 20

ששה סדרי משנה Six orders of Mishna

  1. זרעים Zera’im

  2. מועד Mo’ed

  3. נשים Nashim

  4. נזיקין Nezikin

  5. קדשים Kodashim

  6. טהרות Tehorot

Oftentimes the subject matter in the tractate departs from what the name of the tractate would suggest.

This is justified by the supposition that the intention was to facilitate memorizing by collocating as many statutes as possible that are similar in one respect but dissimilar otherwise [examples: Bikk 2; Git 4, 5 (compare Tosaphoth 48b top); Sota 1, 5, 9; Men 3, 4; Bekor 4; Arak 2, 3; Me'ila 4; Nidda 6; Maksh 2]. Then again matters or cases are brought together with analogous distinctions [Meg 1 has thirteen statements beginning with אין בין, almost all of which are repeated elsewhere in the Mishna in their appropriate places; Hor 3, Hul 1, Para 1]. Other matters are grouped together because they refer to the same person [M Sh 5; Shek 7; Keth 13; Eduy]. Others because they go by the same number [E g Shab 2.6f (three transgressions, three words); B M 4.7f (five perutoth, five-fifths)]. And others because the sentences rhyme or follow alphabetic order.

The order of the tractates is also of great interest.

The principle for ordering the tractates seems to be according to their number of chapters. In the Scriptures the prophetic books are arrange likewise according to size; moreover, the same mode of arrangement is found in antique literature generally including even the Koran.

זרעים Zera’im (Seeds)

The first order contains eleven tractates.
  1. ברכות Berakhot

  2. פאה Pe'ah

  3. דמאי Demai
    The dubious

  4. כלאים Kil'ayim
    Diverse seeds

  5. שביעית Shevi'it
    Seventh year

  6. תרומות Terumot

  7. מעשרות Ma'aserot

  8. מעשר שני Ma'aser sheni
    Second tithe

  9. חלה Chalah

  10. ערלה Orlah
    Uncircumcised [trees]

  11. ביכורים Bikkurim
    First fruits

ברכות Berakhot (Benedictions)

Treats of benedictions and prayers, especially the daily prayers. Nine chapters.
§ 1The time for the שְׁמַע shema in the evening and in the morning, posture of the body in reciting, the benedictions in front and after.
§ 2Stops in the שְׁמַע shema, permission to interrupt this prayer in order to greet a person; praying with silent voice, laborers on the top of a tree or a wall, a person newly wedded.
§ 3Dispensations from the שְׁמַע shema.
§ 4The times for the morning, afternoon, and evening prayer; and for the additional prayers. Whether one may pray the Eighteen Benedictions (shemone 'esre) also in the form of an abstract. Of him whose prayers is opus operatum. Praying in a dangerous place, while on horseback or driving. Of the additional prayer.
§ 5Position and inward preparation for prayer. Prayer for rain. Habdala (benediction at the exit of the sabbath). Leading in prayer. Losing oneself in prayer.
§ 6Benedictions when partaking of fruits of the tree, fruits of the soil, bread, wine and other means of sustenance, while drinking water, over incense after the meal.
§ 7Common benediction after meals.
§ 8Differences between the schools of Hillel and Shammai, touching on the washing of hands and the benedictions, especially those at meals.
§ 9Benedictions on diverse occasions (in commemoration of miracles or of idolatry rooted out, with natural phenomena, at receiving news, when one builds a new house or purchases new furniture, when entering and leaving a city, at fortunate and unfortunate events). Respect for the Temple mount: "Blessed be the god of Israel from everlasting to everlasting." Uttering the name of god at salutations.

פאה Pe'ah (Corner)

Based on Leviticus 19.9f, 23.22 and Deuteronomy 24.19ff, this tractate deals with the corner of the field and in general of the dues to the poor. Eight chapters.
§ 1Which things are similar to pe'a in having no limit set to them in the Law. The limit and place of pe'a as determined by the rabbis. Of which plants and within what time pe'a is given, and how long it is free from tithing.
§ 2Whereby fields or plantations of trees are divided from one another. Exceptions and specific regulations (ie, carob trees, two threshing-floors, two sorts of produce).
§ 3Special cases: small plots, harvesting at different times community property; validity of transfers depending on the reservation of a small part of the soil.
§ 4How Pe'a is to be given; gleanings, leket; produce in ant holes.
§ 5More about gleanings; the forgotten sheaf, shikka.
§ 6The same subject continued.
§ 7The dues of the poor from oliveyards and vineyards.
§ 8What time one may glean; trustworthiness of the poor with regard to their dues; the poor tithe; the wayfaring poor; who is entitled to receive the dues of the poor.

דמאי Demai (The dubious)

Fruits concerning which it is not certain whether the tithe for the Levites, the heave-offering for the priests and, in those years in which it is due, the second tithe have been given. Seven chapters.

The word דמאי perhaps stems from דמי = דום be suspicious or better yet from דֶּמֶה be like, similar or its piel form (since the affirmative and negative are equally possible). Or else דמאי is nothing else than דמעי -- something that still contains תְּרוּמֶה = דֶּמֵע.

§ 1Which fruits are exempt from the right of Demai; how the Demai tithe is distinguished from the ordinary second tithe; in which cases fruits are exempt from the right of Demai; for what purpose Demai fruist may be applied.
§ 2Of which fruits are the land of Israel the Demai offerings must be made everywhere; who is trustworthy with regard to the observance of the Demai regulations; purchase and sale.
§ 3To whom it is permissible to give Demai for food; in which cases Demai fruits which one lets go out of his hands must be tithed.
§ 4Who deserves credence with reference to Demai; the things to be observed on the Sabbath in relation to the tithe. Those things that cannot be trusted in regard to tithing.
§ 5How the offerings are segregated.
§ 6The right procedure when one has leased a field or with community property; fruits raised in Syria.
§ 7When one is invited over the Sabbath by one who is not trustworthy; the deliverance of the Demmai offerings in certain cases; what should be observed when something o which it is certain that no tithe has been given (tebel) has been mixed with Demai.

כלאים Kil'ayim (Diverse seeds)

Based on Lev 19:19, Deut 22.9ff. Unlawful mingling of things (plants, animals, clothing) belonging to one genus but of different species. Nine chapters.
§ 1Which species of plants, and which of animals constitute Kil'aim towards one another.
§ 2What is to be done when two distinct seeds have been mingled or when one wishes to sow a field previously sown with other seeds or to sow in one and the same field different seeds.
§ 3Beds of cabbage, onions, gours and other kinds of beds.
§ 4, 5Vineyards.
§ 6Arbors of grape vines, 'aris.
§ 7More about vines (shoots, etc).
§ 8The various kinds of Kil'aim. Kil'aim of cattle (yoking together), bastards and a number of other (mostly wild) animals.
§ 9Kil'aim of clothing.

שביעית Shevi'it (Seventh year)

Based on Exodus 23.11, Lev 25.1ff, and (the year in which debts are released, shemittah) Deut 15.1ff. Ten chapters.

The years 164-63 CE and 38-37 BC were sabbatic years. Nine treat of the land, the tenth of the release of debts.

§ 1Fields in which there are trees (orchards) and to what time they may be tilled.
§ 2Fields free from trees.
§ 3Manuring; fencing in; opening up of quarries; tearing down a wall; removal of stones.
§ 4Gathering of wood, stones, weeds; trimming and pruning; when one may commence to eat that which grows in the field in the sabbath year and when it may be taken home.
§ 5What is to be observed with white figs, arum (luf), summer onions, madder (pu'ah); what may not be sold or lent.
§ 6Differences in the provinces with regard to the seventh year. The things that may not be exported from the land of Israel and that the priests' heave-offering may not be taken into the land.
§ 7What is subject to the law of the seventh year.
§ 8How that which grows in the seventh year may be used.
§ 9Which vegetables one may buy. The use to which that which grows in the seventh year may be put and the removal thereof.
§ 10The releasing of debts..4 deals with the Prosbul, προσβολη. This formula, introduced by Hillel, reads as follows: "I, [name], deliver to you, the judges in place [location], [the declaration], that I may call in the debt which is owning to me at any time I choose." With this reservation declared, the sabbatic year had no effect on cancelling the debt and thus the temptation was done away with to refuse to make a lona with a view to the approaching of the seventh year.

תרומות Terumot (Heave-offerings)

Based on Numb 18.8ff (compare Deut 18.4), the so-called great priests' heave-offering. Also based on Numb 18.25f, the heave-offering from the tithe terumath ma'aser, or the tithe which is set aside for the priests from the Levites' tithe. Eleven chapters. Most chapters deal with the great heave-offering.
§ 1Persons whose act of setting aside is ineffective; that the setting aside must not be done according to measure, weight and number.
§ 2One may not set aside the heave from the clean for the unclean, nor from the unclean for the clean, nor from one species for another species. Difference between that which is done in error and that which is done with design, both in regard to the heave-offering and in other cases.
§ 3In which cases the heave-offering must be given twice. How the heave is determined and in what order. When one blunders in speech. Offerings by non-Jews.
§ 4The setting aside and measure of the great heave. Concerning mixing up the heave with other fruits, medumma' [Does this also encompass chapter 5?]. [דֶמַע denotes in Samaritan as חֵלֶב in Hebrew 'that which is best, most excellent'; in the Mishna the heave which belongs to the priests is called דֶּמַע, hence the verb דִּמַע 'to turn something into Terumah,' מְדֻמֶּע 'equivalent to the heave.'
§ 6Restitution of heave eaten or stolen.
§ 7Further regulations concerning restitution and mixture.
§ 8Further norms concerning substitution. Heave wine which has been suffered to stay uncovered. Remarks concerning the danger of poisoning. Defilement of the heave. Women in danger of being defiled by heathens.
§ 9What is to be done when heave has been sown.
§ 10IN which instances even the taste which is taken on by certain things from the heave renders them prohibited.
§ 11To what use the heave may be put.

מעשרות Ma'aserot (Tithes)

Based on Num 18.21ff, the tithe which appertains to the Levites. Five chapters.
§ 1Of which fruits the tithe is to be given and at what time it becomes due.
§ 2 - 4In which cases such fruits may be eaten (enjoyed) without giving the tithe. 4.1 - When one squeezes olives upon his body (to anoint himself therewith) they are free from the tithe; but when the oil which has been pressed out is gathered up in the hand, the tithe must be given (for the reason that the cupped hand constitutes a small vessel).
§ 5Application of the tithing due in the case of transplanting, selling, or with after-wine(lora) or with produce found in ants' holes. Some further plants and species of seed which are free from tithing.

מעשר שני Ma'aser sheni (Second tithe)

Based on Deut 14.22ff (comapre 26.12ff), the second tithe is that which (or the monetary equivalent) was to be consumed in joyous celebration in Jerusalem. According to rabbinic explanation, Lev 27.30-33 deals likewise with the second tithe. Five chapters.
§ 1The second tithe may not be alienated. What may be bought with the money for which it is exchanged.
§ 2More about the use to which the second tithe is put. The procedure when money realized from the second tithe has been mixed up with other money or when it is desired to exchange that money for other money (so as to facilitate the transportation to Jerusalem).
§ 3Of the fruits of the tithe taken to Jerusalem it is not permitted to spend for porters' hire [No one may say to another person: "Take up these fruits to Jerusalem, that we may divide them" (because in that case a debt would be paid with the tithe). But one may say: "Take them up, that together we may eat or drink them in Jerusalem" (in the present instance the words amount to an invitation). It is also permissible to make gifts of them with no return in money.]; no heave may be bought with the money of the second tithe; this money may be exchanged in Jerusalem for ordinary fruits and these for ordinary money. What is to be done with a tree the boughs of which overtop the wall of Jerusalem. Defilement of the second tithe.
§ 4For what price the second tithe may be redeemed. He that redeems his own fruits is bound to ad a fifth of the estimated value (according to our mode of expression: one fourth). One may act with cunning מערימין (to escape paying the surcharge) by saying to one's grown son or daughter or to one's Hebrew bondman or bondwoman: "Here is money; redeem for thyself this second tithe." (This transaction is regarded in the light of a redemption effected by a person other than the owner.) But it is not permissible to say so to minor children or two Canaanite slaves (because these persions cannot by law acquire property)..5 - A person finding himself on the threshing-floor without money (and nevertheless desirous of avoiding the payment on the surcharge may say to his neighbor: "These fruits are presented to you as a gift," and then immediately: "Suffer these fruits to be treated as profane (redeemed) for the money which I have in my house." -- Similar easing of one's duty on the part of a 'clever' person (פִּקֵח) may be found in Nazir 2.5 and Shabbath 16.3; compare also Temura 5.1 (מערימין). To what extent something found is to be regarded as consecrated.
§ 5A vineyard in its fourth year and the redemption of its fruits (comp Lev 19.24). THe removal (bi'ur) of the tithe. Abrogation of the confession customary on that occasion (Deut 26.13-15) on the part of the high priest Johanan (John Hyrcanus) and other repeals instituted by him.

חלה Chalah (Heave from the dough)

Based on Numb 15.18ff. Four chapters.
§ 1Whereof חלה chalah must be given. Wherein חלה chalahand the heave-offering coincide.
§ 2A woman, even when naked, may set aside חלה chalah of the dough, if she is seated, for in this posture it is possible for her to cover her secret parts. Of 5/4 of a kab of flour חלה chalah must be given. The size of Chalah is 1/24, for those who bake to sell 1/48.
§ 3How one deals with חלה chalah according to the condition of the dough and its owner.
§ 4Which species of produce may be computed together to bring up the quantity requisite for the giving of חלה chalah to its full measure. How different countries are distinguished with regard to חלה chalah.

ערלה Orlah (Uncircumcised [trees])

Based on Lev 19.23. Three chapters.
§ 1Under what circumstances trees and vineyards are subject to orlah.
§ 2In which instances ordinary things which are permissible for use stay permitted when orlah and (or) kil'aim is mixed up with them. In connection therewith discussions concerning that which is lawful when heave or kil'aim is intermixed with other things, as well as concerning other prohibited mixtures.
§ 3On dyes and fire made with orlah. Varying application of the laws concerning orlah and kil'aim in the land of Israel, in Syria and elsewhere.

ביכורים Bikkurim (First fruits)

Based on 26.1ff, Exod 23.19. Three chapters.
§ 1Who may not offer the first fruits at all and who may offer them but without reciting the formula prescribed in Deut 26. Whereof and from what time on they may be offered and how under given conditions they may be replaced by others.
§ 2Wherein first fruits, the heave-offering and the second tithe coincide. It is then discussed how the fruit etrog used with the festive wreath on Sukkot, the animal kewi (antelope?) and human blood may be distinguished from similar things.
§ 3How the first fruits are taken to Jerusalem.
§ 4Some manuscripts include a fourth chapter concerning the position of intersex individuals, but it does not belong in the mishna as it has been taken over from the Tosephta and then amplified.

מועד Mo’ed (Festivals)

The second order contains twelve tractates.
  1. שבת Shabat

  2. ערובין Eruvin

  3. פסחים Pesachim

  4. שְׁקָלִים Sheqalim

  5. יומא Yoma
    The day

  6. סוכה Sukah

  7. ביצה Beitzah

  8. ראש השנה Rosh Hashanah
    New year

  9. תענית Ta'anit

  10. מגילה Megilah
    Scroll [of Esther]

  11. מועד קטן Mo'ed katan
    Little festival

  12. חגיגה Hagigah

שבת Shabat

Based on Exodus 20.10, 23.12; Deut 5.14; Amos 8.5; Nehem 10.32, 13.15f. The chapters are not organized with much system. Twenty-four chapters.

While the rules in the tanakh are simple, they are enormous in the mishna due to the fact that Exodus 35 commands one to rest on שבת shabat (so what is non-rest?) and the ordinances that refer to the structure of the Tabernacle are placed in juxtaposition.

The rules on שבת shabat rely on the distinction between four kinds of spaces, all four of which are described in Tosephta Shab 1.1:

  • Reshuth ha-rabbim. Public domain, squares or streets of at least sixteen cubits in width outside a town or in unwalled cities.

  • Reshuth ha-yahid. Private territory, localities enclosed on all sides by walls which are at least ten handbreadths high, also walled cities when the gates are not shut at night.

  • Karmelith. Neutral ground, localities which show characteristics both of public and of private territory, for which reason intercourse between them and those territories is forbidden; hence on the one hand private property which as with fields, meadows, projecting roofs is not fenced in, and on the other hand blind alleys and other localities avoided by general traffic (such as canals, depressions or embankments of a certain minimal depth or height, on streets and squares, also the sea). [Erub 9.2; Pal Shabb 1.2dγ, 11.13aβ; Shabb 101aα; see כַּרְמֶל]

  • Makom patur. Free domain, open, unforbidden territory from which it is lawful to maintain intercourse both with private and with public property. [Shabb 6a; Erub 101b] But this freedom must not be abused so as to make for transit from public to private property and vice versa. Such free domains are, for example, embankments (depressions) of at least three handbreadths in height (depth) and of less than four handbreadths in width, then the air space ten handbreadths above public territory or Karmelith. [Maimonides on Shabb 1.1]

§ 1In what diverse manners it is unlawful to take something from one domain, reshuth, to another. What may still be done on Friday before שבת shabat sets in, and on the other hand what one must forbear to do at that time. Concerning eighteen regulations on which it was voted in the assembly which met in the upper chamber of Hananiah ben Hezekiah ben Garon in favor of the Shammaiites against the Hillelites.
§ 2Illumination on the שבת shabat.
§ 3, 4Keeping warm or warming up cooked food on the שבת shabat.
§ 5Wherewith an animal may be led or covered on the שבת shabat (halter, cover, etc).
§ 6Wherewith women or men may or may not go out on the שבת shabat (ornaments, amulets, false teeth, wooden legs, etc).
§ 7

How many sin-offerings one is liable to according to circumstances because of inadvertent violation of שבת shabat rest..2 The thirty-nine main classes of forbidden labor, 'aboth melakoth.

  • Forbidden labor (quantity)

    • Agriculture (7)

    • Food preparation (4)

    • Clothing (13)

    • Obtaining meat and preparing leather (7)

    • Writing and blotting out (2)

    • Building and pulling down (2)

    • Extinguishing or kindling a fire (2)

    • Striking with the hammer (1)

    • Carrying from one domain to another (1)

These are often taken to be the 39 labors connected to constructing the tabernacle. As to numbers 1 to 11 (encompassing agriculture, and food preparation) compare Ben Zome Berak 55a. However, this is sometimes considered a fanciful combination on the part of latter Tannaim. Alternatively, these labors may be viewed as the primitive labors and necessities of mankind. First is bread and clothing (compare Gen 3.19-20). After bread and clothing, writing is named as the first in the labors of civilization, since according to the ancient Jewish view it was created in the same day with man Aboth 5.6. Numbers 25-33 deal with preparations for writing, which were written on tanned skins (compare Kethub 103b, Hiyya). The groups which follow (building, kindling and extinguishing, striking) are the first labors of primitive man Gen 4.17 בּוֹנֶה; then v 22, crafts. 'Carrying' appears as the last labor.

§ 7.3f, 8Concerning the quantities by the carrying of which on the שבת shabat one incurs guilt.
§ 9.1-4Scriptural passages as proofs or catchwords for defilements, things lawful and unlawful, which have nothing to do with the שבת shabat but are inserted here because 8 §7, where the question turns upon carrying a potsherd on the שבת shabat, Isaiah 30.14 had been cited as a catchword. Then additional regulations concerning what or how much it is unlawful to carry on the שבת shabat.
§ 10Carrying on the שבת shabat: to the threshold and from there inside or outside; carrying in an unwonted manner; two men carrying a loaf of bread; the carrying of a corpse, the carrying of a living human being.
§ 11Concerning throwing: into the street, into the sea, on land, etc.
§ 12Building, hammering, sawing, boring, plowing, weeding, tree trimming, gathering wood or grass; writing two letters.
§ 13Weaving, spinning, sewing, tearing, washing, dyeing; hunting.
§ 14Catching and wounding, hunting, preparing salt water, forbidden medicaments.
§ 15Tying knots, folding garments, making beds.
§ 16Behavior during a fire. The owner is permitted to salvage but little himself. However, "he may say to others, 'come, salvage for yourselves.' And when those addressed are prudent, they may after the שבת shabat settle with the owner." 16.3 Thus the owner receives back his goods (formally given away) and those have, at least as a matter of form, assisted in the rescue without counting on payment. Honest folk will refrain from turning another man's losses to their profit.
§ 17Which utensils may be taken into one's hand on the שבת shabat. That it is permissible to close a shutter.
§ 18What may be removed on the שבת shabat. One may pull calves and foals of asses, so may a mother walk her child (but she must carry it). An animal may be assisted at bringing forth on festival days; for the sake of a women giving birth the שבת shabat may be broken.
§ 19Circumcision on the שבת shabat, day of circumcision; defective consummation of circumcision.
§ 20Straining wine and feeding cattle.
§ 21How vessels are handled in which objects repose which one may not take into one's hand on the שבת shabat. Clearing the table.
§ 22Sundry regulations concerning the preparation of food and drink, also on bathing on the שבת shabat.
§ 23Borrowing; casting lots; renting; walking a distance within the שבת shabat day's limit (2000 cubits) with the intention of continuing when שבת shabatis out from the reached; what may be done to a dead body.
§ 24Feeding cattle on שבת shabat.

ערובין Eruvin (Blendings)

Three expedients for circumventing certain especially irksome regulations contains in the laws about שבת shabat. Ten chapters.
  • 'Eruv tehumin. A blending in thought of boundaries. In order that one may walk on the שבת shabat beyond 2000 cubits: the day prior, deposit at the place where the שבת shabat limit terminates food for two meals. This establishes a residence there, and from there one may thus go further an additional 2000 cubits.

  • 'Eruv haseroth. A blending in thought of courts. It is not permissible on the שבת shabat to carry anything from one private domain to another. Hence those who have their dwellings around one and the same court combine their several domains by depositing in one of the dwellings food prepared on Friday from joint contributions. A cognate mode is the 'eruv maboi, blending of a blind alley (literally of the entrance) or shittuf maboi (shittuf = jointure) by means of food; but the act must be preceded by blocking the blind alley or a space enclosed by walls on three sides by means of a beam and lath.

  • 'Eruv tabshilin. When a festival occurs on a Friday, it is properly unlawful to cook for the שבת shabat. It was therefore customary to prepare something for the שבת shabat as early as the eve of the festival, thus effecting a blending between festival and שבת shabat which made it lawful to prepare all the remaining food on the festival for the שבת shabat. This third species of Eruv is dealt with in Besa 2.

§ 1Eruv maboi. How an encamping caravan may transform, by fencing in, a public domain into a private.
§ 2How one may make use on the שבת shabat of a well in a public domain and under what conditions one may carry in a garden.
§ 3Wherewith and where the eruv of boundaries may be made; whereby an eruv becomes void; eruv of boundaries with a condition; when a festival is followed by the שבת shabat; the new year.
§ 4Transgression of the שבת shabat journey limit.
§ 5The territory surrounding a city and how the limit for the שבת shabat journey is measured.
§ 6Eruv of the courts.
§ 7More about eruv of the courts; shittuph maboi.
§ 8Eruv of the boundaries for pious purposes (house of morning, wedding); how much of food is to be deposited for this kind of eruv. More about eruv of the courts.
§ 9Roofs.
§ 10Numerous laws of a diverse character relating to the שבת shabat, which properly belong into the preceding tractate: when one has found tephilin; how one may carry home a child born in the field; whether it is permissible to roll together a biblical volume which on reading has become unwound; passing water; expectorating; drinking; catching up water; what is lawful in the sanctuary, but forbidden abroad, ba-medinah, for example.14: "When a priest has a wound on his finger, he may bind it up with bast in the sanctuary, but not elsewhere."

פסחים Pesachim (Passover-offerings)

Based on Exodus 12, 23.15, 34.15ff; Leviticus 23.5ff; Numb 28.16ff; Deut 16.1ff. Ten chapters.
§ 1 - 3Searching for and removing leaven; whereon the unleavened cakes (massoth) may be prepared; the bitter herbs.
§ 4What labors are permitted on the eve of the festival and how long. Six things done by the men of Jericho (of which only one appertains to Passover).
§ 5The killing of the Passover lamb.
§ 6How far the Passover lamb sets aside the שבת shabat; at what time and whereof a festival sacrifice is offered in addition to it; what obtains when on the שבת shabat one sacrifice has been interchanged with another.
§ 7The roasting of the Passover lamb; what happens when it becomes unclean, and in which case it may be offered in a condition of uncleanness; what is eaten thereof.
§ 8The persons who may eat of the Passover lamb; the place for eating it; associations (community eating).
§ 9The Passover festival of the second month (see Numb 9.10ff); the Passover festival at the time of the exodus; instances in which Passover lambs had been interchanged.
§ 10The order of the Passover meal as it proceeds with the four cups of wine which it is obligatory to partake of on this occasion (in.3 it is mentioned that after the destruction of the Temple the Passover lamb is no longer eaten since it cannot be offered). In many manuscripts it was customary to insert chapter X between IV and V, because that was the order of the course of study and thus was more convenient for the student.

שְׁקָלִים Sheqalim

Eight chapters.

Treating of the half a shekel tax which, having originated in the times of Nehemiah in the amount of a third of a shekel (Nehem. 10.33), had been raised, probably not much later, to the amount first mentioned (comp. Exod. 30.12ff.) and served to defray the costs of the maintenance of the worship in the second Temple. Strack, p 38

§ 1How on the first of Adar the summons goes out for the payment of the tax; how the many changers on the fifteen in the provinces and on the twenty-fifth in the sanctuary, set up their counters, for the reason that the tax must be paid in ancient (holy) coin. The persons obligated to pay the tax.
§ 2The exchanging; shekels lost or puloined; diverse sorts of coin. The various uses to which moneys may be put which have been collected for definite purposes.
§ 3The manner in which the money paid in is taken out of the treasury.
§ 4What was purchased therewith. When a person has consecrated his fortunate, to what use it may be put.
§ 5The fifteen offices in the sanctuary and their chiefs. The four seals, hohamoth (marks) for marking the measure of diverse meal- and wine-offerings.
§ 6The thirteen sacrificial boxes, thirteen tables and thirteen gates in the sanctuary. Where the ark of the covenant was hidden.
§ 7Money, meat or cattle which one has picked up in Jerusalem and in the sanctuary. Seven ordinances of the court of justice.
§ 8Saliva, utensils, butchers' knives when across in Jerusalem. Purification of the temple veil. The costliness of the veil in front of the sanctuary. Shekels and firstlings discontinued after the destruction of the Temple.

יומא Yoma (The day)

Based on Leviticus 16. Aramaic for the day, referring to the Day of Atonement. This tractate is also called in some manuscripts Kippurim or Yom ha-kippurim. Eight chapters.
§ 1Preparing the high priest.
§ 2How four times a day lots are drawn for service. How the sacrificial victims were put upon the altar.
§ 3Further preparations for the high priest (bathing, ablutions, putting on the garments). Bringing near his bullock, his first confession of sins. The golden lots of Joshua ben Gamla for the two goats. Improvements in the sanctuary on the part of Ben Kattin, king Monobazus and queen Helena. Blame for those who refused to instruct others.
§ 4Casting lots upon the two goats. Second confession of sins by the high priest. Peculiarities of the Day of Atonement with regard to offering incense, ascending the altar and the ablution of hands and feet.
§ 5How the high priest enters the holy of holies thrice ('eben shethiah, 'stone of foundation,' in that place): with the incense, with the blood of the bullock, with the blood of the goat. Purification of the altar of gold.
§ 6Third confession of sins by the high priest. Sending away the other goat for Azazel.
§ 7Scriptural portions read or recited by the high priest and the benedictions pronounced by him. The remaining part of his service.
§ 8Prohibitions concerning eating, drinking, working on the Day of Atonement; the fasting of children; procedure in the case of danger to life. The means of atonement (sin-offering, guilt-offering, death, Day of Atonement, repentance). When no atonement is effected.

סוכה Sukah (Booth)

Based on Leviticus 23.34ff, Numb 29.12ff, Deut 16.13ff. Matters related to Sukkoth, the Festival of Books. Five chapters.
§ 1Concerning the setting up of the festival booth.
§ 2More about the character of the same; concerning eating and sleeping therein; persons exempt from this obligation.
§ 3The festive wreath lulab (compare Lev 23.40, Nehem 8.15) consisting of a palm branch; myrtle branch; and, from a brookside tree, a willow branch.
§ 4How many days each ceremony of the festival lasts. The libation of water.
§ 5Manifestations of joy at the drawing and pouring out of the water (compare Isaiah 12.3). Concerning the participation of the twenty-four priestly divisions in the festival sacrifices. Stray remarks concerning the distribution of the sacrificial portions and of the showbread among the priestly divisions.

ביצה Beitzah (Egg)

Usually called ביצה Beitzah (Egg) after the first word, but also יום טוב Yom Tob (Festival) after the subject matter. Covers that which must be observed on festivals, among other matters also of the difference between שבת shabat and festivals, with Exodus 12.16 as a point of reference. Five chapters.

There are several terms which must be learned in order to understand this tractate.

  • Mukan. What was prepared or set aside for שבת shabat or a festival on an ordinary day.

  • Mukseh. Literally means something separated, remote from thought. Refers to that which lacks the preparation or designation just spoken of for the reason that the item has not been thought of at all, or at least not in the requisite manner. [See II 4.6]

  • Nolad. That which has just come into existence, which accordingly lacks the antecedent designation referred to, for example animals just born, new-drawn milk, utensils or garments just finished.

§ 1Opens up with the mention of the much-cited dispute in the schools concerning the egg. According to the school of Shammai it is permissible to partake of an egg derived from a hen which had been intended for eating purposes (not for laying eggs), when that egg was carried on a festival and laid on the שבת shabat immediately following, or vice-versa; according to the school of Hillel, it is not. Then follows a series of differences between these two schools. What of edibles or of garments one may send to another as a gift on festival days.
§ 2Eruv tabshilin. Further differences between the schools just named. THree points on which Rabban Gamaliel was strict, three on which he was lenient. Three things which R. Eleazer ben Azariah permitted. How a handmill in which pepper is ground and a child's carriage become unclean.
§ 3Catching and killing birds on festival days. How one buys on festival days meat, beverages and the like without negotiating as to quantity and price.
§ 4Transporting food; which kind of wood may be used for cooking and how it is to be split. In 4.6 - "R. Eliezer, son of Hyrcanus, permits on the festival picking up a splinter lying in the yard and using it for a toothpick ... The sages, however, say that such wood may be picked up only for fuel." Prohibited formation of vessels; the prohibition of generating fire.
§ 5The relation of שבת shabat and festivals with regard to things permitted and things forbidden. Cattle and other possessions with reference to the שבת shabat journey limit.

ראש השנה Rosh Hashanah (Prow of the year)

Based on Numb 28.11ff (compare Numb 10.10), 29.1ff, Lev 23.24f. Each new moon was solemnly observed, with peculiar solemnity toward the new moon of the seventh month). Four chapters.
§ 1Diverse new years -- nisan, elul, tishri, shebat. Four times in the year god sits in judgment. Six times messengers are sent from Jerusalem on account of the new moon. Testimony in regard to the appearance of the new moon.
§ 2More about this testimony; sanctification of the new moon. Rabban Gamaliel as Nasi (patriarch) and R. Joshua.
§ 3Blowing the shophar. The requisite devotion (Exodus 17.11, Numb 21.8).
§ 4Blowing the shophar before and after the destruction of Jerusalem. The festival wreath on the Festival of Booths before and after the destruction of Jerusalem. How long one may go on to receive the testimony concerning the new moon. Order of the benedictions on new year's day: malkiyyoth (recitation of ten biblical verses in which the kingdom of god is mentioned); zikronoth (ten verses referring to god's compassionate remembrance); shopharoth (ten verses with the word shophar occurring therein).

תענית Ta'anit (Fasting)

תענית Ta'anit (Fasting) or Ta'aniyot (Fastings). Four chapters.
§ 1From what time on rain is made mention of (in the second of eighteen benedictions), when one commences, in the absence of rain, to pray for it (in the ninth benediction) and when to fast (at the first three days, then again three days and lastly seven days) and in what manner public mourning is ultimately manifested.
§ 2Order of the seven days' fasts and the prayers appertaining thereto. On which of these days even the officiating priests do fast. On which days it is not permissible to appoint fasts.
§ 3The events for which otherwise fasting and (or) blowing an alarm is prescribed. Honi, who drew circles ha-me'agel and was answered as often as he prayed for rain. At what time, when rain is forthcoming, the fasting is cut short.
§ 4The institution of the body of delegates present at the Temple sacrifices and consiting of priests, Levites and Israelites, ma'amadoth; how they fasted and read portions of the scriptures. The seventeenth day of Tammuz, the ninth of Ab. How the fifteenth of Ab was kept.

מגילה Megilah (Scroll [of Esther])

מגילה Megilah generally means scroll, but this refers more specifically to the scroll of Esther which is read in the synagogue on the day of Purim (compare Esth 9.28). Four chapters.
§ 1On what day the מגילה megilah is read in the month of Adar. How in this connection there is a difference between walled cities on the one hand and unwalled cities and villages on the other hand. THen follows an enumeration of other instances of a difference obtaining between similar things or cases, eg between shabat and festivals; the biblical books may be written in all languages bekol lashon (according to Rabban Gamaliel, only in the Greek language), tephilin and mezuza only in square script ashurith; great and small high places; Jerusalem and Shiloh.
§ 2How the מגילה megilah should be read appropriately. In this connected it is stated which commandments may be kept during the day and which during the whole night.
§ 3Selling holy objects, including a synagogue; concerning synagogues in ruins; the scriptural portions read on the שבת shabat of Adar; those read on festivals and on fast days. This chapter's subject does not match the rest of the tractate. This chapter is placed third in the Tosephta, Alphasi, Palestinian Talmud, Cambridge codex and many Mishna editions; and in the Babylonian Talmud, it is placed third in Munich No 140 and Oxford, Bodleian (Neubauer's Catalogue) No 366. On the other hand, the Babylonian Talmud (besides aforementioned exceptions) and the Munich codex 95 (circa year 1343) place this chapter at the end.
§ 4§ 1 - Of the reading of Esther; then of other liturgical sections from Torah and Prophets..3 - For which actions ten persons are required..4 - Interpreting (translating)..8 - Improper behavior with respect to tephilin..9 - Who is to be silenced when leading in common prayer and when acting as interpreter of the scriptures; which parts of scripture may be read but not translated; what may not be read as haphtara.

מועד קטן Mo'ed katan (Little festival)

Regulations on intervening festival days: the days which intervene between the first and seventh of Passover; or between the first and eighth of Tabernacles [a second festival day is kept in Israel Besa 4b, Sukka 46b). Three chapters.

The epithet קטן katan distinguishes the tractate from the order. In the liturgy the intervening festival days are called חוּלּוֹ של מועד. The ancient teachers said for the full festival days יום מוב and for the intervening days מועד (eg, Pes 4.7). This expression is used in the mishna throughout this tractate. On these intervening days it is permitted to perform certain kinds of work, albeit partly in a manner somewhat differing from the normal (the restrictions are of rabbinic origin).

§ 1Agricultural labors, graves, coffins, marrying, sewing (an ordinary person may sew as is wont, but a tailor must make his stitches irregular); making a parapet, repairs.
§ 2Pressing olives or wine; buying; arraying layers.
§ 3Shaving, washing, writing. Mourning on שבת shabat, solemn festivals and the lesser festival days.

חגיגה Hagigah (Festival-offering)

What is to be observed on the three pilgrimage festivals (Passover, Festival of Weeks, Fesival Booths). Based on Deut 16.16f. Three chapters.
§ 1The persons obligated to appear on these festivals in the sanctuary; how much is to be spent; whereof the festival offerings may be taken and wherein they must consist. After a discussion of Eccles 1.15 there follows abruptly:

The dissolution of vows hangs in the air and has no foundation in scripture. The ordinances concerning שבת shabat, the festival offerings and the misappropriation of consecrated property are like mountains suspended by a hair; for there is little about these in scripture, yet the ordinances are many. On the other hand, the regulations concerning (civil and criminal) law, the sacrificial worship, purity and impurity, incest have much support in the scripture; these הן והן definitely/certainly/therefore (according to another reading, these as well as those) are essential parts of learning.

§ 2This chapter, together with the end of the first chapter and much of the next, has extremely little to do with the tractate subject..1 - The things in which not everyone may be instructed and those concerning which one should not inquire at all..2 - The difference of opinion between Jose ben Joezer and Jose ben Johanan and in general between the five 'Pairs' concerning semikah..6 - The necessity of definite intent in connection with ritual ablution of hands..7 - Degrees of Levitical purity.
§ 3How far holy meat requires stricter handling than the heave and so on. With.7 and.8 the subjet matter of the tractate is resumed: how during the festival, wine and bread belonging to an observant Jew are not defiled by contact with an ordinary person; of the cleansing of the vessels in the sanctuary after the festival.

נשים Nashim (Women)

The third order contains seven tractates.
  1. יבמות Yevamot

  2. כתובות Ketubot
    Conjugal law

  3. נדרים Nedarim

  4. נזיר Nazir

  5. סוטה Sota
    Suspected adultress

  6. גיטין Gittin
    Divorce papers

  7. קידושין Kiddushin

An important distinction to know is that historically, marriage had two stages: the first was erusin, entered through via the ritual of קידושין kiddushin, meaning sanctification (as she is sanctified, engaged, into the marriage), whereby a man put a ring on the woman's hand. She was promised to him and this arrangement required a divorce to annul. However, she still lived with her father and would take months, originally a year, to ready herself for marriage. Sex was prohibited at this stage.

So while ketubot (agreement, inscription, a sense of permanence and law) deals with the laws of marriage -- a woman's virginity, her rights, etc -- the last tractate encompasses how a man might take her to be his wife. Then nedarim covers the vows taken to complete the marriage process.

Rambam has switched Sota and Gittin.

יבמות Yevamot (Sisters-in-law)

Based mostly on Deut 25.5ff (compare Ruth 4.5); Matth 22.24; in part also on prohibited marriages, Lev 18. Sixteen chapters.
  • Yabam. The husband's brother; the brother of a deceased husband who left no issue.

  • Yebamah. The widow whom the yabam must marry.

  • Yibbem. To marry the deceased brother's wife.

  • Yibbum/Yebamuth. Consummation of this marriage.

  • Halisah. The act of loosing the shoe.

  • Halusah. A widow to whom halisa is granted.

  • Halas denotes in post-biblical Hebrew:

    • To perform the act of halisa (on the part of the woman).

    • To grant halisa (on the part of the husband's brother, who thereby sets the widow free to marry someone else).

§ 1Which degrees of kinship between the woman and the husband's brother release her as well as her co-wives from halisa and from marrying the husband's brother..4 - How the opposing schools Shammai and Hillel came to terms in a spirit of tolerance in matters involving intercourse with one another.
§ 2When a third brother is born after one of the two has passed away. Marriages prohibited by the Sopherim (compare 9.3) or for reasons of sanctity. Betrothal with one of two sisters who cannot be told apart. Other marriages which a may not contract (such as may give rise to evil report).
§ 3When two of four brothers have married two sisters.
§ 4When the deceased brother's wife is found to be with child. When during her waiting period she falls heir to property. The duty to marry the deceased brother's wife falls to the eldest brother. The duration of the waiting period for women who become widowed or divorced after contraction or consummation of marriage; the same for those repudiated and those betrothed. Mamzer (bastard).
§ 5The relation of halisa and bill of divorcement.
§ 6Those a high priest or an ordinary priest may not marry.
§ 7Usufruct millug [?] and iron fund [iron fund??] son barzel slaves, and how far they may partake of the heave. Whereby wives or daughters of priests are excluded from partaking of the heave.
§ 8Those crushed or maimed in their privy parts with reference and the levirate marriage. In this connection also (comp Deut 23.2ff) concerning non-admission or admission to the congregation of Ammonites, Moabites, Egyptians and Edomites.
§ 9Which women belong lawfully to their husbands but are forbidden to their deceased husband's brothers, and vice versa. When a woman may or may not partake of the heave or tithe.
§ 10When a husband or wife upon insufficient evidence of the other conjugal party remarries. Cohabitation on the part of a boy nine years and one day old.
§ 11Concerning deflowered virgins, proselytes and changelings.
§ 12The ceremonies of halisa.
§ 13, 14Refusal me'un on the part of a minor to remain with her husband to whom she had been given in marriage by her mother or her brothers. Deafmute (heresh) women and men with reference to the levirate.
§ 15, 16Specifically of the trustworthiness of testimony concerning the husband's death, whereupon the widow left behind may marry another man.

כתובות Ketubot (Conjugal law)

Based on Exodus 22.16. Ketuba denotes both the document and the sum settled therein by the husband upon his wife in case of divorce or death. Thirteen chapters.
§ 1Wedding day for virgins is Wednesday, for widows Thursday. Amount of the ketuba. Trustworthiness concerning lost virginity.
§ 2More about declarations made by women concerning their status (ie, that they had been kept captive). The credibility of witnesses who testify to their own advantage or to the advantage of one another; the trustworthiness of adults with reference to observations made during their minority.
§ 3The fine for seducing a young woman (na'arah, Deut 22.25ff).
§ 4To whom the fine money goes. A father's rights, a husband's rights and duties. The sons inherit after their mother's death her ketuba; what the daughters or the widow is entitled to after the death of father or husband.
§ 5Augmenting the ketuba. Duties of husband and wife towards each other (in marital and material respect).
§ 6What a wife has acquired through her own labor or through inheritance. The calculation of that which a wife brings with her. A daughter's dower.
§ 7The right to divorce with certain vows and when a wife commits offenses against the law of Moses or that of Judaism (dath Moshe wihudith); also when the husband is afflicted with an offensive ailment or is engaged in a labor with an offensive smell.
§ 8, 9Property which falls to a woman during marriage; a wife's claim upon property left by her husband.
§ 10Adjudication of claims when a man leaves behind more than one wife.
§ 11The rights of widows, specifically concerning sale of the ketuba.
§ 12The rights of a stepchild; the right of the widow to remain in her husband's house.
§ 13Decisions by the judges Hanan and Admon. The superior merit of dwelling in the land of Israel and in Jerusalem.

נדרים Nedarim (Vows)

Based on Num 30, on vows and more precisely when they are invalid and/or annulled. These are not vows by which one dedicates, but vows (also oaths shebu'ah and bans herem by which something is abjured. Eleven chapters.
§ 1Which expressions and deformations (eg Konam, Konab, Konas for Korban) stand for vows.
§ 2Which expressions do not stand for vows. Wherein an oath differs from Korban and other vows. Vows with reservation. Evasions.
§ 3

Four classes of vows which are not valid at the outset:

  • נִדִרֵיזֵרוּזִין vows of spurring on which, by which buyers and sellers seek to operate upon one another.

  • נהָבֶאי hyperbolic vows resting upon exaggeration, or an untruth not seriously intended.

  • נ'שְׁנֶנוֹת vows based upon error or forgetfulness.

  • נ'אֹנֶסִין vows the fulfillment of which has been inhibited by force majeure.

Venial falsehoods. How certain expression in the vow are to be interpreted.

§ 4, 5When, by means of a vow, it is denied to a person to have enjoyment from his fellow. (5.4 - hareni 'aleka and hare 'at 'alai).
§ 6, 7When by a vow a person renounces food, clothing, bed, house, city.
§ 8Including 7.8 and 7.9. The vow of renunciation for a limited period. Interpretation of certain vows.
§ 9From which vows of renunciation one may be absolved by a scholar.
§ 10Who may annul the vows of wife or daughter.
§ 11Which vows of wife or daughter may be annulled.

נזיר Nazir

Based on Numbers 6. On the Nazirite. Nine chapters.
§ 1Which expressions make the Nazirate binding. The period of duration of the Nazirite (ordinarily the thirty day minimum). The Samson Nazirate.
§ 2Which Nazirate vows stand. Junction of two Nazirates.
§ 3Time of shaving the hair.
§ 4Remission and annulment of Nazirate vows.
§ 5When something has been consecrated in error and the application to the Nazirate. WHen the victim intended for the Nazirate offering is stolen. Nazirate vows on condition (a sort of wager).
§ 6The things forbidden to the Nazirate. The sacrifices when a Nazirite has been defiled and upon completion of his term.
§ 7, 8Concerning a Nazirite's defilement, specifically the kind proceeding from a dead body.
§ 9Nazirate vows of women and slaves. Tum'ah yeduah and tum'ath ha-tehom. What constitutes a place of sepulture. Whether Samuel was a Nazirite.

סוטה Sota (Suspected adultress)

Based on Num 5, 11ff. Nine chapters.
§ 1How the husband manifests his jealousy. How the suspected woman is exhorted in the great court of justice. How she is presented. Examples of divine retribution.
§ 2Writing of the billet and adjuration of the suspected woman.
§ 3The offering of jealousy and the fate of her that is found to have been defiled. Differences between Israelites and priests, between males and females with regard to rights and penalties.
§ 4In which cases a woman is not given the water of the curse to drink.
§ 5That the water of the curse operates likewise on the adulterer. Other intrepretations of hte scriptures pronounced bo ba-yom by Akiba and Joshua ben Hyrcanus.
§ 6Testimony concerning the woman's infidelity.
§ 7Formulae, etc which may be recited in all languages and those which may be recited in Hebrew only.
§ 8The allocution of the priest annointed for warfare and, in general, exposition of Deut 20.2-9.
§ 9Breaking the neck of a heifer in the case of an untraced murder, Deut 21.1-9. At what time this ceremony as well as the application of the water of jealousy fell into disuse. Concerning the cessation of other customs, things and virtues. (Baraitha: Indications of the advent of the Messiah.)

גיטין Gittin (Divorce papers)

Based on Deut 24.1. Nine chapters.
§ 1Transmission of a bill of divorcement from abroad. Authentication of withdrawal of bills of divorcement and bills of manumission.
§ 2Authentication of a bill of divorcement from abroad. Subsequent signatures. Writing material. The person who may write a bill of divorcement and those who may transmit it.
§ 3The bill of divorcement must be written expressly for the woman in question. Having on hand formularies for bills of divorcement, deeds of sale, etc. A lost bill of divorcement; supposition that the giver is alive (or, as the case may be, dead); substitute messengers.
§ 4Withdrawal of a bill of divorcement. Ordinance by Gamaliel I on this subject, similarly concerning the case when husband or wife or both have more than one name. In this connection several other ordinances by Gamaliel I and in general by the Hillelites with a view to good order, mippene tikkun ha-'olam. Re-marrying a divorced wife.
§ 5Ordinances touching compensation for damage and the validity of certain actions, partly with a view to the same motive (mippene tikkun ha-'olam). Ordinances dictated by the desire for peaceful relations, mippene darke shalom.
§ 6Transmission of the bill of divorcement by the messenger. How far an oral order with reference to a bill of divorcement is valid. Sometimes this and the subsequent chapter are switched.
§ 7Divorce in cases of sickness. A bill of divorcement on condition.
§ 8Throwing the bill of divorcement at the woman; making use of an old bill; misleading data in a bill of divorcement. A bald bill of divorcement, get kereah [a document folded together and sewed up which should have a witness' signature in every one of its folds without [without what?] but in which some of these folds are blank. Compare Gittin 8.10.
§ 9The wording of the bill of divorcement; which bills are valid and which not valid. Causes for divorce.

The school of Shammai taught: A man shall not divorce his wife except he has found in her something scandalous דְּבֵר עֶרְוֶה, since we read in Deut 24.1, 'because he hath found some unseemly thing עֶרְוֵת דֶּבֶר in her.' The school of Hillel said: Even for burning his food, basing themselves o the word דֶּבֶר, 'anything.' Akiba said: Even when he has found another woman more beautiful than she, recalling the words of scripture, 'if she finds no favour in his eyes'. Gittin 9.10

Strack reminds the reader that 'burning one's food' need not be literal: it might just be an extreme meant to be in forceful opposition. However this may be a euphemism for תשמיש (marital intercourse) -- scripture and midrashic literature uses culinary euphemisms too, as in Prov 30 using אכלה (eating).

קידושין Kiddushin (Sanctification)

קידושין Kiddushin (sanctification) is how a man and women enter 'erusin/likkuhin. Four chapters.

'Erusin is a preliminary stage of marriage, followed by nissu'in when she is inducted into her husband's home. 'Erusin usually lasts twelve months for a virgin, or thirty days for a widow.

§ 1How a wife is acquired by a man (by the gift of an amount of money no matter how small, by a document in which the man manifests his intention, by cohabitation). The manners in which the acquisition of slaves, cattle, chattels and real estate is consummated. Which commandments are obligatory upon men only and which also upon women..9 - Which commandments are to be observed only in the land of Israel..10 - Retribution for deeds.
§ 2Betrothal through a proxy. Whereby betrothals become invalid.
§ 3Betrothals on conditions. When one party denies the fact of betrothal. In all cases of valid betrothals the child follows the father.
§ 4Which marriages are on a footing of parity; probing descent. Authentication of marriages contracted abroad. Maxims of morality.

נזיקין Nezikin (Damages)

The fourth order contains ten tractates.
  1. בבא קמא Baba kama
    First gate

  2. בבא מציעא Baba metzia
    Middle gate

  3. בבא בתרא Baba batra
    Last gate

  4. סנהדרין Sanhedrin

  5. מכות Makot

  6. שבועות Shevuot

  7. עדויות Eduyot

  8. עבודה זרה Avodah zarah

  9. אבות Avot
    [Sayings of the] Fathers

  10. הוריות הוריות Horayot

בבא קמא Baba kama (First gate)

The first gate of the tractate -- concerning damages in a narrow sense: theft, robbery, mayhem, etc. The other two gates deal principally with legal points with reference to chattels (II.2.1-9 and real estate (II.2.10, II.3). Ten chapters.
§ 1

The four principal species of damages according to Exodus 21.33, 22.5f:

  • Ha-shor. The ox. According to the Palestinian Talmud, in short keren (horn) -- damage specifically by goring; according to the Babylonian Talmud, in short regel foot) -- damage which an animal perpetrates by walking.

  • Ha-bor. A pit left uncovered; also damages caused by by objects thrown into the street.

  • Ha-mab'eh. He who grazes, according to the Palestinian Talmud shen (tooth) and regel (treading under foot), according to an opinion in the Babylonian Talmud a damage caused by a human being.

  • Ha-hab'er. Setting fire, damaging through arson, 'esh.

The distinctions obtaining between these species. What time, for which goods, with reference to which place and persons damages are to be paid, and that from the best of one's field. Computing damages. Difference between mu'ad (proved as noxious) and tam (innocuous, tame, from which injury proceeds either sporadically or only accidentally).

§ 2How far an animal does injury by stamping, eating, goring, etc. and concerning the compensation. A human being must always pay full compensation for damages done by him (is accounted as mu'ad).
§ 3Damages perpetrated by human beings through letting things stand in public places, through colliding. The goring ox.
§ 4More about the goring ox.
§ 5The same. The pit uncovered. What is said of the ox, pertains likewise to other cattle.
§ 6Damages by grazing cattle and by fire.
§ 7Compensation for stolen property (double; four- or five-fold). Cattle which may not be kept in the land of Israel.
§ 8Mayhem and outrage. The offender is in duty bound to apologize, the offended person to forgive.
§ 9Compensation, when the thing stolen has changed in value or when anything has been vitiated by an artisan. Species of compensation, when the thief has perjured himself.
§ 10Several other cases of compensation (ie, when a stolen thing has passed to other hands). Because of suspicion of theft, on may not buy wool, milk nor a kid from a shepherd, nor fruit nor wood from a fruit watcher. Which waste products belong to the manufacturer or artisan.

בבא מציעא Baba metzia (Middle gate)

A tractate particularly much in use. Ten chapters.
§ 1Of things, especially those found, claimed by two persons. That minor children, women and Canaanitic slaves have no claim to finds. Which documents, when found, must be restored.
§ 2Publication of found articles. Conducting back stray cattle. Assistance at loading and unloading. The precedence of the teacher as compared with one's father.
§ 3Concerning things left in storage.
§ 4Concerning buying, the term for reconsidering, unlawful profit (a sixth and over; Ona'a defrauding, compare hona Lev 25.14,17), debased coin. In which cases even what is worth one peruta is of moment. (A peruta is a small copper coin worth 1/8 of an issar, or 1/192 of a denarius.) Five cases, in which the compensation must be augmented by a fifth. With reference to which objects the law of Ona'a has no validity. One must not exercise Ona'a even with words. Fraudulent mixing of wares and other manipulations by sellers.
§ 5Neshek (interest) and tarbith (speculating on the rise of prices). Cession of objects, on the condition of half of the profit, for selling or using. It is lawful to pay interest to non-Jews or to take interest from them. Lending and accommodation.
§ 6

The hiring of laborers and of cattle. Responsibility for that which is committed to one's car (an accomplished piece of work, a pledge).

6.1: When one hires men to do an urgent piece of labor which if deferred in execution would entail loss, and the laborers drop their work, it is permissible, when no laborers are to be had (for the same price), to hire other laborers at the expense of those originally hired, or even to make them feigned promises (אוֹ מַטען). Strack, p 260 - 261

§ 7Feeding laborers. Force majeure, 'ones, absolves a caretaker or lessee from the obligation of compensation. Which conditions are not valid.
§ 8When something hired, borrowed, bartered, or olive-trees sold for cutting down have changed in value. When the object of a sale is doubtful. Renting a house.
§ 9Leasing a field. At what time the laborer may demand his hire. Taking in pledge.
§ 10Claims arising from the collapse of structures. What may be done in or on public places. Using the space between two superimposed gardens.

בבא בתרא Baba batra (Last gate)

Ten chapters.
§ 1Dividing property held in partnership. How far a division may be demanded.
§ 2Restrictions upon the use to which private or public property may be put (from considerations of the neighbor, of public welfare, etc.).
§ 3Usucaption hazakah (the presumption of legal title to property held in uninterrupted and undisputed possession). How one may not build towards a common court or a public square.
§ 4What goes with the sale of immovable property.
§ 5What goes along with the sale of movable property (eg ships, cattle) and trees. Reconsideration on the part of the buyer on account of false statements by the seller. How things bought are taken possession of. Procedure in measuring and weighing. Hamburg Ms 19 places the fifth chapter המוכר את הספינה after the sixth המוכר פירות; and chapter seven האומר לחבירו בית כור after chapter eight יש נחלין.
§ 6To what extent the seller must vouch for his wares. When one has a cistern in some one else' house or a garden in some one else's garden. Dimensions for dwellings, streets, sepulchers
§ 7The measuring of fields for sale. [See note to chapter five.]
§ 8Law of inheritance.
§ 9Division of property. Concerning gifts and the bridegroom's friends shoshebenim, παρανυμφιοι, also concerning betrothal gifts.
§ 10The drawing up of documents (bill of divorcement, Kethubba, etc.). Bail.

סנהדרין Sanhedrin

Sanhedrin -- συνεδριονm, court of justice -- covers the courts of justice and judicial procedure, especially criminal law. Originally this and the next tractate were one tractate covering capital and hten corporal punishment. Eleven chapters.
§ 1For the disposition of which questions or actions three men are requisite; the small sanhedrins with a membership in each of twenty-three, the great sanhedrin in Jerusalem with seventy-one members.
§ 2Privileges of the high priests and of the king.
§ 3Election of arbital judges. Which persons may be neither judges nor witnesses. Examination of witnesses. Announcement of the sentence.
§ 4Differences between civil and criminal cases. How the judges eat. Cautioning the witnesses in criminal cases.
§ 5As to what and how the witnesses are questioned. How the judges meet in conference.
§ 6Punishment by stoning. Burying the executed criminals.
§ 7The four species of capital punishment: stoning, burning, decapitation, strangulation. Which crimes are punished with stoning.
§ 8Of the willful and stubborn son (Deut 21.14ff). The burglar. Whom it is lawful to kill in order to prevent him from committing a gross crime.
§ 9Which criminals are burnt and which decapitated. Which cases of homicide are not to be reckoned as murder. When criminals sentenced to death are mixed up so that it is not known which crime was committed by the individual persons. When a man is guilty of two crimes for which two distinct modes of punishment by death are prescribed. One who relapses (and is placed in the kippah, a vaulted jail). Who ma be put to death without court sentence.
§ 10Who has and who has not a part in the world to come. The banned city, Deut 13.13ff. In the Babylonian Talmud, the tenth and eleventh chapters are reversed.
§ 11Which criminals are strangled. The rebellious (dissenting) teacher zaken mamre. The false prophet. 11.3 - The much cited, but often misunderstood statement סופרם מבךברי תורה חמר בךברי it is more culpable to go counter in teaching to the ordinances of the scribes than to those of the Torah itself.

מכות Makot (Stripes/lashes)

Describes the lashings to which a person is condemned by a court (Deut 25.1ff). Three chapters.
§ 1In which cases false witnesses are subjected to stripes instead of retaliation (Deut 19.19). Then more elaborately on false witnesses.
§ 2The one who commits unpremeditated homicide and the cities of refuge (Deut 19.19ff, Numb 35.19ff).
§ 3

Which sins are punishable by lashing. Number of lashings. Execution of the punishment. The punishment of scourging exempts one from the punishment of extermination. Reward for fulfilling even one commandment. Why god gave numerous commandments: 3.16 - רצה הקב"ה לזכות את ישראל it pleased god to give Israel the opportunity of acquiring merits.

3.10 - Deut 25.2f reads: "The judges shall cause him to be beaten according to the measure of his wickedness, by number. Forty stripes he may give him, he shall not exceed" -- the Mishnah evolves its number by combining במספר:ארבעים which it takes as before forty or near forty. Compare II Cor 11.25 and Josephus' Antiquities πληγας τεσσαρακοντα μια λειπουσας λαμβανων. So Maimonides and Obadiah di Bertinoro posit that thirty-nine is the halakah. Judah ben El'ai, however, demands a full forty, the fortieth between the shoulders. It may be noted that the Septuagint likewise joins במספר and ארבעים.

שבועות Shevuot (Oaths)

Based on Leviticus 5.4ff. Eight chapters.
§ 1Two main species of oaths which divide into four: יבלהרע או להיט (negative vs affirmative); like other subordinate species, these are not in the Pentateuch but have been ordained by the Sopherim. Other acts similarly circumstanced. Statements concerning the cognisance of being unclean (Lev 5.2) which is one of these acts. How atonement is effected for doing something in an unclean state and for other transgressions of the law by various kinds of offerings.
§ 2Further particulars about becoming aware of being unclean, yedi'oth ha-tum'ah.
§ 3The (two or four) species of oaths. A wanton oath (shebu'ath bittui) and an oath in vain (shebu'ath shaw).
§ 4The oath of testimony.
§ 5Denial by oath of that which one has appropriated or retained wrongly or by force, shebu'ath ha-pikkadon, Lev 5.21ff.
§ 6The oath imposed by judges. In which case one may not swear.
§ 7Oaths in matters of hire, business and the like (mostly cases in which the plaintiff swears).
§ 8Four species of keepers (for pay, for no pay, one who borrows, one who hires).

עדויות Eduyot (Testimonies)

Testimonies on the part of later teachers concerning the statements of older authorities. Eight chapters.

This section is not to be confused with עךיות. According to tradition, these testimonies were taught in the selfsame day bo ba-yom in which Eleazar ben Azariah was elected head of the academy, Nasi, after the deposition of Gamaliel II Ber 29a. The epithet behiretha, 'The Chosen One', is met with in the Talmud Ber 27a; Kid 54b. Altogether a hundred statements; in addition forty cases in which the Shammaiites were lenient and the Hillelites more rigorous (4.1-5.5). The numbers seem to be intended. For the most part the statements recur in the Mishnah in other places (according to the subject matter).

§ 1Three statements of law in which the scholars (hakamim) go neither with Hillel nor with Shammai. Why the opinions of these or of other individual scholars have been handed down, although they have not become law. Three cases in which the school of Shammai disagreed with Shammai. Ordinances in which the school of Hillel prevailed and questions concerning which it yielded to the school of Shammai.
§ 2Four statements by Hananiah, the prefect of the priesthood. Three by Ishmael. Three questions discussed by others but settled for the first time by Joshua ben Mathiah. Three points of difference between Ishmael and Akiba. Three statements enunciated before Akiba. Statements of law and sayings by Akiba.
§ 3Dosa ben Archinus, Joshua ben Hananiah, Zadok, Rabban Gamaliel, Eleazar ben Azariah.
§ 4Points on which the school of Hillel was more rigorous than that of SHammai.
§ 5Further ordinances of the same kind. The things Akabiah ben Mahalalel would not retract.
§ 6Five statements attested by Judah ben Baba. Dispute concerning defilement by parts severed from a dead (live) animal (human being).
§ 7Joshua, Zadok, Jakim, Papias, Menahem of Signa (בן likely means from the place), Nehuniah of (בן) Gudgeda.
§ 8Joshua ben Bethera, Simeon ben Bethera, Judah ben Baba, Judah the Priest, Jose the Priest, Zechariah son of the Butcher, Jose ben Joezer (the only Aramic halaka in all the Mishnah), Akiba, Eliezer and Joshua ben Hananiah. Diverse opinions concerning the activity of Elijah at his advent (Mal 3.23f).

עבודה זרה Avodah zarah (Idolatry)

Five chapters.

On this usage of זֶר see Isai. 43.16; Deut. 32.16 etc. -- The appellations 'Abodath kokabim u-mazzaloth' (worship of the stars and constellations) and 'Obed k. u-m.' (worshiper of stars etc.; idolater) or, as the abbreviation according to the initial letters runs, 'Akkum' עכו"ם, are found neither in the oldest editions of the ritual code Mishne Tora by Moses Maimonides and of the Shulhan Aruk (ranking codification of Jewish law) nor in the manuscripts and those editions of the Mishna and Talmuds which are free from censorship, but are solely an inventionof the censors!! [sic, what an emphasis!!] The whole article עכו"ם in Levy, III, 646 is to be deleted! The original readings are: נָכְרִי נּוֹי עבוךהזרה. Strack, p 262

§ 1Concerning the festivals of the idolaters. What may not be sold or rented to idolaters.
§ 2Regulations to prevent closer intercourse with idolaters (being alone with an idolater; inns; acting as midwife; victuals, etc).
§ 3Images (Rabban Gamliel II in the Aphrodite baths at Acco) and other objects of idolatrous worship: mountains, hills, temples, trees.
§ 4What belongs to an idol. How an idol is destroyed. (§ 7 - Why god does not destroy the idols.) Wine of idolaters.
§ 5More about this wine. How vessels bought from idolaters are cleansed.

אבות Avot ([Sayings of the] Fathers)

Also called פֶרֶק אבות pirke [chapter] aהםא. This chapter is a collection of maxims, primarily to demonstrate the continuity and hence weight of tradition (chapters 1, 2); then to impart practical wisdom. Five chapters.
§ 1.1 - 15Sayings of the oldest teachers down to Hillel and Shammai.
§ 1.16 - 2.4aSayings by men from the house of Hillel down to Gamaliel III, son of the compler of the Mishna.
§ 2.4b - 2.7Further sayings by Hillel (in order to revert to the chain of tradition).
§ 2.8 - 16Johanan ben Zaccai and his five disciples. Tarphon.
§ 3 - 4Maxims by more than forty authorities, only in part ordered chronologically. (3.11 has a maxim pointed against Judeo-Christians.)
§ 5.1 - 15Anonymous maxims by number (with the numbers 10, 7, 4).
§ 5.16 - 19Other anonymous moral reflections.
§ 5.20Judah ben Tema
§ 5.21The stages of life.
§ 5.22Ben Bag-Bag.
§ 5.23Ben He-He.
§ 6The Praise of the Law (Kinyan ha-tora, 'Acquisition of the Law', also called after the opening Perek R. Meir) does not belong to the Mishnah, but was added at a later period in order to provide reading matter for the sixth of the Sabbath afternoons betweenPassover and the Festival of Weeks on which it was customary to read Aboth. The esssential part of the collection covers 1.1-15; 2.8-14; 5.1-5, 7-10, 13-18. So far does the parallelism with Aboth de-Rabbi Nathan extend.


Translated as teachings or decisions, but it also means parenting. Deals with decisions in matters of religious law which have been made by error. Three chapters.
§ 1Of the sin-offering which is then due Lev 4.13f.
§ 2Differences, when erroneous decisions are complied with, between a court, the high priest, the prince and a private person.
§ 3The retiring high priest or prince (king) with reference to the sin-offering. Other differences between the anointed high priest and the invested one, between the high priest in office and when he has stepped out of office, between the high priest and a common priest. Precedence of the more frequent and the holier, of man over woman, of priests over Levites. 3.8 - In order: priests, Levite, Israelite, mamzer (offspring of prohibited intercourse), nathin (descendant of Gibeonites; Josh 9.27, Ezra 2.43, Ezra 8.20), proselyte, freed slave.

קדשים Kodashim (Holies)

  1. זבחים Zevachim
    Animal offerings

  2. מנחות Menachot
    Meal offerings

  3. חולין Chullin
    Non-sacred things

  4. בכורות Bechorot

  5. ערכין Arachin

  6. תמורה Temurah

  7. כריתות Keritot

  8. מעילה Me'ilah

  9. תמיד Tamid
    Regular [offering]

  10. מידות Middot

  11. קנים Kinnim
    Bird nests

זבחים Zevachim (Animal offerings)

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