Doctrine of Mishna

April 5, 2012

A. The Mishnah is a philosophical law code, produced in Roman-occupied Palestine ca. A.D. 200.
B. It is a body of Jewish oral law that was written down by the end of the 2nd century A.D.
C. It is derived from the Hebrew term mishna (hnvm), “repitition,” which is derived from the verbal form shanah (hnv), “to repeat.”
D. The Mishnah was the oral conversation of the rabbis as they discussed the proper interpretation and course of action requisite upon Jews in regard to the Mosaic law.
E. The Mishnah is composed of 2 Talmuds:
1. The Yerushalmi or “Jerusalem Talmud” (A.D. 400): Covering 39 of the Mishnah’s 62 tractates.
2. The Bavli or “Babylonian Talmud” (A.D. 600): Covering 37 of the Mishnah’s 62 tractates.
F. Both Talmuds consist of a series of citations of paragraphs from the Mishnah and systematic, carefully drafted explanations of words and phrases of the Mishnah passage, followed by a secondary expansions of principles of the Mishnah passage; these non-Mishnaic portions are called Gemara.
G. Each Talmud can be described as commentary on the Mishnah and the Mishnah can be described as a commentary of the Mosaic Law.
H. There are 6 divisions of orders and tractates for both the Mishnah and the Talmud:
1. Zeraim: Seeds
a. Berakoth: Blessings
b. Peah: Gleanings
c. Demai: Produce not Certainly Tithed
d. Kilaim: Two Kinds
e. Shebiith: The 7th Year
f. Terumoth: Heave Offerings
g. Maaseroth: Tithes
h. Maaser Sheni: Second Tithe
i. Hallah: Dough Offering
j. Orlah: The Fruit of Young Trees
k. Bikkurim: First Fruits
2. Moed: Feast
a. Shabbath: Sabbath
b. Erubin: Mixtures
c. Pesahim: Passover
d. Shekalim: The Shekal Dues
e. Yoma: The Day of Atonement
f. Sukkah: The Feast of Tabernacles
g. Yom Tob: Festival Days
h. Rosh ha-Shanah: New Year
i. Taanith: The Days of Fasting
j. Megillah: Scroll of Esther
k. Moed Katan: Minor Feast
l. Hagigah: The Festival Offering
3. Nashim: Women
a. Yebamoth: Sisters-in-law
b. Ketuboth: Marriage Deeds
c. Nedarim: Vows
d. Sotah: The Suspected Adulteress
e. Gittin: Bills of Divorce
f. Kiddushin: Betrothals
4. Nezekin: Damages
a. Baba Kamma: First Gate
b. Baba Metzia: Middle Gate
c. Baba Bathra: Last Gate
d. Sanhedrin: The Sanhedrin
e. Makkoth: Stripes
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f. Shebuoth: Oaths
g. Eduyoth: Testimonies
h. Abodah Zarah: Unlawful Worship
i. Aboth: Fathers
j. Horayoth: Instructions
5. Kodashim: Sacred Things
a. Zebahim: Animal Offerings
b. Menahoth: Meal Offerings
c. Hullin: Slaughtering of Animals
d. Bekhoroth: Firstlings
e. Arakhin: Valuations
f. Temurah: Substituted Offering
g. Kerithoth: Excisions
h. Meilah: Trespass
i. Tamid: The Daily Whole Offering
j. Middoth: Measurements
k. Kinnim: Nests
6. Tohoroth: Cleannesses
a. Kelim: Vessels
b. Oholoth: Tents
c. Negaim: Plagues
d. Parah: The Red Heifer
e. Tohoroth: Cleannesses
f. Mikwaoth: Pools of Water
g. Niddah: The Menstruant
h. Makshirin: Predisposers
i. Zabim: Persons that Suffer a Flux
j. Tebul Yom: One Immersed on the Day
k. Yadaim: Hands
l. Uktzin: Stalks
I. There is no presentation of evidence but a continual appeal to authority hallowed by age or scriptural foundation.
J. Essentially then, the Mishnah is a complex, verbal and continuous commentary, explaining but objective to the Torah of Moses.
K. If the commentary produces legal instruction it is known as Halachah.
L. Although the Mishnaic presentation of laws became dominant in Jewish teaching and its teachers or Tannaim (derived from Aramaic (anj), “Those who hand down”) were greatly reverenced, it grew up after the older and more specifically commentary mode had become established.
M. The Mishnah was a topical method of pronouncement while the Midrash was an exegetical one.
N. Traditionally the Mishnaic method was divided into 2 spheres:
1. Midrash Halachah: Legal themes
2. Midrash Haggadah: Non-legal, homiletic or devotional themes
O. The Mishnah contains 63 tractates.
P. The Mishnah contains a written collection of traditional laws (halakoth) handed down orally from teacher to student.
Q. It was compiled across a period of about 335 years, from 200 B. C. to A. D. 135.
R. The Mishnah is grouped into 63 treatises, or tractates, that deal with all areas of Jewish life– legal, theological, social, and religious– as taught in the schools of Palestine.
S. Soon after the Mishnah was compiled, it became known as the “iron pillar of the Torah,” since it preserves the way a Jew can follow the TORAH.
T. For many Jews, the Mishnah ranks second only to the canon of the Hebrew Scriptures.
U. Indeed, many Jews consider it part of the Torah.
V. Because it is the core for both the Jerusalem and Babylonian Talmuds, the Mishnah serves as a link between Jews in the land of Israel and Jews scattered around the world.
W. The Roman historian Josephus reported that their oral tradition included regulations that were not recorded in the Mosaic Law at all.
X. The Mishna collected all of these oral regulations into one permanent record.
Y. In response to the Mishnah, wide discussions concerning its content and meaning began, resulting in the Talmud.
Z. The Mishnah was not yet composed during the 1st century but simply relegated to the oral traditions of the Pharisees.