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that Judah wished to preserve the ancient teach-
ings; and to attain this object more completely
he included in his Mishnah, in addition lo the col-

lections of Akiba and Mei'r, which formed his chief
sources, the major portion of all the other mish-
nayot (Yer. Shab. xvi. 15c); according to a later ac-
count, he used in all thirteen collections (Ned. 41a).
He dealt independently with his material ; for while
he frequently made no changes in the wording or
form of the old Mishnah, and even included old
halakot which had long since been refuted, he
altered various others (comp. Hoffmann, "Bemer-
kungen zur Kritik der Mischna," in Berliner's
"Magazin," 1881, pp. 127 et seq.). He expounded
many of the old halakot ('Ar. iv. 2; Sanh. ix. 3;
Yer. Sanh. 27a; comp. Oppenheim, I.e. p. 347), fol-
lowing certain rules (Yer. Ter. i. 2, 40c), and en-
deavoring to determine the text of the old Mishnah
(Yer. Ma'as. Sh. v. 1, 55d; comp. Letter of Sherira
Gaon, I.e. pp. 9-10; Frankel, I.e. p. 214). The less-
known halakot, as well as those which the pupils of
Akiba had propounded, were interpreted by Judah
ha-Nasi according to his conception of them. In
this way he impressed upon his Mishnah tlie stamp
of uniformity, and gave it the appearance of a work
thoroughly revised, if not new ; and his compilation
displaced its predecessors by its inclusion of the
major portion of their contents with the exception
of those halakot which appeared to him untenable,
or to which he had alluded in some other passage
of his Mishnah.

Because of his personal prominence and his dignity
as patriarch (comp. J. S. Bloch, "Einblicke," etc.,
pp. 59 et seq.), his Mishnah soon became the only
one used in the schools, and was known to teachers
and students alike, Judah thereby attaining his
object of restoring uniform teachings. Whereas
the exposition of the various halakot
The Au- given by the Tannaim and called
thoritative " [Tannaitic] Talmud," had been used
Mishnah. hitherto in preference to the dry
mishnaic collections (comp. Letter of
Sherira Gaon, I.e. pp. 18-19), most of the teachers
now resorted to R. Judah's Mishnah, which included
both the halakot themselves and the expository tan-
naitic Talmud (this fact explains the application
of the name "Talmud" to his Mishnah; B. M. 33a;
Yer. Shab. xvi. 15c). Interest in this work was so
highly esteemed that a haggadist .said: "The study
of the Mishnah is equal to sacrifice " (Lev. R. vii.).
Every pupil was supposed, as a matter of course,
to be familiar with the Mishnah of R. Judah ha-
Nasi ; and when any one propounded a sentence
which was to be found in it, his hearers exclaimed,
"What! do we not learn that ourselves from the
Mishnah?" According to R. Joshua b. Levi, "The
Mishnah is a firm iron pillar " ; and none may stray
from it {ib. xxi.). "The passage. Num. xv. 31, ' He
hath despised the word of the Lord,' denotes him
who does not consider the Mishnah " (baraita quoted
by Isaac Alfasi in his compendium to Sanh. x.). It
was considered the only authority for legal decisions.
R Johanan said, "The correct halakic decision is
always the one which i.s declared in the Mish-
nah to be incontrovertible" ("Halakah ki-setam
Mishna"; Yeb. 42b, and parallel passages); and the
most conclusive refutation of a sentence was to
prove that it was contradicted by the Mishnah. If
a decision was accidentally made contrary to the




llishnah, the decision at once became invalid (Sanh.
6a, 33a; Ket. 84a, 100a). The Amoraim regarded
the Mishnah as the Tannaim did the Scripture; and
many of them interpreted and expounded it (com p.
Bacher "Ag. Bab. Amor." p. 33, note 207 on Rab).
Even subsequently, wlien the collections which
were made by the pupils of Judah ha-Nasi were
widely used, his Misliuuh remained the sole author-
ity. In cases where the Mishnah conflicted with
the Baraita, the former was considered decisive
(Suk. 19b; B. K. 96b), while there is but a single
example to show that the Gemara preferred the
Baraita in such a disputed case (see Jew. Encyc. ii.
516a, s.v. Baraita). Some amoraim, such as Ufa
and Simeon b. Lakish, even regarded the later col-
lections as unnecessary and useless, since their entire
contents were included by implication in the Mish-
nah, and all questions could be explained from it
without tlie aid of the subsequent compilations
(Yer. Kil. i. 6, 27a; Yer. B. K. v. 5a; Yer. Kid. iii.
64b; Ta'an. 22a; comp. Oppenheim, I.e. pp. 344-
345). Another sentence, likewise derogatory to
these later collections, says: "If Rabbi has not
taught it, how does R. Hiyya [the collector of the
baraitot] know it ? "

This Mishnah, however, has not been preserved
in the form in which Rabbi redacted it ; for, as stated
above, it was subjected to many changes, and re-
ceived numerous additions before it
Modifica- reached its definitive form. Notwith-
tions of the standing the superiority of Rabbi's
Text. Mishnah to its predecessors, it had
many defects, some of which may
still be seen in the present Mishnah. Though Rabbi
himself subsequently renounced many of his Mish-
naic opinions, as his views changed in the course of
time, he retained such discarded opinions in his
Mishnah as he had held them in his younger days
(B. M. 44u; 'Ab. Zarali52b: Yer. 'Ab. Zarah iv. 44a).
Occasionally he recorded one decision as authorita-
tive in one passage of his Mishnah, considering it
the correct view, and, deciding later in favor of an
opposite opinion, he in another place gave this also
as authoritative without retracting or suppressing
his former view (Sheb. 4a). These shortcomings
would not have been serious, since Rabbi did not
intend to furnish a mere halakic code, if he had not
failed to include in his collection many halakot
which were taught in his school and which were,
therefore, highly important, not only for halakic
decision, but also for a knowledge of tradition in
general. He furthermore excluded his own halakot
and the points of divergence between him and his
contemporaries. These omissions were the most
serious defects in his Mishnah for his pupils, since,
being a compendium of the entire traditional in-
struction, it must have seemed incomplete inasmuch
as it did not include the teachings of the last tan-
naim, whose legal decisions should certainly have
been incorporated in it if it was to serve as an au-
thoritative code. Rabbi's pupils R. Hiyya, R.
Hoshaiah, Levi, and Bar Kappara began, therefore,
even during Rabbi's lifetime and with his knowl-
edge, to make additions and emendations to his
Mishnah. Rabbi, who was aware of the deficien-
cies of his work, probably approved many of these

corrections (comp. Oppenheim, I.e. pp. MA et seq.),
and added some himself (Yer. Ket. iv. 29a, b).
Most of the changes, liowever, were such as were
contrary to his views, and were consequently con-
cealed from him by his pupils (see Mkgillat Set.\-
him; comp. Weiss, "Dor," ii. 191).

Thus arose new collections by R. Hiyya, R.
Hoshaiah, and Bar Kappara, which were called
"Mishnayot Gedolot," since they were more volu-
minous than Rabbi's collection. As these new
compilations imperiled the uniformity of teaching,
which was possible only through the existence of a
Mishnah familiar to all teachers, the " Debe Rabbi "
(the scholars of Rabbi's school) undertook a revision
of his Mishnah, probably long after his death.
They made various changes and a large number of
additions in agreement with current demands; and
in this form the Mishnah has been transmitted to
the present time. The majority of the additions
made by the Debe Rabbi betray their later origin,
although some of them are known to be supplemen-
tary only by statements in the Gemara. For in-
stance, the discussion between R. Hezekiah and R.
Johanan, in Men. 104b, indicates that the passage
in the present Mishnah (Men. xiii. 2), beginning
" Rabbi omer," is a later addition of which Hezekiah
and Johanan did not know. The same is true of
Mishnah Sanh. ix. 2, since the R. Simeon there men-
tioned is Rabbi's son, as is shown by Yerushalmi
(ad loc. 27a, b). Mishnah 'Ab. Zarah ii. 6, where a
decision of Judah ha-Nasi is quoted, also comes in
this category, since it refers to Judah II., grandson
of Judah ha-Nasi I., the original redactor of tlie
Mishnah (comp. Tos. 'Ab. Zarah 36a, s.v. "Asher").
In general, all the passages in which something-
concerning Rabbi is related, or something which
he did either alone (Sheb. vi. 4) or together with
his colleague (Oh. xviii. 19), must be regarded
as later accretions (comp. Frankel, I.e. pp. 215 et
seq.); and the same statement holds good of all the
passages in which Rabbi's opinion is quoted after
that of other tannaim. On the other hand, there are
passages concluding with "dibre Rabbi " (the words
of Rabbi), which are not necessarily additions ; for
Rabbi may in such instances have quoted his own
opinion anonymously as setam, as he frequently
did, and the words "dibre Rabbi" may have been
added by later editors. Various sentences of the To-
sefta also found their way into the Mishnah (comp.
Hoffmann, I.e. pp. 15Qetseq.). Many of these are hag-
gadic in nature, such as those at the end of the trea-
tises Makkot, 'Ukzin, Kinnim, Kiddushin, and Sotah,
as well as many sentences in the treatise Abot, which
must be regarded as accretions. The later origin of
many of these sentences is at once indicated by the
name of the author, as in the cases of R. Joshua b.
Levi, who belonged to the first generation of Amo-
raim ('Ukzin, end); Simon, son of Judah ha-Nasi
(Ab. ii. 2); and Hillel, grandson of Judah lia-Nasi
{ib. ii. 4 et seq. ; comp. Lipmann Heller in Tos.
Yom-Tob, ad loc). Aside from these additions, the
Debe Rabbi emended the phraseology and sin-
gle words of the Mishnah (comp. Yer. Kid. iii. 64r),
even as Rabbi himself had done (romp. B. M. iv. 1;
'Ab. Zarah iv. 4, and the Babylonian and Pales-
tinian Gcmaras, ad loc.).




Manv of Rabbi's own emendations liave been pre-
served in the different readings of Yenislialmi and
Babli, altliougli tlie differences be-
Babylo- tween tliese two versions are not all
nian and due to his changes, as Rapoport as-
Palestin- sumes (" Kerem Hemed," vii. 157-
ian 167) ; for most of the differences not

Mishnah. due to philological causes must be
ascribed to the different mishnaic
schools. In addition to the Debe Rabbi, later
amoraim also emended the Mishnah if the received
reading seemed untenable. These emendations
were then incorporated into the Mishnah; those
made by the Babylonian amoraim into the Mishnah
which was taught in the Babylonian schools; and made by the Palestinian amoraim into the
Mishnah as taught in the Palestinian schools. Thus,
in "Ab. Zarah i., tlie Mishnah in the Palestinian Tal-
mud was corrected according to the Gemara (Yer.
'Ab. Zarah i. 39d), while the Mishnah in the Baby-
lonian Talmud retained its original reading. Some-
times — curiously enough — the Mishnah of the Pal-
estinian Talmud was corrected to harmonize with
the results of the discussion in the Babylonian Tal-
mud, and vice versa (comp. O. H. Schorr in "He-
Haluz," vi. 82-47; Frankel. "Mebo," pp. 19a-22a),
although only a few of these emendations, of which
there are many in the Talmud— introduced by the
phrases "sami mi-kan" = "omit from here," or
"hasuri mihasra" = "something missing," or "teni
kak" = "teach thus"— found their way into the
Mishnah itself. Many of the amoraim objected
to corrections in the Mishnah, holding that the
phraseology chosen by the ancients in their mishnaic
collections should be retained unchanged (Yer.
Na/ir i. 51a).

The Mishnah is written in a peculiar kind of He-
brew, which is far more different from the Hebrew
of tlie earlier books of the Old Testament than from
that of some of the later ones and which is, there-
fore, correctly designated as "Neo-Hebraic." This
language was spoken by the people of Palestine as
late as the second century of the common era, but
was cultivated especially by the scholars; so that it
was called " leshon hakamim " = " the speech of the
wise." It contains many old Hebraic terms which
were preserved in popular speech, although they
are not found in the Bible, as well as numerous for-
eign elements, especially from Aramaic, Greek, and
Latin; the scholars being forced to adopt these loan-
words as terms for objects and concejHs which
were formerly unknown and for which there were
no designations in the Hebrew vocabulary. Foreign
words were especially used to designate implements
borrowed from foreign i)eoples(comp. Weiss, "Mish-
pat Leshon ha-Mishnali," pp. 1-7; A. Geiger, " Lehr-
buch zur Sprache der Mischna,"pp. 1-3); and these
borrowed terms w(!re so Hebraized as to betaken by
many for native words.

From tlie first there were various opposing opin-
ions regarding tlu; problems when and by whom the
Mislmaii was reduced to writing. According to the
Letter of Sherira Gaon {l.r. pp. 2, 9, 12), Judah ha-
Nasi himself performed this task; and this view is
supported bv Rabbenu Nis.sim b. Jacob (in tiie pref-
ace to his "Scfer ha-Mafteah," ed. J. Goldenthal,

p. 3a, Vienna, 1S47), Samuel Nagid (in his "Mebo
ha-Talmud "), Maimonides (in the introduction to his
commentary on the Mishnah and in the preface to
the Yad ha-Hazakah), Meiri (in his "Bet ha-Behi-
rah "), and a commentary on Pirke Abot (pp. 6a, 8b,
9a, Vienna, 1854) ; and many other medieval authors,
as well as some modern scholars (comp. Strack,
"Einleitung in den Talmud," p. 54), hold the
same opinion. Rashi, on the other hand (see his
commentary on Shab. 13b; 'Er. 62b; B. M. 33a; Suk.
28b; Ket. 19b), with some tosaflsts
The Writ- and other medieval and modern au-
ten Text, thors (comp. Strack, I.e. p. 55), held
not only that the Mishnah was not re-
duced to writing by Rabbi himself, but that even
the later amoraim did not have it in written form.
He maintained that it, together with the Gemai-a,
was written by the Saboraim. This view is based
principally on the passage Git. 60b, which declares
that it was forbidden to record halakot, as well as
on certain other statements of the Amoraim (comp.
e.g., Tan., Ki Tissa, ed. Buber, pp. 59b e< seq.). wiiich
draw a distinction between the Bible as being a
written doctrine and the Mishnah as a system of
teaching which is not and may not be reduced to
writing. It is, however, extremely unlikely that
such a systematized collection, dealing with prob-
lems so numerous and so diverse, could have been
transmitted orally from generation to generation ;
and this improbability is increased by the fact that
in the Talmud remarks concerning "reslia" and
"sefa" (the "first" and the "last" cases provided
for in a single paragraph) are frequently added to
Mishnah quotations, a fact explicable only on
the assumption that the text of the Mishnah was
definitely fixed in writing.

It must be assumed, therefore, that Rabbi himself
reduced the Mishnah to writing in his old age,
trausgresising in a way the interdiction against re-
cording halakot, since he deemed this prohibition
liable to endanger the preservation of the doctrine.
He did not abrogate this interdiction entirely, how-
ever; for the oral method of instruction continued,
the teacher using the written Mishnah merely as a
guide, while the pupils repeated the lesson orally.
Thus the distinction between "mikra" (the law to
be read) and "mishnah " (the oral teaching) was re-
tained (comp. "Pahad Yizhak,"s.«. "Mishnah," pp.
219 e« Heq. ; Frankel, " Hodegeticain Misciinam," pp.
217-218; Brlill, "Einleitung," ii. 10-13; Weiss,
"Dor," p. 216).

T*lie Mishnah has been transmitted in four recen-
sions: (1) the manuscripts and editions of the misli-
nayot; (2) the Babylonian Talmud, in which the
several mishnayot are separated by the Gemara in
those treatises which have it, while in the trea-
tises which have no Gemara they follow in setjuence ;
(3) the Palestinian Talmud, in which the Gemara
follows each entire chapter of the Mishnah, the ini-
tial words of the mishnaic sentences to be expounded
being repeated (of this version only the first four
orders and ciiapters i.-iv. of the treatise Niddah of
the sixth order are extant); (4) "the Mishnah on
which the Palestinian Talmud rests," published
by W. H. Lowe in 1883 after the Mishnah manu-
script (Add. 470, 1) in the library of the University




of Cambridge. On the relation of the first three
editions to one anotlier see above (comp. A. Kroch-
mal, " Yerushalayim ha-Benuyah," Introduction,
pp. 10-14; Frankel, I.e. pp. 219-223; Weiss, I.e. ii.
313). The relation of the fourtl. version to the pre-
ceding three has not yet been thoroughly inves-

The Mishnah is divided into six main parts, called

orders (Aramaic, "sedarim," plural of "seder";

Hebr. '"arakin," plural of '"erek"),

Division the nJ5^'D mD r\^^ (as in B. M. 85b)
into Orders, or the njK'n ''3"iy ^^ (Pesik., ed. Bu-
ber, 7a; Cant. K. vi. 4) being therefore
frequently mentioned. The abbreviated name D Ci'
("shas") was formed from the initial letters of 7\Z'^
D'lTD (Hag. 3a, 10a; M. K. 10b). Each order con-
tains a number of treatises, "massektot" (Mishnah,
ed. Lowe, fol. 32a ; Midr. Teh. to Ps. civ.) or " masse-
kot " (Mishnah, ed. Lowe, fol. 69a), plural of " mas-
seket," or " massektiyyot " (Cant. R. vi. 9), the sin-
gular of which is "massekta." Each treatise is di-
vided into chapters, " perakim" (singular, " perek ")
(Ned. 8a; Hag. 9a; Men. 99b), and each chapter into
paragraphs or sentences, "mishnayot," or "hala-
kot " in the Palestinian Talmud (see above).

The six orders are first mentioned by R. Hiyya
(B. M. 85b), and represent the original division. A
division into five orders is nowhere mentioned, al-
though Geiger ("Einiges iiber Plan," etc., p. 487),
misinterpreting the Midrash passage Num. R. xiii.,
considers only five oiders to be enumerated there.
Ulla (Meg. 28b), when he alludes to those who teach
and learn only four orders, does not imply that the
Mishnah was divided into four orders, but refers
merely to those who study only four. This conclu-
sion is confirmed by a conversation in which Simeon
b. Lakish communicates to a man who has studied
only the first four orders a sentence belonging to the
sixthordcr(Meg.28b). The geonic tradition (" Sha'are
Teshubah," No. 143) which refers to seven orders of
the Mishnah seems to include the " Small Treatises "
("Massektot Ketannot" ;Hoti"mann, I.e. pp. 98-99).
The names of the orders are old, and are mentioned
by Simeon b. Lakish (Shab. 31a), who enumerates
them, according to his interpretation of Isa. xxxiii.
6, in the following sequence: Zera'im, Mo'ed,
Nashim, Nezikin, Kodashim, Tohorot. This is the
original order, which is found also in Num. R. xiii.
There are other enumerations with different se-
quences. R. Tanhuma has the following in Yalk.,
Ps. xix. : Nashim, Zera'im, Tohorot, Mo'ed, Ko-
dashim, Nezikin. He gives another series in Num.
R. xiii. : Nashim, Zera'im, Mo'ed, Kodashim, Toho-
rot, Nezikin. As R. Tanhuma evidently does not in-
tend to give the actual sequence but only to explain
the verses as referring to the orders of the Mishnah, he
adapts his enumeration of the orders to the sequence
of the verses. That Simeon b. Lakish's sequence is
the correct one maybe proved also from other sources.
For example, Ta'an. 24b has: "In the days of Rab
Judas they went in their studies only as far as the
order Nezikin ; but we study all six orders." The
parallel passage reads: " We have proceeded in our
studies as far as 'Ukzin " (the end of the sixth ord^r
Tohorot). It is clear from Meg. 28b that formerly
only four orders were studied, of which Nezikin

formed the conclusion (according to Ta'an. 24a,
where the shorter course of study in former times is
mentioned in another form of expression). That the
treatise ' Ukzin of the order Tohorot was the end of the
sixth order is shown by Ber. 20a. It is seen, there-
fore, that the order Nezikin is always mentioned as
the fourth, and the order Tohorot as the sixth and
last, thus conforming to the sequence of Simeon b.
Lakish (comp. Brlill, I.e. ii. 15; Weiss, I.e. iii. 186).
Isaac ibn Gabbai, autlior of the mishnaic commen-
tary " Kaf Nahat," has, consequently, no grounds for
his reversal of the arrangement of the orders (comp.
Lipmann Heller, I.e. Preface); nor is there any foun-
dation for the attempt of Tobias Cohn to reverse the
sequence (" Aufeinanderfolge der Mischna Ordnung-
en," in Geiger's " Jiid. Zeit." iv. 126 et seq.). For a
j ustification of the accepted sequence see the introduc-
tion of Maimonides to his commentary on the Mish-
nah; Frankel, I.e. p. 254; Brull, I.e. ii. 15-16. It can
not be ascertained whether Rabbi himself originated
this sequence, or whether the orders were thus dis-
cussed in the academies. Isaac Alfasi and Asher b.
Jehiel apply the Talmudic passage " En seder le-Mish-
nah " (= " Rabbi observed no definite sequence in the
Mishnah ") to the orders as well, and infer that this
arrangement did not originate with Rabbi himself.
Other authorities, however, assert that the passage
" En seder le-Mishnah " refers only to the treatises,
and not to the orders; for here Rabbi himself ob-
served a definite series (comp. Lipmann Heller, I.e.;
idem, commentary on Sotah ix. 1). This view seems
to be the correct one, since Simeon b. Lakish, who
was in his youth a pupil of Rabbi (Yer. Bezah v. 2,
63a), refers to this sequence of the orders as being
well known. The names of the several orders,
which are frequently mentioned in the Talmud (Suk.
4b; Shab. 54b; Meg. 7a; Nid. 8a; Bek. 30b), were
selected according to the subject of most of the
treatises belonging to them.

The division of the Mishnah into treatises is a

very old device, the collections upon which Rabbi

drew being also arranged in this same way. II Esd.

xiv. 44-46 mentions, in addition to the twenty-four

written books of the Old Testament,

Earlier seventy other books which may not
Divisions, be written down, having been given
by God to Moses for oral communica-
tion to the elders of the people. According to an
assumption of Ginsberg's, which is supported by a
comparison of the passage in Esdras with its parallel
in the Tan., Ki Tissa (ed. Ruber, pp. 58b-59a), these
seventy books are the seventy treatises of the oral
teachings, and hence of the Mishnah. The number
seventy may be obtained by counting either the
seven small treatises (comp. R. Kirchheim, Pref-
ace to his edition of them, Frankfort-on-the-Main,
1851), or, as Ginsberg obtains it, the halakic mid-
rashim Sifra and Sifre, the first of which was di-
vided into nine parts. In any case, it is evident that
tiie division into treatises is a very old one, and that
Rabbi arranged his J^Iishnah in conformity with it,
although, as has been said, the present division is
not the original one which he adopted, but has been
subjected to many changes.

Sixty-three treatises are now extant, although the
traditional number is only sixty, as Cant. R. vi. 9




says, "Sixty queeus, these are the sixty treatises of
the halakot." The three "babot," or gates, at the
beginning of the order Nezikin formed originally only
a single treatise, which also was called "Nezikin"
(B. K. 102a; B. M. 10a, b; Lev. R. xix.), and which
was divided into three treatises on account of its
size. Makkot was originally a dependent treatise
combined with Sanhedrin, of which it formed the
end (comp. Maimonides' introduction to his com-
mentary on the Mishnah). The names of the trea-
tises, which were derived mostly from the con-
tents, but occasionally from the initial letter, are
old, being known to the Amoraira, and in part even
to the Tannaim.

The following treatises are mentioned by name in
the Talmud: Baba Kamma and Baba Mezi'a (B. K.
102a) ; Bekorot (Bezah 20a) ; Berakot (B. K. 30a) ;
'Eduyot under the name " Behirta " (Ber. 27a) as
well as under its own name (Ber. 28a) ; Kelim (Mish-
nah Kelim, end); Keritot (Sanh. 6oa) ; Ketubot
(Sotah 2a) ; Kiddushin (Kid. 76b) ; Kodashim (B. M.
10%); Makkot (Shcb. 2b); Menahot (Men. 7a);
Middot (Yoma 16a) ; Nazir and Nedarim (Sotah 2a) ;
Oholot under the name " Ahilot " ('Er. 79a); Rosh
ha-Shanah (Ta'an. 2a); Shebu'ot (Sheb. 2b); Tamid
(Yoma 14b); Terumot (Pes. 34a) ; 'Ukzin(Hor. 13b) ;
Yoma (Yoma 14b) ; and Zebahim under the name
"Shehitat Kodashim" (B. M. 109b). The names

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