Mishna - Torah.org Torah.org Home Subscribe Services Support Us
 

Mishna

The book known as the Mishna is be considered to be the cornerstone of Judaism. Its 62 divisions (tractates, or Mesechtos) provide the background for every subject of Halacha (Jewish law) found in the Oral Torah. Each tractate is a collection of about 50 to 100 Mishnayos (plural for Mishna) - meaning that the title given to the whole book is the same word used to describe its smallest part. The Jews are a perplexing bunch of people, aren't they?

The 62 sections are divided into six orders (Sedarim):

  1. Zeraim - deals mostly with agricultural laws - by and large relevant only to life in Israel.
  2. Moed - discusses the laws of the Sabbath and festivals.
  3. Nashim - deals with marriage and family law.
  4. Nezikin - covers civil and criminal law and the court system.
  5. Kodshim - is focused on the Temple and the Divine service that was centered around it.
  6. Taharos - discusses the laws of ritual purity.

Despite the fact that the Mishna (when compared with the endless explanation needed to understand it) is really nothing more than chapter headings, they are exceptionally good chapter headings. Amongst the beautifully concise wording and the seemingly simple arguments between sages, lie the hints and references needed to get a discussion going and lead the reader in the right direction. It's hard to imagine any contract or constitution that could have said so much, so clearly, and in so few words.

The Hebrew of the Mishna is known as classical Hebrew because of its intense beauty and extreme simplicity. The writing is functional and unambiguous while at the same time, poetic and pleasing. It is a truly rare combination which is also found, (in a different way), in the Talmud.


Rabbi Boruch Clinton teaches at the Ottawa Torah Institute yeshiva high school and Machon Sarah high school for girls (both in Ottawa, Canada). You may reach him with comments and questions at bclinton@torah.org.

You can now read some of Rabbi Clinton's essays on Torah life at http://www.ncf.ca/~es625/essays

You can also buy his collection of essays on the Book of Shmuel (Samuel) in printed form at www.lulu.com/marbitzmedia

Copyright 2000 by Rabbi Boruch Clinton and Project Genesis, Inc.

 






ARTICLES ON NOACH:

View Complete List

What Was Noach's Greatest Legacy?
Rabbi Yissocher Frand - 5772

Hide the Shame
Rabbi Dovid Green - 5758

A Wasted Tragedy
Rabbi Berel Wein - 5762

ArtScroll

Why We Keep Sinning
Rabbi Pinchas Winston - 5774

Can You Enjoy While Others Lack?
Rabbi Yisroel Ciner - 5759

Taking the Initiative
Rabbi Pinchas Winston - 5772

Frumster - Orthodox Jewish Dating

Make it a Habit
Shlomo Katz - 5774

Language Barrier
Rabbi Mordechai Kamenetzky - 5760

Beyond Youth
Rabbi Label Lam - 5764

Looking for a Chavrusah?

"G-d Watches Over Man"
Shlomo Katz - 5764

Delight Amidst Devastation
Rabbi Eliyahu Hoffmann - 5762

The Path to Serving God
Rabbi Berel Wein - 5773

> A Second Chance
Rabbi Aron Tendler - 5759

People In Stone Houses Shouldn
Rabbi Yochanan Zweig - 5773

Nourishment for the Soul
Shlomo Katz - 5760

The Flood
Shlomo Katz - 5769



Project Genesis

Torah.org Home


Torah Portion

Jewish Law

Ethics

Texts

Learn the Basics

Seasons

Features

TORAHAUDIO

Ask The Rabbi

Knowledge Base




Help

About Us

Contact Us



Free Book on Geulah!




Torah.org Home
Torah.org HomeCapalon.com Copyright Information