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 MASEI AND THE THREE WEEKS:

View Complete List

An Oath
Rabbi Pinchas Winston - 5769

The Daughters of Tzlofchad
Shlomo Katz - 5758

Money And The Kids
Rabbi Yissocher Frand - 5764

> Your Flattery Will Be The Death of Me
Rabbi Yochanan Zweig - 5771

In the Eye of the Beholder
Rabbi Yehudah Prero - 5766

To My Very Last Breath
Rabbi Label Lam - 5772

Looking for a Chavrusah?

Dead First
Rabbi Mordechai Kamenetzky - 5760

Body Language
Rabbi Yochanan Zweig - 5771

When Moshiach Comes
Rabbi Label Lam - 5768

ArtScroll

The Nine Days of Mourning
Rabbi Dovid Green - 5758

Stay Cool
Rabbi Yisroel Ciner - 5761

The Joy Of Mussar
Rabbi Yissocher Frand - 5766

Frumster - Orthodox Jewish Dating

His Private Path
Rabbi Label Lam - 5766

The Age Of Experience
Rabbi Naftali Reich - 5772

Our Father, Our Light
Rabbi Yehudah Prero - 5758

The Accidental Murderer
Rabbi Naftali Reich - 5770



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