1902 Encyclopedia > Mishnah


MISHNAH. The Mishnah, in the most familiar appli-cation of the name, is the great collection of legal decisions by the ancient rabbis which forms in each Talmud the text on which the Gemara rests, and so is the fundamental document of the oral law of the Jews. The question What is Mishnah 1 was asked, however, as early as the latter part of the 1st or the early part of the 2d century, though in a somewhat different sense and for a somewhat different purpose. It will be answered in the course of this article in all its bearings.

1. Name. —Rabbinic tradition has fixed the pointing Mishnah (HJB'P) by giving its status constructus as Mishnath. Although the word Mishnah is not found in the Bible, it is no doubt a classical Hebrew term, signi-fying something closely akin to Mishneh (which term occurs more than once there), as may be seen on comparing Mikvah with Mikveh, Miknah with Mikneh, McCalah with Maaleh, and Mar'ah with Mar'eh, each two of which are, however they may vary in practical application, un-questionably synonymous terms. The practical signifi-cations of Mishnah are seven in number :_—(1) repeti-tion, i.e., tradition : as such it is the equivalent of the Sewep'io-ets of Epiphanius, the traditiones et SeuTepcWis of Jerome, the oWepoo-is of Justinian, and the nw rniD ? (" t'le second to the law") of the Arukh*; (2) re-citation from memory, in contradistinction to reading from a book ; (3) study: as such it is the equivalent of Midrash in the former part of its third signification ; (4) instruction : as such it is the equivalent of Midrash in the latter part of its third signification; (5) system, style, view, line of study and instruction : as such it is identical with the Talmudical Shittah ; (6) a paragraph of the Mishnah: it is invariably employed in this sense in the Babylonian Talmud, and is identical with the word Halakhah, used for the same purpose, in the Palestinian Talmud; and (7) the collection of the decisions of the whole " oral law," i.e., the Mishnah in the concrete sense. The word Mishnah has three different plurals :—(1) the traditional Mishnayoth for signification (7), formed on the analogy of Mikvaoth (not, as some think, on that of Mikraoth or Midrashoth); (2) the correct, though ques-tioned, Mishniyyoth for signification (6), formed on the analogy of Parshiyyoth from Parashah (or Parshah), not to speak of that of Mdasiyyoth from Mdaseh; (3), the somewhat inelegant, but correct, Mishnoth,s which also serves for signification (6). Significations (1), (2), (3), (4), and (5) have, however inconsistent it may appear when one takes into consideration their respective equi-valents, no plural whatever. So much for the Hebrew Mishnah. The Aramaic Mathnitho will be spoken of later.
4 Article menD (first defiuition).
bo found in the Mishnah, see MIDRASH.

2. Contents and Nature.— The Mishnah consists chiefly of Halakhah ;a there is, comparatively speaking, little Agadah to be found in it. It is not, however, as many think, either a commentary on the Halakhic portions of the Pentateuch, or on the ordinances of the Sopherim, or on both together. It rather presupposes the knowledge of, and respect for, both the Mosaic and the Sopheric laws, and it only discusses, and finally decides on, the best mode and manner of executing these. The discussions and eventual decisions to be found in the Mishnah owe their existence principally to deep meditation on these two kinds of laws, notably on the former, by the rabbis of various ages, but chiefly by those who lived fifty years before and one hundred and fifty years after the rise of Christianity, the names of whom it faithfully gives, along with their respective discussions and decisions. There are but few cases to be found iu the Mishnah which would critically come under the denomination of an Halakhah le-Mosheh mis-Sinai, i.e., an explanation (of a law) as directly given by God to Moses, and in uninterrupted succession received from him by the rabbis. Several cases given under this name in the Mishnah are not bona fide cases;11 for the test of such an Halakhah is that it must never have been contested by any one.12

3. Method.— A Mishnah, if genuine, never begins with a passage of the Pentateuch, and even comparatively seldom brings direct proof from or gives reference to it. When there is any exception to this rule it will be found, on close examination, either that such a paragraph belongs to a very early age (that of the Sopherim), or that it is to be found in another work of the "oral law," and is simply copied in the Mishnah, or, what is more likely, that, if independent, it belongs to a very late age, or, finally, that the proof or the reference thus given is only a later addi-tion. One example of the true method of the Mishnah will, perhajis, better illustrate the foregoing statement than a sheet full of theorizing on the subject; and this one example will the more surely suffice because of its mixed (Mosaic and Sopheric) character. It is the very first paragraph of the whole Mishnah, and runs thus : "From what time (of the day) does (may, should) one read the Shemd (' the taking upon oneself the yoke of the heavenly kingdom') in the evening 1" The Mishnah does not begin: One is in duty bound to read the Shemd in the evening, because it is written (Deut. vi. 7), "And when thou liest down." For, in the first place, the law to read the Shemd evening and morning is not unquestionably Mosaic, as the words, "And thou shalt talk of them, Sec." do not refer to this passage of the law particularly, but rather to the words of the Pentateuch in general;13 and, secondly, it is needless to say that one is in duty bound to recite the Shemd twice a day, since every Jew readily acknowledges this duty and executes it, although it is not Mosaic. This duty of reading the Shemd, the grounds on which this duty rests, and how it is best fulfilled, are fully and ably discussed, developed, and finally settled in that part of the Talmud called Gemara,u—the business of which it is to discuss the words of the Mishnah and to show the sources of the tradition, and eventually the pas-sage in the Pentateuch (if on such the case rest) from which the respective disputants had derived their views, &c.
4. Purpose.—Although it is a book containing Halakhic decisions, the Mishnah was never intended, as many think, to enable the reader thereof to decide from it immediately. This mistake is old15 and widely spread,—but a mistake nevertheless. The purpose of the Mishnah was and is simply to exhibit the development of the " oral law" and the view taken of this development by the rabbis of various times. For this reason one finds side by side with the opinions of the majority those also of the minority, which latter are very carefully given. But why, since these opinions of the minority can have no decisional effect 1 The Mishnah itself ('Eduyyoth,19 i. 5) answers this question : it is that the teacher or the judge of later ages may be thus enabled, if he have good grounds for taking a view different from that of the majority as given hundreds of years before, to reverse the old decision, by forming, on the strength of the example before him, with others who agree with him (or without them, if only one vote was wanted to reverse the majority) a fresh majority. Thus the Jewish " oral law" can never become ossified like the laws of the Medes and Persians.
8 T. B., Yebainoth, 496.

5. Language.— The Mishnah is, on the whole, written in almost pure Hebrew; and even the originally non-Hebrew words (Aramaic, Greek, Latin, &c.) are so skil-fully Hebraized that they are a most creditable testimony to the linguistic powers both of many of the disputants mentioned in it, whose very words are in most cases given, and of the editor or editors who revised them.

6. Age and Authorship.— R. Yehudah Hannasi (the Prince), the reputed author (in reality only the principal and best among the editors) of the Mishnah, was born before the year 140 of the Christian era. His name was in full Yehudah b. Shime'on b. Gamliel b. Shime'on b. Gamliel b. Shime'on b. Hillel. On account of his holy living he was surnamed Rabbenu Hakkadosh, and on account of his great learning and authority he was called simply "Rabbi" (" My Teacher" far excellence). Rabbi and his time, however, are no terminus a quo for the composi-tion of the Mishnah. For, not to speak of many isolated Mishniyyoth which can be brought home to R. Meir, to R. 'Akibah, to Hillel, to Yose b. Yo'ezer, and to others, even to the earlier Sopherim, we find that R. Yose b. Halaphta of the 1st century already quotes the beginning and end-ing of a whole Mishnic treatise (Kelim ), and that in the same century (or very early in the 2d) another treatise consisting of early testimonies ('Eduyyoth ) was put into order. Moreover, although the phrases Mishnath Ri EWezer b. Taakob9, and Mishnath R. Akibah do simply signify the systems, styles, and views of these two eminent teachers, there can be little doubt that they and others besides them, presided over colleges in which the whole Halakhic matter was systematically treated and regularly gone through. Nor are Rabbi and his time for the composition of the Mishnah a terminus ad quern, for the Mishnah was not brought to a close till a very long time afterwards. Not only did R. Hiyya Rabbah, R. Hosha'yah Rabbah, and Shime'on bar Kappara redact Mishnayoth, but in the Mishnah before us notices are actually found which reach to the end of the 3d century, if not even later. The statement that Rabbi was the first to write down the
Mishnah is untrue, because the thing is impossible. For the two Talmuds, of which that of Babylonia was not finished before the 6th century (if then), know, certainly, nothing of the writing down of the Mishnah. On the contrary, their language throughout presupposes the Mish-nah in their time to have been what its name indicates, a repetition, i.e., a thing acquired by continual recitation, because, like the other works of the "oral law" (Torah shebbeal peh), it was to be, and was, handed down orally. As for the difficulty of keeping in memory such a stu-pendous and vast work as the Mishnah, it is sometimes forgotten in this controversy that memory was aided by a great variety of mnemotechnic means, such as numbers and names of teachers, and by the existence of other works of the " oral law," which, although they also were not written down, could be easily kept in memory because they rested on letters, words, and verses of the written Pentateuch. Anyhow, there is ample evidence, both nega-tive and positive, that the Mishnah as we now have it was not committed to writing in the times of Rabbi or for long afterwards. But it certainly does not follow that no merit is due to Rabbi in connexion with the Mishnah. His merit in connexion with it is great in every way. For (1) Rabbi was himself a link in the chain of tradition, since he had " received" from his own father and so on up to his ancestor Hillel and even higher; (2) he gave in the Mishnah his own decisions, in most cases in accordance with those of the famous R. Meir, which are thus in a great part secured to us; (3) in giving his own decisions he preserved to us also a good many decisions of the teachers of the 2d century ; (4) in collecting all these decisions he anxiously ascertained the genuine formulas of the older Mishniyyoth ;12 (5) he did not merely reproduce the formulas which he esteemed the best, but discussed them anew in his own college, which was composed of men of the highest eminence, as is well known; (6) although he gave on the whole the very language of the teachers who preceded him, he gauged it, guarding it against the barbarisms which are so plentiful in the other works of the " oral law "; and (7) he scattered the Mislinah broadcast (though only by word of mouth) over all Palestine and Babylonia by means of the disciples who flocked to him from all parts of those countries. If the Mishnah, as it now exists, is not entirely his, it certainly belongs to him in a great measure and in more than one sense.

7. Value and Appreciation.— Whatever can be said in favour of the Agadah applies with equal if not greater force to the Mishnah, as the latter is a canonical and therefore more reliable work of the " oral law." The Mishnah is one of the richest mines of archaeology which the world possesses. But it waits yet for the master touch to break the spell which holds it bound. Great, however, as the value of the Mishnah is, its popu-larity has never been steady, but has been continually fluctuating, and that for various reasons. Even Rabbi in his time had to appeal for due attention to it. Whilst it was neglected in troublous times by the masses, who ran after the AgadaJi,13 which, besides being consoling, needed no particular study, it was, in prosperous times, neglected by the rabbis themselves through the study of the Bible and the Talmud.14 And much more was this

•the case when the Talmud had developed from a mere studious activity to two concrete works of large size.
4 Whether the word Massekheth comes from Masokh (^DD, to pour into, to mix, &c.), or from Nasokh (?|D3, to pour, to mix, to weave, &c), it signifies in either case here a mould, a form, a frame. Mas-sekheth has three several plurals :—(1) the common Massekhtoth (not Massikhtoth) ; (2) the less common Massekhoth (see MS. Add. 470. 1, belonging to the University Library of Cambridge, leaf 69a and else-where) ; and (3) Massekhliyyoth (JIVfODD), see Midrash Rabbah on Canticles vi. 8, 9. The Aramaic Massekhto (not Massikhto) has in the jplural Massekhotho, the use of which is, however, very uncommon.

8. The Ultimate Writing Down of the Mishnah.— The troubles of the unhappy Jews had multiplied everywhere. The masses, as already stated, preferred, in consequence of these troubles, the Agadah. But the number of the learned also diminished through these troubles day by day ; and the comparatively few that remained preferred more and more the Talmud (in Palestine the Palestinian and in Babylonia the Babylonian), which was a better field for the exercise of their ingenuity. The fate of the Mishnah would have been sealed had it not been ultimately written down. But the writing down of Ilalakhah en masse had been prohibited in early times. Two considera-tions, however, ultimately removed all scruples. (1) It was a time to do something for God, even if by such doings His law was apparently destroyed. Let one (and a minor) law be disregarded, so that many (and higher) laws be preserved. The Halalchoth of the Mishnah were numerous and the students few; the power of tyranny increased and that of the memory decreased by reason of the persecution. (2) The language of the Mishnah, although pure, and in-deed purer than the language of several books of the Bible, was so concise and terse that it could not be understood without a commentary; and, therefore, even after being written down, it would virtually retain its oral character.

9. Recensions.—The Mishnah has three principal recen-sions :—(1) the Mishnah as presented in the work standing by itself; (2) that on which the Palestinian Talmud rests ; and (3) that of the Babylonian Talmud. The first-named •and the last-named Mishnayoth have always been known _as complete; the second, however, was supposed for .several hundred years to be imperfect, lacking four Perakim in Shabbath, two entire Massekhtoth in the Seder Nezikin, the whole of the Seder Kodoshim, and by far the greater part of the Seder Tohoroth. But since 1869 this _recension also has been known to have been always com-plete ; and it is to be found in its entirety in a MS. pur-chased in that year for the University Library of Cam-bridge (Add. 470. 1). Besides these three there are many minor recensions, touching, however, only isolated read-ings. These last are to be attributed chiefly to copyists. The origin of the difference between the principal recen-.sions is to be sought in the following two facts :—(1) Rabbi had himself gone twice through the Mishnah and had himself considerably altered the wording of the text; _and (2) his successors in early and late times had wilfully _altered and corrected the original text.

10. Divisions and Detailed Contents of the Mishnah.— The Mish-nah in all recensions is divided into six Sedarim (orders), each of which contains a number of Massekhtoth* (treatises), which stand in connexion with one another. These are subdivided into Perakim _(chapters), and these again into Iialakhoth or Mishniyyoth (para-graphs called Mishnoth). The number of the Sedarim is six, that of the Massekhtoth sixty, and that of the Perakim 523, or, with a fourth Perek to Bikkurim, 524.7 The following is a scheme of the whole Mishnah.8

I. ZEKA'IM (on Agriculture, preceded by the Treatise on Thanks-
givings 9). (1) Berakhoth (blessings), in nine chapters ; (2) Peah
(Lev. xix. 9, &c), in eight chapters; (3) Demai (fruit, grain,
&c, doubtful if tithed), in seven chapters ; (4) Kil'ayim (mixtures
of plants, animals, and garments respectively), in nine chapters ;
(5) Shebi'ith (year of release), in ten chapters ; (6) Terumoth (gifts
to the priests), in eleven chapters ; (7) Ma'aser Sheniw (Deut. xiv.
22-27), in five chapters ; (8) Ma'aser Rishon, otherwise Ma'aseroth
(Levitical tithes), in five chapters ; (9) Hallah (Num. xv. 19-21),
in four chapters; (10) 'Orlah (Lev. xix. 23), in three chapters;
and (11) Bikkurim (Deut. xxvi. 1-10), in three (commonly four)

II. MO'ED (on Festival Times). (1) Shabbath (Sabbath), in
twenty-four chapters; (2) 'Erubin (mixtures, i.e., ideal union of
divided spaces), in ten chapters ; (3) Pesah (commonly Pesahim,
i.e., Passover), in ten chapters; (4) Kippurim (commonly Yoma,
i.e., "the day" [of atonement]), in eight chapters ; (5) Shekalim,
(Exod. xxx. 12-15), in eight chapters; (6) Sukkah (Lev. xxiii.
34-43), in five chapters ; (7) Betsah ("an egg," so called from the
beginning of the treatise; also Yom Tob, i.e., on work prohibited,
or permitted, on festivals), in five chapters ; (8) Rosh Hasshanah
(on the various kinds of new year, as religious or civil, the king's
accession and coronation, &c), in four chapters ; (9) Taaniyyoth
(fast-days), in four chapters ; (10) Megillah (reading of the book of
I Esther, other readings, &c), in four chapters; (11) Hagigah ' (festival-offerings), in three chapters; (12) Mashkin (so called from the beginning of the treatise, but commonly Mo'ed Katan, on work prohibited, or permitted, on the middle holidays of Passover and Tabernacles), in three chapters.

III. NASHIM (Women). (1) Nashim (so called from the first
| distinctive word of the treatise, but commonly Yebamoth, on
: sisters-in-law, the levirate, &c), in sixteen chapters; (2) Kethuboth
I (marriage-pacts, settlements, &c), in thirteen chapters; (3) Nedarim
(vows), in eleven chapters ; (4) Nazir (Num. vi. 2-21), in nine chapters ; (5) Gitlin (bills of divorcement and other bills), in nine chapters; (6) Kiddushin (betrothal and marriage), in four chapters; (7) Sota (mostly Sotah, Num. v. 12-31), in nine chapters.

IV. NEZIKIM, commonly Nezikin (Damages, &c.; see Exod. xxi., xxii., &c). (1) Nezikin (commonly Bobo Kammo, the Former Gate, in ten chapters ; Bobo Metsi'o, the Middle Gate, in ten chapters; and Bobo Bathro, the Last Gate, in ten chapters11), in thirty chapters; (2) Synhedrin (courts of justice, &c.), in eleven chapters; (3) Makkoth ("forty stripes save one," &c.), in three chapters ; (4) Shebu'oth (oaths, &c.), in eight chapters; (5) 'Eduyyoth (testimonies) or 'Idiyyolh (chiefest or best things12), in eight chap-ters ; (6) 'Abodah Zarah (idolatry), in five chapters; (7) Aboth (see MIDRASH, p. 286), in five chapters; (8) Horayoth (judicial errors, teachings, and decisions), in three chapters.

V. KODOSHIM (Holy Tilings). (1) Zebahim13 (sacrifices), in fourteen chapters; (2) Menahoth (meat-offerings), in thirteen chapters ; (3) Shehitath Ihillin (slaying animals for common food; commonly Hullin, or common food), in twelve chapters ; (4) Be-khoroth (the first-born of beast and man), in nine chapters ; (5) 'Arakhim, commonly Erachin (on valuations ; see Lev. xxvii. 2-33), in nine chapters ; (6) Temurah (Lev. ix. 10, 33), in seven chapters; (7) Karcthoth, notKerithoth (sins the punishment of which is excision), in six chapters; (8) Meilah (Num. v. 6, 7), in six chap-ters ; (9) Middoth (description of the temple and its measurements ; see MIDRASH, p. 286), in five chapters ; (10) Tamid (perpetual or daily sacrifice), in six (commonly arranged in seven) chapters ; (11) Kinnim (sacrifices of birds), in three chapters.

VI. TOHOROTH (Purifications). (1) Kelim (impurities of vessels), in thirty chapters ; (2) Oholoth (Num. xix. 14-16, &c), in eighteen chapters; (3) Negdim (plague of leprosy in man, house, and garment), in fourteen chapters ; (4) I'arah (Num. xix. 1-19), in twelve chapters ; (5) Tohoroth (euphemism for impurities), in ten chapters ; (6) Mikvaoth (religious baths), in ten chapters; (7) Niddah (Lev. xv. 19-33), in ten chapters ; (8) Makhshirim (liquids
7 Others include, instead of a fourth Perek of Bikkurim, the Perek Rabbi Meir, i.e., the treatise " On the Acquisition of the Law." The original Mishnah, however, had neither of these two Perakim.
8 In this scheme the Cambridge MS. of the Mishnah is taken as the groundwork, while the variations in title, &c., are given from the common texts.
9 Compare St Paul's words, Eph. v. 20, euxapiarovvTes iravrore
10 On the apparent anomaly of Ma'aser Sheni preceding Ma'aser
Rishon, see Schiller-Szinessy's Catalogue of Hebreiv MSS. in the
Cambridge University Library, vol, ii. p. 1, note 4.
11 In the Cambridge MS. Add. 470. 1, Massekhto Nezikin is given
correctly as one, containing thirty chapters. Compare T. B., Bobo
Kammo, leaf 102«, 'Abodah Zarah, 7a, and Midrash Shemuel, v.
12 See p. 503, note 16.
13 Also known under Shehitath Kodoshim.

predisposing for the contraction of impurities, Lev. xi. 34), in six chapters ; (9) Zabim (Lev. xv. 2-33), in five chapters; (10) Tebul Yom (Num. xix. 19), in four chapters ; (11) Yadayim (purification of the hands), in four chapters ; (12) 'Okotsin (stalks, peel, &c, of fruit), in three chapters.

11. Editions.— The editions of the Mishnah, whether as a book by itself or as contained in the Babylonian Talmud, are too numerous to be mentioned here. The editio princeps of the Mishnah, as a separate book, appeared (with Maimonides's com-mentary) at Naples in 1492 (see MAIMONIDES), and that as contained in the Babylonian Talmud at Venice in 1520-23, both in folio. As part of the Palestinian Talmud the Mishnah came out also at Venice, in 1523-24, folio. This Talmud, however, being defective, its Mishnah naturally is incomplete too (see p. 505); and it is, moreover, " corrected " by the scribe of 1288-89 (see Schiller-Szinessy, Occasional Notices, &c, i. pp. 8, 11). The syndics of the University Press of Cambridge have therefore laid the learned public under considerable obligations by publishing for the first time the complete original Mishnah on which the Palestinian Talmud rests, from the unique MS. preserved in the University Library.

12. Translations.— There exist translations of the Mishnah in Latin, German, and English. (1) There is a Latin translation by the brothers Abendana (R. Ya'akob and R. Yitshak). The former was Haham (Hakham, i.e., chief rabbi) of the Sepharadim in England, and the latter was teacher of Hebrew and Rabbinic at Cambridge and Oxford successively. Both brothers, correspond-ents in 1660 of Buxtorf, were fine Hebrew and Latin scholars (see Schiller-Szinessy, "The Abendanas," in Jewish World of December 5, 1879). This translation is preserved in the Cambridge Univer-sity Library MS. Mm. 1. 4-8. (2) The Abendanas' version was before Surenhusius when he compiled, from old and new mate-rials, his Latin translation, which appeared (with the text of the Mishnah and the translation also of the commentaries of Mai-monides and " Bertinoro ") at Amsterdam in 1698-1703, folio. The yreat indebtedness of Surenhusius to the Abendanas is a fact either unknown to or ignored by the bibliographers. (3) A German translation by Rabe came out in German letters at Onolzbach in 1760-63, 4to. (4) The version last-named was in the possession of the anonymous author of the translation, printed in Rabbinic letters, in the Vienna edition of the Mishnah with the commentary Kaph Nahath, 1817-35, 8vo. This author (or editor) silently "used" the work of his predecessor. (5) Both these translations were surpassed in German diction, as well as in correctness of rendering, by that which came out in Hebrew square letters at Berlin in 1832-34, 4to, and which, no doubt, belongs to J. M. _lost the historian. (6) The English translation which came out at London in 1843, Svo, by De Sola and Raphael, extends only over eighteen treatises.
(or Ilassekhel), ed. princ. Fano, 1505 (?), 4to.

13. Commentaries.— The commentaries on the Mishnah are almost as numerous as the editions, and cannot therefore be speci-ally enumerated here. The principal and the oldest, however, are the following. (1) The two Talmuds themselves, of which, at present, the Babylonian is the only (and that but compara-tively) perfect one, or at all events the more extensive of the two. It ought, however, to be stated, first, that the Palestinian Talmud has Gemara on the whole order Zerdim, whilst the Babylonian has it on the first "treatise" only of that order (Berakhoth), and, secondly, that the Gemarath Shekalim in the Babylonian Talmud is only borrowed from the Palestinian Talmud. (2) The commentaries on Zerdim, Tohoroth, &c, by Rabbenu Hai Gaon, who was the last, most learned, and in every way noblest of the Geonim. He flourished in the 10th and 11th centuries. Part of the commentaries (viz., that on Tohoroth)has appeared in the collection
Kobets Mdase Yede Geonim, &c. (Berlin, 1856, 8vo). (3) The com-mentary on various treatises of the B. Talmud, and indirectly on .the Mishnah, by Rabbenu Gershom Meor Haggolah (the "Light of the Diaspora,,"" flourished in the 10th and 11th centuries). Frag-ments of this commentary are incorporated in the ordinary Talmud, editions (e.g., Nedarim, 22b, &c), but the greater part lies as yet in manuscript in various libraries. (4) The commentary of Rabbenu Hananeel, who lived at Kairawan (in Africa) in the 10th and 11th centuries. His commentary on the Talmud, and thus indirectly on the Mishnah, is now being published in the Vilna edition of the Babylonian Talmud. (5) The commentary of Rashi (ob. 1105) in all those parts of the B. Talmud on which that '' prince of commen-tators " wrote. Here ought to be mentioned also the separate editio princeps of this commentary as far as the Mishnah is con-cerned, which appeared at Leghorn in 1653-54, 8vo. (6) The supplements and additions to the commentary of Rashi by his son-in-law Rabbenu Yehudah b. Nathan (e.g., T. B., Makkoth, 19b, &c), and by his grandsons Rabbenu Shemuel b. Meir (vulgo Rashbam; see Pesahim, 996, and Bobo Bathro, 29«, &c.) and Rabbenu Shema'yah b. Simhah of Vitri, who interpreted the Mas-sekheth Middoth before Rashi, his grandfather (see Schiller-Szinessy, Catalogue of tlie Hebrew MSS. preserved in the University Library of Cambridge, ii. p. 89). (7) The commentary on the whole Mishnah by MAIMONIDES (q.v.). (8) The commentary by R. Abraham b. David of Posquiéres (vulgo Rabad) on 'Eduyyoth (see editions of the B. Talmud), Kinnim (with two other commen-taries by Rabbenu Ze.rahyah Hallevi and R. Asher b. Yehiel, Con-stantinople, 1751, folio), and on many other Mishniyyoth of the orders Zerdim and Tohoroth (in his "strictures "on Maimonides, Mishneh Torah, books Zerdim and Tohorah). (9) The commentary of R. Shimshon of Sens (who, like the foregoing, was a contemporary and opponent of Maimonides) on the orders of Zerdim (with supple-ments taken from the works of the somewhat older R. Yitshak b. Malkitsedek) and Tohoroth* (10) The commentary by R. Meir of Rothenburg (the celebrated captive of Rudolph of Hapsburg); see-under (13) below. (11) The commentary by R. Asher b. Yehiel (a disciple of the foregoing, who died at Toledo in 1327) on twenty-one treatises of the orders i. and vi. (12) The commentary on the whole Mishnah, by Rabbenu 'Obadyah di Bertinoro (flourished in the 15th and 16th centuries), the editions of which are very numerous. (13) The commentary on the whole Mishnah, by R. Yomtob Lip-mann Heller (flourished in 16th and 17th centuries). This famous teacher, rabbi in some of the greatest congregations of the Jews (Prague, Vladimir, and Cracow), incorporated much of the com-mentary of R. Meir of Rothenburg ; compare under (10).

14. Works Subsidiary and Auxiliary to the Mishnah.— These Math-may be summed up under the word Mathnitho. Mathnitho is nitho. ostensibly the Aramaic equivalent of the Hebrew Mishnah ; in reality, however, it signifies and comprises, not merely every-thing which is understood under that name, but also Boraitho (in full, Mathnitho Boraitho), i.e., four -other works of the oral law, and many literary notices of Mislmic and pre-Mishnic times besides, which are scattered throughout the Talmuds and other early Rabbinic works.
6 In the synod called together by Rabbenu Gershom, among several " ordinances " was also one that no Jew is allowed to marry more than one wife.
9 Whether the commentary on Tamid printed under his name, together with that of R. Asher b. Yehiel on the same treatise (Prague, 1725, 4to), is really his is still matter of dispute.

The first of these is Tosephto. As its name indicates, Tosephto Tosephtct is "Addition," i.e., to the canonical Mishnah. All Mishnah teachers from time immemorial, notably R. 'Akibah and R. Yehudah Hannasi, left out, when they taught Mishnah, a large mass of kindred and explanatory matter, which they only occasionally and supplementarily mentioned, i.e., when absolutely wanted. The chief collection of this additional matter, not incor-porated in the system of the canonical Mishnah, is called Tosepheth in Hebrew and Tosephto (or Tosiphta as some less correctly write it) in Aramaic. The Aramaic singular and the Hebrew plural occur already in the Talmuds and Midrashim. Tosephto shares with the Mishnah, which it enlarges and explains, the number of orders and treatises, but not that of chapters, of which it has only 452. The oldest collection of Tosephtic matter, even as the oldest collection of Mislmic matter, is due to R. 'Akibah. But, whilst

the Mishnah, as a work, was first sifted by his disciple R. Meir, Tosephto, as a work, was first sifted by another disciple R. Nehemyah; and just as R. Meir's Mishnah was sifted again by Rabbi and others after him, and was not written down before the 6th century, so Tosephto was sifted again by R. Hiyya, R. Hosha'yah, and others, and was not written down in its entirety before the 6th century. It is no wonder, then, that it ____ contains matter of a considerably later age. Tosephto is not merely of great help for understanding the Mishnah, which is, in a certain sense, incomplete without it, but for the precise and exact knowledge of Jewish archaeology and other sciences, and in its Agadic parts, of which there are many, for the Greek Scriptures also. Here ought also to be mentioned Aboth de-Rabbi Nathan, which is, no doubt, Tosephto to the Mishnah of Aboth. Tosephto used to be printed till within the last forty years1 as an appendix to the Riph, i.e., the Hilekhoth Rab Alphes (a compendium of the Talmud by R. Yitshak b. Ya'akob Al-Phesi, or Al-Phasi, i.e., of Fez, ob. 1103), which appeared first with this appendix at Venice, 1521-22, folio. Here, however, it was not edited critically or printed with even ordinary care. But in the Vienna edition of the Babylonian Talmud (1860-72) it came out, for the first time, worthily after a MS. till then uncollated which is preserved in the Court Library. Dr Zuekermandel has since published it from the Erfurt and Vienna MSS., with collations. A Latin translation of Tosephto (with the Hebrew text) is to be found, under the name of Tosaphta, in Blasius Ugolinus's Thesaurus Antiquitatum Sacrarum (xvii.-xx.). It comprises, however, only the orders Zerdim, Mo'ed, and Kodoshim, and came out at Venice in the years 1755-57, folio. Mekhilto.

The second of these pieces of literature is Mekhilto. This word is the Aramaic equivalent of the Hebrew Middah (measure), and hence signifies mould, form, i.e., of Scriptural exegesis, notably of part or parts of the Pentateuch. As such it might, of course, stand for any kind of commentary on any book of the I'entateuch, and have been composed by any one. And we find, indeed, that Mekhilto signified at one time a commentary on the books Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, and Deuteronomy, either by R. Yishma'el or by R. 'Akibah, at another time a commentary on Exodus, by R. Shime'on b. Yohai, and at another time again a commentary on the last four books of Moses, by (Shime'on) Ben 'Azzai. Mekhilto now, however, means a commentary on the greater part of Exodus, ascribed to R. Yishma'el (flourished in the 1st century) ; although, in reality, this teacher cannot have been the author of the book, seeing that his name is more than seventy times mentioned in it. The reason wdiy the ancients called the book by his name is, no doubt, because the first words of the real w7ork are Amar Rabbi Yishmdel. Like the other works of the "oral law," Mekhilto was not written down before the 6th century, a fact which accounts also, in part at least, for the loss of several portions of this com-mentary, wdiich, at present, only extends from xii. 1 to xxv. 3, with several gaps between. That Mekhilto was once fuller than it is now we know, not only from a statement made by Maimonides and others, but from a MS. (Add. 394. 1, in the University Library of Cambridge, leaf 406), where an extract is given by a Franco-German author of the 12th or 13th century. The Talmud knows the name Mekhilto, and actually quotes Boraithoth (non-canonical Mishniyyoth) which are to be found in our book; and yet the existing Mekhilto can scarcely have been known to the teachers of the Talmud. Mekhilto is by some called Midrash and by others Mishnah; both names are in a certain sense correct. It is Mid-rash in substance, inasmuch as it contains exegesis, and in form, inasmuch as it is subdivided into Parshiyyoth and follows the order of the Scriptural verses. But it is Mishnah in substance, inas-much as it not only deals with the groundwork of the Mishnah, but consists of Boraithoth (non-canonical Mishniyyoth), and in form, inasmuch as it is, like the canonical Mishnah, divided into Massekhtoth. These latter are nine in number, and are called re-spectively (1) Dephisha (with 18 Parshiyyoth and 1 Pethihto or introduction), (2) Beshallah (with 6 Parshiyyoth and 1 Pethihto), (3) Deshiretha (with 10 Parshiyyoth), (4) Vayyassd (with 6 Par-shiyyoth), (5) 'Amalek (with 2 Parshiyyoth), (6) Yilhro (with 2 Parshiyyoth), (7) Bahodesh (with 11 Parshiyyoth), (8) Nezikin and Kaspo (with 20 Parshiyyoth), and (9) Shabbetho (with 2 Par-shiyyoth—1 in the pericope Ki thissa and 1 in that of Vayyakhel). Mekhilto was published first at Constantinople in 1515, under the name of Sepher Hammckhilto, and in 1545 at Venice as Mid-rash JSammekhilto. In 1712 it appeared at Amsterdam with a commentary. In 1744 it appeared again at Venice with a Latin translation by Blasius Ugolmus (Thes. Antiq. Sacr., xiv.). In 1801 it appeared at Leghorn with a different commentary. In 1844 it came out at Vilna with a new commentary. All these are in folio. The best and cheapest editions with commentaries are those by Weiss (1865) and Friedmann (1870), both printed at Vienna, and in 8vo.

The third of these pieces of literature is Siphro. Both Leviticus Siphro. itself, because it is the most difficult of all Mosaic books, and the oldest Rabbinic commentary on it, because it is the most difficult of all commentaries on the Scriptures, have been from time immemorial known under the name of Sipihro (i.e., the Book). This book and this commentary are also called Torath Kohanim, and the former is spoken of in the Talmud already as Siphro de.be Rab.7 This latter expression has led many great men (among others Maimonides)8 to ascribe the authorship of this commentary to Rab (Abba Arikho, a nephewT and disciple of R. Hiyya). But such a view is erroneous in the extreme, as the book is, so far as form and substance go, both older and later than Rab, paradoxical as this statement may appear. It is older in its origin and in its matter, for not merely do all the anonymous Boraithoth which are to be found in it belong to R. Yehudah b. Il'ai, a teacher of the 1st century, but one of the sons of Rabbi (of the 2d century) had actually taught another rabbi two-thirds of a third, ' i.e., two-ninths, of this work.9 It is later than Rab, for in it are found one "authority" and several "results" of much later date than that of this great Babylonian teacher.10 The fact is, the word Rab in the phrase Siphro debe Rab is not a proper name at all, but simply stands for "teacher," and debe Rab thus signifies "of a school," a term used for any teacher and any school of any time. Although most of the Boraithoth which it contains are as old as the 1st century, this book as such cannot have been written down earlier than the 6th, in accordance with the treatment, in this respect, of all the other Halakhic works of the " oral law." Siphro, although it bears on the pericopes and verses of Leviticus, and is on account of this fact by many called a Midrash, is in reality Mishnah, —a name borne out by the nature of its contents, which are mostly Mishnic, and sometimes represent actual canonical Mishniyyoth. Siphro exhibits a curious conglomeration of matter. It opens with the "Rules of the Interpretation of Scripture," ascribed to R. Yishma'el,—a Boraitho which, although important in itself, is not more important for this than for any other com-mentary on the Pentateuch. And this conglomerate nature shows itself even more strikingly in form; for Siphro contains as forms of division Dibburim, Mekhilto, Parshiyyoth (some of which mean pericopes, whilst others mean chapters), Perakim, and Piskoth. All this points, of course, to various divisions of the book made at various times. Whilst none of these divisions can be later than the 12th century,12 the earliest is at least as old as the 2d, and belongs perhaps to the 1st.13 Siphro is chiefly of importance for the under-standing of the Mishnah of the orders Kodoshim and Tohoroth (which were, no doubt, the earliest Mishniyyoth put into "order") ; but, whilst it is a sure help for the Mishnah, the Mishnah is no sure help for it : Siphro is a genuine specimen of the "oral law," inasmuch as it cannot be mastered without a teacher. Owing to the difficulty of understanding it, Siphro has not been often studied, and conse-quently not often printed. The editio princeps is of 1545 ; the second edition with the commentary Korban Aharon is of 1609-11, both at Venice. The third edition with the just-named commen-tary is of 1702, and came out at Dessau. The fourth edition, with a Latin translation, is to be found in Blasius Ugolinus's Thesaurus Antiquitatum Sacrarum, &c, Venice, 1744 (vol. xiv.). All these are in folio. The fifth edition, with the commentary 'Azarath Kohanim (vol. i.), appeared at Vilna, 1845, 4to. The sixth edition, with the commentary 'Asirith Haephah, appeared at Lemberg, 1848, folio. The seventh edition, with the commentary Hattorah Veham-Mitsvah, appeared at Bucharest, 1860, 4to. The eighth edition, with the commentary of R. Abraham b. David of Pos-quieres, &c, appeared at Vienna, 1862; and the ninth edition, with the commentary by R. Shimshon of Sens, appeared at War-saw, 1866, both in folio.

The fourth of these pieces of literature is Siphere. Siphere, or Siphere. Siphere debe Rab, which in earlier times certainly included the oldest Rabbinic commentaries on Exodus, Numbers, and Deu-teronomy (and perhaps also that on Leviticus), means now the oldest Rabbinic commentary on the last two books of Moses only.

Both hooks are divided into Pislcoth (paragraphs), of which Siphere on Numbers has 161, whilst that on Deuteronomy has 357. The ancient division into Boraithoth cannot now be accurately traced. The work commences now at Numbers v. 1, and goes to the end of Deuteronomy. The passages anonymously given in Siphere are ascribed by the Babylonian Talmud1 to R. Shime'on b. Yohai, the favourite disciple of R. 'Akibah, and the reputed author of the Zohar. But although he is no doubt the virtual author of Siphere, seeing that most Boraithoth which are to be found therein are his, he cannot be, technically speaking, its author. For, in the first place, he is not only repeatedly named in the book, but several times actually contradicted by others ; and, secondly, there are several passages, anonymously given, in the book, which can only be the result of "Talmudic" study, and must be consequently posterior to the composition of the Talmud. The fact is that Siphere, like the other works of the "oral law," was not written down before the 6th century. It ought to be mentioned here that the rabbis of the 11th, 12th, and 13th centuries, and even somewhat later, speak also of another Siphere which they variously designate as Siphere Pauim Sheni, Siphere shel Panim Sheni, Siphere Bemid- bar Sinai, Siphere Zutta, and Siphere simply. To judge from the extracts which have come down to us, that work must not only have been of much later date, but also of far less value than the work in our hands. Siphere appeared for the first time in 1545, and with a Latin translation by Blasius Ugolinus, in his Thesaurus, &c. (vol. xv.), in 1744,—both at Venice, and in folio. The third edition appeared at Hamburg in 1789, and the fourth at Sulzbach in 1802, both in 4to. The fifth edition, with the commentary Zcrd Abraham, appeared in two volumes, of which the first was printed at Dyhernfurt in 1811 and the second at Radawell in 1820, both in folio. The sixth and best edition is that of Friedmann (Vienna, 1864), and the seventh is that of Lemberg, 1866, both in 8vo. Boraitho. There is also a fifth piece of Mishnic literature known specially by the name Boraitho. Besides the Boraithoth constituting Tosephto, Mekhilto, Siphro, and Siphere, there are hundreds of other Boraithoth to be found scattered about in both Talmuds. These are, however, mere fragments of the vast Mishnayoth (entire Mishnic works ) composed by Bar Kappara, Rabbi Hiyya, and hundreds of other teachers, which in course of time must have perished. There is, however, enough left of the Mishnah, canonical and non-canonical, to prove the correctness of the cabbalistic remark that Mishnah is the equivalent of Neshamah (soul). This is no mere trifling based on the fact that the two words (nJK>Oi nOBO) accidentally consist of the same letters ; it is rather an enunciation of an intrinsic truth : what the soul (Neshamah) is to the body, the Mishnah is to Mosaism. The soul gives life to the body, and the Mishnah gives life to the Pentateuch. For the letter killeth, but the spirit giveth life ! (S. M. S.-S.) '


See T. B., Kiddushin,i§a.
The root Shanoh (TOtf), from which Mishnah is immediately de-rived, is not merely, as is often thought, to learn, to teach, but to •repeat; and it is in reality this last meaning which underlies the two former.

Haeres., xv. (tcara •ypaa/iareav), in fine. Epiphanius was a native of Palestine, even if he was not, as some think, of Jewish parentage. As a Palestinian writer on Jewish and semi-Jewish matters he must have had a more than superficial knowledge of the Jewish traditions (the Mishnah, &c.). And indeed, to judge from the account he gives of the various Jewish traditions (although the text of this account is extremely corrupt in every way), he was pretty well informed. For he tells us that the Jews have four kinds of traditions :—such as are ascribed to Moses (by which he no doubt means the Halakhah le-Moslieh mis-Sinai) ; such as are ascribed to the sons of Asmonaaus (by which he means the Tekanoth, &c., of the Beth Dino shel Hash-monai; see T. B., 'Abodah Zarah, 366); such as are ascribed to R. 'Akibah (the great teacher and martyr) ; and such as are ascribed to R. Andan, &c. (Rabbi Yehudah Hannasi).
In Isaiam, cap. viii. 11-15.
Nov. cxlvi. (riepl 'EPpaiuv) Keep, A, in medio.
Haeres., xv. (tcara •ypaa/iareav), in fine. Epiphanius was a native of Palestine, even if he was not, as some think, of Jewish parentage. As a Palestinian writer on Jewish and semi-Jewish matters he must have had a more than superficial knowledge of the Jewish traditions (the Mishnah, &c.). And indeed, to judge from the account he gives of the various Jewish traditions (although the text of this account is extremely corrupt in every way), he was pretty well informed. For he tells us that the Jews have four kinds of traditions :—such as are ascribed to Moses (by which he no doubt means the Halakhah le-Moslieh mis-Sinai) ; such as are ascribed to the sons of Asmonaaus (by which he means the Tekanoth, &c., of the Beth Dino shel Hash-monai; see T. B., 'Abodah Zarah, 366); such as are ascribed to R. 'Akibah (the great teacher and martyr) ; and such as are ascribed to R. Andan, &c. (Rabbi Yehudah Hannasi).
Contrast Shanoh (mf) with Ka.ro (SOf3).
See article MIDBASH, p. 285.
See Schiller-Szinessy, Catalogue of Hebrew MSS. in the jamoridge University Library, ii. p. 94.
For the meaning of this term and the Agadic parts which are to

The Hebrew spoken in the house of the principal editor of the Mishnah was so correct that rabbis actually learnt the meaning of uncommon words of the Bible from the handmaidens of this house. See T. B., Rosh Hasshanah, 266. As for Rabbi himself, he was not merely a line Hebrew scholar, but a fine Greek scholar also. He was also a purist; for in T. B., Sotah, 496, he is reported to have exclaimed, " Why should any one speak in Palestine 'Sursi'? Let him speak either Hebrew or Greek ! " In using the word " Sursi" for " Smith " (Syriac), he no doubt makes a punning allusion to the mixed (cut-up) character of the language, corrupted from Hebrew, Chaldee, Persian, Greek, and Latin.
This was the teacher of St Paul.
In addition to such well-known Agadic Mishniyyoth as those which are distinctly ascribed in Aboth to Hillel, see Mishnah Kiddushin, iv. 1; and contrast it with the language and style of the Mishnah in general, and that of Massekhto Kiddushin in particular.
Mishnah'Eduyyoth, viii. 4.
See Mishnah Ma'aser Sheni, v. 7; Sotah, v. 1, 2; Nega'im, xii. 5, 6, 7, &c.; though it cannot be said that these passages preserve the teaching of the Sopherim in their original purity.
c See Mishnah Kelim, in fine.
SeeT. B., Berakhoth, 28a : "It is handed down orally (fcOn) that Eduyyoth was on that day (when E. El'azar b. 'Azaryah was installed as president) gone through," i.e., redacted.
The Hebrew spoken in the house of the principal editor of the Mishnah was so correct that rabbis actually learnt the meaning of uncommon words of the Bible from the handmaidens of this house. See T. B., Rosh Hasshanah, 266. As for Rabbi himself, he was not merely a line Hebrew scholar, but a fine Greek scholar also. He was also a purist; for in T. B., Sotah, 496, he is reported to have exclaimed, " Why should any one speak in Palestine 'Sursi'? Let him speak either Hebrew or Greek ! " In using the word " Sursi" for " Smith " (Syriac), he no doubt makes a punning allusion to the mixed (cut-up) character of the language, corrupted from Hebrew, Chaldee, Persian, Greek, and Latin.
Mishnah Synhedrin, iii. 4.
See Koheleth JS.abbah on ii. 8 in medio. ,
See particularly T. B., Bobo Metsio, 33a and 6; and compare also Eashi, in loco.
12 See T. Y., Mdaser Sheni, v. 1; and compare the preceding note.
13 See MIDBASH, p. 285, note 14.
14 E. Yohanan said, This Mishnah (BoroMho), that no study can ex-cel that of Gemara, was taught in the time of (and by) Eabbi himself. Then the people went after Gemara and neglected the study of the Mish-nah. Whereupon he again bade them ever run more after Mishnah than after Gemara. T. B., Bobo Metsio, 336, and Eashi, in loco.

This is a somewhat inexact application of Ps. cxix. 126, but it has been more than once actsd upon both in ancient and modern times by the Jews. Compare the explanation given in T. B., Berakhoth, 63«, and Menahoth, 99a.
Niddah is the only Massekheth of this Seder of which three entire Perakim are to be found in the printed editions. Compare Schiller-Szinessy, Occasional Notices, &c., i. (Cambridge, 1878, 8vo) p. 8.
See T. B., Bobo Metsio, iia, and elsewhere.
Compare above, p. 503.
Compare Midi-ash Rabbah on Canticles vi. 8, 9.

See Mr W. H. Lowe's able edition of this grand work (The Mishnah on which the Palestinian Talmud rests, Cambridge, 1883, 8vo).
According toPicciotto (Sketches of Anglo-Jewish History, London, 1875, 8vo, p. 55), R. Yitshak Abendana translated the Mishnah and its commentaries (Maimonides and "Bertinoro"?) also into Spanish.
Surenhusius was also aided in his grand work by the books and notes of Guisius (in Berakhoth, Peah, Demai, Kil'ayim, Shebi'ith, Terumoth, and Mdaseroth, i.-iii. 3), Schmid (in Shabbath and 'Erubin), Houting (Bosh Hasshanah), Lund (Tdanith), Otho (Shekalim), Wagenseil (Sotah), Cocceius (Makkoth), Fagius (Aboth), Arnohli (Tamid), L'Empereur (Middoth), and Ulmann (Zebahim and Rare-thoth). But without the Abendanas Surenhusius could never have commenced, much less executed, the great task he had before him.
For the probability that the missing parts of the Palestinian Talmud will one day come to light somewhere in the East, see Schiller-Szinessy in the Academy, February 23, 1878 ; He-Clialuz, xi. ; and Steinschneider, Ilandschriften- Verzeichnisse der konigliclisn Bibliothek zu Berlin, ii., &c. (1878, 4to), p. 65, where a passage of Palestinian Gemara of' Okotsin is actually quoted.
He was also a poet of no mean standing. See his Musar Haslcel
His commentary on Pesahim appeared at Paris in 1868, and that on Makkoth at Leipsic in 1876, both in 8vo.
These writers (together with Rabbenu Meir another son-in-law and Rabbenu Ya'akob another grandson of Rashi) are the first of the so-called Tosaphists, whose activity continued down to the early part of the 14th century.
See T. Y., Shabbath, viii. 1, &e.; T. B., Synhedrin, 86a and else-where ; Midrash Rabbah on Ecclesiastes v. 8, &c. There can be little doubt that in some places the word XllDDin ought to be transliterated Tosephotho (i. e., as plural).

1 That on the order Zerdim came out at Vilna in 1799, 4to; but in its entirety it came only out between 1837, 1841, and 1871, folio.

Issued at Pasewalk and Treves from 3877 to 1882, 8vo.
See Maimonides's preface to the Mishneh Torah.
See Nahmanides's commentary on the Pentateuch (on Gen. xlix. 31).
, 5 See Yuhasin Plasshalem (ed. Filipowski, London and Edinburgh,
1857. 8vo),'p. 30, col. 2.
Its original founder (R. Yehudah b. Il'ai) identifies Mishnah and Midrash, T. B., Kiddushin, 49«.
12 They were known to R. Abraham b. David (Rabad).
13 T. B., Kiddushin, 33«.

According to T. B., Ilagigah, 14a, there existed at one time no
less than six or seven hundred Mishnah orders.

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