chapters commentary talmud rabbi century book time appeared name oral
MISHNAH. The Mishnah, in the most familiar application 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 ? 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.1 It will be answered in the course of this article in all its bearings.
Setn-cpoicras of Epiphanius,1 the traditiones et 8arrepoScrEts of Jerome,2 the Scrr4)(ixrts of Justinian,3 and the nte, rrnth (" the second to the law ") of the Arukh4 ; (2) recitation from memory, in contradistinction to reading from a book (3) study : as such it is the equivalent of Midrask 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 ; 7 (6) a paragraph of the Mishnah: it is invariably employed in this sense in the Babylonian Talmud, and is identical with the word II-utak/tall, used for the same purpose, in the Palestinian Talmud ; and (7) the collection of the decisions of the whole "oral law," i.e., the II/is/malt 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 Mik,raoth, or Midrashot/t); (2) the correct, though questioned, Mishniyyoth for signification (6), formed on the analogy of Parshiyyoth from Parashah (or Parshah), not to speak of that of Aidasiyyoth from .Mdaseh, ; (3), the somewhat inelegant, but correct, Mishnoth,8 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 equivalents, no plural whatever. So much for the Hebrew .Mishnah. The Aramaic Mathnitho will be spoken of later.
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 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 Sopherint), 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 addition. One example of the true method of the Mishnah will, perhaps, 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 Shentd (' the taking upon oneself the yoke of the heavenly kingdom ') in the evening 7" The Mishnah does not begin : One is in duty bound to read the Shona` 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 Shena evening and morning is not unquestionably Mosaic, as the words, "And thou shalt talk of them, &c.," 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 Shentd, 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 Gentara,14 - the business of which it is to discuss the words of the Mishnah and to show the sources of the tradition, and eventually the passage in the Pentateuch (if on such the case rest) from which the respective disputants had derived their views, &c.
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 old 15 and widely spread, - but a mistake nevertheless. The purpose of the _Mishnah was and is simply to exhibit the development of the "oral law" lnd 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 4 The _Mishnah itself (` Eduyyoth,16 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 Modes and Persians.
Lang-uage. - The Mishnah is, on the whole, written in almost pure Hebrew ; and even the originally non-Hebrew words (Aramaic, Greek, Latin, &c.) are so skilfully 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 1 or editors who revised them.
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. Gamliel2 b. Shime`on b. Hillel. On account of his holy living he was surnamed Rabbenu Ilaladosh, and on account of his great learning and authority he was called simply "Rabbi" (" My Teacher" par 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. `./-kibah, to Hille1,3 to Yose b. Yo`ezer,4 and to others, even to the earlier Sopherim,5 we find that R. Yose b. Halaphta of the 1st century already quotes the beginning and ending of a whole Mishnic treatise (Kelim 6), and that in the same century (or very early in the 2d) another treatise consisting of early testimonies (`Eduyyoth7) was put into order. Moreover, although the phrases Mishnath, R. Eli`ezer b. Ya'alsobs and A/is/math, R. Alsibah° 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. Iliyya Rabbah, R. Hosha`yali Rabbah, and Shime`on bar Iiappara 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 Mishnah 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.I1 As for the difficulty of keeping in memory such a stupendous 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 negative 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 dots 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. Mcir, N'fb i eh 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 Mishnah 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.
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 archeology 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 popularity 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 Agadah," 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.
S. 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 Agaclah. 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 scaled had it not been ultimately written down. But the writing down of Halakhah en masse had been prohibited in early times. Two considerations, 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 Halakhoth 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 indeed 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.
Recensions. - The Mishnah has three principal recensions : - (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 Mislotayoth have always been known as complete ; the second, however, was supposed for several hundred years to be imperfect, lacking four Perakbn in Shabb•tth, two entire Jifassekhloth in the Seder Kezilcia, the whole of the Seder Fodoshim, and by far the greater part of the Seder Tohoroth.2 But since 1869 this recension also has been known to have been always complete; and it is to be found in its entirety in a MS. purchased in that year for the University Library of Cambridge (Add. 170. 1). Besides these three there are many minor recensions, touching, however, only isolated readings. These last are to be attributed chiefly to copyists. The origin of the difference between the principal recensions is to be sought in the following two facts : - (1) Rabbi had himself gone twice through the 11-fishmah and had himself considerably altered the wording of the text;3 and (2) his successors in early and late times had wilfully altered and corrected the original text.
Divisions and Detailed Contents of the ilfislinah. - The Mishnah in all recensions is divided into six Sedarint (orders), each of which contains a number of Masselchloth4 (treatises), which stand in connexion with One another. These are subdivided into Peivq:int (chapters), and these again into lialakhoth or Mishniyyoth (paragraphs called Mishnoth).6 The number of the Sedarim is six, that of the Massekhtoth sixty,6 and that of the Perakint 523, or, with a fourth Per4 to Bikkurim, 524.7 The following is a scheme of the whole Mishmh.8 I. ZEItZIM (on Agriculture, preceded by the Treatise on Thanksgivings6). (1) Bera•hoth (blessings), in nine chapters ; (2) Peah (Lev. xix. 9, &c.), in eight chapters ; (3) Dental (fruit, grain, &c., doubtful if tithed), in seven chapters ; (4) Kil'ayim (mixtures of plants, animals, and garments respectively), in nine chapters ; (5) Shebrith (year of release), in ten chapters ; (6) Tertonoth (gifts to the priests), in eleven chapters ; (7) Ma'aser Sheni" (Dent. xiv. 22-27), in five chapters ; (8) Ma'aser Rishon, otherwise Ma'aseroth (Levitical tithes), in five chapters ; (9) lyallah (Num. xv. 19-21), in four chapters ; (10) 'Orlah (Lev. xix. 23), in three chapters; and (11) Bikkurinz (Dent. xxvi. 1-10), iu three (commonly four) chapters.
11-lo'En (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 l'e,sahint, i.e., Passover), in ten chapters ; (4) Kimmrint (commonly Yanta, i.e., " the day" [of atonement]), in eight chapters ; (5) Shelialim (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), iu 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) Ta'aniyyoth (fast-days), in four chapters ; (10) Megillah (reading of the book of 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 Mded Ifatan, on work prohibited, or permitted, on the middle holidays of Passover and Tabernacles), in three chapters.
NAS11131 (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 (marriage-pacts, settlements, &e.), 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) tacldushin (betrothal and marriage), in four chapters; (7) Sota (mostly Sotah, Num. v. 12-31), in nine chapters.
NEzustm, commonly Nezih-in (Damages, kc.; see Exod. xxi., xxii., &c.). (1) Nezikin (commonly Bobo .h.'antIno, the Former Gate, in ten chapters ; Bobo Metsi'o, the Aliddle Gate, in ten chapters; and Bobo &cam the Last Gate, in ten chapters''), in thirty chapters ; (2) Synhedrin (courts of justice, ke.), in eleven chapters ; (3) Makkoth ("forty stripes save one," ke.), in three chapters ; (4) Shebu'oth (oaths, &e.), in eight chapters; (5)'Eduyyoth (testimonies) or 'Idiyyoth (ehiefest or best things is), in eight chapters ; (6) 'Abodah Zarah (idolatry), in five chapters ; (7) Aboth (see MinuAsn, p. 286), in five chapters; (8) Horayoth (judicial errors, teachings, and decisions), in three chapters.
liODOSHIM (Holy Things). (1) Zebahint" (sacrifices), in fourteen chapters ; (2) Menahoth (meat-offerings), in thirteen chapters ; (3) Shehitath Hultin (slaying animals for common food ; commonly tfullitt, or common food), in twelve chapters ; (4) Bekhoroth (the first-born of beast and man), in nine chapters ; (5) 'Arakhim, commonly Eraehin (on valuations ; see Lev. xxvii. 2-33), in nine chapters ; (6) Temurah (Lev. ix. 10, 33), in seven chapters ; (7) Kareihoth, not Kerithoth (sins the punishment of which is excision), in six chapters; (8) Meilah (Num. v. 6, 7), in six chapters; (9) •iddoth (description of the temple and its measurements ; see MinitAsit, p. 286), in five chapters ; (10) Tamid (perpetual or daily sacrifice), in six (commonly arranged in seven) chapters ; (11) Kinrtim (sacrifices of birds), in three chapters.
Vl. TOIIOROTII (Purifications). (1) Kelim (impurities of vessels), in thirty chapters ; (2) Oholoth (Num. xix. 14-16, &e.), in eighteen chapters ; (3) Negdim (plague of leprosy in man, house, and garment), in fourteen chapters ; (4) Parah (Num. xix. 1-19), in twelve chapters ; (5) Tohoroth (euphemism for impurities), in ten chapters ; (6) Mily.voloth (religious baths), in ten chapters ; (7) Niddah (Lev. xv. 19-33), in ten chapters ; (8) MakItshirint (liquids predisposing for the contraction of impurities, Lev. xi. 34), in six chapters ; (9) Zabim (Lev. xv. 2-33), in five chapters; (10) Tebnl Font (Num. xix. 19), in four chapters ; (11) Yadayini (purification of the hands), in four chapters ; (12) `Okotsin (stalks, peel, &c., of fruit), in three chapters.
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 prineeps of the Mishnah, as a separate book, appeared (with Maimonides's commentary) 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 Li brary.1 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 It. Yitshak). The former was Haham (Jfakham, 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, correspondents 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 University Library MS. Mm. 1. 4-8.2 (2) The Abendanas' version was before Surenhusius when he compiled, from old and new materials, his Latin translation, which appeared (with the text of the Mishnah and the translation also of the commentaries of Maimonides and " Bertinoro ") at Amsterdam in 1698-1703, folio. The great indebtedness of Surenhusius to the Abendanas is a fact either unknown to or ignored by the bibliographcrs.3 (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 Watutth, 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. Jost the historian. (6) The English translation which came out at London in 1843, 8vo, by De Sola and Raphael, extends only over eighteen treatises.
Commentaries. - The commentaries on the Mishnah are almost as numerous as the editions, and cannot therefore be specially 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 comparatively) perfect one, or at all events the more extensive of the two. It ought, however, to he 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 Shelcalim in the Babylonian Talmud is only borrowed from the Palestinian Talmud. (2) The commentaries on Zerciim, Tohoroth, &c., by Rabbenu Hai Gaon, who was the last, most learned, and in every way noblest of the Geonim.5 He flourished in the 10th and llth centuries. Part of the commentaries (viz., that on Tohoroth) has appeared in the collection Kobets Ma ase Yede Geoninz, &c. (Berlin, 1856, 8vo). (3) The commentary on various treatises of the B. Talmud, and indirectly on the Mishnah, by Rabbenu Gershon' Meor Haggolah (the "Light of the Diaspora,"6 flourished in the 10th and 11th centuries). Fragments of this commentary are incorporated in the ordinary Talmud editions (e.g., Nedarim, 22b, kc.), but the greater part lies as yet in manuscript in various libraries. (4) The commentary of Rabben Hananeel, who lived at 1Saira•an (in Africa) in the 10th and 11 th 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 Bashi (ob. 1105) in all those parts of the B. Tahnud on which that " prince of commentators" wrote. Here ought to be mentioned also the separate editio princeps of this commentary as far as the Mishnah is concerned, which appeared at Leghorn in 1653-54, 8vo. (6) The supplements and additions to the commentary of Bashi by his son-in-law Rabbenu Yehudah b. Nathan (e.g., T. B., Mukkoth, 19b, &c.), and by his grandsons Rabbenu Shemnel b. Meir (ratio Rashbam ; see Pesahint, 99b, and Bobo Bathro, 29a, &c.) and Rabbenu Shema'yah b. Simhah of Yitri,8 who interpreted the Massekheth Middoth before Rashi, his grandfather (see Schiller-Szinessy, Catalogue of the Hebrew MSS. preserved in the University Library of Cambridge, ii. p. 89). (7) The commentary on the whole Mishnah by MAIMONIDES (q.v.). (S) The commentary by R. Abraham b. David of Posquieres (vulgo Rabad) on `Edayyoth (ace editions of the B. Talmud), 1.(211711:111 (with two other commentaries by Rabbenu Zerahyah Hallevi and R. Asher b. Yehiel, Constantinople, 1751, folio), and on many other Mishniyyoth of the orders Zerdim and Tohoroth (in his " strictures " on Maimonides, M ishneh Torah, books Zerdim and Tohorah). (9) The commentary of Shimshon of Sens (who, like the foregoing, was a contemporary and opponent of Maimonides) on the orders of Zera'int (with supplements taken from the works of the somewhat older R. Yitshak h. Malkitsedek) and Tohoroth.9 (10) The commentary by R. Meir of Rothenberg (the celebrated captive of Rudolph of Hapsburg); see under (13) below. (11) The commentary by R. Asher b. Ychiel (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 Rahhenu '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. Yondob Lipmann 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 commentary of It. Meir of Rothenberg ; compare under (10).
Works Subsidiary and Auxiliary to the Mislenah. - These may be summed up under the word .:Ifathnitho. .11/athuitho is ostensibly the Aramaic equivalent of the Hebrew Mishnah ; in reality, however, it signifies and comprises, not merely everything 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 blishnic and pre-Mishnic times besides, which are scattered throughout the Talmuds and other early Rabbinic works.
The first of these is Tosephto. As its name indicates, Margit() is "Addition," i.e., to the canonical Mishnah. All _Mishnah teachers from time immemorial, notably B. '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 incorporated 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.w 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 Mishnic 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. Neheinyali ; 1nel 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 Tosephlo 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 now 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 Atolls de-Rabbi Nathan, which is, no doubt, Tosephto to the Mishnah of Aboth. Tosephto used to be printed till within the last forty years as an appendix to the Riph, i.e., the Hilekhoth Bab Alphes (a compendium of the Talmud by R. Yitshak b. Ydakob 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 Zuckermandel has since published it from the Erfurt and Vienna MSS., with collations.' A Latin translation of Tosephto (with the lIebrew text) is to be found, under the name of Tosaphla, in Blasius Ugolinus's Thesaurus Antiquitatum Sacrarum (xvii.-xx.). It comprises, however, only the orders Zertiim, Mded, and Kodoshim, and came out at Venice in the years 1755-57, folio.
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 Pentateuch, 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. Yishmdel or by R. 'Alcibali,3 at another time a commentary on Exodus, by R. Shinne'on b. Yohai,4 and at another time again a commentary on the last four books of Moses, by (Shimdon) Ben 'Azzai.' Mc•hilto now, however, means a commentary on the greater part of Exodus, ascribed to R. Yishindel (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 why the ancients called the book by his name is, no doubt, because the first words of the real work are Atnar Rabbi Yishma'el. 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 commentary, which, 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 40b), 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 tho 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, inasmuch 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 resdectively (1) Dephisha (with 18 Parshiyyoth and 1 Pethihto or introduction), (2) Bes.hallah (with 6 Parshiyyoth and 1 Pelhihto), (3) Deshiretha (with 10 Parshiyyoth), (4) Vayyassa' (with 6 Parshiyyoth), (5).Anzaleic (with 2 Parshiyyoth), (6) Yithro (with 2 Parshiyyoth), (7) Battodesh (with 11 Parshiyyoth), (8) Nexikin and Kaspo (with 20 Parshiyyoth), and (9) Shabbetho (with 2 Parshiyyoth-1 in the pericope Ki thissa and 1 in that of Vayya4.-Izel). Mekhilto was published first at Constantinople in 1515, under the name of Sepher Ilammekhillo, and in 1545 at Venice as Mid-rash Hammekhilto. In 1712 it appeared at Amsterdam with a commentary. In 1744 it appeared again at Venice with a Latin translation by Blasius Ugolinus ( Thes. Antiq. Saer., 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 ars 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 S 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 tinu• immemorial known under the name of Siphro (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 debe Rab.7 This latter expression has led many great nien (among others Maimonides) 8 to ascribe the authorship of this commentary to Rab (Abby Arikho, a nephew 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. ll'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.' 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." The fact is, the word Rab in the phrase Siphro debe Bab 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,u - 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. Yishmdel, - a Boraitho which, although important in itself, is not more important for this than for auy other commentary on the Pentateuch. And this conglomerate nature shows itself even more strikingly in form ; for Siphro contains as forms of division Dibburim, Mckhilto, Parshiyyoth (some of which mean pericopes, whilst others mean chapters), Pere4-.im, 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," the earliest is at least as old as the 2d, and belongs perhaps to the lst." Siphro is chiefly of importance for the understanding of the Mishnah of the orders Kodoshint and Tohoroth (which were, no doubt, the earliest Mishniyyoth put into "order ") ; but, whilst it is a sure help for the Mishnah, theMishnah 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 consequently not often printed. The editio prineeps 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 commentary is of 1702, and came out at Dessau. The fourth edition, with a Latin translation, is to be found in Blasius Ugolinus's Thesaurus Antiquitatunz Sacrarnm, &c., Venice, 1744 (vol. xiv.). All these are in folio. The fifth edition, with the commentary 'Acarath Kohanim (vol. i.), appeared at Vilna, 1845, 4to. The sixth edition, with the commentary 'Asirith llaephah, 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 Pe squieres, &c., appeared at Vienna, 1862 ; and the ninth edition, with the commentary by R. Shimshon of Sens, appeared at Warsaw, 1866, both in folio.
The fourth of these pieces of literature is Siphere. Siphere, or S Siphere dcbe Rab, which in earlier times certainly included the oldest Rabbinic commentaries on Exodus, Numbers, and Deuteronomy (and perhaps also that on Leviticus), means now the oldest Rabbinic commentary on the last two books of Moses only.
Both books are divided into Pi4oth (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 Talmud r to R. Shime`on b. Yohai, the favourite disciple of R. 'Akibah, and the reputed author of the Zoltan. 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 Panim Sheni, Siphere shel Panim Sheri, Siphere Bemidbar 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 Zera' Abraham, appeared in two volumes, of which the first was printed at Dyhernfurt in 1811 and the second at Badawell 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.
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 Mishnie works2) 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 (ruvo, non) accidentally consist of the same letters ; it is rather an enunciation of an intrinsic truth : what the soul (Neshanuith) 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.)