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Aramaic Thoughts Archives
  • The final division of the Mishnah is called Tohoroth (cleannesses). It is divided into twelve treatises. The first treatise is Kelim (vessels, though the word is often used more widely, and can be the equivalent of the English “stuff”). The first thing that should be noted about cleanness and uncleanness,…
    December 27, 2013
  • The seventh treatise in Qodashim is Kerithoth (cutting off). It has to do with those offenses for which an offender was to be cut off from his people. It specifies thirty-six particular transgressions for which a man may be cut off, including various sexual offenses, blasphemy, idolatry, profaning the Sabbath,…
    December 20, 2013
  • The third treatise in Qodashim is Hullin (animals killed for food). As with the animal sacrifices and the grain offerings, a primary concern is with the validity of the slaughter. This comes from Deut 12:21, which states that once the people have moved into the land, they may kill any of their herd or flock…
    December 13, 2013
  • The fifth division of the Mishnah is called Qodashim (sacred or hallowed things, found in Danby’s Mishnah, pp. 467-602). It is divided into eleven treatises, having to do mainly with different types of offerings. The first treatise is Zebahim (sacrifices). Since this is the word most commonly…
    December 6, 2013
  • Following Ediyyot is Avodah Zarah (worship of idols, literally the phrase means “strange/alien service”). This section deals with the problems raised for Jews by living among idolaters. While technically it may refer to the problems engendered for Jews who live among idolatrous cults, such…
    November 29, 2013
  • Following the “three gates” that form the first three treatises of Nezikin, the Mishnah moves on to the treatise Sanhedrin. That name is, of course, familiar from the New Testament. In the Mishnah, however, this section deals with criminal law and its related procedures. In this material, the reader…
    November 22, 2013
  • The sixth treatise of Nashim is Gittin. This deals with the issue of divorce, with the discussion springing from the text in Deuteronomy 24:1-4 that seems to authorize divorce, and which also came up for discussion in Jesus’ debates with the legal scholars of his own day. Though divorce is obviously…
    November 15, 2013
  • The eleventh treatise in Mo’ed is called Katan (half-feasts). Originally it was called Mashkin, from the first word in the treatise. It deals with the middle days of Passover and Tabernacles, that is, those days between the first two and the last two days of the particular festivals. However, as with…
    November 8, 2013
  • The eighth treatise in Mo’ed is Rosh Hashanah. This literally means “the head of the year,” or “the first of the year,” thus it is the New Year celebration. In our modern calendar, Rosh Hashanah occurs in September. It corresponds to the first day of the seventh month in the Old Testament liturgical…
    November 1, 2013
  • The fourth treatise of the order Mo’ed is Shekalim (shekels). This deals with the half-shekel tax that was assessed on Israelite males (Ex 30:11-16). Originally this went to the provision for and upkeep of the tabernacle. Later, it was applied to the maintenance of the temple, and is probably the tax referred…
    October 25, 2013
  • First, my apologies to readers for missing last week. I was in the middle of moving to a new house, and simply ran out of time. We move now to the second order of the Mishnah. This second order is called Mo’ed. In the Bible, this term means “appointed time,” and appears as early as Genesis…
    October 18, 2013
  • The eighth treatise in the first order of the Mishnah is called Ma’asher Sheni (the second tithe). This deals with the tithe mentioned in Deut 14:22-26. This is in comparison to the first tithe, which went to the Levites. This second tithe was the tithe that was to be eaten “in the place…
    October 11, 2013
  • The third treatise of the first order (Zera’im) is called Demai, which means “doubtful.” This treatise deals with questions about the tithing of produce. These questions arose because of the uncertainties regarding which types of produce were to be tithed, and when. It serves to…
    October 4, 2013
  • The first of the six orders of the Mishnah is called Zera’im (Seeds). It is divided in eleven treatises. The first of these treatises is called Berakot (Blessings). It is concerned mostly with the rules for daily prayer, and begins with a discussion of when the Shema’ is to…
    September 27, 2013
  • According to Jewish teaching, the Law delivered to Moses consisted of two parts. The written law, now contained in the Torah, or Pentateuch, was one of those parts. The other consisted of oral teaching, which was then passed by tradition from one generation to the next. This oral instruction explained…
    September 20, 2013

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