The Talmud

Next to the Bible, the Talmud is the most important source of Jewish spiritual teaching. It is much larger and more complex than the Bible, and combines volumes containing many different layers and kinds of material. Its contents fall roughly into three groups: Mishnah, Gemara, and Midrash.

I. Mishnah is the code of Oral Law elaborated largely by the Pharisees in the two or three centuries before the Great Revolt. The Pharisees were the liberal Jews of their day, responsible for doing away with slavery well before other ancient societies did. They interpreted the written law and scriptures to fit changes in the social and political situation under Greek and Roman rule. The written Mishnah code, begun early in the 2nd century by Rabbi Akiba ben Josef and his disciple Meir, was edited into final form around 200 by Judah Ha-Nasi and his followers. Rather than a strict code of laws, it is a compilation of the opinions and rulings of previous rabbinical sages and scholars on a wide variety of situations -- giving the majority and dissenting opinions in many cases -- and is used as a guideline. These sages were known as Tannaim ("Teachers"); the two most prominent were Hillel the Elder and Shammai.

The Mishnah is made up of 63 treatises or tractates, divided into Six Orders:

  1. Zeraim (Seeds) covers agricultural produce and ritual offerings.
  2. Moed (Festivals) deals with the laws of the Sabbath, feasts, and fast-days.
  3. Nashim (Women): betrothal, marriage, and divorce.
  4. Nezikim (Damages): civil and criminal laws and accompanying punishments.
  5. Kodashim (Sacred Things): sacrifices, sacrileges, and offerings.
  6. Toharot (Purification): cleanliness and uncleanliness in the ritual sense.

II. Gemara is the commentary on the Mishnah compiled by the Amoraim, successors to the Tannaim whose opinions made up the Mishnah. Gemara is what is technically meant by the term Talmud, and is often referred to as the Talmud proper. Two sets of Gemara were created, one in Bablylonia completed by the 4th or 5th century, and one in Palestine, known as the Jerusalem Talmud, completed about a century earlier. Both are incomplete, commenting on a little more than half the treatises in the Mishnah, yet they comprise numerous volumes representing the work of hundreds of scholars over several centuries.

III. Midrash is an assessment of the Bible, but especially the Pentateuch, aimed at clarifying various points of law. Compiled over a thousand year period ending in 1040, it consists mainly of various forms of anecdotal and allegorical material that often began as sermons or homilies based around a passage of Scripture -- a method that later became popular with Christians.

The Talmud as a whole is formed of two kinds of material: halakha and aggada. The halakhah includes all the legal decisions in the Mishnah and the two Gemaras; the aggadah comprises a wide range of legends, myths, anecdotes, parables, and aphorisms aimed at explaining the laws, beliefs, and rituals of the Mishnah to the common folk. This material expands as it expounds, in the process creating a colorful body of folk material. The whole massive, often confusing corpus of laws, commentaries, and anecdotal accompaniments, is referred to popularly by Jews as "The Sea of the Talmud."

Judaism | The God of History | The Covenant | Moses | Tetragrammaton | Kings and Prophets | The Babylonian Captivity | The Torah | The Hebrew Bible | The Talmud | Jewish Mysticism: The Kabbalah | Hasidism | The Four Branches of Modern Judaism
World Religions

  November 2006 -  Essential Life Wisdom
The Conference Works
Seattle, WA
November 17-18, 2006

December 2006 -  Kripalu Center
Channeling Grace: Guidance in Healing for Mainstream Mystics
Dec. 1-3, 2006
Lenox, Massachusetts
800 741 7353

December 2006 -  NICABM
Dec.9 2007
Ruth@nicabm.com

January 2007 -  Mirival Spa
Jan. 4-7 2007
(800) 232-3969

January 2007 -  Sacred Contracts **New Class**
Sacred Contracts
CMED class #1
Jan. 18-21, 2007
The Crossings Spa
Austin, TX.

February 2007 -  Mystic / Entering the Castle
Mysticism /Entering the Castle
CMED Grad Class
Feb. 1-4 2007
Oakbrook IL.
Double Tree Hotel
1-800-222-TREE

February 2007 -  Entering the Castle ** New Class**
Entering the Castle
CMED class #1
Feb. 22-25 2007
Oakbrook IL.
Double Tree Hotel
1-800-222-TREE

March 2007 -  Caroline **BOOK RELEASE**
Entering the Castle
BOOK TOUR

April 2007 -  OMEGA
Omega Conference
April 13-15 2007
New York
Sheraton New York Hotel

April 2007 -  CMED **Trip To Scotland
**SOLD OUT**
CMED Workshop 'Entering the Castle'
Scotland April 19-22, 2007
Turnberry / Culzean Castle

April 2007 -  CMED **Trip to Avila Spain
April 25-29 2007
Visit the famous walled city where St.Teresa lived.
Information to be updated...
Cindy@myss.com

May 2007 -  Yoga Journal Conference
2007 Grand Geneva Conference
May 4-7, 2007
Grand Geneva Resort and Spa
Lake Geneva, WI

May 2007 -  A Workshop For Healing
The Crossings Spa
(Open to the Public)
Caroline Myss / Steve Fanning
May 10-13 2007

May 2007 -  Kripalu Center
Kripalu Center
Entering The Castle
(Open to the Public)
May 18-20, 2007
Lenox, Massachusetts
800 741 7353

June 2007 -  Entering the Castle
Entering the Castle
CMED class #2
June 7-10 2007
Oakbrook IL.
Double Tree Hotel
1-800-222-TREE

June 2007 -  Sacred Contracts
Sacred Contracts
CMED class #2
June 21-24, 2007
The Crossings Spa
Austin, TX.

August 2007 -  Hay House **Australian Tour
TBD
Aug.1-13 2007
Three City Tour

August 2007 -  The Anamcara Project/Central Oregon
TBD
Aug 18-20 2007
Bend, Oregon

September 2007 -  Omega Rhinebeck Campus
TBA
Sept 7-12 2007
Rhinebeck NY.

September 2007 -  Hay House **London**
TBD
Sept 29 2007
London

October 2007 -  Findhorn Scotland
Entering The Castle
Oct 6-8, 2007
Findhorn Scotland

October 2007 -  Hay House **Tampa Fla.
TBA
Oct.12 2007
Tampa Fla.

October 2007 -  Entering The Castle
Entering the Castle
CMED class #3
Oct 18-21 2007
Oakbrook IL.
Double Tree Hotel
1-800-222-TREE

November 2007 -  Sacred Contracts
Sacred Contracts
CMED class #3
Nov 1-4 2007
The Crossings Spa
Austin, TX.
1-800-222-TREE

November 2007 -  Mishka Productions
TBA
Nov.11 2007
Scottsdale, AZ


 Contact Us