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Looking for a good mishnah set or volume?
Okay, class. Let's talk terminology for a moment. The Mishnah is the Oral Torah as redacted by Rabbi Judah the Prince, better known as Rabi Yehuda Hanasi, when it seemed that the oral tradition might be lost if not written down. The sages who take part in its discussions are called tannaim.
As thorough as the tannaim were, guess what? Later sages had comments and questions about what the tannaim said. These later sages, some of them even a few hundred years after the tannaim, and mostly in Babylonia instead of the Land of Israel, were known as amoraim. Their commentaries on the Mishnah are known as the Gemara. Together, the Mishnah and the Gemara make up the Talmud. Got that? If it sounds confusing, don't let it bother you. It's sort of like learning the American political system by first looking at the historical development of bicameral legislatures. If you really want to learn how Congress works, it's better to just visit the Capitol and watch them in session. Or catch them on C-SPAN. Then the theory will start to make sense.
Here, too, don't be bothered about figuring out who's who and what's what (unless you like doing that). Better to jump in - get a text and start studying. It will become clear. And studying Mishnah and Gemara is rather like sitting in the visitors' gallery of the legislature, listening to the proceedings - with this very important exception: in the visitors' gallery, you have to watch silently. By us, you are not only invited, but required, to take part in the discussion.
Here are computer programs and other goodies to help you learn Mishnah and Talmud (and how about reading Rashi script?), courtesy of our affiliate jewishsoftware.com.
Artscroll has a lovely series of Mishnah editions, shown below. They include the Hebrew text with English translations and commentaries. If you're looking for a complete set of the Mishnah, with Hebrew text, English translation, and brief commentary, we suggest the six-volume Blackman Mishnayoth (mishnayot, as we would spell it now, being the plural of mishnah). Also shown below are a few of the many books written by Jacob Neusner on the Mishnah, its authors, and the environment in which they worked.
More Mishnah Editions and Books on Mishnah!
Here are many more Mishnah editions and various books on Mishnah, available from Amazon.
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