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munity, than their views and proceedings with respect to the education of youth. As early as the time of Abba, their exertions were especially directed to promoting and superintending the instruction of children in ihe Holy Scriptures. The teachers were enjoined to observe kindness of demeanor towards their pupils, and to govern them rather by exciting a spirit of emulation than by corporal punishment. It was decreed by Rabba that each congregation should found an elementary school, and that for any number of pupils between twenty-five and fifty, the head teacher should be furnished with an assistant. New schools were continually springing up, and the rivalry between them and those already in existence was extremely ardent: hence teachers who exhibited a lack of industry, or treated with undue severity the children placed under their care, were dismissed forthwith. In these schools the Chaldee dialect of the lebrew alone was taught. The Jews in general were unacquainted with any other character than that in which it was written ; and consequently all public notifications and inscriptions made by the Persian authorities which in any way concerned them, were repeated in Hebrew letters.

During the interval of peace so favorable to the progress of literature and education, the school of Sura regained its former eminence under the charge of Nachman ben Isaac, and finally excelled all others under the celebrated Ashe, who for sixty years (between 3ti5 and 425) wielded the chief authority entirely independent of the Resh Glutha. The great undertaking which rendered famous the name of this latter rabbi, was the compilation of the Babylonian Talmud. In his time the text of the Mishnah had become deformed by a multitude of various readings, and the coinments and annotations upon its several parts had grown into an immense and confused mass. The first, or Jerusalem Talmud, was not adapted to meet the wants either of the age or country: for the schools of Babylonia had decided on many points differently from those of Palestine. R. Ashe therefore determined on restoring simplicity and unity to the rabbinical law by the compilation of a 'Í'almud complete in every respect. To accomplish this he began by accumulating and arranging materials for each division separately, in performing which he received considerable assistance from the students of his school. His first step was, aided by ten of his pupils, to bring together all the decisions that

had been made relative to the subjects contained in a single division of the Mishnah; these he communicated in his spring lectures to the whole school, and charged its members to busy themselves until the meeting in the ensuing autumn with examining into all that had been delivered relative thereto in the various schools. The data thus produced he afterwards subjected to a strict revision, and amalgamated into something like a uniform whole. This he continued to do for thirty successive years, until he had gone completely through the Talmud ; an equal space of time was consumed in the task of revision and correction. His friend and disciple, R. Abhina, afforded him essential assistance in the prosecution of his undertaking, and to these two the authorship of the Babylonian Talmud is usually ascribed. We will conclude the present article with a view of the contents of this work which has exerted so powerful an influence on the subsequent character and conduct of the Jewish people.


The Mishnah was divided by R. Judah into six parts or orders (1770), and these form the ground-work of the divisions of the whole Talmud, which is usually comprised in twelve large folio volumes.

I. The first part is entitled Zeraim ( of seeds), and treats of agriculture and the laws relating to it.

II. The second is called Moed (7:in of festivals), and treats of the observance of the Sabbath and other holidays.

III. The third is called Nashim (opy of women), and treats of the ceremonies of marriage and divorce, and of other matters relative to the intercourse between the sexes.

IV. The fourth is called Nezikin (12of damages), and treats of the laws regulating the conduct of men in civil. ized communities, and of the punishment due to their infrac tion.

V. The fifth is called Kodashim (=-7 of things holy), and treats of offerings.

Vi. The sixth is called Tahoroth (nicy of purifications), and treats of the mode in which persons and things become unclean, and of the ceremonies to be observed in their purification.

The reasons for this order, as laid down by Maimonides in his preface to the Talmud, are as follows. The work commences with the laws respecting agriculture, because on this depends the very existence of man, who without food would not be able to serve the Lord. These are succeeded by the laws relative to festivals, because that is the order observed in the Bible (Lev. 25: 3, 6). For the same reason the part which treats of the rights of women is made to precede the laws concerning damages (see Es. 21 : 7, 12). The four first Sedarim are thus made to include those subjects which are chiefly treated of in the book of Exodus, and the remaining two are occupied with the matter discussed in Leviticus.

The six parts of the Mishnah are each divided into treatises or books (nipsor), these again into chapters (R4), and the latter into single decisions (51). The contents of the several treatises belonging to each book are as follows.

I. ZERAIM, of seeds, contains the following treatises : 1. Berachoth (113n2 blessings). Herein is prescribed the manner of praying and of rendering thanks to the Lord for benefits of every description ; and because nothing should be enjoyed without a previous expression of gratitude to the Giver, this treatise is placed at the head of all the rest. 2. Peah (AD Corner). This is the first of the agricultural laws, and enjoins the duty of leaving a “corner of the field for the benefit of the poor (Lev. 19: 9). 3. Demai (27 doubtful things), concerning those things with regard to which a doubt exists as to whether or not they should pay tithes. 4. Kilaim (= heterogeneous things), containing precepts against commingling things of different kinds (see Lev. 19: 19). 5. Shebhuth (

or sev. enth), on the septennial agrarian rest.

6. Trumoth (1919 oblations), indicating those things of which a portion should be set part for oblations, and the persons who are to perform this duty..7. Maaseroth (7190a tithes); this treatise discusses the subject of tithes in general. 8. Maaser Sheni 30 non secondary tithe), on the tithes of the tithes collected by the Levites, and given by them to the priests. 9 Hal. lah non cake), concerning the cake to be made of the first dough (Num. 15:21). 10. Orlah (15 præputium), on the interdict against using the fruits of trees for the three first


11. Biccurim (5-7732 first fruits), concerning those
things of which the first fruits should be offered in the tem-
ple, and the manner of so doing. These eleven treatises,
which are divided into seventy-five chapters, complete the

first part.

II. Moen, of festivals, contains, 1. Shabbath (non sabbath);

this treatise on sabbath-keeping is placed first, both because

this is the most frequently recurring of all holidays and is

the earliest mentioned in the Bible. 2. Erubhim (0437773

mixtures), on various rites and duties belonging to the pro-

per observance of the sabbath. . 3. Pesachim (nod pass-

overs), on preparing for and celebrating the passover.

4. Shekalim (ope shekels), on the half shekel ordained to

be given by every one as a ransom for his soul (Ex. 30: 12,

et. seqq.) 5. Yoma ($279 the day), on the day of atone-
ment. 6. Succoth (71121 tabernacles), on the feast of tab-
ernacles, describing the mode of constructing the booths
and living in them. 7. Betsah (13 egg), on the feast of
pentecost. The treatise receives its name from its initial
word. 8. Rosh Hashshanah (120n DN7 the new year), on the
rites and ceremonies attending the celebration of the new
year. 9. Taanioth (1709n fasts), on the various fasts insti-
tuted by the prophets. 10. Mgillah (ban roll), on the
feast of Purim or lots. The treatise is so called from the
“ roll” of Esther appointed to be read on the occasion.
11. Moed Katon (7700 7379. minor festival), on the manner
of keeping the intermediate days between the first and
eighth in the feasts of the passover and of tabernacles,
which are considered as a kind of minor festival, or half-
holiday. 12. Hagiga (naan festivity), on the solemnities
to be observed in the ascent to Jerusalem on the three prin-
cipal festivals (Ex. 23: 17). The twelve treatises compos-
ing the second part are divided into eighty-eight chapters.

III. Nashim, of women, contains, 1. Yebhamoth (6722

brothers-in-law), on a man's duty towards his brother's wid-

ow and orphan children. As matrimonial contracts of this

description are compulsory while all others are voluntary,

the laws enforcing them are placed first in order. 2. Ke-

thubhóth (7101na contracts), on dowers and marriage set-

tlements, and the duties and privileges of husband and wife.

3. Kiddushin (7-2970 espousals), on the mode of conducting

espousals, and of deciding various matrimonial cases.

4. Gittin (7"ua divorces), on the mode of drawing up and

presenting bills of divorce. 5. Nedarim (1977 vows), concerning what vows are to be held obligatory and what not, as also the right of a husband to annul ceriain rows of his wife. 6. Nazir (773 Nazarite), on Nazarites and the vows of such as separate themselves from the world. This treatise is placed immediately after the preceding as it relates to a branch of vows which, when made by a wife, the husband has the power to annul. 7. Sotah (7270 suspected one), on the proceedings to be adopted for the purpose of confirming or removing suspicions of a wife's fidelity, according to Num. 5: 12. et seqq. The seven treatises of the third part are divided into seventy-one chapters.

IV. Nezikin, of damages, contains, 1. Babha Kama 2 2p the first gate), laws concerning damages received from animals or persons by way of trespass, assault, &c. This treatise commences the series because the matters it discusa ses are those most frequently brought before justices of the peace, and therefore require especial study and attention. 2. Babha Metsia (+9722 223 the middle gate), laws concerning claims arising from trusts, such as usury, gratuitous loans, hire, &c. 3. Babha Bathra (#782 822 the last gate), laws concerning partnership in business, succession and inheritance, purchase and sale, &c. &c. 4. Sanhedrin (1977730 grand council); having finished laying down the laws which the complicated interests and numerous sources of dissension existing in a civilized community render necessary, the compiler devotes the present treatise to a consideration of every thing relating to the administration of justice, such as the courts civil and criminal, the judges, wit. nesses, and punishments. 5. Muccoth (1138 stripes), or the punishment of scourging for minor offences, agreeably to Deut. 25: 3. 6. Shebhuoth (579100 oaths), as to what persons are competent to take judicial oaths, and the ceremonies to be observed in so doing. 7. Edioth (07977 witnesses), on competence to bear witness in a court of justice, and how this should be done. 8. Horioth (979777 decis. ions), on the mode of pronouncing sentence, and other matters relative to judges and their functions. 9. Abhodah Zurah ( 797 777739 idolatry), against idolatry and intercourse with idolators. 10. Abhoth (- fathers), containing the maxims of the elder rabbies, who from the time of Moses successively received, taught, and transmitted the oral law, and are hence termed · fathers of the law." The fourth part is divided into seventy-four chapters.

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