21 Jun 2006

Repository of “Oral Law” of Judaism; consists of Mishnah and Gemara. There exist two versions: the Babylonian, or “Bavli” (this is the most frequently used version) and the Jerusalem, or “Yerushalmi.” It is similar to an encyclopaedia, but with by no means as strict a structure. It consists of sixty three “Masechtot,” or volumes, such as “Berachot,” or “Blessings and Prayers,” and “Sanhedrin,” or “The Jewish Supreme Court,” etc. It was written/compiled by Rav Ashi and his colleagues ca. 500 C.E., preserving generations of analysis and discussion by “Amoraim” of the more concise Mishnah, which contains the discussions of the “Tannaim”. It also contains extra-legal and anecdotal material relating to all aspects of life. It is similar, in breadth and organization and random-access type memory organization, to the Internet and world-wide web, but is far deeper and qualitatively not comparable. It is referred to as the “Sea of the Talmud.”