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A complete set of the Babylonian Talmud

The Talmud (Hebrew: תַּלְמוּד, talmūd, meaning instruction, learning is a central text of mainstream Judaism, considered second to the Torah. The Talmud is the codification of the Oral Law. Today the Oral Law is a written law, codified in the Mishna (Hebrew: משנה, Mishna) and the Gemara (Hebrew: גמרא, Gemara) forming the Talmud. The Oral Law of Judaism is divided into "six orders" and the Talmud is also traditionally referred to as ש״ס, Shas, a Hebrew abbreviation of shisha sedarim, the "six orders". The whole Talmud consists of 63 tractates, and it is written in Tannaitic Hebrew and Aramaic.

Writing the Oral Law

The Mishna was drafted around the third century by Rabbi Judah the Prince, (יהודה הנשיא, Yehudah HaNasi, meaning Judah the Prince). It was forbidden to record these teachings but Rabbi Judah transgressed this precept in order to safeguard the Oral Torah of strain for future generations as the people of Israel was becoming dispersed throughout the world.[1]

Two Talmuds

There are in fact two Talmuds: the Jerusalem Talmud (Hebrew: תלמוד ירושלמי, Talmud Yerushalmi), and the Babylonian Talmud (Hebrew: תלמוד בבלי, Talmud Bavli). Both have in common the same Mishna and differ by Gemara.


Order of the Mishnah Translation Description Talmud Tractate Translation Subject
סדר זרעים, Zeraim Seeds Deal with prayer and blessings, tithes and agricultural laws ברכות, Berakhot Blessings Deals with the rules of blessings and prayers, particularly the Shema and the Amidah.
פאה, Pe'ah Corner Deals with the regulations concerning the commandment to leave the corner of one's field for the poor (Leviticus 19:9–10 , Leviticus 23:22 , Deuteronomy 24:19–22 ), and with the rights of the poor in general.
דמאי, Demai Doubtful Produce Deals chiefly with various cases in which it is not certain whether the priestly donations have been taken from produce.
כלאים, Kil'ayim Mixture or Confusion It deals with the laws of various forbidden production and uses of mixtures from produce.
שביעית, Shevi'it Seventh year It deals with all laws of allowing the land to rest in the seventh year, the laws of shmita produce and the remission of debts.
תרומות‎, Terumot Donations It deals with two type of donations; the first, the terumah, which is generally 1/50 of one's crop and 10% of the Maaser.
מעשרות‎, Ma'aserot Tithes It deals with It discusses the types of produce liable for tithing as well as the circumstances and timing under which produce becomes obligated for tithing.
מעשר שני, Ma'aser Sheni Second Tithe It concerns the Second tithe obligation as well as the laws of Revai.
חלה, Hallah Loaf It concerns the requirement to separate Challah from the bread dough.
ערלה, Orlah Blockage of Trees It deals with the laws pertaining to any fruit bearing tree, whose fruits cannot be eaten during the first three years the tree produces fruit.
ביכורים‎, Bikkurim First-fruits It discuss the commandment to bring the Bikkurim (first fruits) to the Temple in Jerusalem and to make a declaration upon bringing it.(Deuteronomy 26:1-11 )
מועד, Moed Festival Pertaining to the laws of the Sabbath and the Festivals שבת‎‎, Shabbat Shabbat It deals with laws relating to Shabbat and the activities prohibited on Shabbat.
ערובין‎, Eruvin Mixtures It deals with the various types of eruvs (mixtures).
פסחים‎, Pesahim Passovers It is concerned mainly with the laws of the Jewish holiday Passover as well as the Passover lamb offering.
שקלים, Shekalim Shekels It deals with the collection of the half-Shekel as well as the expenses and expenditure of the Temple.
יומא, Yoma Day It is concerned mainly with the laws of the Jewish holiday Yom Kippur, on which Jews atone for their sins from the previous year.
סוכה, Sukkah Hut‎ It deals mainly with laws relating to the Jewish holiday of Sukkot.
ביצה‎, Beitza Egg It deals with the laws of Yom Tov (holidays).
ראש השנה, Rosh Hashanah Head [of] the year It deals with the calendar year, the description of the inauguration of the months, laws on the form and use of the shofar and laws related to the religious services during the Jewish holiday of Rosh Hashanah.
תענית, Ta'anit Fast, Fasting It is devoted chiefly to the fast-days, their practices and prayers.
Nashim Women Concerning marriage and divorce, some forms of oaths and the laws of the nazirite
Nezikin Damages Deal with civil and criminal law, the functioning of the courts and oaths
Kodashim Holy things Regarding sacrificial rites, the Temple, and the Kashrut (dietary laws)
Tehorot Purities Pertaining to the laws of purity and impurity, including the impurity of the dead, the laws of food purity and bodily purity


  1. Szlakmann, Charles (1989) (in Portuguese). Judaism for Beginners (2nd ed.). São Paulo: Brasiliense. p. 57-59. ISBN 85-11-31006-1. 

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