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A Different Mishnah – Part III


So far we have found out that there are textual variances both between the Mishniyot in the two Talmuds as well as between different manuscripts of the same Talmud. And in this post we will see yet two other differences, one of them which I probably should have pointed out earlier, though it isn’t the biggest difference.

In the Bavli the parts of the Mishnah is also called “mishnah”. The way the reference to a certain mishnah in the Mishnah[1] goes according to order (Seder), tractate (Masechet), chapter (Pereq) and mishnah, so for example if we are talking about the second mishnah in B’rachot, then it would be Seder Zera’im, Masechet B’rachot, pereq alef (one), mishnah alef. Most often it would just be B’rachot alef, alef though, since people would know which Seder we are talking about.

Anyway, when we read the Yerushalmi the mishnayot are called “halachot”. The meaning being more or less the same[2], but still an interesting difference. Why I mention this will become obvious in the coming part.

We went through the first mishnah in the first post, so now I will quickly go through the next two mishniyot and end with the fourth in the end of this post.

משנה ב:

מאימתי קורין את שמע בשחרין\ת. משיכיר בין תכלת ללבן. ר’ אליעזר אומר בין תכלת לכרתן\י (וגומרה) עד הנץ החמה, ור’ יהושע אומר עד שלש שעות שכן דרך בני מלכים לעמוד בשלש שעות. הקורא מיכן\מכאן ואילך לא הפסיד כאדם שהוא קורא\הקורא בתורה.

Mishnah 2:

From when do we read the Shma’ in the morning/during morning prayer[3]? From when you can recognize the difference between blue[4] and white. R. Eli’ezer says, between blue and green[5] (and completes) until sunrise, and R. Yehoshu’a says, until the [end of the first] three hours, since it is the practice of the princes/kings[6] to rise [at the end of the] in the three hours. He who reads from here and onwards did not lose [heavenly reward], [but] is like a person[7] who reads the Torah.

משנה ג:

בית שמאי אומרים: בערב כל אדם יטו ויקרו\יטה ויקרא ובבוקר יעמודו\יעמוד, שנאמר: ובשכבך ובקומך. ובית הלל אומרים: כל אדם קורין כדרכן\קורא כדרכו, שנאמר: ובלכתך בדרך. א”כ\אם כן, למה נאמר ובשכבך ובקומך אלא בשעה שבני אדם שוכבין\ם ובשעה שבני אדם עומדין\ם

Mishnah 3:

The house of Shamay says: In the evening every person will recline and recite, and in the morning they will stand[8], as it is said: “and in your laying down and in your rising.” And the house of Hillel says: Each person recites as is his practice, as it is said: “and your walk in the path.” If so, why is it said “and in your laying down, and in your rising”? Rather[9], in the time when people lay down and in the time that they stand up.

And then something interesting happens. In the Bavli the mishnah continues with the following account:

א”ר טרפון: אני הייתי בא בדרך והטתי לקרות כדברי ב”ש וסכנתי בעצמי מפני הלסטים. אמרו לו: כדי היית לחוב בעצמך שעברת על דברי ב”ה.

Said R. Tarfon: I was coming on the street and inclined to recite, according to the sayings of the house of Shamay, and I endangered myself due to the robbers. [They] said to him: You owe that to yourself since you passed the words of the house of Hillel.

But in the Yerushalmi the third mishnah ends without the account of R. Tarfon. The account appears as the fourth halachah instead, changing the common order. So now we don’t only have difference in text, but also in order.

I will end my series of post on this subject for now, but when I have studied more, I will share some of my findings. From now on though, whenever I’m relating to a part in the Bavli, I will mention it as “mishnah”, whereas every time I’m relating to a part in the Yerushalmi, I will mention it as “halachah”. That will be the practice as long as they don’t follow the same order.

For those of you, who are interested to follow the study, you are welcome to join the group I have made on Facebook, “Comparative Studies in Talmud“.

All the best.

[1] I will differ between whether I am speaking about the compilation of mishniyot or a single mishnah, by writing Mishnah with a capital letter or normal letter. So the compilation will be written “Mishnah”, while a single part of it will be written “mishnah”.

[2] Not etymologic though, the word “mishnah” having the meaning of something being repeated, whereas the word “halachah” hints at a path to follow.

[3] The change between nun-sofit (ן) and the taw (ת) in the end changes the meaning of the word from “mornings” to “morning prayer”.

[4] The word “techelet” (תכלת) is a special kind of blue, which true nuance has been lost today. Traditionally it has always been the opinion of the majority that it came from a see-snail, though which one has been doubted. Today there are some who believe that they have found out which snail it is.

[5] The word means “leek”, which has a special green color, hard to distinguish from blue when there isn’t sufficient light.

[6] The adding of the word “bney” (בני), “sons of”, renders the meaning from “kings” to “sons of kings”.

[7] The two meanings of the “she’hu qore” (שהוא קורא) and “ha’qore” (הקורא) are “that he reads” and “a reader” respectively.

[8] The words for recline and stand up, are expressed in singular in the Bavli and in plural in the Yerushalmi. This is done in all this mishnah.

[9] This word is only found in the Yerushalmi, stating that “instead of thinking that the biblical verse used here has anything to do with how, rather read it as telling when”.

1 Comment

  1. […] two Talmuds. I have dealt with this issue in some earlier posts, which you can read here, here and here. This might have been caused by the Mishnah being transferred orally in the Land of Israel even at […]

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