Alfred Edersheim


THE Mishnah is always quoted according to Tractate, Chapter (Pereq) and Paragraph (Mishnah), the Chapter being marked in Roman, the paragraph in ordinary Numerals. Thus Ber. ii. 4 means the Mishnic Tractate Berakhoth, second Chapter, fourth Paragraph.

The Jerusalem Talmud is distinguished by the abbreviation Jer. before the name of the Tractate. Thus, Jer. Ber. is the Jer. Gemara, or Talmud, of the Tractate Berakhoth. The edition, from which quotations are made, is that commonly used, Krotoschin, 1866, 1 vol. fol. The quotations are made either by Chapter and Paragraph (Jer. Ber. ii. 4), or, in these volumes mostly, by page and column.  It ought to be noted that in Rabbinic writings each page is really a double one, distinguished respectively as a and b: a being the page to the left hand of the reader, and b the reverse one (on turning over the page) to the right hand of the reader. But in the Jerusalem Gemara (and in Yalkut [see below], as in all works where the page and column (col.) are mentioned) the quotation is often - in these volumes, mostly - made by page and column (two columns being on each side of a page). Thus, while Jer. Ber. ii. 4 would be Chapter II. Par. 4, the corresponding quotation by page and column would in that instance be, Jer. Ber. 4 d; d marking that it is the fourth column in b (or the off-side) of page 4.

The Babyl. Talmud is, in all its editions, equally paged, so that a quotation made applies to all editions. It is double-paged, and quoted with the name of the Tractate, the number of the page, and a or b according as one or another side of the page is referred to. The quotations are distinguished from those of the Mishnah by this, that in the Mishnah Roman and ordinary numerals are employed (to mark Chapters and Paragraphs), while in the Babylon Talmud the name of the Tractate is followed by an ordinary numeral, indicating the page, together with a or b, to mark which side of the page is referred to. Thus Ber. 4 a means:  Tractate Berachoth, p. 4, first or left-hand side of the page.

I have used the Vienna edition, but this, as already explained, is not a point of any importance. To facilitate the verification of passages quoted I have in very many instances quoted also the lines, either from top or bottom.

The abbreviation Tos. (Tosephta, additamentum) before the name of a Tractate refers to the additions made to the Mishnah after its redaction. This redaction dates from the third century of our era. The Tos. extends only over 52 of the Mishnic Tractates. They are inserted in the Talmud at the end of each Tractate, and are printed on the double pages in double columns (col. a and b on p. a, col. e and d on p. b). They are generally quoted by Pereq and Mishnah: thus, Tos. Gitt. i. 1, or (more rarely) by page and column, Tos. Gitt. p. 150 a. The ed. Zuckermandel is, when quoted, specially indicated.

Besides, the Tractate Aboth de Rabbi Nathan (Ab. de. R. Math.), and the smaller Tractates, Sopherim (Sopher), Semachoth (Semach.), Kallah (Kall. or Chall),1 Derekh Erets (Der Er.),  Derekh Erets Zuta (commonly Der Er. S.), and Pereq Shalom (Per. Shal.) are inserted at the close of vol. ix. of the Talmud. They are printed in four columns (on double pages), and quoted by Pereq and Mishnah.

The so-called Septem Libri Talmudici parvi Hierosolymitani are published separately (ed. Raphael Kirchheim, Fref 1851). They are the Massecheth Sepher Torah (Mass. Seph. Tor.), Mass. Mezuzah (Mass. Mesus.), Mass. Tephillin (Mass. Tephill.), Mass. Tsitsith (Mass. Ziz.), Mass. Abhadim (Mass. Abad.), Mass. Kuthim (Mass. Cuth.), and Mass. Gerim (Mass. Ger.). They are printed and quoted according to double pages (a and b).

To these must be added the so-called Chesronoth haShas, a collection of passages expurgated in the ordinary editions from the various Tractates of the Talmud. Here we must close, what might else assume undue proportions, by an alphabetical list of the abbreviations, although only of the principal books referred to: -

[Please click on underlined links below to be taken to our online edition of the Babylonian Talmud. Not all tractates are available online at this time. We hope to remedy this soon.]

Ab.Zar.2 The Talmudic Tractate Abhodah Zorah, on Idolatry.
Ab. The Talmudic Tractate Pirquey Abohoth, Savings of the Fathers.
Ab. de R Nath. The Tractate Abhoth de Rabbi Nathan at the close of vol. ix. in the Bab. Talm.
Arakh. The Talmudic Tractate Arakhin, on the redemption of persons or things consecrated to the Sanctuary.
Bab. K. The Talmudic Tractate Babha Qamma ('First Gate'), the first,
Bab. Mets. [or Mez.] The Talmudic Tractate Babha Metsia ('Middle Gate'), the second,
Bab. B. The Talmudic Tractate Babha Bathra ('Last Gate'), the third of the great Tractates on Common Law.
Bechor. The Talmudic Tractate Bekhoroth, on the consecration to the Sanctuary of the First-born.
Bemid R. The Midrash (or Commentary) Bemidbar Rabba, on Numbers.
Ber. The Talmudic Tractate Berakhoth, on Prayers and Benedictions.
Ber. R. The Midrash (or Commentary) Bereshith Rabba, on Genesis.
Bets. [or Bez.] The Talmudic Tractate Betsah, laws about an egg laid on Sabbath and Fast-days, and on similar points connected with the sanctifying of such seasons.
Biccur. The Talmudic Tractate Bikkurim, on First-fruits.
Chag. The Talmudic Tractate Chagigah, on the festive offerings at the three Great Feasts.
Chall. The Talmudic Tractate Challah, on the first of the dough (Numb. xv. 17).
Chull. The Talmudic Tractate Chullin, the rubric as to the mode of killing meat and kindred subjects.
Debar R. The Midrash Debharim Rabba, on Deuteronomy.
Dem. The Talmudic Tractate Demai, regarding Produce, the tithing of which is not certain.
Ech. R. The Midrash Ekhah Rabbathi, on Lamentations (also quoted as Mid. on Lament).
Eduy. The Talmudic Tractate Eduyoth (Testimonies), the legal determinations enacted or confirmed on a certain occasion, decisive in Jewish History.
Erub. The Talmudic Tractate Erubhin, on the conjunction of Sabbath boundaries. (See Appendix XVII.)
Midr. Esth. The Midrash on Esther.
Gitt. The Talmudic Tractate Gittin, on Divorce.
Horay. The Taldmudic Tractate Horayoth 'Decisions' on certain unintentional transgressions.
Jad. [or Yad.] The Taldmudic Tractate Yadayim, on the Washing of Hands.
Jebam. [or Yebam.] The Taldmudic Tractate Yebhamoth, on the Levirate.
Jom. [mostly Yom.] The Taldmudic Tractate Yoma, on the Day of Atonement.
Kel. The Taldmudic Tractate Kelim, on the purification of furniture and vessels.
Kerith. The Taldmudic Tractate Kerithuth, on the punishment of 'cutting off.'
Kethub. The Taldmudic Tractate Kethubhoth, on marriage-contracts.
Kidd. The Taldmudic Tractate Qiddushin, on Betrothal.
Kil. The Taldmudic Tractate Kilayim, on the unlawful commixtures (Lev. xix. 19; Deut. xxii. 9-11).
Kinn. The Taldmudic Tractate Qinnim, on the offering of doves (Lev. v. 1-10; xii. 8).
Midr. Kohel. The Midrash on Qoheleth or Eccles.
Maas. The Talmudic Tractate Maaseroth, on Levitical Tithes.
Maas Sh. The Talmudic Tractate Maaser Sheni, on second Tithes (Deut. xiv. 22, &c.).
Machsh. The Talmudic Tractate Makhshirin, on fluids that may render products 'defiled,' or that leave them undefiled (Lev. xi. 34, 38).
Makk. [or Macc.] The Talmudic Tractate Makkoth, on the punishment of Stripes.
Mechil. The Talmudic Tractate Mekhilta, a Commentary on part of Exodus, dating at the latest from the first half of the second century.
Megill. The Talmudic Tractate Megillah, referring to the reading of the ('roll') Book of Esther and on the Feast of Esther.
Meil. The Talmudic Tractate Meilah, on the defilement of things consecrated.
Menach. The Talmudic Tractate Menachoth, on Meat-offerings.
Midd. The Talmudic Tractate Middoth, on the Temple-measurements and arrangements.
Mikv. The Talmudic Tractate Miqvaoth, on ablutions and immersions.
Moed K. The Talmudic Tractate Moed Qatan, on Half-holidays
Naz. The Talmudic Tractate Nazir, on the Nasirate.
Ned. The Talmudic Tractate Nedarim, on Vowing.
Neg. The Talmudic Tractate Negaim, on Leprosy.
Nidd. The Talmudic Tractate Niddah, on female levitical impurity (menstrua).
Ohol. The Talmudic Tractate Oholoth, on the defilement of tents and houses, specially by death.
Orl. The Talmudic Tractate Orlah, on the ordinances connected with Lev. xix. 23.
Par. The Talmudic Tractate Parah, on the Red Heifer and purification by its ashes.
Peah The Talmudic Tractate Peah, on the corner to be left for the poor in harvesting.
Pes. The Talmudic Tractate Pesachim, on the Paschal Feast.
Pesiqta The Book Pesiqta, an exceedingly interesting series of Meditations or brief discussions and Lectures on certain portions of the Lectionary for the principal Sabbaths and Feast Days.
Pirqé de R. Eliez. The Haggadic Pirqé de Rabbi Eliezer, in 54 chapters, a discursive Tractate on the History of Israel from the creation to the time of Moses, with the insertion of three chapters (xlix.-li.) on the history of Haman and the future Messianic deliverance.
Rosh haSh. The Talmudic Tractate Rosh haShanah, on the Feast of New Year
Sab. The Talmudic Tractate Zabhim, on certain levitically defiling issues.
Sanh. The Talmudic Tractate Sanhedrin, on the Sanhedrim and Criminal Jurisprudence.
Sebach. The Talmudic Tractate Zebhachim, on Sacrifices.
Shabb. The Talmudic Tractate Shabbath, on Sabbath-observance.
Shebh. The Talmudic Tractate Shebhiith, on the Sabbatic Year.
Shebu. The Talmudic Tractate Shebhuoth, on Oaths, &c.
Sheqal. The Talmudic Tractate Sheqalim, on the Temple-Tribute, &c.
Shem R. The Midrash Shemoth Rabba on Exodus.
Shir haSh R. The Midrash Shir haShirim Rabba, on the Song of Solomon.
Siphra The ancient Commentary on Leviticus, dating from the second century.
Siphré The still somewhat older Commentary on Numb. and Deuter.
Sot. The Talmudic Tractate Sotah, on the Woman accused of Adultery.
Sukk. The Talmudic Tractate Sukkah, on the Feast of Tabernacles.
Taan. The Talmudic Tractate Taanith, on Fasting and Fast-Days.
Tam. The Talmudic Tractate Tamid, on the daily Service and Sacrifice in the Temple.
Teb. Yom. The Talmudic Tractate Tebhul Yom ('bathed of the day'), on impurities, where there is immersion on the evening of the same day.
Tem. The Talmudic Tractate Temurah, on substitution for things consecrated (Lev. xxvii. 10).
Ter. The Talmudic Tractate Terumoth, on the priestly dues in produce.
Tohar. The Talmudic Tractate Toharoth, on minor kinds of defilement.
Tanch. The Midrashic Commentary Tanchuma (or Yelamdenu), on the Pentateuch.
Ukz. The Talmudic Tractate Uqtsin, on the defilement of fruits through their envelopes, stalks, &c.
Vayyik R. The Midrash Vayyikra Rabba, on Leviticus.
Yalk. The great collectaneum: Yalkut Shimeoni, which is a catena on the whole Old Testament, containing also quotations from works lost to us.3

1 It is to be noted that in the marginal and note-references the old mode of indicating a reference (as in the first ed. of this book) and the, perhaps, more correct mode of transliteration have been promiscuously employed. But the reader can have no difficulty in understanding the reference.

2 Mark the note on previous page.

3 It will, of course, be understood that we have only given the briefest, and, indeed, imperfect, indications of the contents of the various Talmudic Tractates. Besides giving the Laws connected with each of the subjects of which they treat, all kindred topics are taken up, nay, the discussion often passes to quite other than the subjects primarily treated of in a Tractate.

Table of Contents

1997-2006 NOR/JCR