TALMUD: THE ORAL TORAH
Then comes Talmud. Orthodox Jews believe that along with with Torah other verbal instructions and explanation of Torah was also revealed to Moses and preserved orally until it was written down. Thus the first 5 books of Tanakh are called as the “Written Torah,” and The Talmud is known as the “Oral Torah.” Talmud is from the Hebrew word talmūdh which literally mean instruction. Talmud is a collection of writings of Rabbis that interpret, explain the Torah scriptures. The Talmud was written between the 2nd and 5th century AD. There are two Talmuds: the Jerusalem Talmud (Compiled around 500AD) and the Babylonian Talmud (Compiled around 600AD). However, the Babylonian Talmud had established supremacy, and today it is the one that is meant by “the Talmud.”
Talmud made up of two parts: the Mishnah and the Gemara/Gemorah.
MISHNAH & GEMARA:
The Mishnah is a rabbinic commentary on the Torah, and the Gemara is a commentary on the Mishnah. The Talmud thus makeup of two parts: the Mishnah – the core text; and the Gemara – analysis, and commentary. The rabbis of the Mishnah are known as Tannaim, and the rabbis of the Gemara are referred to as Amoraim. Mishnah means study by repetition from the Medieval Hebrew word mishnāh literally, teaching by oral repetition, a teaching that is repeated or “to study and review” and the word Gemara/Gemorah is actually from the Aramaic verb gamar meaning “study.” After the Mishnah was published by Judah the Prince (Judah ha-Nasi or Judah I) around 200AD, the work was studied and discussed by various rabbis of Babbel and Israel. Their discussions were penned down in a set of books that became the Gemara, which when coupled with the Mishnah made up the Talmud.
Mishnah is divided into “six orders,” or shisha sedarim in Hebrew, each of which addresses a different aspect of Jewish life. Each order containing 7–12 tractates 63 in total. Each tractate is divided further into chapters, which in turn contain various numbers of teachings:
1-Zera’im (“Seeds”) – blessings, tithes, temple offerings, agriculture (11 tractates)
2-Mo’ed (“Set Feasts”) – Sabbath laws and holiday observances (12 tractates)
3-Nashim (“Women”) – marriage and divorce (7 tractates)
4-Nezikin (“Damages”) – idolatry, matters of civil law, and the Pirke Avot (10 tractates)
5-Kodashim (“Holy Things”) – sacrificial system in the Temple, dietary laws (11 tractates)
6-Tohorot (“Purities”) – ritual purity and impurity (12 tractates)