A report on Rabbinic literature

Entire spectrum of rabbinic writings throughout Jewish history.

- Rabbinic literature

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The first page of the Babylonian Talmud, Tractate Berachot, folio 2a. The center column contains the Talmud text, beginning with a section of Mishnah. The Gemara begins 14 lines down with the abbreviation גמ (gimmel-mem) in larger type. Mishnah and Gemara sections alternate throughout the Talmud. The blocks of text on either side are the Rashi and Tosafot commentaries, printed in Rashi script. Other notes and cross references are in the margins.

Talmud

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Central text of Rabbinic Judaism and the primary source of Jewish religious law (halakha) and Jewish theology.

Central text of Rabbinic Judaism and the primary source of Jewish religious law (halakha) and Jewish theology.

The first page of the Babylonian Talmud, Tractate Berachot, folio 2a. The center column contains the Talmud text, beginning with a section of Mishnah. The Gemara begins 14 lines down with the abbreviation גמ (gimmel-mem) in larger type. Mishnah and Gemara sections alternate throughout the Talmud. The blocks of text on either side are the Rashi and Tosafot commentaries, printed in Rashi script. Other notes and cross references are in the margins.
An early printing of the Talmud (Ta'anit 9b); with commentary by Rashi
A page of a medieval Jerusalem Talmud manuscript, from the Cairo Geniza
A full set of the Babylonian Talmud
Talmudic saying on the Divine Presence
Koren Talmud Bavli
The Talmud on display in the Jewish Museum of Switzerland brings together parts from the first two Talmud prints by Daniel Bomberg and Ambrosius Froben.
Jewish Scene I
Jewish Scene II
A Controversy Whatsoever on Talmud<ref>See Schleicher's paintings at MutualArt.</ref>
At the Rabbi's
Jews studying Talmud, París, c. 1880–1905
Samuel Hirszenberg, Talmudic School, c. 1895–1908
Ephraim Moses Lilien, The Talmud Students, engraving, 1915
Maurycy Trębacz, The Dispute, c. 1920–1940
Solomon's Haggadoth, bronze relief from the Knesset Menorah, Jerusalem, by Benno Elkan, 1956
Hilel's Teachings, bronze relief from the Knesset Menorah
Jewish Mysticism: Jochanan ben Sakkai, bronze relief from the Knesset Menorah
Yemenite Jews studying Torah in Sana&#039;a
Oz veHadar edition of the first page of the Babylonian Talmud, with elements numbered in a spiraling rainbowː (1) Joshua Boaz ben Simon Baruch's Mesorat haShas, (2) Joel Sirkis's Hagahot (3) Akiva Eiger's Gilyon haShas, (4) Completion of Solomon ben Isaac's commentary from the Soncino printing, (5) Nissim ben Jacob's commentary, (6) Hananel ben Hushiel's commentary, (7) a survey of the verses quoted, (8) Joshua Boaz ben Simon Baruch's Ein Mishpat/Ner Mitzvah, (9) the folio and page numbers, (10) the tractate title, (11) the chapter number, (12), the chapter heading, (13), Solomon ben Isaac's commentary, (14) the Tosafot, (15) the Mishnah, (16) the Gemara, (17) an editorial footnote.

The Talmud is the basis for all codes of Jewish law and is widely quoted in rabbinic literature.

Judaica (clockwise from top): Shabbat candlesticks, handwashing cup, Chumash and Tanakh, Torah pointer, shofar and etrog box

Judaism

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Abrahamic, monotheistic, and ethnic religion comprising the collective religious, cultural, and legal tradition and civilization of the Jewish people.

Abrahamic, monotheistic, and ethnic religion comprising the collective religious, cultural, and legal tradition and civilization of the Jewish people.

Judaica (clockwise from top): Shabbat candlesticks, handwashing cup, Chumash and Tanakh, Torah pointer, shofar and etrog box
Maccabees by Wojciech Stattler (1842)
A painting of Moses decorates the Dura-Europos synagogue dating from 244 CE
The Western Wall in Jerusalem is a remnant of the wall encircling the Second Temple. The Temple Mount is the holiest site in Judaism.
Kennicott Bible, a 1476 Spanish Tanakh
Aleppo Codex, a Tanakh produced in Tiberias in the 10th century
A man holds up a Sephardi-style torah at the Western Wall, Jerusalem
Statue of Maimonides in Córdoba, Spain
Conservative women rabbis, Israel
El Ghriba synagogue in Djerba, Tunisia
Beta Israeli Kahen at the Western Wall
A Yemenite Jew at morning prayers, wearing a kippah skullcap, prayer shawl and tefillin
An Israeli female soldier prays at the Western Wall
Jewish boys wearing tzitzit and kippot play soccer in Jerusalem
Men wearing tallitot pray at the Western Wall
Two braided Shabbat challahs placed under an embroidered challah cover at the start of the Shabbat meal
Jews in Mumbai break the Yom Kippur fast with roti and samosas
Purim street scene in Jerusalem
Jewish personnel of the US Navy light candles on Hanukkah
A man reads a torah using a yad
The Sarajevo Synagogue in Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina
Great Synagogue (Jerusalem)
Congregation Emanu-El of New York
18th-century circumcision chair Museum of Jewish Art and History
Two boys wearing tallit at a bar mitzvah. The torah is visible in the foreground.
The Bereavement (Yahrtzeit) Hasidic tish, Bnei Brak, Israel
Jewish students with their teacher in Samarkand, Uzbekistan c. 1910.
Magen David Synagogue in Kolkata, India
A Yemeni sofer writing a torah in the 1930s
Judaism is practiced around the world. This is an 1889 siddur published in Hebrew and Marathi for use by the Bene Israel community
The 12th century Synagogue of Santa María la Blanca in Toledo, Spain was converted to a church shortly after anti-Jewish pogroms in 1391
Muslim women in the mellah of Essaouira
The bimah of the Ben Ezra Synagogue in Cairo, Egypt

Major sources of difference between these groups are their approaches to halakha (Jewish law), the authority of the rabbinic tradition, and the significance of the State of Israel.

Mishna study, Pinsk 1924

Mishnah

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First major written collection of the Jewish oral traditions which is known as the Oral Torah.

First major written collection of the Jewish oral traditions which is known as the Oral Torah.

Mishna study, Pinsk 1924
Title page of the Mishna with the Tosefet Yom Tov
Gemara students using the Mishnah Sdura to note their summary of each sugya alongside its Mishnah

It is also the first major work of rabbinic literature.

Hebrew language

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Northwest Semitic language of the Afroasiatic language family.

Northwest Semitic language of the Afroasiatic language family.

The word HEBREW written in modern Hebrew language (top) and in Paleo-Hebrew alphabet (bottom)
The Shebna Inscription, from the tomb of a royal steward found in Siloam, dates to the 7th century BCE.
Hebrew script used in writing a Torah scroll. Note ornamental "crowns" on tops of certain letters.
Rashi script
A silver matchbox holder with inscription in Hebrew
Aleppo Codex: 10th century Hebrew Bible with Masoretic pointing (Joshua 1:1).
Kochangadi Synagogue in Kochi, India dated to 1344.
Eliezer Ben-Yehuda
Hebrew, Arabic and English multilingual signs on an Israeli highway
Dual language Hebrew and English keyboard
Academy of the Hebrew Language
Hebrew alphabet

Hebrew survived into the medieval period as the language of Jewish liturgy, rabbinic literature, intra-Jewish commerce and Jewish poetic literature.

Title page, Midrash Tehillim

Midrash

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Expansive Jewish Biblical exegesis using a rabbinic mode of interpretation prominent in the Talmud.

Expansive Jewish Biblical exegesis using a rabbinic mode of interpretation prominent in the Talmud.

Title page, Midrash Tehillim

The term is also used of a rabbinic work that interprets Scripture in that manner.

A full set of the Babylonian Talmud

Halakha

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Collective body of Jewish religious laws which is derived from the written and Oral Torah.

Collective body of Jewish religious laws which is derived from the written and Oral Torah.

A full set of the Babylonian Talmud
Sefer Torah at Glockengasse Synagogue (museum exhibits), Cologne
Hasidim walk to the synagogue, Rehovot, Israel.
A mixed-gender, egalitarian Conservative service at Robinson's Arch, Western Wall
Set of Mishneh Torah
Shulchan Aruch HaRav
Peninei Halakha Set
An illuminated manuscript of Arba'ah Turim from 1435

Halakha constitutes the practical application of the 613 mitzvot ("commandments") in the Torah, as developed through discussion and debate in the classical rabbinic literature, especially the Mishnah and the Talmud (the "Oral Torah"), and as codified in the Mishneh Torah and Shulchan Aruch.

Complete set of scrolls, constituting the Tanakh

Hebrew Bible

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Canonical collection of Hebrew scriptures, including the Torah, the Nevi'im, and the Ketuvim.

Canonical collection of Hebrew scriptures, including the Torah, the Nevi'im, and the Ketuvim.

Complete set of scrolls, constituting the Tanakh
The inter-relationship between various significant ancient manuscripts of the Old Testament (some identified by their siglum). Mt being the Masoretic text. The lowermost text "(lost)" would be the Urtext.
Hebrew bible (Tanakh) in the collection of the Jewish Museum of Switzerland, printed in Israel in 1962.

The three-part division reflected in the acronym Tanakh is well attested in the rabbinic literature.

Jewish Kabbalists portrayed in 1641; woodcut on paper. Saxon University Library, Dresden.

Kabbalah

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Esoteric method, discipline and school of thought in Jewish mysticism.

Esoteric method, discipline and school of thought in Jewish mysticism.

Jewish Kabbalists portrayed in 1641; woodcut on paper. Saxon University Library, Dresden.
Kabbalistic prayer book from Italy, 1803. Jewish Museum of Switzerland, Basel.
Latin translation of Gikatilla's Shaarei Ora
The Ark of the Covenant in Solomon's Temple was the seat for God's presence. Ezekiel and Isaiah had prophetic visions of the angelic heavenly Chariot and Divine Throne
Grave of Rabbi Akiva in Tiberias. He features in Hekhalot mystical literature, and as one of the four who entered the Pardes
The grave of Shimon bar Yochai in Meron before 1899. A Talmudic Tanna, he is the mystical teacher in the central Kabbalistic work, the Zohar
The 13th-century eminence of Nachmanides, a classic rabbinic figure, gave Kabbalah mainstream acceptance through his Torah commentary
The leading scholars of Safed in 16th-century invigorated mainstream Judaism through new legal, liturgical, exegetical and Lurianic-mythological developments.
Synagogue Beit El Jerusalem. Oriental Judaism has its own chain of Kabbalah
The 16th-century Maharal of Prague articulated a mystical exegesis in philosophical language
Moshe Chaim Luzzatto, a leading Italian kabbalist, also wrote secular works, which the Haskalah see as the start of modern Hebrew literature
The Vilna Gaon, 18th-century leader of rabbinic opposition to Hasidism—a Kabbalist who opposed Hasidic doctrinal and practical innovations
Synagogue of the Baal Shem Tov, founder of Hasidism, in Medzhybizh (Ukraine). It gave a new phase to Jewish mysticism, seeking its popularisation through internal correspondence.
The Kabbalist (c. 1910–1920), portrait of an Hasidic man in Jewish religious clothing performed by the Austro-Hungarian Jewish painter Isidor Kaufmann (Jewish Museum, New York)
Metaphorical scheme of emanated spiritual worlds within the Ein Sof
Scheme of descending Sephirot in three columns, as a tree with roots above and branches below
In the 16–17th centuries Kabbalah was popularised through a new genre of ethical literature, related to Kabbalistic meditation
Amulet from the 15th century. Theosophical kabbalists, especially Luria, censored contemporary Practical Kabbalah, but allowed amulets by Sages
Joseph Karo's role as both legalist and mystic underscores Kabbalah's spiritualisation of normative Jewish observance
Building on Kabbalah's conception of the soul, Abraham Abulafia's meditations included the "inner illumination of" the human form
16th-century graves of Safed, Galilee. The messianic focus of its mystical renaissance culminated in Lurianic thought.
Title page of first printed edition of the Zohar, main sourcebook of Kabbalah, from Mantua, Italy in 1558
Golden age of Spanish Judaism on the Knesset Menorah, Maimonides holding Aristotle's work
Kabbalah mysticism on the Knesset Menorah, which shared some similarities of theory with Jewish Neoplatonists
Tikkun for reading through the night of Shavuot, a popular Jewish custom from the Safed Kabbalists
A version of Lekhah Dodi song to welcome the Shabbat, a cross denomination Jewish custom from Kabbalah

These teachings are held by Kabbalists to define the inner meaning of both the Hebrew Bible and traditional rabbinic literature and their formerly concealed transmitted dimension, as well as to explain the significance of Jewish religious observances.

Edition of the Tanya printed in Fayid from 1974. The 7th leader of Chabad encouraged new printings to be made in remote places.

Tanya (Judaism)

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Early work of Hasidic philosophy, by Rabbi Shneur Zalman of Liadi, the founder of Chabad Hasidism, first published in 1796.

Early work of Hasidic philosophy, by Rabbi Shneur Zalman of Liadi, the founder of Chabad Hasidism, first published in 1796.

Edition of the Tanya printed in Fayid from 1974. The 7th leader of Chabad encouraged new printings to be made in remote places.

This intellectual form synthesises Hasidic Divine Omnipresence and Jewish soulfulness with other historical components of Rabbinic literature, embodied in the Talmud, Medieval philosophy, Musar (ethical) literature and Lurianic Kabbalah.

Rabbi instructing children in 2004

Rabbi

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Spiritual leader or religious teacher in Judaism.

Spiritual leader or religious teacher in Judaism.

Rabbi instructing children in 2004
Rabbi Moshe Feinstein, a leading Rabbinical authority for Orthodox Judaism of the second half of the twentieth century.

Apart from face to face instruction, rabbis who are inclined to authorship have composed an extensive rabbinic literature, dealing with all aspects of the Jewish tradition—Bible commentaries, codes of law, responsa, mystical and ethical tracts, and collections of sermons are examples of common genres of rabbinic literature.