And speaking of religion...
Originally, in introduction to Talmud; last year we (not me, I wasn't part of the Synagogue then) studied various levels of Talmud including Mishnah and Talmudic literature, more of a survey. In this class we're going to focus on a sugiah, a unit of text that discusses one topic. (as opposed to a daf which is a page).
Process - Start with the Mishnah for the topic and then, once we've understood the Mishnah and derived our own questions, we'll look at the sugiah on a portion of the Mishnah. The Talmud is a compilation of Mishnah and Gemorah - the Mishnah is the original source material and the Torah verses it's based on.
Two of the primary modern commentators Chana Albech and Pinchas Kahati provide contextual background, and we're going to try to do that as well.
The Mishnah is the first legal piece of Judiaic literature. It was edited by Rabbi Judah. It's a compendium of stylized discussions that cover aspects of Jewish life. The Mishna was the first text to showcase the literature, but they were not the first to do this type of work. They engaged in just this type of intellectual and practical Torah study, delving into the Torah to understand the logical and illogical conclusions of the laws, but also to provide practical means to live.
The Tannim were responsible, after the destruction of the Temple, for compiling this book which provided practical ways to live a Jewish life.
This idea of studying the Torah and picking out ways to understand the Torah's instruction is the foundation of the Mishnah and later studies. It is terse and concise and it's talking about something that's commonly understood. So it uses a lot of pronouns, rather than providing a lot of context or background. The Mishnah is organized into six siidarim (books); each one containing a number of Mesechtot (tractates) and covering different topics.
The six books can be abbreviated as: Zman Nakat (Time Taken)
Z - Zraim - agricultureal law
M - Moed - holidays
N - Nashim - marital law
N - Nizikim - civil law
K - Kodashim - temple service
T - Taharot - purity and ritual impurity
The Talmud was split into two pieces - Yerusalmi and Balvi
In the time of the writing of the Talmud, Israel was a backwater and the Jews weren't flourishing there and the Jews in Babylonia did flourish. The Yerusalami was published around 350 and the Balvi was published around 600. It's a later generation of doing to the Mishna what the Mishna did to the Torah. Each mishna (individual chapter in the Mishnah) is examined and reported on in the Mishna. The scholars give the impression of being in the same room, but it's an intergenerational conversation. (Like Washington said, and Lincoln responded, and Kennedy replied to that)
The Talmud has the entire Mishnah in it and individual explanations for each concept.
The Mishnah we're going to study is from Mishnah Baba Kama - first meseket in Nezikim, (First Gate). The three Masektot were originally one. It was exceedingly large and was divisible into Baba Kama, Baba Metzia (second gate) and Baba Batra (final gate). It's based on Ch 21 of the first book of Exodus - responsibility for damages. An ox, a pit, and a fire, can cause damage. Your livestock, your property, and acts of G-d can cause damage.
Avot Nekikim are the categories and they all have minor categories within them.
The last four chapters deal with robbery, violence towards others, and theft.
We're going to study the 8th chapter of Baba Kama - Perek Nisovel - "injures" This is not ritual law, it's civil law. How is this civil law different than various laws of the land? What makes it a Jewish idea?
The Mishna defines 5 categories of liability for personal injury, encompassing the concepts of physical, moral, and mental. And now we're going to answer what liability is:
Damage: We determine what the loss is by determining what his value would be if he were a slave and what that effect the physical damage caused would have on his resale value.
Pain - what a similar person would suffer?
Healing - if he struck him, he's obligated to heal him even if the injury recurs. Must know if attendant injuries were caused by the primary injury in which the injurer is liable. If they are unrelated, the injurer is not liable.
Unemployment - like a cucumber watchman, a lowest-common denominator type job, like Walmart greeter. Calculate unemployment separately from damages so you can determine damages on their own.
Shame - depends on the shamer and shamed Notes: One is not liable for shame unless he intends to cause it.
This is different than the other categories of personal injury which do not depend on intent. You are still liable for accidents you cause, but you're not liable for unintentional shame.
Are you liable for shame is it's the result of neglect or inaction rather than intent.
For ritual matters the Sandhedrin needs to be 23. For large matters, 71, and for small matters, a Bet Din of 3.
Traditional versions of the Mishnah are published with Tosafot Yom Tov and Bartenura (15th century)
Bartenura comments on the Mishnah according to the Gemorah, generally as follows:
Similar person - a person who is similiarly delicate or pampered according to lifestyle.
Social status affects shame. Mishnah presumes we know what shame means. Mishnah presumes claims are verifiable, presumes we know this is based in Torah.
Baba Kama establishes monetary damages in compensation for returned injuries rather than performing physical retaliation.
What makes this Jewish? What defines shame? How do these civil laws play out? Unemployment payment as lowest common denominator?
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