Vilna Talmud

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Vilna Talmud

Postby David_L » Mon Mar 11, 2013 12:13 am

I have some questions about the structure of the Vilna Edition of the Babylonian Talmud.

(I'm using the Artscroll Hebrew/English edition, which contains each Vilna page, and then several pages of English translation and commentary.)

1. In the original Vilna edition, is the "a" page of a daf on the right and the "b" page on the left? Or is the "a" on the left and the "b" on the right?

2. The "main body" of the text consists of an excerpt from the Mishnah followed by a section of Gemara. Does the Mishnah excerpt always consist of exactly one paragraph? Or can that vary?

(By a "paragraph" of Mishnah I'm referring to something like Eruvin 10:6; "Eruvin" is the tractate, "10" is the chapter and "6" is the paragraph. My terminology may be wrong; perhaps it's called a verse or se'if rather than paragraph.)

3. Is there anyway to identify the "paragraph number" of each Mishnah paragraph? Or do you have to count the paragraphs yourself starting from the beginning of a chapter? I've looked, but couldn't find a number.

Thanks :)
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Re: Vilna Talmud

Postby Yisroelp » Mon Mar 11, 2013 4:45 pm

David_L wrote:I have some questions about the structure of the Vilna Edition of the Babylonian Talmud.

(I'm using the Artscroll Hebrew/English edition, which contains each Vilna page, and then several pages of English translation and commentary.)

1. In the original Vilna edition, is the "a" page of a daf on the right and the "b" page on the left? Or is the "a" on the left and the "b" on the right?


"a" is on the left and "b" on the right.

2. The "main body" of the text consists of an excerpt from the Mishnah followed by a section of Gemara. Does the Mishnah excerpt always consist of exactly one paragraph? Or can that vary?

(By a "paragraph" of Mishnah I'm referring to something like Eruvin 10:6; "Eruvin" is the tractate, "10" is the chapter and "6" is the paragraph. My terminology may be wrong; perhaps it's called a verse or se'if rather than paragraph.)


It's always one paragraph, but may only be part of the Mishna, the next part being quoted later on after the Gemara.

The Mishna only is divided into chapters and Mishnayot. So "Eruvin 10:6" refers to the 6th Mishna of chapter 10 of Eruvin.

The Talmud has basically the same chapter divisions, but one only refers to either the chapter number or page number.

3. Is there anyway to identify the "paragraph number" of each Mishnah paragraph? Or do you have to count the paragraphs yourself starting from the beginning of a chapter? I've looked, but couldn't find a number.


Based on what I have said above, you cannot do that and you would have to check the Mishna as quoted in the Talmud against the relevant Mishna in a set of Mishnayot.
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Re: Vilna Talmud

Postby David_L » Mon Mar 11, 2013 7:40 pm

Thanks for the answers. :)

So what I was calling a paragraph is a "Mishna".

Is there a rationale for having the "a" pages on the left and the "b" pages on the right?
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Re: Vilna Talmud

Postby Yisroelp » Tue Mar 12, 2013 10:03 am

David_L wrote:Thanks for the answers. :)

So what I was calling a paragraph is a "Mishna".


Yes in a book containing only Mishnayot, but not necessarily in the Talmud, as one Mishna can often be split up for convenience.

Is there a rationale for having the "a" pages on the left and the "b" pages on the right?


I don't know, but it was probably the non-Jewish printers who did it.
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Re: Vilna Talmud

Postby David_L » Tue Mar 12, 2013 12:08 pm

That makes sense. Thanks again.
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Vilna Talmud 02

Postby aries » Tue Mar 12, 2013 1:56 pm

The Bomberg Talmud which was the first Talmud printed and where they made up the pages was a folio. A folio page is printed as one sheet and then folded in half to give you the a side and the b side.
Daniel Bomberg, who was not Jewish, hired a group of converted Jews to set up the first Talmud. He did not buy the best manuscripts.
I always thought the Daf Yomi people should invite the descendants of the people who actually made up the pages. Something like having former slave masters and slaves getting together.
The Vilna Shas people got special permission from Franz Joseph to use the Vatican library. The also went to Cambridge and St. Petersburg. However, the text is censored, including deliberate mistakes made by the Vilna Shas people, and I utter fail to understand why anyone would reprint the Vilna Shas as it was. I do not believe that the Papal Censors were guided by divine province and I fail to see why their heavy hand should be perpetrated. We have a lot better manuscripts today which the Vilna Shas people (as evidence by their history found at the end of Nidah) would have enthusiastically welcomed.
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Re: Vilna Talmud

Postby ess76 » Tue Mar 12, 2013 2:32 pm

David_L wrote:Thanks for the answers. :)

So what I was calling a paragraph is a "Mishna".

According to the Sefardic tradition, these are called "Halakhoth", not Mishnayoth. A Halakha is an authoritatively coined statement, one that cannot be altered in its wording. The whole Mishna is composed of Halakhoth.
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Re: Vilna Talmud

Postby Yisroelp » Tue Mar 12, 2013 6:45 pm

ess76 wrote:
David_L wrote:Thanks for the answers. :)

So what I was calling a paragraph is a "Mishna".

According to the Sefardic tradition, these are called "Halakhoth", not Mishnayoth. A Halakha is an authoritatively coined statement, one that cannot be altered in its wording. The whole Mishna is composed of Halakhoth.


I thought that was in regard to the Rambam's Mishneh Torah and the Jerusalem Talmud.
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Re: Vilna Talmud

Postby aries » Tue Mar 12, 2013 6:52 pm

According to the Sefardic tradition, these are called "Halakhoth", not Mishnayoth. A Halakha is an authoritatively coined statement, one that cannot be altered in its wording. The whole Mishna is composed of Halakhoth.

well everyone called them halachot and the term is still used for the yerushalmi Talmud. don't know when the term change took place.
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Re: Vilna Talmud

Postby David_L » Thu Mar 21, 2013 8:59 pm

In today's Daf Yomi, Eruvin 13, the page Eruvin 13b includes three consecutive Mishnayot (or Halachot, if you prefer), Eruvin 1:3-5. So that's seems to be one counterexample to my question #2.
Last edited by David_L on Fri Mar 22, 2013 10:47 am, edited 1 time in total.
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