The History of the Transmission of Torah | Part Three

Published at the end of the second century CE, the Mishnah is an edited record of the complex body of material known as oral Torah that was transmitted in the aftermath of the destruction of the Second Temple in 70 CE.

Rabbi Judah the Patriarch, also known as Rabbi Judah the Prince and Yehudah HaNasi, undertook to collect and edit a study edition of these halachot (laws) in order that the learning not vanish.

Although the Temple had been destroyed 130 years prior to its publication, in the world described by the Mishnah the Temple still exists and the laws that governed it are expressed in the present tense. While the Talmud (the compendium of the Mishnah and the Gemara, which interprets and comments on the Mishnah) refers to the Bar Kochba rebellion and the defeat by the Romans, the Mishnah itself ignores the events of the Roman occupation of the land of Israel. In this way, the Mishnah is a document that describes a life of sanctification, in which the rituals of the Temple are adapted for communal participation in a world that has no Temple, which escapes the ups and downs of history.

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