Talmudic Tractates

The Mishna & later rabbinic collections & commentaries on oral Torah [talmudim & tosefta] are arranged in six general "orders" [sedarim], each of which contains several named tractates [massektoth] reporting tannaitic traditions vaguely related to a central theme. The bulk of the traditions recorded in the Mishna have to do with rules of behavior [halakah]. But these are frequently interspersed with other types of sayings, anecdotes & traditional lore ['aggada].

The only tractate in the Mishna that is devoted entirely to transmitting non-legal opinions is Pirqe Aboth ["Sayings of the Fathers"], which catalogs the wisdom sayings of rabbinic sages, including several of the 2nd temple period. Aboth was probably composed before & originally published independently of the Mishna, since it does not fit well in its current location in Neziqin, the order of tractates concerned with civil & criminal law.

Pericopes in this sourcebook were excerpted from the following 25 tractates. This catalog covers over a third of the 63 tractates in standard editions of the Mishna & Talmud.


 Sedar  Theme  Tractates  Main Topic
 Zera'im ["Seeds"]  Agriculture  Berakoth ["Blessings"]  Prayer
 Calendar & 
 Shabbath ["Sabbath"]  Sabbath observance
 Erubin ["Blendings"]  Resolution of problems
 Pesachim ["Passovers"]  Passover observance
 Yoma ["Day (of Atonement)"]  Yom Kippur
 Rosh HaShanah ["New Year's Day"]  Calendar calculations
 Ta'anith ["Fasting"]  Occasions for fasts
 cHagigah ["Festival offering"]  Pilgrimage feasts
 Marriage  Yebamoth ["Sisters-in-Law"]  Kinship & Engagements
 Nedarim ["Vows"]  Oaths & Annulments
 Gittin ["Divorces"]  Divorce & remarriage
 Sota ["Adultress"]  Infidelity
 Kiddushin ["Marrying"]  Acquiring a wife
 Civil & 
 Criminal Law 
 Baba Metzia ["Middle Gate"]  Property law
 Sanhedrin ["Council"]  Criminal law
 Aboda Zara ["Alien Worship"]  Idolatry
 Aboth ["(Sayings of the) Fathers"]  Wisdom sayings
["Holy things"]
 Sacrifices & 
 Menachoth ["Grain Offerings"]  Cereal sacrifices
 cHullin ["Common things"]  Non-kosher animals
 Defilement  Kelim ["Containers"]  Household objects
 Nega'im ["Plagues"]  Leprosy
 Parah ["(Red) Heifer"]  Ritual of purification
 Toharoth ["Purities"]  Temporary defilement
 Niddah ["Isolation"]  Menstruation

Editions used:

  • Bladina, Philip, ed. Mishnayoth. 2nd ed. 7 vols. New York: Judaica Press, 1963-1964.

  • Epstein, Isidore, ed. Babylonian Talmud. New Hebrew-English edition. London: The Soncino Press, 1967- present. Vols. cited: Aboda Zara (1988), Aboth (1988), Erubin (1983), Hullin (1980), Kethubot (1970), Nedarim (1985), Pesahim (1967), Rosh Hashanah (1983), Sanhedrin (1969), Shabbath (1972), Shebuoth (1987), Sotah (1985), Ta'anith (1984), Yebamoth (1984), Yoma (1974) & supplementary tractates (1984, ed. Abraham Cohen).

Other resources on line:

  • English Babylonian Talmud - free downloadable .PDF & Kindle files of the 63 talmudic tractates listed in the traditional order of 6 sedarim with hyperlinks to translators' introductions.

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