- Torah and Jewish Thought
Dear Rabbi, Thank you so much for this service! I am hoping to get to the bottom of a question that has been bothering me for a while & I am happy to get different opinions. In short, I thoroughly enjoy learning Mishnayot (I am using the new Schottenstein Artscroll) (1) I have had basic experience learning Gemara, whether it be on a short Yeshiva Trip, 1-1 with a chavrusa, following shiruim / using Artscroll In independent study / trying out Daf Yomi / Daf Hashavua, however, I much much prefer to learn Mishna and especially when the Mishnayot have detailed notes which reference the Gemara & other commentators, I find it so much more enjoyable to learn and it probably fits in with the style I learn best. I came across a quote online which I believe says that the Shlah says that learning Mishna in detail is as if you are learning Gemara (2) I’ve looked up a lot into this and this is essentially what I have discovered (Please correct me if I am wrong) (3) “It says that one should divide shenotav, his years, one third Mikra (Tanach), one third Mishna and one third Talmud” However, Rabbeinu Tam gives ש whole new meaning to Rav Tanchum’s teaching. Basing himself on Rav Yochanan’s teaching (Sanhedrin 24a) that “Bavel” can be read as a play on the word balul, a mixture, combining Tanach, Mishna and Talmud study, Rabbeinu Tam argued that one fulfills the obligation to learn Tanach, Mishna and Talmud by (exclusively) learning Talmud Bavli. “This one sentence literally changed (or justified) the face of Jewish education and, at least since the time of Rabbeinu Tam, Ashkenazic Torah education has focused almost exclusively on Talmud. This may (or may not) have worked for the generation of the Tosafists, or when only the elite received advanced Jewish education; but many, most notably the Maharal of Prague, strongly objected to rejecting the unequivocal instructions of the Mishna.” My main question is that I understand that each word of the Mishna is from Hashem, but what about each word of the Gemara, is it ok to read mishna which references / summarises the Gemara or points to certain Gemaras or is each and every word of Gemara on an equal level of mishna and after 120 pG I would be accountable for not learning every word of Gemara as much as I learned Mishna… I know its a funny way of putting it, but I am very curious and can’t seem to find out the answer! :) Thanks so much & I really appreciate any clarity I can get on this topic. 1. https://www.artscroll.com/Books/9781422623008.html 2. http://beta.hebrewbooks.org/reader/reader.aspx?sfid=14406#p=267&fitMode=fitwidth&hlts=&ocr=%u05D5%u05DC%u05E2%u05D5%u05DC%u05DD%20%u05D4%u05D5%u05D9%20%u05E8%u05E5%20 3. https://www.torahinmotion.org/discussions-and-blogs/avodah-zarah-19-learn-what-you-like#_ftn1
In general, the Oral Law is either from G-d or based upon principles of deduction which are also Godly. That doesn't necessarily mean to say that every word in the Mishna or the Talmud is literally from Hashem, for there was no prophecy in the time of R. Yehuda HaNasi, and there were other versions of the mishnayot/braytot, as well. Without a doubt, there is Divine Providence "watching over" the mishna and gemara, that they reflect Hashem's Torah and Will, yet that doesn't mean that "each word" was dictated by Hashem.