Shabbat 20 – Why the Koren is invaluable and the language of the Talmud

And so we finish the 1st chapter of tractate Shabbat and start the famous second chapter of Bameh Madlikin which many communities say every Friday night as part of the Kabbalat Shabbat service.

I find it hard to understand the resistance to the so called ‘academic’ study of Talmud. Maybe calling it Talmud study is wrong and we should insist on Gemara! For me, understanding the text means putting it in its historical context, understanding the characters and obviously the language used.

Interestingly on our daf it is clear that the Rabbis in Babylon did not know what the words in our Mishna meant and much of the daf is spent trying to understand the language. (If only they had the Koren!)

It is here that Koren provide so much. Below are the notes relating to the origin of the words in our Mishna.


So our Mishna contains language from Persian to Greek to Chinese etc. This is a fascinating insight into the time of the Mishna. Language and culture were clearly dispersed across the Middle East and the Rabbis were using the language of the world they were living.


About bookabazza

I am an Osteopath and University Lecturer who is trying to keep up with the 7 year daf yomi cycle. I thought I would try and share a few small thought on the daf each week.
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