Mishnah and Talmud



Inspired-of-God Writings




Matthew - Revelation






Psalms – Chronicles




Joshua – Malachi


Genesis – Deuteronomy


The Torah, Neviim, and Ketuvim are collectively known by the acronym Tanakh.

The terms “New Testament” and “Old Testament” are misnomers often used to imply obsolescence of the latter.


MISHNAH / Secondary Repetition

Passed-down Halachic Details of Torah





Holy Things








& Foods

& Festivals

& Familly

Civil & Crim. Judgment

Dedicated Objects



The six sederim (orders) are divided into sixty-three masechtot (tractates).

Mishnah is part of what is called “Oral Torah” and is often condemned in ignorance of its substance.
Its redacted form is presented here as history and explanation, not as verbally-inspired Scripture.






Mishnah means repetition of a passed-down teaching. The Mishnah is a compilation of oral history from Tabernacle and/or Temple times until AD 170, when it was redacted in Israel, in order that it might be preserved by the written form during exile.


The Mishnah includes historical records of the Temple design, implements, services, and offerings; also included are explanations of various Hebrew Scriptures, and halachic rulings – details of how to walk in obedience to Torah, which God authorized the Sanhedrin to determine. Mishnah is divided into six orders called sedarim.  The six sedarim are: Zera’im (Seeds) – concerning agriculture, Moed (Festivals), Nashim (Women) – concerning family matters, Nezekin (Damages) – concerning legal restitution, Kodashim (Holy Things), and Tohorot (Purities). Each seder is subsequently divided into seven to twelve tractates, and each tractate into many subjects called mishnayot (plural of mishnah).


Talmud means instruction; talmidim are disciples/students. The Mishnah is the core of Talmud. Talmud is Mishnah with added explanations and examples called Gemara.


There are two Talmuds – the Babylonian Talmud and the Jerusalem Talmud. They were written by different groups of Hebrew scholars in different countries, yet they are famous for having only TWO sentences of disagreement between them. The Babylonian Talmud is most used because it is larger, containing more information.




Orthodox Judaism is descended from the Pharisees, and they teach Talmud as authoritative.


The Sadducees existed only for about the last 200 years of Temple times, and were only vying for any power toward the end of that time. They rejected the Prophets, and also completely rejected Mishnah/Talmud. The Karaites were a ninth-century AD extremist anti-Messianic Jewish sect that followed the Sadducees in rejecting Mishnah. There are some pseudo-Karaites today, and they also reject Mishnah.


Christendom is scarcely aware of the existence of Mishnah. It is common for the Apostolic Writings to be used with little Torah background, and no Mishnaic history. This gives rise to many denominational differences based upon imaginative interpretations of various translations.


We (as Messianics) do not accept Mishnah/Talmud as inspired Scripture, but we use it as invaluable history and explanation, while recognizing some problems such as those Yeshua taught.



(A few samples from hundreds of examples)


Talmudic Practice and Teaching by Yeshua and His Apostles:


Meal Blessings: Torah only specifies that we should bless Yahweh for the prosperous land after we have eaten and are full (Deuteronomy 8:10). However, Talmud explains that we are to bless Yahweh for everything prior to use - including foods immediately prior to consumption. Yeshua gave us His example of offering a blessing prior to eating (Matthew 14:19), thus verifying the halacha (He did not "bless the food;" rather He said a blessing over the food). It was not necessary for the Apostolic writers to say that He offered a blessing after eating, since that is a Torah commandment.


Because God said that Avraham should no longer be called Avram, the Talmud calls this a commandment (Berachot 13a), and in Galatians 4 we can see that Paul used the name Avraham, even when referring to the period before the name change.


The Passover Seder is described in Seder Moed: Tractate Pesachim. Yeshua fulfilled it in minute detail at His crucifixion (see MATZAH). The cups of wine for the Seder are not specified by the Torah, but explained in Mishnah. They were used by Yeshua and His Apostles, and commanded in the Gospels and Epistles in accordance with Mishnaic terms.


The cup taken after the supper is the third cup – the cup of redemption. Its contents were always called “the blood of the Covenant.” “And in the same way He took the cup after they had eaten, saying, ‘This cup which is poured out for you is the new covenant in My blood’ ” – Luke 22:20. Note that this was not the first cup; a previous cup is mentioned in Luke 22:17.


The first cup of the Seder is called “Kiddush”; it is the cup of blessing, which we use to bless the Creator for the fruit-of-the-vine, for choosing us, and for giving us Holy Days and Feasts of remembrance of His works. “When the first cup had been filled up . . . He recites the Benediction over the wine and after that the benediction over the day” – Seder Moed: Tractate Pesachim 10:2. “Is not the cup of blessing, with which we bless, a sharing in the blood of Messiah?” – 1 Corinthians 10:16.


Talmudic Explanation of Torah Hebrew:

We understand that the Passover Lamb, which pictured Yeshua, was prepared on Nisan 14 between noon and sunset, and eaten that night at the beginning of the Feast of Unleavened Breads – Nisan 15, because the Torah is explained in the Mishnah. This is a subject of great confusion among those who ignore Mishnah and create their own explanations from various translations.


The Torah command –

And you shall keep it (the Passover Lamb) up until the fourteenth day of the same month: and the whole assembly of the congregation of Israel shall kill it between the evenings. And they shall take of the blood, and strike it on the two side posts and on the upper door post of the houses, wherein they shall eat it. And they shall eat the flesh in that night (Nisan 15), roast with fire, and unleavened breads; and with bitter herbs they shall eat it” – Exodus 12:6-8.

Let the children of Israel also prepare the Passover (Lamb) at his appointed season. In the fourteenth day of this month, between the evenings, shall you prepare it in his appointed season: according to all the rites of it, and according to all the ceremonies thereof, you shall prepare it” – Numbers 9:2-3.

The Talmudic explanation –

The two evenings are from noon (the sixth hour) until the eight-and-a-half hours (2:30 PM) and from nine-and-a-half hours (3:30 PM) until nightfall (6:00 PM)” – The Soncino Talmud: Seder Moed: Tractate Pesachim: Gemara 58a note 9.  In other words, “between the evenings” means between the beginning of the going-down-of-the-sun (noon) and the final going-down-of-the-sun (sunset).


The Mishnaic history –
Preparation of the Passover sacrifices started at noon. The daily burnt offering was slaughtered at the seventh-hour-and-a-half (1:30 PM) and offered up at the eighth-hour-and-a-half (2:30 PM), followed by the Passover sacrifice” –
Seder Moed: Tractate Pesachim 5:1.


The Gospel fulfillment –

Yeshua gave up His life between noon and sunset – about 3:00 PM on Nisan 14.

And it was the preparation of the Passover, and about the sixth hour (noon): and . . . they crucified Him, and two other with him, on either side one, and Yeshua in the midst” – John 19:14-18.

When the sixth hour (noon) came, darkness fell over the whole land until the ninth hour (3:00 PM). At the ninth hour Yeshua cried out with a loud voice, ‘Eloi Eloi, lama sabachthini?’ which is translated, ‘My God, My God, why have You forsaken Me?’ When some of the bystanders heard it, they began saying, ‘Behold, He is calling for Elijah.’ Someone ran and filled a sponge with sour wine, put it on a reed, and gave Him a drink, saying, ‘Let us see whether Elijah will come to take Him down.’ And Yeshua uttered a loud cry, and breathed His last” – Mark 15:33-37.

Therefore because it was the Jewish day of preparation, since the tomb was nearby, they laid Yeshua there” – John 19:42.


Talmud records that Yeshua’s crucifixion was performed on the Eve of a Holy Day, contrary to the rules of the Sanhedrin. “In contradiction to this it was taught: On the Eve of Passover Yeshu(a) was hanged” – Seder Nezekin: Tractate Sanhedrin: Gemara 43a.


Talmudic Problems corrected by Yeshua and His Apostles:



[Under Construction]




While the Torah uses “Pesach” (Passover) only to refer to the animal offering, Talmud sometimes uses the term in reference to Hag haMatzot (the Feast of Unleavened Breads), as in Sanhedrin 43a above. John 13:1 may be seen as using the term “Feast of the Passover” in the Talmudic sense, though it seems to simply mean the Feast when the Passover was eaten (which ultimately refers to the same time, the Passover being eaten on the first night of the Feast of Unleavened Breads).



Matthew 23:3


Matthew 23

1 Then Yeshua spoke to the crowds and to His disciples, 2 saying: “The scribes and the Pharisees have seated themselves in Moses’ seat; 3 therefore all that they tell you, do and observe, but do not do according to their deeds; for they say things and do not do them. 4 They tie up heavy burdens and lay them on men's shoulders, but they themselves are unwilling to move them with so much as a finger. 5 But they do all their deeds to be noticed by men; for they broaden their phylacteries and lengthen the tassels of their garments. 6 They love the place of honor at banquets and the chief seats in the synagogues, 7 and respectful greetings in the market places, and being called Rabbi by men. 8 But do not be called Rabbi; for One is your Teacher, and you are all brothers. 9 Do not call anyone on earth your father; for One is your Father, He who is in heaven. 10 Do not be called leaders; for One is your Leader, that is, Messiah. 11 But the greatest among you shall be your servant. 12 Whoever exalts himself shall be humbled; and whoever humbles himself shall be exalted. 13 But woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites, because you shut off the kingdom of heaven from people; for you do not enter in yourselves, nor do you allow those who are entering to go in.”



“Moses’ seat” was the seat of judgment: his place of judgment and that of the Sanhedrin which succeeded him. The Sanhedrin was the highest earthly court, and God required obedience to it. Only the Sanhedrin could hear capital cases, imposing the death penalty upon the testimony of two or three witnesses.


Anyone who has set aside the Law of Moses dies without mercy on the testimony of two or three witnesses” – Hebrews 10:28.


In Yeshua’s time on Earth, some scribes and Pharisees had obtained for themselves some of the seventy positions on the Sanhedrin – they had “seated themselves in Moses’ seat”. Therefore, Yeshua used this as an example of how we should not place ourselves in exalted positions: “Do not be called Rabbi” – Matthew 23:8.


Yeshua said, “Beware of the leaven of the Pharisees, which is hypocrisy” – Luke 12:1. He further said, “they say things and do not do them” – Matthew 23:3. Hypocrisy is purposely failing to act according to ones own judgment.


Yeshua affirmed that the Sanhedrin (the seat of Moses) was to be obeyed, but that the actions of its hypocritical members were not to be emulated.


All that they tell you, do and observe, but do not do according to their deeds; for they say things and do not do them” – Matthew 23:3.



Yeshua may be understood to have later replaced the Sanhedrin with those of His own choosing. From a parable, and then the acts of the Apostles, we may see halachic judgment being performed by the Apostles rather than the Sanhedrin.

 “And (Yeshua) began to speak to them in parables: ‘A man planted a vineyard and put a wall around it, and dug a vat under the wine press and built a tower, and rented it out to vine-growers and went on a journey. "At the harvest time he sent a slave to the vine-growers, in order to receive some of the produce of the vineyard from the vine-growers. They took him, and beat him and sent him away empty-handed. Again he sent them another slave, and they wounded him in the head, and treated him shamefully. And he sent another, and that one they killed; and so with many others, beating some and killing others. He had one more to send, a beloved son; he sent him last of all to them, saying, “They will respect my son.” But those vine-growers said to one another, “This is the heir; come, let us kill him, and the inheritance will be ours!” They took him, and killed him and threw him out of the vineyard. What will the owner of the vineyard do? He will come and destroy the vine-growers, and will give the vineyard to others’ ” – Mark 12:1-9.


And when Paul and Barnabas had great dissension and debate with them, the brethren determined that Paul and Barnabas and some others of them should go up to Jerusalem to the apostles and elders concerning this issue. Therefore, being sent on their way by the church, they were passing through both Phoenicia and Samaria, describing in detail the conversion of the Gentiles, and were bringing great joy to all the brethren” – Acts 15:2-3.

Therefore it is my judgment that we do not trouble those who are turning to God from among the Gentiles” - Acts 15:19

For it seemed good to the Holy Spirit and to us to lay upon you no greater burden than these essentials” - Acts 15:28.


[To be continued.]



Matthew 23:8-13 is discussed at COMMENTARY Y2-13.

Biblical Courts are discussed at COMMENTARY Y3-35.



This is in response to the so-called Karaite position in the book “Hebrew Yeshua vs. Greek Jesus” by Nehemia Gordon.


This book claims or implies that Matt 23:3 means that Talmud is not to be used. Karaites were a short-lived Jewish sect of the middle-ages who were virulently anti-Messianic and anti-Pharisaic and forbade all use of Talmud, so such a prejudiced position might be expected (though they would not normally even consider Yeshua’s words).


The book has some problems with definitions. “Moses’ seat” is neither a special chair in the synagogue, nor simply a figure of speech meaning authority; it is the Sanhedrin. A “hypocrite” is not one whose actions are contrary to the Law of Moses, but one whose actions are contrary to his own judgment or teaching (which may or may not be according to the Law of Moses).


© 2005  Beikvot HaMashiach

(Followers of the Messiah)




Updated April 24, 2009


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