This article discusses the multiple sanctifications of hands and feet throughout the Yom Kippur ritual as detailed in Talmudic traditions. The ritual performed by the High Priest was comprised of five parts, each one requiring a changing of clothing, and demarcated by the ritual washing of hands and feet, both before and after. A close examination of the variants in Mishnah manuscripts shows a significant difference between the Palestinian text and the Mishnah cited by Babylonian Amoraim. The primary distinction discussed is whether the High Priest was required to wash his hands and feet after removing his simple clothing at the beginning of the Yom Kippur ritual. The article concludes that the Babylonian variant taken up by early Palestinian liturgical poets, which omits this initial immersion, is the early and authentic reading, which, in fact, originated in Palestine.Harry S. Paris, “Taxonomic Identity of the Edible Cucurbits of the Mishna, Tosefta, and Talmud”
The Cucurbitaceae have provided food for people for thousands of years. Two of them, the qishu’im and the avattiẖim (Numbers 11:5), were familiar crops in ancient Egypt. These two, as well as the delu‘in and the melafefonot, were referred to in the Mishnah. All four, as well as the qirmulim, were referred to in the Tosefta and Palestinian Talmud. A sixth edible cucurbit, the boẕin, was alluded to in the Babylonian Talmud. The young fruits of the qishu’im, delu‘in, qirmulim, and boẕin, and the ripe fruits of the avattiẖim and melafefonot, were consumed. The qishu’im are identified as Cucumis melo L. Flexuosus Group (snake melons, faqqous) and Adzhur Group (adzhur melons, ‘ajjour). These were the most widely grown and appreciated of the cucurbit crops from biblical through talmudic times. The avattiẖim are watermelons, Citrullus lanatus (Thunb.) Matsum. & Nakai. The delu‘in are bottle gourds, Lagenaria siceraria (Mol.) Standl., and the melafefonot slightly sweet melons, Cucumis melo Adana Group. The qirmulim are identified as sponge gourds, Luffa aegyptiaca Mill. and the boẕin are cucumbers, Cucumis sativus L. This rabbinic literature contains the first account of sweet watermelons, the first evidence for the arrival of sponge gourds in the Middle East, and early evidence of the arrival of cucumbers in Mesopotamia.Adiel Schremer and Binyamin Katzoff, “On the Difficulties in Editing the Tosefta: The Fine Line Between Text, Interpretation and the Transformations of Tradition”
This paper addresses fundamental questions pertaining to the editing of classical rabbinic texts, particularly: How should the critical editor of a Talmudic text present this text where the textual evidence leads in one direction, while the context leads in another direction? This paper argues that the editor’s preference for a specific reading might be influenced not just by the existence of alternative interpretative possibilities, but by the editor’s views about the text’s development. This claim is illustrated through a careful analysis of one passage in Tosefta Avodah Zarah, in which different aspects of the text, its interpretation, and development, are interwoven and contribute to its final formation.Avishalom Westreich, “"'Ox' Covers All Kinds of Damage Done by Ox" (BT Bava Kamma 3b)? On Mishnah Bava Kamma, Its Redaction and Versions, and Their Relation to the Concepts of Tort Law”
This article seeks to uncover the intimate and bidirectional connections between the literary structure of M. Bava Kamma and the versions and legal conceptions on which it is based. It focuses on the monetary damages unit in the first six chapters of the tractate, in general, and, specifically, on one of the unit's central axes: the “Pit” mishnayot in chapter five. The article examines the sources of the Mishnah in the earlier tannaitic literature, and analyzes its literary redaction. My analysis demonstrates the presence of the thread that runs between the legal assumptions that pertain to the definition of the archetypes of damage (arba’ah avot nezikin) and the redaction of the first six chapters of the tractate. At the same time, I show that the tension between these conceptions, along with the redactor's impartiality, led to the splitting of the textual traditions of the “Pit” mishnayot in the fifth chapter into Babylonian and Land of Israel traditions, leaving their mark on the extant textual witnesses.
This article details the disputatious approaches of the schools of R. Ishmael and R. Akiva as the possible source of tannaitic traditions incorporated in the monetary damages unit of the tractate. Traces of these conceptions are also found in the disagreement between the Amoraim Rav and Samuel on the categories of damages in the Mishnah. I argue that this tension is the driving force behind the textual variations in those “Pit” mishnayot between the Babylonian and Palestinian traditions. The division, I argue, preceded the amoraic traditions, and reflects the lack of decision on the part of the redactor of the Mishnah.
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