Talmud - History of Religion


The defeat of the Jews in the war of 66-73 AD, as well as the suppression of anti-Roman attacks by the Jewish population in the countries of the Eastern Mediterranean in the years 115-117. and the rebellion of Bar Kochba in 135 led to the mass deportation of Jews from Palestine and the expansion of the geographical zone of their resettlement. An important social and religious factor of the diaspora was the synagogue, which became not only a prayer house, but also a venue for popular assemblies, on which important political, civil-law issues were addressed. It is noteworthy that in these years the priestly estate is losing its dominant position and the leadership of the Jewish communities passes to the teachers of the Torah and the oral tradition - sages hahamim.

In the influential Babylonian community, the most authoritative interpreters of the Written and Oral Law were called rabbis (from Hebrew rav - great). Very soon in Europe and in a number of countries in the East, the rabbis actively contributed to the formation of a ramified hierarchical institution of leadership of Jewish communities - rabbinate.

At the end of II - beginning of III centuries. the most authoritative rabbi of Palestine, Yehuda ha-Nasi (second half of II - beginning of III centuries) on the basis of numerous comments tannais (teachers) to the Torah was compiled a collection of legal norms, called Mishnah (Repeat). The Mishnu included a set of normative acts Halakha (Law) and Haggadah (Legend) - a collection of stories and parables explaining fragments from the Tanakh and the Oral tradition. In the IV-V centuries. ammore (interpreters) added new legislative provisions to the Mishnah. This work was called Gemara (Completion). Gemara, along with Mishna, composed Talmud (Teaching). There are Talmud Jerusalem, composed in Palestine, and the Talmud of Babylon, created in the Diaspora of Babylon. The Talmud became the basis of legislation, legal proceedings and a moral and ethical code for believing Jews. However, very soon most of his prescriptions ceased to function either because of their archaic nature (for example, the law on sacrifices or the law on levirate marriage), or because they were superseded by the legislative acts of those countries where Jews lived. From the Middle Ages up to the present day, the majority of Jewish believers observe those sections of Talmudic law that regulate religious, family and civil life.

The intensive distribution of halachic positions occurred from 650 to 1040 and was associated with the active activity of gaons (the so-called heads of the most influential schools of Talmudic law of Sura and Pumbedita in Babylonia) . Thanks to their efforts, the Babylonian Talmud acquired a predominant importance in the Jewish communities of Europe, Asia and North Africa. Resolutions of the Babylonian gaons ( takanot ), dealing with issues of civil and criminal law, judicial procedure, organization of religious life of communities, were considered until the middle of the XI century. mandatory for execution.

The Rabbinical Age , which came after 1040 and continues to last, is divided into the Rishonim (includes all known commentators of the Talmud until the second half of the sixteenth century) and Acharonim (from the appearance of the code Shulhan Aruch & gt; & gt ;, is a practical manual on Halacha, compiled in the middle of the 16th century by the Tsfat rabbi Yosef Karo, and up to the present time.

At the last stage of the rabbinical era of the orthodox lifestyle, only a small part of the Jewish population adheres. The overwhelming majority of Jews living in different countries of the world observe only those Torah and Talmudic provisions that relate to the holidays ( moed ) and the most common precepts and prohibitions in the Jewish environment ( Mitzvot ).

The most significant of them: Shabbat (Saturday) - the time of rest and prohibition of any activity; Rosh Hashanah - Jewish New Year; Yom Kippur (day of atonement) is a daily fast, symbolizing repentance in sins; Pesach (Pascha) is a holiday that marks the beginning of spring and the exodus of the people of Israel from Egyptian slavery; Shavuot and Sukkot are harvest holidays that provide a set of rituals symbolizing the religious and national unity of Jews; Simchat Torah (Torah's joy) - is celebrated on the occasion of the completion of the Torah reading cycle in the synagogue; Tisha be-lv - a post of sorrow and mourning in memory of the destruction of the First and Second Temples in Jerusalem; Hanukkah - a holiday of lighting candles in honor of the liberation of the Jerusalem Temple during the years of the Maccabean rebellion; Purim is a holiday that symbolizes the salvation of the people of Israel from total annihilation during the Persian domination.

Many Jews observe the initiation ceremonies-the circumcision of the boys on the eighth day after birth, the barmitsva and bat mitzvah ceremonies marking the entry into maturity respectively of boys and girls, as well as the numerous rituals that sanctify marriage, death and mourning for the deceased. Yet other numerous and burdensome restrictions, rituals, fasts, food bans and permits (kosher) and other injunctions of the Torah and the Talmud are observed only by a few orthodox Jewish believers.

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