Saturday, March 9, 2013

Talmudic Table of Contents: An Easy Way to Find Things in the Talmud

So we use tables of contents for books and it is helpful, yes?  So why not for the Talmud.  Here you go:


Seder Zeraim (First Order Dealing with Seeds).  Agriculture.  Laws concerning blessings.

Berakhot (Blessings).  Shema, Amidah, Grace After Meals, miscellaneous blessings.

Pe'ah (Corner of the Field).  Harvest owed to poor.

Demai (Doubtfully tithed).  The laws of tithing produce purchased from someone suspected of tithing improperly.

Kilayim (Mixtures).  Law prohibiting various mixtures of plants, trees, cloth, animals.

Shevi'it (Sabbatical Year).  The laws of the sabbatical year.

Terumot (the priests' portion of the harvest).

Ma'aserot (Tithes).  Tithes for the Levi'im.

Ma'aser Sheni (Second Tithe).  Laws of the second tithe.

Challah (Dough).  Laws of separating challah for the priests.

Orlah.  Forbidden fruits.

Bikkurim.  Laws relating to brining first fruits to the Temple.


Seder Mo'ed (Second Order Dealing with Appointed Times "Festivals").  Laws regarding Shabbat, other Festivals.

Shabbat.  Prohibited work on Shabbat, laws of Hannukah.

Eruvin.  Sabbath boundaries, laws of carrying from one domain to another, laws of moving beyond the Sabbath boundary.

Pesachim.  Laws relating to Passover Festival:  Matzah, Chametz, Paschal sacrifice.

Shekalim.  Temple tax.

Yoma (Day of Atonement).  Temple service, fast, prayers all relating to Day of Atonement.

Sukkah (Booth).  Laws of Sukkot.

Betzah (Egg).  This tractate should be called "Yom Tov" because it deals with laws applying to all the Festivals.

Rosh HaShanah (New Year).  Dating of Rosh HaShanah, shofar, the service of Rosh HaShanah.

Ta'anit (Fast).  Laws relating to communal fasting days, prayers for rain.

Megillah (Scroll).  Laws of the Purim Festival, reading the scroll, laws of reading the Sefer Torah in general, laws relating to Synagogues, writing a Sefer Torah, mezuzot, tefillin.

Moed Katan (Minor Festival).  The intermediate days of Passover and Sukkot.

Chagigah (Festival Offerings at Temple).  Laws of ritual purity, impurity, various offerings made at the Temple.


Seder Nashim (Third Order Dealing with Women).  Marital obligations.

Yevamot (Sisters-in-Law).  Levirate marriage and chalitzah.  Laws of forbidden relationships.  Some miscellaneous laws on conversion.

Ketubot (the Writ of Marriage).  Marital obligations.

Nedarim (Vows).  Laws relating to vows (topic is broader than vows made by women).  

Nazir (Nazirite).  Laws relating to Nazirites.

Sotah.  Laws of the Sotah (woman suspected of adultery).

Gittin.  Writs of Divorce.  Some agency law.

Kiddushin (Betrothals).  The betrothal aspect of marriage.


Seder Nezikin (The Fourth Order Dealing with Damages).  Civil and Criminal law.

Bava Kamma (The First Gate).  Tort law.  

Bava Metzia (The MIddle Gate).  Lost and found property, criminal law, contract law, employment law.

Bava Batra (The Last Gate).  Contracts/Sales, Partnership law, Wills and Probate, Property law.

Sanhedrin.  Civil procedure relating to capital punishment.  Aggadic sections dealing with Theology and Eschatology.

Makkot (Lashes).  Laws of corporal punishment.

Shevuot (Oaths).  Oaths relating to civil procedure; miscellaneous laws relating to when an impure person is prohibited from entering the Temple.

Edot (Testimonies).  Miscellaneous laws transmitted via testimony.

Avodah Zarah (Idolatry).  Limiting contact with Non-Jews; Prohibition of various idolatrous practices or practices associated with idolatry.

Avot (Fathers).  "Ethics of the Fathers".  Ethical teachings.

Horayot (Rulings).  Remediation of legal errors, discussion of Rabbinical courts.


Seder Kodashim (The Fifth Order Dealing with "Holy Things").  Laws of Temple Sacrifice.

Zevachim (Animal Sacrifices).  Foundations of halachic exegesis;  forbidden mixtures;  the Temple sacrificial system.

Menachot (Meal-offerings).  Tzitzit, Tefillin, and Meal-Offerings.

Chullin (Non-sacrificial ritual slaughter).  Dietary laws; non-sacrificial ritual slaughter of kosher animals.

Bekhorot (Firstlings).  Laws related to firstborn male animals (including humans).

Arakhin (Valuations).  Vows of valuation.

Temurah (Substitution).  Substituting one species for another (sacrifice).

Keritot ("Karet", Excisions).  These are the intentional sins punishable by being "cut off" (Hebrew:  "karet").  

Me'ilah (Sacrilege).  Laws defining sacrilege regarding Temple property.

Tamid (Daily Offerings at Temple).  A day in the life of the Temple sacrificial system.

Middot (Measurements).  All the measurements of the Second Temple.

Kinnim.  Bird Offerings.


Seder Teharot (Sixth Order Dealing with Purity).  Laws of ritual purity and impurity.

Kelim (Vessels).  Ritual uncleanness of utensils (of all kinds).

Ohalot (Tents).  Ritual uncleanness of tents caused by corpse.

Nega'im (Tzara'at).  Laws of leprosy, quarantine, purification.

Parah (Heifer).  Laws of the red heifer, related ceremony.

Teharot (Purifications).  Impurities which continue until sunset.  General principles of ritual impurity.

Mikvaot (Ritual Baths).  How to make a mikveh; Tevilah (immersion or "baptism").

Niddah (Ritually impure woman).  Laws of taharat hamishpochah (family purity).

Makhshirin (Preparations).  Foods and ritual impurity concerns.

Zavim.  Secretions which render the person ritually unclean.

Tevul Yom (Immersed During the Day).  Laws relating to mikvaot and delayed ritual purity.

Yadayim (Hands).  Ritual hand-washing.

Uktzin (Stems).  Ritual purity concerns relating to fruits and plants.


Avot of Rabbi Natan.  Ethics supplement.

Soferim (Scribes).  Sefer Torah laws.

Semachot (Joyful Occasions).  Laws of mourning.

Kallah (Bride).  Tzniut (modesty), Laws of Domestic Relations (i.e. Marriage Law).

Kallah Rabbati (Long Tractate on Brides).  Manners.

Derekh Eretz Rabbah (Long Tractate on Courtesy).  Manners and ethics.

Derekh Eretz Zuta (Short Tractate on Courtesy).  Manners befitting scholars.

Gerim (Converts).  Laws regarding converts.

Kutim (Samaritans).  Special laws regarding the Samaritans.

Avadim (Slaves).  Laws for slaves.

Sefer Torah (Torah Scroll).  Laws of writing Torah scrolls.

Tefillin (Phylacteries).  Laws of Totafot (Phylacteries).

Tzitzit (Fringes).  Laws of Tzitzit.  

Mezuzah.  Laws of Mezzuzah.