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Frequently Asked Questions and Answers

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< Q3.15 TOC Q3.17 >

Question 3.16:
What is Talmud Yerushalmi (Jerusalem Talmud)?


The Talmud Yerushalmi, also known as the Jerusalem Talmud (JT), the Palestinian Talmud, Talmud Eretz Yisrael (Talmud of the Land of Israel) and Gemara de Eretz Yisrael, is the Mishna plus the Yerushalmi gemara. It is interesting to note that the JT that we have today is missing a huge amount of material. There is only commentary for the first four orders of the Mishna; The rest has been lost to history. The JT gemara is also missing for tractates Avot and Eduyot, parts of Toharot and other sections as well. Despite extensive scholarship, it still is unclear why this material was not included in the final redaction of the JT.

Rabbi Yohanan bar Nappaha was the main redactor of the JT. It was redacted around 350 CE. Additionally, the name 'Jerusalem Talmud' is a misnomer; it was most likely written in Northern Israel, specifically Tiberias.

In general, whenever the JT contradicts the Babylonian Talmud (BT), the law follows the BT. Only on matters where BT is silent or unclear does the authority of the JT prevail.

The absence of numerous Mishna tractates and chapters, the numerous self contradictions, as well as other internal evidence, suggests that the JT was not in fact redacted in the proper sense of the word, but rather was a hasty collection of material. Many scholars believe that the reason for the ultimate acceptance of the BT rather than the JT had a lot to do with the power struggles between the two Jewish communities. Thus it can be argued that the poor preservation of the JT may be a result of its rejection rather than its cause.

The FAQ is a collection of documents that is an attempt to answer questions that are continually asked on the soc.culture.jewish family of newsgroups. It was written by cooperating laypeople from the various Judaic movements. You should not make any assumption as to accuracy and/or authoritativeness of the answers provided herein. In all cases, it is always best to consult a competent authority--your local rabbi is a good place to start.

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© (c) 1993-2002 Daniel P. Faigin <>