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Frequently Asked Questions and Answers

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Question 3.10:
What is the relationship between the Mishna and the Torah?

Answer:

The Mishna contains the detailed instructions necessary for following the rules that were merely outlined in the Torah.

Which is a subset of which? Consider that although the basic laws of Judaism were revealed/developed simultaneously, only the basic mitzvot (without instructions on how to fulfill them) were originally written down. Although the Mishna was written centuries later, they are both of equal stature. However, because the Mishna includes most the laws of the Torah--and presents additional information--one could say that for practical purposes the Torah is a subset of the Mishna. Note that the Mishna does not quite cover all the laws in the Torah. Omissions include the laws of Mezuzot and the Priestly benedictions.

When one gets to the Talmud, one sees that the Mishna is a subset of the Talmud, as the Talmud includes practically all of the Mishna as well as additional information.


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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