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Mishna, Talmud and Kabbalah

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Topic: Kabbalah, Origin & Explanation

Willem-Jan from Utrecht, Netherlands wrote:

Dear Rabbi,

Where does the Mishna find its origin?

Kara from Sweet Treatz, PA wrote:

Dear Rabbi,

I am working on a project involving the Talmud. I found your website by a search engine. I especially liked the content of the site and was wondering if you could answer some questions that involve the writing of the Talmud. Who were the original writers of the Talmud? When and where was it written? Why was it written?

Ben Schneider wrote:

Dear Rabbi,

What is the relationship between the Torah, the Talmud, and the Kabbalah?

Dear WIllem-Jan, Kara, and Ben Schneider,

The Torah is the Five books of Moses.

When G-d taught Moshe the Torah at Mount Sinai, He didn't just give Moshe a written text (that wouldn't take 40 days!). Rather, G-d explained what everything meant. These explanations are what we call "the Oral Torah" or "the Mishna."

The Jewish people preserved the Mishna as an unwritten teaching for about 1,400 years. After the destruction of the Second Temple, the leading Sage Rabbi Yehuda Hanassi realized a long exile was about to begin, and that if the Mishna wasn't written down it would become lost. He thus took the unprecedented step of writing it down.

Not long after this, the leading Sages in Babylon again saw a decline in scholarship, so they wrote a more comprehensive explanation of the Mishna, called the Talmud.

Kabbalah is also part of the Oral law. It is the traditional mystical understanding of the Torah. Kabbalah stresses the reasons and understanding of the commandments, and the cause of events described in the Torah. Kabbalah includes the understanding of the spiritual spheres in creation, and the rules and ways by which G-d administers the existence of the universe.

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