Thursday, March 01, 2007

The Velveteen Mishnah

A clever, fitting analogy found here:

Usually Mishnah is called the first code of Jewish law, but as my rabbi pointed out to me, it doesn't exactly match what we think of as a law code. (Imagine, if you will, a Massachusetts state law that began, "What do we do upon reaching a red light? Stop entirely; this is the opinion of Joe. Jane says that a rolling stop is acceptable. In the opinion of Sue, the answer depends on whether there are other cars on the road. Once, Joe's sons were coming home from a party in the middle of the night, and they admitted to their father that they had neglected to stop at a stop sign...") Mishnah is less a code of law, in the modern sense, than it is a collection of authorized tradition about how to do mitzvot.

3 Comments:

Blogger Rachel said...

I'm glad you enjoyed the analogy! :-)

March 01, 2007 4:12 PM  
Blogger Eugene Gershin said...

Hi! Please grab anti-Olmert's Purim buttons from http://samsonblinded.org/blog/purim_banners.htm
The buttons are free and could be hotlinked. Let's make some fun of Olmert!

March 04, 2007 3:35 AM  
Blogger Tobie said...

The Mishnah never seemed so weird- it's a simple set of case law, recording minority positions. English law, from what I've learnt in law school, isn't all that different- x happened one day. Mr. Y said to do a and Mr. Z said to do b. Maybe there's a tad more theoretical discussion, but a) not all that much in the mishna and b) decisions like to toss in theoreticals as well.

March 04, 2007 10:10 AM  

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