Gemara and Mishnah
The Gemara and the Mishnah together make up the Talmud. The Talmud thus comprises two components: the Mishnah - the core text; and the Gemara - analysis and commentary which “completes” the Talmud (see Structure of the Talmud).
In a narrower sense, the word Gemara refers to the mastery and transmission of existing tradition, as opposed to sevara, which means the deriving of new results by logic. Both activities are represented in the "Gemara" as a literary work. The term "gemara" for the activity of study is far older than its use as a description of any text: thus Pirke Avot (Ch.5), a work long preceding the recording of the Talmud, recommends starting "Mishnah" at the age of 10 and "Gemara" at the age of 15.
The rabbis of the Mishnah are known as Tannaim (sing. Tanna תנא). The rabbis of the Gemara are referred to as Amoraim (sing. Amora אמורא).
Because there are two Gemaras, there are in fact two Talmuds: the Jerusalem Talmud (Hebrew: תלמוד ירושלמי, "Talmud Yerushalmi"), and the Babylonian Talmud (Hebrew: תלמוד בבלי, "Talmud Bavli"), corresponding to the Jerusalem Gemara and the Babylonian Gemara; both share the same Mishnah. The Gemara is mostly written in Aramaic, the Jerusalem Gemara in Western Aramaic and the Babylonian in Eastern Aramaic, but both contain portions in Hebrew. Sometimes the language changes in the middle of a story.
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Famous quotes containing the word gemara:
Your son, whirling between two wars,
In the Gemara of your gentleness,”
—Stanley Jasspon Kunitz (b. 1905)