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Seder Zeraim (Hebrew: סדר זרעים, lit. "Order of Seeds") is the first and shortest Seder ("Order") of the Mishnah, the first major work of Jewish law. The section of mishnah was written by the rabbis to inform religious Jews what must be done to fulfill their biblical obligations of prayer and commandments about food.
People who practice Jewish law are bound with many obligations and restrictions regarding agricultural areas, and must adhere to a stringent schedule for prayer times.
Of all the Tractates in Seder Zeraim, only Berakhot has a corresponding Gemara in the Babylonian Talmud. However, many of the mishnayot of Seder Zeraim are addressed throughout the Babylonian Talmud. The Tractates of Seder Zeraim are included in the Jerusalem Talmud.
Although the first volume, about blessings, seems not to belong in a section on agriculture, the reasoning for its inclusion is as follows: In Judaism, a blessing must be said before enjoying food or other produce. Similarly, before studying the laws pertaining to sustenance, it is appropriate to learn the laws of blessings.
A traditional setting of the last passage of Berakhot, which describes how Jewish scholars increase peace. Performed by Cantor Meyer Kanewsky in 1919.
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Zeraim is divided into eleven tractates
(פאה) means "Corner"; deals with the regulations concerning the commandment to leave the corner of one's field for the poor as stated in Leviticus 19:9-10, Leviticus 23:22; Deuteronomy 24:19-22, and with the rights of the poor in general. 8 chapters.
(דמאי) means "Doubtful Produce"; deals chiefly with various cases in which it is not certain whether the priestly donations have been taken from produce. 7 chapters.
(כלאים) means "Of Two Sorts"; or "Mixed/Heterogeneous"; deals chiefly with rules regarding forbidden mixtures in agriculture, clothing and breeding, as stated in Leviticus 19:19; Deuteronomy 22:9-11. 9 chapters.
(ערלה) means "Blockage [of Trees]"; deals chiefly with the prohibition of the immediate use of a tree after it has been planted, as stated in Leviticus 19:23-25. 3 chapters.
In many editions of the Mishnah, even early ones like those of Naples 1492, and of Riva 1559, as well as in most of the editions of the Babylonian Talmud, a fourth chapter, which is likely a Baraisa, has been added to Bikkurim (comp. the gloss in the Vilna edition of the Talmud, p. 87b). The sequence of the volumes of Zeraim in both editions (as they are numbered above) corresponds with that given by Maimonides.
References and sources
- Wikisource (Hebrew). "משנה מסכת ברכות". Wikipedia. Retrieved 16 December 2013.
- Wikisource (English). "Mishnah/Seder Zeraim/Tractate Berakhot". Wikipedia. Retrieved 16 December 2013.
- (Original text in Hebrew). "מסכת ברכות". Mechon Mamre. Retrieved 16 December 2013.
- By Rabbi Mordechai Rabinovitch (Author) Rabbi Reuvein Dowek (Editor) Rabbi Yitzchok Stavsky (Contribution by) Rabbi Gidone Lane (Contribution by). Yad Avraham Mishnah Series:01 Tractate BERACHOS (Seder Zeraim 1a). ArtScroll Mesorah Publications. ISBN 9781578197026.