The Mishnah and Prayer: A Brief Introduction to Prayer in Tractate Berachot (Unabridged)
The word "Mishnah" is derived from the Hebrew word meaning “repetition” or “to study and review”. The term Mishnah may be used to indicate a single paragraph or verse of the Mishnah. Several passages in the Talmud illustrate derivatives of the word and its connection to study.
The Mishnah reflects material that, while stemming from 70-200 CE by the Tannaim, likely reflects a transmission process back to the Men of the Great Assembly. The Mishnah is the first major written redaction of the Jewish oral traditions called the "Oral Torah". It was completed circa 200-220 CE by Rabbi Judah Hanasi.
Our focus in this short work is very straight forward. We will look primarily at two sections. The first is Mishnah Berachot 1:1. Berachot is the Talmudic tractate focused on blessings and prayer.
The second section is Berachot 26A. This section includes a Mishnah and the corresponding Gemara. I have selected these two sections because they discuss two aspects of prayer.
Mishnah Berachot 1:1 examines the appropriate times for the recitation of the Shema. Berachot 26A considers the proper times for praying the Amidah. Some theological explanation of the Shema and the Amidah is also included.
This is an introduction to a fascinating topic and an explanation of Talmudic reasoning is also included.