Talmud Sample

Hebrew Bible: Lev. 16:29-35

Mishnah Yoma 87A-B

He who says "I shall sin and repent, and sin and repent"
They do not give him sufficient power to make repentance.
He who says, "I shall sin, and the Day of Atonement will atone"
The Day of Atonement does not atone.
Sins which are between human beings and G-d
The Day of Atonement atones for.
Sins which are between human beings
The Day of Atonement does not atone for
Until one win the good will of his neighbor once more.

Gemara (commentary on the Mishnah)

A. This is what R. Eleazer b. Azariah expounded:
B. "From all your sins shall you be clean before the Lord" (Lev. 16:3).
C. Sins which are between human beings and G-d the Day of Atonement atones for.
D. Sins between human beings the Day of Atonement does not atone for
until one win the good will of his neighbor again.

E. Said Rabbi Akiba:
F. Happy are you, O Israel! Before whom are you purified?
G. Who purifies you? Your father which is in heaven.
H. As it is said, "I will sprinkle clean water on you and you will be clean" (Ezek. 36:25).
I. And it says, "The hope of Israel is the Lord" (Jer. 17:13).
J. Just as the immersion pool cleans unclean people, so the Holy One cleans Israel.

K. Said R. Isaac:
L. Whoever offends his neighbor, even though merely through words, has to make peace with him, since it is said,
M. "My son, if you have become a surety for your neighbor, if you have struck your hands for a stranger, you are snared by the words of your mouth. Do this now, my son, and deliver yourself, since you have come into the hand of your neighbor. Go, humble yourself, and urge your neighbor" (Prov. 6:1-3).
N. If you are wealthy, open the palm of your hand to him.
O. And if not, send many friends to him.

P. Said R. Hisda,
Q. And he needs to make peace with him through three groups of people,
R. Since it is said, "He comes before men and says, 'I have sinned, and I have perverted that which was right, and it did me no profit'" (Job 33:27).

Questions to consider

1. What is the Mishnah section about? Is anything left out or unexplained there?

2. Take a look at the laws relating to the Day of Atonement (Yom Kippur) in the Bible (Lev. 16:29-35). Does the Mishnah discussion of this day sound similar or different? The Biblical account doesn't mention sins between human beings. Why not? Why does the Mishnah speak of this when the Bible doesn't?

3. Now read through the Gemara quickly, section by section. What does the Gemara add to the Mishnah? Is there a logic to the discussion or does it just seem haphazard to you? Why or why not? To figure this out, go through the sections again, more slowly.