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Minor tractate

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The Minor Tractates are essays from the tannaitic period or later dealing with topics about which no formal tractate exists in the Mishnah. The Minor Tractates may thus be contrasted to the Tosefta, whose tractates parallel those of the Mishnah. The first eight or so contain much original material; the last seven or so are collections of material scattered throughout the Talmud.

The Minor Tractates are normally printed at the end of Seder Nezikin in the Talmud. They include:

  • 1. Avot de-Rabbi Nathan. The Schechter edition contains two different versions (version A has 41 chapters and version B has 48).
  • 2. Soferim (Scribes). This tractate appears in two different versions in the Jerusalem and Babylonian Talmuds.
  • 3. Evel Rabbati. This tractate is about laws and customs pertaining to death and mourning, and is sometimes euphemistically called Semakhot ("joy").
  • 4. Kallah (on engagement, marriage and sex).
  • 5. Kallah Rabbati (an elaboration of the above).
  • 6. Derekh Eretz Rabbah. "Derekh Eretz" literally means "the way of the world," which in this context refers to deportment, manners and behavior.
  • 7. Derekh Eretz Zutta. Addressed to scholars, this is a collection of maxims urging self examination and modesty.
  • 8. Pereq ha-Shalom (on the ways of peace between people; a final chapter to the above often listed separately).
  • 9. Sefer Torah (regulations for writing Torah scrolls).
  • 10. Mezuzah (scroll affixed to the doorpost).
  • 11. Tefillin (phylacteries).
  • 12. Tzitzit (fringes).
  • 13. Avadim (servants).
  • 14. Gerim (conversion to Judaism).
  • 15. Kutim (Samaritans).

There is also a lost tractate called "Eretz Yisrael" (The Land of Israel, about laws of that land.)

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