And Now – the Mishna Quiz

The Bible Quiz is over and the Mishna Quiz is set to begin. Hundreds of junior high school students will take part

Tags: Jewish World
Gil Ronen , | updated: 11:07 PM

12th century Mishna manuscript
12th century Mishna manuscript
Creative Commons

The seventh annual Mishna Quiz is set to begin this week. Hundreds of students from Israel's junior high schools will take part in the quiz, which tests knowledge of the Mishna – the compendium of Oral Law that originated at Mount Sinai but was written down about 2,000 years ago by Rabbi Yehuda Hanassi to prevent its details from being forgotten. It includes legal pronouncements, moral observations and debates about interpretations of the law between the Jewish sages of his period, known as the Tannaim.

The Mishna Quiz is organized by the Department for Torah Culture in the Ministry of Education. The students who will participate in the quiz Wednesday hail from Modiin, Maccabim-Reut, Jerusalem, Ramle, Maaleh Adumim, Givat Ze'ev, Samaria and Judea, among other places. 

In Jewish thought and belief, the Mishna is necessary in order to understand Biblical commands and is an equal source of authority. Together with the Gemara, which expounds on the Mishna, it forms the Talmud, the central pillar of the Oral Torah passed down over generations since Moses. The Mishnah consists of 63 tractates (masechtot) organized in six orders (sedarim).

Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu's son Avner, who reached third place in the National Bible Quiz this year, wanted to compete in the Mishna Quiz three years ago. His request was rejected by security officials, because preparations for the quiz include outdoor hikes that they believed would have posed security problems.