Take the 2-minute tour ×
Mi Yodeya is a question and answer site for those who base their lives on Jewish law and tradition and anyone interested in learning more. It's 100% free, no registration required.

What is a good Masechta of Mishnayoth for someone to learn if they just want to get a basic understanding and complete a Masechta in a relatively short time?

Examples where this would be practical might be someone who has a limited background in learning and wants to make a Siyum but isn't ready for Gemara, or someone under time constraints to learn for a Sheloshim.

Ta'anis, Megilah –  b a Dec 12 '12 at 3:18
Or Avos (more mishnayos but no universal concepts needed to memorize) –  b a Dec 12 '12 at 3:32
Traditionally, when studying Mishnayos, one does not make a siyum unless one finishes as complete Seder. Thus, while there are several mesechtos in Seder Mo'ed that are fairly easy, there are also several that are quite difficult (e.g. Eruvin). Are you just looking for an easy mesechta of mishnayos or do you specifically need to be able to make a siyum? If the latter, certain mesechtos of gemara will be easier than any seder of mishnayos. –  LazerA Dec 12 '12 at 15:51
@LazerA, that's ok. But please read my question again. I'm pretty clear that I'm looking for ideas that would fulfill the Stam goal of the person covering an entire Masechta, just giving a couple of possible explanations as to why this might be someone's goal. –  Seth J Dec 12 '12 at 18:22

6 Answers 6

Tamid is, except for the very end, a story of how things used to be in the bes hamikdash. You can practically just read through it without commentary (though having a floor plan of the second bes hamikdash — usually published as an appendix to nearby maseches Midos — handy will help a good deal).

I've never been able to follow Tamid. I didn't know I could find a floor plan in Middoth. Thanks! –  Seth J Dec 12 '12 at 16:05

Choosing a quick and easy mesechta of mishnayos is a highly subjective activity.

The first consideration, obviously, is length. However, there are plenty of relatively short mesechtos, so this is not a major problem.

The biggest issue, especially for someone with a limited background, is to avoid having too many new concepts at once, especially big complicated concepts (such as inyanei kodshim and taharos).

My personal recommendations would be either Megilah or Makkos.

Megilah is a well known "easy" mesechta.It is only four chapters long and most of the topics covered (e.g. Purim, krias haTorah) will already be basically familiar even to a relative beginner.

Makkos is, admittedly, a less obvious choice. While only three chapters long, the topics covered (false witnesses, exile for unintentional murder, and the penalty of lashes) deal with criminal law, and will not be immediately familiar to a beginning student. However, the key concepts of each chapter can be presented fairly quickly, and once grasped, the details of each chapter are fairly straightforward.

In my experience, having taught both of these mesechtos, brighter students generally found Makkos to be more interesting and stimulating than Megilla. However, as I said before, this is a highly subjective choice.

Although the second mishnah of Makkos (about edim zomemim on a kesubah) is pretty difficult. –  Ypnypn Jun 11 at 23:44
IIRC, the real challenge isn't the mishna per se, but in working through all the different shitos in the rishonim. However, it is possible to get a basic pursuant without too much difficulty. –  LazerA Jun 25 at 0:30

In a comment on the question, b a suggested:

Avos (more mishnayos but no universal concepts needed to memorize)

Its mishnayos are mostly moral lessons. They are deep, but can be read and understood superficially with some benefit.


More important than the Masechta itself is your understanding of the background to that Masechta. If you are unfamiliar with the underlying concepts of that Masechta, it will be hard. The Kehati Mishnayot will make any Masechta easier by presenting the necessary background information in an orderly and organized manner.

This presumes the person knows Hebrew. –  Ypnypn Jun 11 at 23:45

smallest tractates are orlah,chagiga, moed katan,kinim,uktzin each having 3 chapters.

might be hard first time, but each subsequent time will get easier.

Taanit, Makkot, Horyot, Tamid, Middot, Megillah, Zavim, Tevul Yom, and Yadayim are all shorter than Orla. Rosh haShana and Temurah are the same length. –  Double AA Oct 25 '13 at 14:42
Also, most of the ones you suggested are not good tractates for beginners. –  Double AA Oct 25 '13 at 14:46
right but the question asked that only as an example. –  ray Oct 26 '13 at 21:05
So to provide an example, picking 5 out of the 16 shortest tractates, you picked kinim, orla and uktzin??? –  Double AA Oct 26 '13 at 23:15
like i wrote in my answer, in terms of number of chapters these are the shortest. –  ray Oct 27 '13 at 5:50

Midos is a great mesechta to learn for the aliyas neshama on the Shloshim, or, for anytime. It is not just a blink of an eye mesechta, and the Rambam wrote about learning the measurements of the Bais Hamikdash and its importance, implying that those who learn it have a part in the future building of it (the Third Bais Hamikdash, based on Yechezkel's prophecy). Also, there are so many Rishonim, Achronim and other great scholars who chose to comment on Midos because it is not JUST another mesechta. There is no gemara written about the mishnayos of Midos. It has five chapters and it is PACKED with facts about the second Bais Hamikdash.

Hey Abraham, welcome to Mi Yodeya! .....Midos is a great mesechta, but most people would feel like they need pictures for it as it's very hard to visualize the mishnayos without. –  Shokhet Sep 19 at 16:53
I hope you stick around Mi Yodeya and enjoy the site! ....you may want to consider registering your account, to access more of the site's features and make it easier to keep track of your contributions. –  Shokhet Sep 19 at 16:54

Your Answer


By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.