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. Join them; it only takes a minute:

Sign up
Here's how it works:
  1. Anybody can ask a question
  2. Anybody can answer
  3. The best answers are voted up and rise to the top

I just read a news story about a newly discovered sentence-long fragment of the Jerusalem Talmud that apparently resolves a previously unintelligible section of Tractate Bikkurim.

Does anyone know more details? What section was unintelligible? What was the problem? What does the new sentence say?

Is it, by any chance, a prohibition against adding new categories of forbidden foods on Pesach? (Please?)

share|improve this question
The fragment pictured in the article you cited is a segment of Yerushalmi Bikkurim (end of ch. 2, section 1). But I compared it to the Bar Ilan text and couldn't find the missing sentence. – Barry Mar 26 '10 at 16:38

There are several differences between this fragment and the Leiden manuscript and first edition of the Yerushalmi. Some of the fragment readings have been suggested by mefarashim. If you are familiar with this sugya, you will know that there is a (partial) parallel in Hagiga and that in the previously known text of this Yerushalmi, the words hacha and hatham are used as if the sugya was the one in Hagiga - in other words, the sugya in our printed texts and manuscript calls Mishna Hagiga 'here' instead of 'there.' The lashon of the fragment is also interesting, as it spells 'v'at' (vav aleph tav in our editions) without an aleph.It also has 'Rabbi Yudan' where our text has "Rabbi Yehuda.' My guess as to the reference of the 'new sentence' is a place where our text is indeed unintelligible to the point that the mefarashim did all amend it, and they did not get it the way it is in the fragment.The text we had, translated literally, said, "It only applies that it is not or in what is bought with maaser money which became impure." The text in the fragment, which unfortunately is cut off at the beginning of every line, says, "It only applies if it had been bought with maaser money, or ... became impure." By the way, what they are talking about is the proper okimta for a statement that maaser sheni oil which becomes impure cannot be used even in a lamp (like impure terumah oil). I do think the wording of the press release was a little overblown. Sorry about your limited diet in the spring.

share|improve this answer
Miriam Berele, welcome to Mi Yodeya, and thanks for sharing your knowledge. I hope you stick around and enjoy the site. – msh210 Jan 14 '14 at 6:04

There does not seem to be any appreciable difference between the standard text and the one that was just found. There are a few minor variations, some of which resemble the version recorded by R. Shlomo Sirilio (an early Acharon who wrote a commentary on Yerushalmi). In many places the text of the fragment is truncated, apparently because this scribe (or an earlier one) wanted to save time, space, and/or effort. At any rate, there does not appear to be a real basis for the claim in that article, unless there is another piece of the fragment that was not shown.

share|improve this answer

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.