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I have some questions about the way the Gemara is formulated. Feel free to answer all, some, or just one!

  • What exactly is the Vilna Shas? Is it the only type of Shas used today?
  • I Know there are 2,711 pages of Daf Yomi; does this include the Mishnayos without Gemara?
  • Further, does it include the so-called "minor tractates"?
  • If it doesn't include them, is the 2,711 number just a number for Daf Yomi rather than all of Shas? Wouldn't Shas include the Tractates without Gemara (like Avot) and perhaps even the minor ones?
  • Is Avot D'Rabbi Natan included in Shas?
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The Vilna Shas is the edition of the Shas published in the city of Vilna by the Romm family (not sure about the spelling). It had many improvements over the previous editions, which are listed in the volume of Maseches Niddah in their edition. This ultimately led to the Vilna Shabbos becoming the standard version everybody uses.

The term Shas is short for "shisha sedarim", or the six tractates of Mishnayos, but colloquially it is used for the Talmud Bavli, authored by Ravina and Rav Ashi. Minor tractates and Avot d'Rabbi Nosson are not part of what Ravina and Rav Ashi wrote, and neither is the Tosefta. Nevertheless, they are published in the Vilna edition, because they are useful supplemental material.

So Avot is technically part of the "shisha sedarim" of Mishnah, but not Talmud Bavli. So it really depends on how you are using the word "Shas". (But, it is important to remember that only the first five chapters of Avot are Mishnah. The sixth chapter is a Beraisa, which is why it starts with "שנו חכמים בלשון משנה", "The Rabbis taught in the style of the Mishnah." This is also why there is no commentary of the Rambam and Bartenura to the sixth chapter, as they were writing a commentary on the Mishnah as a whole, not just Avot.)

The Daf Yomi is to learn a page of the Talmud Bavli every day, so it does not include Mishnayos without Talmud or beraisos. (Interestingly, it does include tractate Shekalim, even though it was published with Talmud Yerushalmi, not Bavli.) In the Vilna edition, that comes out to 2,711 pages, but that is just a random number without inherent significance.

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    Daf yomi also includes mishnayot of middot and kinnim (and the end of tamid) – Joel K Jun 12 at 18:27
  • True. The link I quoted in my answer discusses that. Although, the question is why they are included, not why Avos is not. – N.T. Jun 13 at 12:17
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What exactly is the Vilna Shas? Is it the only type of Shas used today?

It is a Shas based on the typeset of the Shas printed in Vilna by the Romm family. It isn't the only one used today. Some but increasing rare Gemoras are still based on the Lemberg Shas (typeset in Lemberg) Both are based on the layout of Daniel Bomberg (a non-Jew) who based his Shas on the layout of Joshua Solomon Soncino, who printed the first individual Gomoras in 1483, with the Gemora in the middle of the page and Rashi and Tosfos surrounding it. The Lemberg Shas is known to have minor inaccuracies. There are other Gemoras written but the Vilna Shas is the porotype for almost all other ones.

I Know there are 2,711 pages of Daf Yomi; does this include the Mishnayos without Gemara?

Daf Yomi does not include Mishnoyis for which there are no Gemora on

If it doesn't include them, is the 2,711 number just a number for Daf Yomi rather than all of Shas? Wouldn't Shas include the Tractates without Gemara (like Avot) and perhaps even the minor ones?

Daf Yomi also includes Sehkolim which is from the Talmud Yerushalmi. There is some talk of incorporating Mishnoyis into the Day Yomi cycle but it is unlikely to happen (too much of a change)

Is Avot D'Rabbi Natan included in Shas?

No. Although it was written in the same time period as the Gemora and is included in most volumes of Mescthas Avodah Zora, it was not authored by Ravina and Rav Ashi and does not have the status of Gemorah

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Some notes on editions of the Talmud Bavli ("Shas")- The vilna Shas usually refers to the layout of the talmud page itself rather than the appendices. There have been a variety of additions in newer editions and there are also thin or reference volumes that leave all or many of them. There are some editions that have a different pagination but are not at all popularly used, at least not in Yeshiva circles. R shteinzaltz's edition got all the press, but I think the newer Hebrew edition take the same approach as Soncino/Artscroll. However the English is printed in the back which is a totally different layout. There is a green reference volume that has a multi column layout of just talmud with indexes. There was recently a not so well known project to add a number of commentaries to the page https://mamlechetcohanim.com/. Academic commentaries on individual chapters often appear with a re-edited text of that chapter. There are usually printed section by section preceding the commentary. Aside from layout, the text of the vilna edition is also the basis for almost all modern editions. The academic monographs mentioned above being the exception. More recently publishers will add notes or corrections (sometimes without any indication). This is more common in the Oz Vehadar edition as well as R shteinzaltz's. Transcriptions of manuscripts can actually be accessed freely and easily from fjms.genizah.org

Because a number of respondents mentioned it I will remark that, although the common perception, Ravina and R Ashi are almost certainly not the final authors of the talmud. If you are interested this is a good introductory series of classes http://www.aribergmann.net/formation-of-the-talmud-bavli.html.

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