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What is the longest individual Mishna?

Not asking regarding the number of Mishnayos in a Masechta,
rather by the word count of an individual Mishna
(An example of a long Mishna is Eduyot 6:3, with 317 words)

I understand it may depend on the version; asking in general

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    What motivated this question?
    – magicker72
    Nov 11, 2021 at 16:13
  • @magicker72 Was listening to a shiur on the linked Mishna where the speaker said wasn't sure if this was longest Mishna, and couldn't find if so by Googling
    – user907a
    Nov 11, 2021 at 18:15
  • Welcome to MiYodeya and thanks for this first question. Great to have you learn with us!
    – mbloch
    Nov 11, 2021 at 18:52
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    See here המשנה הגדולה בבבלי – זבחים קי"ב א', שהיא תל"ט תיבות Nov 11, 2021 at 20:15
  • @Gershon Gold I just noticed your comment. Wow, amazing that the Gemara combines all 10 Mishnayos of the last Perek of Zevachim in one gigantic Mishna that spans more than an Amud!
    – user907a
    Nov 11, 2021 at 22:59

1 Answer 1

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I analysed the mishnayot according to how they appear on Mechon Mamre and how they appear on Sefaria.

For Mechon Mamre's mishnayot, the raw data is here, where I removed punctuation and eliminated mishna numbering (and secondary numbering). The word count output is here. You can sort that list, find the corresponding line in the word count output, and compare that to the raw data. (Sorry this is cumbersome, there are better ways that take longer to implement.) The top 10 longest mishnayot by word count, according to Mechon Mamre, are:

  1. Eduyot 6:3 (319 words)
  2. Sota 8:1 (300 words)
  3. Yadayim 4:3 (290 words)
  4. Yevamot 14:4 (287 words)
  5. Middot 4:8 (244 words)
  6. Nazir 8:1 (236 words)
  7. Zevaḥim 6:9 (215 words)
  8. Sanhedrin 4:5 (212 words)
  9. Tamid 4:4 (206 words)
  10. Bechorot 8:1 (185 words)

For Sefaria's mishnayot, the raw data is here (pulled from here), and the word count output is here. The top 10 longest mishnayot by word count, according to Sefaria, are:

  1. Eduyot 6:3 (317 words)
  2. Sota 9:15 (297 words)
  3. Yadayim 4:3 (288 words)
  4. Kiddushin 14:4 (255 words)
  5. Tamid 4:3 (253 words)
  6. Sanhedrin 10:2 (239 words)
  7. Nazir 8:1 (236 words)
  8. Sanhedrin 4:5 (210 words)
  9. Zevaḥim 6:7 (209 words)
  10. Nedarim 3:11 (196 words)

All of this relates to collections of mishnayot. However, in the printed Talmud Bavli all of the mishnayot in the fourteenth perek of Masechet Zevachim are printed as one long continuous mishnah on dapim 112a-113a. So if you are learning gemara, that is the longest mishnah you will encounter. Similarly, the gemara at the end of Pesachim (98b) combines three mishnayot into one long mishnah of 273 words.

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  • Wow, thank you so much for doing all that work to give such a detailed answer!
    – user907a
    Nov 11, 2021 at 21:57
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    The two-word difference in Eduyot 6:3, by the way, is two appearances of את.
    – magicker72
    Nov 11, 2021 at 22:02
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    What accounts for the large discrepancies between Sefaria and Mechon Mamre? Are they just numbering the mishnayot differently, or are there significant textual variations?
    – Alex
    Nov 12, 2021 at 3:44
  • @Alex Besides different numbering (induced by different break points), look at Sota 9:15 or Kiddushin 14:4 (for example) in both.
    – magicker72
    Nov 12, 2021 at 3:46
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    Thanks @magicker72 ! I would like to see this analysis and more, on the Mishna Sdura text I publish. I have tables summarizing and comparing the averages length of Perek of each Seder. This is useful for planning learning. Just counting the number of Mishnayot is misleading at best. For example See here - Nezikin has 50% more words per Perek and per Mishna than does Zeraim. It is also more complex to understand. Apr 14, 2023 at 4:37

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