Often, an opinion in a baraysa (by which I mean to include tosefta and any other non-mishna text of tanaim's halachic statements) and an opinion in a mishna differ on a matter of law. Is there any weight of authority given to either over the other in determining the halacha? (Assume that the tanaim in the mishna and baraysa are anonymous or are such that there is no rule to determine which tana per se has the weight of authority with respect to the other.)

(I've never seen such that I recall, but I don't recall ever learning of its absence. Someone asked me this today, and I was unable to answer it definitively.)

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    Well, always the mishnah; however, a baraita can have a variety of levels of authority. Some baraitas are very well known and others are simply scrolls pulled out of some dude's library that no one has ever heard before. Generally speaking though, doesn't Gemara try to prevent baraitas and mishnah from conflicting? – rosenjcb Nov 27 '13 at 5:11
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    @rosenjcb If you can provide evidence for your first sentence, that'd make a great answer. To your last question: often. Not always successfully. And I imagine there are many baraysos not quoted in the g'mara at all. – msh210 Nov 27 '13 at 15:27
  • Similar: judaism.stackexchange.com/q/34748 – msh210 Jan 19 '14 at 8:10

I was always taught that the Mishna is the most authoritative because it was redacted while the braisos were deliberately left out of that text, and this becomes apparent when learning gemara because amoraim following braisos are challenged by quoting mishnayos but rarely the other way around. However the only print source I can think of off hand is The Essential Talmud by Rabbi Adin Steinsaltz which has a chapter on these rules. If you want an earlier source, try מבוא התלמוד, printed in most classic standard Vilna-style shas's before Brachos. (You may need a magnifying glass.)

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    Did you mean מבוא התלמוד by R' Sh'muel HaNagid? (Incidentally, another מבוא התלמוד relevant to this question was written more recently by by the Maharatz Chajes). – Fred Nov 27 '13 at 17:42
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    Probably did. Though for some reason I keep remembering seeing a huge byline saying "Rabbeinu Nissim" – Yitzchak Nov 27 '13 at 21:11
  • All the braitot were left out intentionally? There are some baraitot that were rare or hardly ever mentioned. Did Yehudah HaNasi have knowledge and awareness of every baraita ever? What about only the "legitimate" baraitot? – rosenjcb Nov 28 '13 at 21:36
  • @Yitzchak – Rabbeinu Nissim does have his intro before Brachos. Additionally, Aiding Talmud Study by Rabbi Aryeh Carmell has a chapter on these rules as well. It should be noted that of his material is taken (and he cites his sourcing) from the mafteach (index) volume VII of the Blackman mishnayos. – Adam Mosheh Dec 3 '13 at 23:04

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