The Gemara (or Talmud) is full of Tannaitic teachings known as baraitot (or baraita in the singular). Nevertheless, these teachings were not codified in the Shishah Sidre'i Mishnah (Six Orders of The Mishnah), such that if one was only familiar with The Mishnah (and had not yet studied Gemara), these teachings would be lost on him.

Why were these teachings excluded from The Mishnah?

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    It's duplicate material - the mishnah is written to be as condensed as possible, the baraitot are typically duplications or alternate versions of existing mishnayot. The much larger universe of baraitot may relate to the statement in the gemara vis a vis the existence of 600 different sidarim as opposed to are current 6. Commented Feb 26, 2015 at 15:48
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    Were they all known but excluded, or were some of them not known when the mishna was compiled (but we known by others and found their way into the g'mara)? The question assumes the former; do we know that? Commented Feb 26, 2015 at 16:13
  • @MonicaCellio Good point. I have no proof of this, but the general sense is that the latter was more accurate - when the mishnah was compiled, not every baraisa was considered for inclusion, which is why the gemara frequently brings baraisos that are more authoritative than the mishnah. Commented Feb 26, 2015 at 16:25
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    I think that much of it may have been politically driven as well.
    – DanF
    Commented Feb 26, 2015 at 16:33
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1 Answer 1


According to the Rambam in his introduction to the Mishna - הקדמת הרמב"ם למשנה - these teachings were not excluded from The Mishna.

They were written after the Mishna was codified in order to explain the obscure/unclear Mishnayot.

לפיכך ראה אחד מתלמידיו והוא רבי חייא לחבר ספר וללכת בו אחר רבו ולבאר מה שנשתבש מדברי רבו והיא התוספתא וענינו לבאר המשנה ותוספתא אפשר להוציא טעמה מהמשנה אחר יגיעה רבה והוא הוציאם ללמדנו היאך נוליד ונוציא ענינים מן המשנה. וכן עשה רבי אושעיא. ורב חבר ברייתא והיא ספרא וספרי ורבים זולתם כמו שאמרו כי אתא רבי פלוני אתא ואייתי מתניתא בידיה. ואולם לא היו אלה הברייתות כלם כצחות דברי המשנה ולא כתקון עניניה וקוצר מליה ועל כן היתה עיקר ר"ל(רצוני לאמר) המשנה וכל החבורים עולים אחריה ושניים אליה והיא המכובדת אצל הכל וכשיעריכו אותה לחבורים ההם ראוה בנות ויאשרוה.‏

The Rambam in his introduction the the Yad - הקדמת הרמב''ם למשנה תורה - says almost the same thing:

רַב חִבֵּר סַפְרָא וְסִפְרִי לְבָאֵר וּלְהוֹדִיעַ עִקְּרֵי הַמִּשְׁנָה. וְרַבִּי חִיָּא חִבֵּר הַתּוֹסֶפְתָּא לְבָאֵר עִנְיְנֵי הַמִּשְׁנָה. וְכֵן רַבִּי הוֹשַׁעְיָא וּבַר קַפָּרָא חִבְּרוּ בְּרַיְתוֹת לְבָאֵר דִּבְרֵי הַמִּשְׁנָה.‏

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    The teachings are still older. They may have only been compiled into Braisos in Rav's time, but the teachings therein are still Tannaic.
    – DonielF
    Commented Jun 4, 2017 at 12:07
  • רב תנא ופליג... Commented Jun 4, 2017 at 16:20
  • @ShmuelBrin - I stand corrected. Fixed. Commented Jun 5, 2017 at 7:40
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    This isn't any better. If R' Meir said something, it's that old, regardless of whether Rebbe or R' Chiya wrote it down. The question was why Rebbe didn't include them - they were still floating around at that point.
    – DonielF
    Commented Jun 5, 2017 at 13:18

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