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The Mishna was separated into chapters by R Yehuda HaNasi.

I see that at times there is a chapter break in the middle of a topic (today's example: Menachot chapter 1 & 2 - more examples here). It doesn't really "make sense" according to how we would likely break chapters ourselves.

Is there an underlying logic to why chapters were cut this way by R Yehuda HaNasi? Are there rules written somewhere or that someone extracted? I didn't find them in the Rambam's introduction to the Mishna.

  • I suspect this would vary by the chapter in question. – DonielF Jul 5 '18 at 21:18
  • @DonielF yes since I asked the question here, one rav told me the Aharonim often comment on the logic that caused the break this or that way - and it depends on the specifics of each chapter as you write – mbloch Jul 6 '18 at 3:47
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I have a somewhat novel approach, I have not heard this anywhere...it is pure speculation :)

We know that one of the goals of the way Rebbi Yehuda Hanassi structured the Mishna was in order to make it easy to remember by heart. Maybe it was structured that way in order to remember the order of the chapters better. Meaning if the topic of one chapter continues into the next chapter, that makes it harder to forget the order of the chapters. In other words, doing it this way, links the chapters together.

Hopefully someone has a better answer than this :)

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    Welcome to Mi Yodeya, Benjamin! I like your theory. Looking forward to seeing you around! – רבות מחשבות Jul 5 '18 at 20:49

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