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Page from the Vienna Siddur: Barukh  [circa 1468] (Public Domain Image)

Tractate Berakoth

by A. Lukyn Williams


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This is a translation of Tractate Berakoth, a portion of the Mishna which deals with prayer: specifically when, where and how to pray. It includes the Mishna and the Tosephta commentary. This translation was produced by a Christian scholar in the early 20th century. While Williams is not hesitant to reference Christian texts, he is primarily interested in how the rules expressed in this Mishna influenced the early Christians, not in making a sectarian point. This adds some comparative interest. In addition, the extensive scholarly apparatus increases the value of this edition, the only complete public domain translation of this part of the Mishna.

Title Page
Editor's Preface


1. The Nature of the Tractate in General
2. Its Relation to the Teaching of the New Testament
3. The Relation of the Mishna and the Tosephta
4. The Authorities for the Text in Each Case
5. Bibliographical
6. Synopsis of Contents
Index to the Tosephta as Arranged in this Volume


I. On Reciting the Shma‘

M. I. 1-3; T. I. 1. The Time of Reciting the Shma‘ in the Evening
M. I. 4; T. I. 2. The Time of Reciting the Shma‘ in the Morning
M. I. 5-6; T. I. 4. Posture in Reciting the Shma‘
M. I. 7; T. I. 5-9. The Benedictions connected with the Shma‘
M. I. 8; T. I. 10-15, II. 1. The Going forth from Egypt
M. II. 1; T. II. 2. On Reciting the Shma‘ with Intention, and on Saluting between the Sections
M. II. 2-3. The Sections of the Shma‘ and their Order
M. II. 4; T. II. 3-7. On Reciting the Shma‘ inaudibly or irregularly
M. II. 5; T. II. 8-9. Where Workmen may Recite the Shma‘
M. II. 6; T. I. 3, II. 10. A Bridegroom and the Shma‘. Gamaliel
M. II. 7-8. Gamaliel: Other Incidents of his Infraction of Traditional Teaching
M. II. 9. A Bridegroom and the Shma‘ (continued)
M. III. 1. The Recitation of the Shma‘ if a Relation is Dead, and at the Burial
M. III. 2; T. II, 11. After the Burial
M. III. 3. The Case of Women, Slaves, and Children
M. III. 4-6; T. II, 12-21. The Shma‘, etc., in cases of Sexual Uncleanness

II.—The Eighteen Benedictions

M. IV. 1; T. III. 1-3. The Three Times of Prayer
M. IV. 2. Parenthesis: A Rabbi's Prayers on Entering and Leaving His School.
M. IV. 3. The Eighteen Prayers and their Abstract
M. IV. 4; T. III. 7. The Prayer not to be Mechanical: Prayer when in Danger
M. IV. 5; T. III. 18. Prayer when riding on an Ass
M. IV. 6; T. III. 19. Prayer on a Ship or on a Raft
M. IV. 7; T. III. 10-13. The Additional Prayers—Whether to be said only in a Congregation
M. V. 1; T. III. 4-21. The Posture and Attention in Prayer
M. V. 2; T. III. 9. The Mention of, and the Petition for, Rain, also the Habdalah, in the Prayer
M. V. 3-4. Three Examples of Benedictions at Wrong Times. On Mistakes made by the Leader
M. V. 5. On Mistakes (continued). R. Chanina's Knowledge of the Effect of His Prayers
T. III. 22-25. Additional Matter

III.—Benedictions at Meals, etc.

M. VI. 1-4; T. IV. 1-7. The Proper Forms for the Different Foods
M. VI. 5. On One Benediction exempting Another
M. VI. 6-8; T. IV. 8-13, V. 5-9, IV. 14-21. Various Regulations respecting Benedictions at Meals
T. V. 1-4. The Entrance on the Sabbath, the Meal, and the Benedictions
M. VII. 1-2; T. V, 10. Who may be invited to partake in the Benediction alter Meals
M VIII. 3; T. V. 14-20, 11-13. Women Slaves and Children excluded. The Quantity of Food over which Grace must be said
M. VII. 4-6. The Words of the Invitation depend on the Number Present
M. VII. 7; T. V. 19. Companies, how to be divided
M. VII. 8. On Companies joining for the Benediction at the End of a Meal. The Benediction over Wine—Whether Water should be added first
M. VIII. 1; T. VI. 1, III. 8. Points in Dispute between the Schools of Shammai and Hillel: The Order of the Benedictions
M. VIII. 2, T. VI. 2. The Order of Washing Hands, and Mixing the Cup
M. VIII. 3, T. VI. 4. Tidying the Room
M. VIII. 4; T. VI. 3-5. On Wiping one's Hands
M. VIII. 5; T. VI. 6. The Order of the Benedictions about Various Objects at the End of Sabbath
M. VIII. 6. The Wording of the Benediction over the Lamp
M. VIII. 7; T. VI. 7-8. Parenthesis: When the Benediction must not be said
M. VIII. 8. If the Benediction after a Meal has been forgotten
M. VIII. 9, T. III. 26, V. 21-24. The Order of the Benedictions over Wine and Food: When Amen may not be said
M. IX. 1; T. VII. 2. Benedictions at Scenes of Miracles, or of Past Idolatry
M. IX 2; T. VII. 1-6. At Various Natural Phenomena, and at Good or Bad Tidings
M. IX. 3. On Other Occasions
M. IX. 4-5; T. VII. 7-15. Parenthesis:—Prayers in Vain
M. IX. 6; T. VII. 16-18. On Praying when Entering and when Leaving a Town
M. IX. 7. On Saying a Benediction for Evil: Deut. 6:5 expounded
M. IX. 8a; T. VII. 19. Against Irreverence for the Temple
M. IX. 8b; T. VII. 21-22, 20. The Closing Words of the Benedictions
M. IX. 8c; T. VII. 23-25. Salutations in the Name


I. The Names of Rabbis
II. General
III. Scripture References