13 Kislev:

the Completion of the Babylonian Talmud

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Rav Avina Bar Rav Huna, one of the last editors and compilers of the Babylonian Talmud, known also as “the last Ravina”, passed away on the 13th of Kislev.

The materials for the Talmud had been accumulated for more than 200 years, since Rabbi Yehuda ha-Nasi and a group of Tannaim had compiled the Mishnah – the main body of the Jewish law.

Rav Ashi and Ravina I began the next undertaking: they started collecting and editing the discussions and rulings of hundreds of scholars and sages (the Amoraim), structured as commentary on the Mishnah with stories interwoven.

The work begun by Rav Ashi was completed by “the last Ravina” (Ravina II), who is traditionally regarded as the final Amoraic expounder.

According to Sherira Gaon, after Ravina II, no further additions were made to the Talmud, with the exception of the minimal editing undertaken by the Rabbanan Savura’i. This date thus marks the point at which the Talmud was “sealed” and became the basis for all further exegesis of the Torah law.

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