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MASSEKET or MASSEKTA (plural, Massektot, Massektiyyot; Num. R. xviii. 21; Midr. Teh. civ. 25):

Any collection of rabbinic texts affecting any more or less complex subject. Literally the term means "a web" (from = "to weave"; comp. Latin "textus"). It is applied indifferently to a treatise of the Mishnah (Shab. 3b; B. Ḳ. 102a), to a compilation of baraitot (Shab. 114a), or to a treatise of the Mishnah with Gemara (Hor. 10b). The whole of the Mishnah as now known comprises sixty-three massektot, though ancient authorities speak of sixty only, reckoning the three Babot (Baba Ḳamma, Baba Meẓi'a, and Baba Batra) as one and Sanhedrin and Makkot as one (Num. R. xviii. 21; see Straschun ad loc., note 23; Cant. R. vi. 9; see Luria ad loc.). The Babylonian Gemara embraces thirty-seven massektot, and the Palestinian thirty-nine. Besides these there are appended to editions of the Babylonian Talmud many "minor massektot" ("massektot ḳeṭannot"), seven of which Raphael Kirchheim edited (Frankfort-on-the-Main, 1851); these seven are chiefly of a halakic nature. Latterly the term "masseket" was applied to any treatise, even if of comparatively small compass and of cabalistic type. See Talmud.

Bibliography:
  • Kohut, Aruch Completum;
  • Levy, Chal. Wörterb.;
  • idem, Neuhebr. Wörterb.;
  • Jastrow, Dictionary.
S. S. S. M.
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