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BARAITA DE-NIDDAH ():

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This Baraita, expressly mentioned by Naḥmanides, and probably known to the Geonim and the German-French Talmudists of the thirteenth century, was until recently supposed to be lost. It was not published until 1890, when it was edited and provided with an elaborate introduction by H. M. Horowitz. He gives it in seven recensions, most of which contain only portions of the Baraita, only one manuscript containing the complete Baraita.

The Baraita consists of Haggadah and Halakah relating to the Biblical and post-Biblical precepts in regard to the Niddah (Lev. xv. 19-33). The prolix, and in a certain sense exhaustive, introduction does not succeed in clearing away the obscurity which envelops everything concerning the Baraita. The Baraita mentions about twenty-five tannaim and as many amoraim, among whom, it is noteworthy, there is not one Babylonian. Its origin, then, is assured as Palestinian; but this is the only certain point. There are facts mentioned in the Baraita which clearly indicate a time when any idea of the chronology of the Tannaim and Amoraim was lacking. Akiba is represented as conversing with Rabbi; Ḥanina b. Dosa with Ḥiyyah; and so on. In the present condition of the Baraita it is almost impossible to decide what is of early and what of recent times. Consequently, the question must remain unsettled as to the originality of the various citations which this Baraita has in common with other Midrashim. Horowitz, however, regards this Baraita as the original in every point. Only this much must be conceded; viz., that a large part of the Baraita is of ancient origin.

Sectarian Standpoint.

The pervading tendency of the Baraita is to oppose the lenient halakic rulings of the Hillelites and of Akiba, and to take a standpoint which, on the one hand, touches the Sadducean Halakah, and, on the other hand, the strict interpretation of the Essenes. The well-known story of the Talmud ('Er. 13b; Yer. Ber. i. 3b) that a heavenly voice decided in favor of the Hillelites, runs in the Baraita as follows: "Blessed be the strict! These as well as those [the Hillelites as well as the Shammaites] speak the words of the living God; but we must regulate ourselves according to the teachings of the school of Shammai" (p. 21). The old Halakah, probably influenced by the Essenes and abrogated for the first time by Akiba (Sifra, Meẓora', end), by which a woman is virtually prevented at a certain time from all intercourse with the outer world, is declared to be binding in a number of passages in the Baraita (pp. 13 et seq., 21).

The medical and physiological rules in the Baraita (twenty-six, according to the enumeration of Horowitz, Introduction, pp. 56, 57) give rise to the supposition that it originated in a place where medicine was studied assiduously. The Baraita, not unknown to the Geonim, gradually came to be forgotten in consequence of its many points of contact with the teachings of the Karaites, who also accepted the old Sadducean view of Lev. xii. 4 et seq.; for such similarity tended to bring it into disfavor.

Bibliography:
  • Brüll, in Jahrbücher, ii. 124-126, v. 99;
  • idem, in Central-Anzeiger für Jüdische Literatur, pp. 31, 35;
  • Ch. M. Horowitz, Tosefata 'Attiḳata, iv. (containing the Introduction) and v. (containing the text of the Baraita), Frankfort-on-the-Main, 1890;
  • compare also Schechter, in Jew. Quart. Rev. iii. 338-342.
J. Sr. L. G.
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