Jewish Ethics

To Learn by Repetition - Middah Mishnah

Barbara Binder Kadden, RJE
Mishnah comes from the Hebrew root shin-nun-hey which means "to repeat." The word mishnah, influenced by Aramaic, took on the meaning "to learn." One can translate mishnah as "to learn by repetition." The middah—Jewish value—of mishnah means both "the study of Scripture" (the Written Law, which is Torah) and "the study of Mishnah" (the Oral Law).

To Attend to the Sages - Middah Shimush Chachamim

Barbara Binder Kadden, RJE
Shimush Chachamim means "to attend to the Sages." Shimush comes from the Hebrew root shin-mem-shin and means "to serve" or "to attend." A related word is shamash—the servant candle used to kindle the lights of the Hanukkiah—the Hanukkah menorah. Chachamim translates as "sages" and usually refers to the rabbis of the Talmud. The word Chachamim is the plural form of chacham, coming from the Hebrew root chet-chaf-mem meaning "wisdom."