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Seder Zeraim (Hebrew: סדר זרעים, lit. "Order of Seeds") is the first and shortest Seder ("Order") of the Mishnah, the first major work of Jewish law. The section of mishnah was written by the rabbis to inform religious Jews what must be done to fulfill their biblical obligations of prayer and commandments about food. Observers of Jewish law are bound with many obligations and restrictions regarding agricultural areas, and must adhere to a stringent schedule for prayer times.
Of all the Tractates in Seder Zeraim, only Berakhot has a corresponding Gemara in the Babylonian Talmud. However, many of the mishnayot of Seder Zeraim are addressed throughout the Babylonian Talmud. The Tractates of Seder Zeraim are included in the Jerusalem Talmud.
Zeraim is divided into eleven tractates:
A traditional setting of the last passage of Berakhot, which describes how Jewish scholars increase peace. Performed by Cantor Meyer Kanewsky in 1919.
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In many editions of the Mishnah, even early ones like those of Naples 1492, and of Riva 1559, as well as in most of the editions of the Babylonian Talmud, a fourth chapter, which is likely a Baraisa, has been added to Bikkurim (comp. the gloss in the Vilna edition of the Talmud, p. 87b). The sequence of the volumes of Zeraim in both editions (as they are numbered above) corresponds with that given by Maimonides.
Although the first volume, about blessings, seems not to belong in a section on agriculture, the reasoning for its inclusion is as follows: In Judaism, a blessing must be said before enjoying food or other produce. Similarly, before studying the laws pertaining to sustenance, it is appropriate to learn the laws of blessings.
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