The Mishnah (from the Hebrew verb shanah, to “repeat”) is the body of Jewish oral law, specifically, the collection of oral laws compiled by Rabbi Judah the Prince in the early third century A.D.


The word havdalah comes from the same Hebrew root that is part of the verb l’havdil, “to distinguish.”



Benjamin Mazar, “Hebrew Inscription from the Temple Area in Jerusalem,” Qadmoniot 3 (1910), pp. 142–144 (Hebrew); The Mountain of the Lord (New York, 1975), p. 138; “Herodian Jerusalem in the Light of the Excavations South and Southwest of the Temple Mount,” Israel Exploration Journal 28 (1978), p. 234.


Regarding the trumpeting to mark the end of the Sabbath, see Babylonian Talmud, Shabbath 114b; note especially Abbaye’s statement that this act was aimed at the common people. See also Maimonides, Mishnah Torah, Sefer Zemanim 5:20. In general, see the lengthy discussion by Saul Lieberman, Tosefta Ki-fshutah, part 4 (Moed) (New York, 1962), pp. 894–899. In particular, he notes that the custom of announcing the Sabbath by a blast of the ram’s horn continued among Babylonian Jewry at least until the time of the fourth century A.D. Raba amora (Babylonian Talmud, Abodah Zara 70a) The custom has been renewed in the cities and in various neighborhoods in modern Israel.


Josephus, The Jewish War IV.580–583, transl. H. St. J. Thackeray, Loeb Classical Library, Josephus III (London, 1928), pp. 171–173.


Cited in Mazar, “Hebrew Inscription,” p. 144. See also Ben-Dov’s suggestion that this is a votive inscription originally citing the donor’s name in the lacuna (Meir Ben-Dov et al. The Western Wall [1981], pp. 248–249 [in Hebrew]).


Mishnah, Middoth 1:1–2.


Although the form of this beth differs from the beth in the first word of the inscription, the difference is not significant. Over 20 years ago, Nahman Avigad noted that the use of different forms of the same letter in the same inscription, sometimes even in the same word, occurs very frequently in monumental and ossuary inscriptions (“The Paleography of the Dead Sea Scrolls and Related Documents,” in Aspects of the Dead Sea Scrolls, Scripta Hierosolymitana IV [Jerusalem, 1958], pp. 56–87). Many of the ossuaries to which Avigad refers present two forms for beth: the common one, with a long base line extending to the right of the vertical, and a form with a truncated base line perpendicular to the vertical line. I believe that both forms of beth are represented in the Temple Mount inscription.

See also the Uzziah inscriptions in Inscriptions Reveal (Israel Museum #255, 1972), for two forms of he and mem.