Wikisource:Open Mishnah Project

The Open Mishnah Project

WikiProject to create a fulltext English Mishnah for Wikisource


The Mishnah is the core text of rabbinic literature, second only to the Hebrew Bible as the basic text of rabbinic Judaism. This is the project page for The Open Mishnah Project. (For the title page and index, see Translation:Mishnah.)

The Open Mishnah Project is designed to be a multilingual, free content version of the Mishnah. It will include the original Hebrew texts of the Mishnah and its traditional commentaries, as well as new translations and commentaries collaboratively written, in wiki fashion. Besides English, Hebrew and French editions already exist as well. New versions can be started in any language spoken by people who study Mishnah (Russian, Spanish, Portugese...)!

There are several good English translations of the Mishnah, but unfortunately there is no translation that is free content or in the public domain. This is not only true for English translations, but even for the Hebrew original: There is at present no free content digital text of the Mishnah and related texts in Hebrew, either. The same is true for commentaries and study aids.

The Wikisource project provides the opportunity, in a case like that of the Mishnah, to be the forum for creating a collaborative electronic edition of the Mishnah, which include translations or original texts and commentaries, and other study aids, in multiple languages.

The Open Mishnah Project (in Hebrew: פרויקט המשנה הפתוחה) is already well underway at the Hebrew Wikisource (see משנה), where the orginial Hebrew texts are kept. The Mishnah project will hopefully become the first example of a multilingual version of a classic source text at Wikisource, created collaboratively, and supplied with the kinds of study aids that such a text requires. The "talk" pages on each unit of text provide the added opportunity to create community-type study of the texts at hand.

This is the Project page. It is a description of goals, methods, coordination, etc. in building a multilingual version of the mishnah with commentary and study aids. Discussion of these issues takes place on the talk page.


We aim (1) to create free content materials facilitating the study of the Mishnah, and (2) also to become a learning community of the Mishnah. The second goal may be reached both through the very process of producing the materials, and also by making use of the "Talk" pages associated with each individual mishnah.

Thus the Open Mishnah will include translations of texts and commentaries, and other study aids produced bit-by-bit, mishnah-by-mishnah, by the users themselves.

For instance, if several contributors each contribute a mishnah or two per week (perhaps following the "daily mishnah" schedule), we will slowly but surely be able to produce the first free content edition of the Mishnah ever. Not only that, but it will be more that just a static translation with study aids: It will be a project that is never finished, and can be added to and improved upon forever!

Translation and supplementary materialsEdit

This project will provide both translations and supplementary materials (the latter mostly based upon the source texts of the classical commentaries on the Translation:Mishnah but not always direct translations).

In accordance with Wikisource policy, as spelled out in Wikisource and Wikibooks, it will be possible throught the use of templates to view plain translation separately in a "clear" version without notes or commentary.

The index for each tractate is divided into chapters. Each chapter contains a link to "Plain translation of complete chapter," followed by links to individual mishnayot with supplementary material. The same translation appears in both versions (through the use of templates). For an example, see Mishnah Tractate Berakhot.


In general, all materials must be produced by the users themselves. Texts may not be taken from published editions of the Mishnah that are copyrighted unless there is explicit written permission to do so. For more information, see Permissions.

The Hebrew projectEdit

The Hebrew version of The Open Mishnah Project (see the משנה page at the Hebrew Wikisource) currently contains the texts of more than 100 mishnayot (Berakhot, the first five chapters of Peah, and parts of other tractates), each with formatted, punctuated Hebrew texts according to the versions in the Vilna edition and the Rambam, the commentary of Bartenura (Vilna edition punctuated), and sometimes other selected commentaries. Some of the formatted Hebrew mishnayot are vowelized as well.

Hebrew helpEdit

Typing in Hebrew on your keyboardEdit

  • If you use Windows, and you want to type in Hebrew on your keyboard:
  1. Go to "My Computer"
  2. Select "Control Panel"
  3. Select "Keyboard"
  4. Select "Language" and add Hebrew to your selected language(s)
  5. From now on, to switch back and forth between typing in different languages, use the "En/He" button at the bottom of your Windows screen, or hit "alt-shift" to accomplish the same thing.
  • If you use Linux with KDE:
  1. Open the "K Menu"
  2. Open the "Control Center"
  3. Open the "Regional & Accessibility" options and select "Keyboard Layout"
  4. In the "Available layouts:" list, select "Israeli" and click "Add >>"
  5. Click "Apply"
  6. An icon will appear in your system tray that will tell you what keyboard layout you are currently using. You can switch between layouts by clicking on the icon. You can alter the way it changes the layout by modifying the "Switching Options" tab in the "Keyboard Layout" menu.

Hebrew word processorEdit

It is often far easier to edit a mishnah or several mishnayot in your word processor first, and then copy and paste them into a Wikisource "edit box" when you are finished. Some people even find it convenient to do a chapter at a time this way. The links and categories are easier to edit several at a time in a word processor (using "find" and "replace").

Most Israelis use Word for Windows as their word processor. Many are switching to Open Office, which is a free, quality alternative that supports Hebrew. For those who don't want to purchase a new word processor just for the Hebrew, the free Hebrew version of Open Office can be downloaded here:


Each mishnah in the English version also usually contains the formatted Hebrew text. Sometimes the Hebrew vowels (nikkud) have been added to these texts.

Note that a software bug is currently interfering with the presentation of Hebrew vowels in Wikibooks (and in other Wikimedia projects). For technical details on the bug, see here. Apparently the bug is solved in Windows XP with SP2, but not in other Windows versions.


See also:Edit