Why the Babylonian Talmud?

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You said in your first article on studying Torah: “Since the Babylonian Talmud incorporates both scriptural passages and Oral Torah, Talmud study plays a central role in fulfilling the mitzva of talmud Torah.” I see the source in Sanhedrin (and the Tosafot), which you bring, but I did not understand the point. In which way the Yerushalmi (or Midrashim from Eretz Yisrael) would be less “blended” containing both scriptural passages and Oral Torah. Why dafka Bavel?

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Asked on October 20, 2018 9:40 pm
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You are correct that in theory the Jerusalem Talmud also fully meets these criteria.
Tosafot presumably specified the Babylonian Talmud: (1) On the basis of the statement in Sanhedrin which highlights the blended nature of specifically the Bavli. (There is no parallel wordplay for Yerushalmi.) (2) Because reliable versions of the Babylonian Talmud were widely accessible, while transmission of the Jerusalem Talmud was spotty.
Like learning Talmud, learning midrash is still an act of talmud Torah. But since collections of midrashim are less likely to contain halachic material than the Talmud, it is not as good a candidate as Talmud for being a catch-all method of fulfilling the mitzva.

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Answered on October 22, 2018 6:11 pm