- BEẒAH (Heb. בֵּיצָה; "egg"), a tractate (so called after its opening word) of the order Mo'ed, in the Mishnah, Tosefta, Babylonian Talmud, and Jerusalem Talmud. The tractate deals with the laws of festivals, but whereas other tractates of the order Mo'ed deals with specific festivals, Beẓah, in the main, discusses the laws common to festivals in general; for this reason this tractate is also called Yom Tov ("festival"). The tractate consists of five chapters in both the Mishnah and the Talmud, but of only four in the Tosefta. The first two chapters of the Mishnah consist chiefly of differences of opinion between Bet Shammai and bet hillel (e.g. 2:7; 3:8; 5:5) but also includes traditions from the period of Jabneh (2:6). The Mishnah ascribes most of the halakhot to various tannaim who were disciples of R. Akiva , but it also contains many anonymous mishnayot of later tannaim who were contemporaries of Judah ha-Nasi. Beẓah in the Babylonian Talmud contains many teachings of Palestinian scholars who reached Babylon by way of the neḥutei , but which do not appear in the Jerusalem Talmud. Conversely, the text of the tractate in the Jerusalem Talmud contains statements of Babylonian scholars which are not found in the Babylonian Talmud. Beẓah contains many additions of the savoraim (26a, 27a, 35b), as well as older material revised by them. Aside from the regular editions and commentaries, one of the earliest commentaries on the Jerusalem Talmud has been preserved for Beẓah, that of R. Eleazar Azikri, edited by Israel Francis (1967). -BIBLIOGRAPHY: P. Blackman (ed. and tr.), Mishnayot, 2 (Eng., 1952), 349–75 (with introd. and notes); H.Strack, Introduction to the Talmud and Midrash (1959(2), 39–40; Epstein, Tanna'im, 354–62; Epstein, Amora'im, 24–44; H. Albeck, Shishah Sidrei Mishnah, Seder Mo'ed (1958), 281–6. (Zvi Kaplan)
Encyclopedia Judaica. 1971.