November 12, 2003
I'm organizing a siyum of Mishnayos for my grandfather (it is traditional to learn Mishnayos - the topic headings from the Talmud - in memory of those that have died. The Hebrew word for Mishnah (Mem - Shin - Nun - Heh) is an anagram of Neshama (Nun - Shin - Mem - Heh), which is Hebrew for soul). To participate, go to the Siyum Signup page and pick out your Tractate of choice.
I built the application in a few hours, and it is far from perfect, but it should suffice. I'm going to work on allowing others to create their own tracking lists. All this points to the fact that I need my own server. I'm working on that, too.
Peninah, via e-mail, asked if it was appropriate for women to sign up (the problem being the traditional injunction against women learning Torah She'Ba'al Peh - which includes Mishnah). R. Moshe Feinstein has a famous responsa where he limits women's learning Mishnah to only Pirke Avot (Ethics of out Fathers). In contrast, most Modern Orthodox institutions allows women to learn Mishneh and Talmud. For the signup site, I'm going to leave it open, and whatever people want to do, they can do. If you want to sign up for something but don't feel comfortable publicizing the fact that you are learning Mishnayos, you can use an anonymous name (email addresses are not displayed to the public).
With Avot taken for my grandfather's siyum, Peninah asked what other tractates were appropriate for women. I told her: Challah, Sotah, Gittin, Makkos, Chullin, Kelim and Niddah ;)
One request: if anyone knows of an English translation of the Mishnah on the web, let me know.