Textual Studies

Yehuda ben Teima used to say: “At five years of age, Scripture; at ten, Mishna; at thirteen, mitzvos; at fifteen, Talmud…” Pirkei Avos 5:21

The above Mishna delineates a clear sequence of textual study, broken into three developmental stages:

  • Concrete Stage – At this stage, the child can think and reason about concrete objects, but still struggles with abstract ideas. Therefore, a young child begins his or her education studying the Tanakh for several years.
  • Abstract Stage – At this stage, the child continues to study Tanakh but also begins to conceptualize and reason about abstract ideas and thus studies it at a deeper level. It is also at this point that he or she is ready to begin learning Mishna.
  • Analytical Stage – At this stage, the child continues with his or her studies in Tanakh and Mishna but is also ready to apply his or her abstract thinking skills with the learning of Gemara.

For each stage, we’ve listed several curriculum options. Choose the ones that work best for your family.


Note: Begin at the level that is most comfortable for your child. As your child progresses, he or she will be able to move on to the next level of Hebrew.

No Hebrew Required:
The Little Midrash Says series (review)
The Family Midrash Says series (review)
Select a Beginning Hebrew Curriculum

Minimal Hebrew:
Bright Beginnings Chumash Workbook Part 1 and Part 2
Breakthrough Chinuch‘s Lashon Hatorah system
Lehavin U’lehaskil
Key to Torah
P’tach Chumash and Hebrew materials (especially The Dikduk Difference)
Lshon Hatorah

Basic Biblical Hebrew skills:
Tools For Torah Chumash workbooks (review)
Torah Skills Chumash with Rashi workbooks

Intermediate Biblical Hebrew skills:
Navi curriculum from Migdalor

Advanced Biblical Hebrew:
Original Texts and Classic Commentaries


Bonayich Elementary Mishna Curriculum by Rabbi Dr. Pinchas Hayman
Mishnayos Workbook Series by Rabbi Benzion Weissberger
Tallis Ends and Other Tales by Rabbi Dov Channen
The Illustrated Mishnayoth Shabbath from Feldheim by Rabbi Daniel Haberman
The Annotated and Illustrated Mishnah from Koren (Hebrew only)
Mishnayot Meirot by Avraham Cheshin (Hebrew only)
Mishna Run Video Series
Visual Mishnayos Video Series


Bright Beginnings’ Hachana L’Gemara
Children’s Gemara
Bonayich Gemara for Beginners Curriculum by Rabbi Dr. Pinchas Hayman
Rabbi Nosson Lomner’s Gemara Series (Aramaic with English linear translation), available from Torah Umesorah Catalog

Study Aids for Advanced Students
The Practical Talmud Dictionary by Rabbi Yitzhak Frank
Aramaic-Hebrew-English Dictionary by Ezra Zion Melamed
Aiding Talmud Study by Aryeh Carmell
Understanding the Talmud by Rabbi Yitzchak Feigenbaum
Charting the Sea of Talmud by Dr. Yisrael Ury
Reference Guide for the Talmud by Rabbi Adin Steinsaltz
Gemara Steps and Structure by Rabbi Yechezkel Norman
Jastrow Dictionary

Additional materials for all levels are available at chinuch.org and the Torah Umesorah Catalog.