KALLAH (Heb. כַּלָּה; "bride"), one of the minor tractates appended to the end of the fourth order, Nezikin, in the printed texts of the Babylonian Talmud. There are two separate versions of the tractate. The shorter one consists of a single chapter while the larger version contains ten chapters and is known as Kallah Rabbati. Originally only the shorter tractate was known and it was published in the printed edition of the Talmud and the Maḥzor Vitry. The manuscript of the longer version was first published by Naḥman Coronel (Vienna, 1864), and subsequently printed in the *Romm (Vilna) edition of the Talmud. In three places the Babylonian Talmud cites the same passage, which mentions a tractate Kallah (Shab. 114a; Ta'an. 10b; Kid. 49b). It is related that a person is considered a disciple of the wise when he can answer any question of halakhah connected with his studies "even though it is on a subject dealt with in the Kallah tractate." Scholars are uncertain as to the exact meaning of this phrase. Some hold that the allusion is to this tractate, while others explain that the reference is to the semiannual assemblies of the Babylonian scholars which were termed kallah and at which a designated tractate was studied.
The smaller tractate of Kallah discusses the subject of betrothal, marriage, chastity, and moral purity both in thought and action. The subject matter of this treatise is culled from *beraitot contained in the Babylonian Talmud. Its authorship was generally attributed to Yehudai Gaon (eighth century), but M. Higger concludes that the original Kallah was compiled by a disciple of *Eliezer b. Hyrcanus and that a later compiler added to it (intro. to M. Higger's edition of Kallah, 13).
The larger tractate of Kallah Rabbati resembles the format of the Talmud, consisting of beraitot and Gemara. According to N. Friedmann (Seder Eliyahu Zuta, introd. p. 15), it emanated from the school of *Rava in Mahoza (Babylonia, third century). A. Aptowitzer, however, held that the author was Rava, a disciple of Yehudai Gaon (REJ 57 (1909), 239–48). Of the ten chapters comprising Kallah Rabbati only the first two discuss betrothal and marriage and they form a commentary to the shorter version of Kallah. Except for chapter 8, the remaining chapters form an amplification of Derekh Ereẓ Rabbah and Derekh Ereẓ Zuta. Chapter 8 is closely related to "the chapter on the acquisition of the Torah" or "the baraita of R. Meir" appended to Pirkei Avot. Much aggadic material is contained in this tractate, including the interesting stories of Akiva and the spirit of a deceased man (ch. 2); the four sages and the philosopher (ch. 7); Simeon b. Antipatros and his guests (ch. 9); and Akiva and the Athenian (ch. 10). A critical edition of the texts of Kallah and Kallah Rabbati was published by M. Higger in 1936. An English translation of these tractates was issued by Soncino Press in 1965.
Sources: Encyclopaedia Judaica. © 2008 The Gale Group. All Rights Reserved.