Translated by Joseph I. Gorfinkle.
l centuries before the common era, Aramaic was the vernacular of the Jews. Hebrew, however, remained in use as the sacred language ([lashon ha-kodesh]), it being the language of the learned, and was employed for literary, liturgical, and legal purposes. This accounts for the Mishnah being written almost entirely in Hebrew, though Aramaic was spoken on the streets. It is related of Judah ha-Nasi that he disliked the Aramaic jargon to such an extent that he forbade its use in his home, where even the servants spoke Hebrew with elegance (Rosh ha-Shanah, 26b). When scholars used Aramaic in his presence, he chided them for not speaking in Hebrew or in Greek (Baba Kamma, 82b).
DEVELOPMENT OF ABOT (13)
(13) On the subject-matter of this section, consult Hoffmann, Die erste Mischna, pp. 26-37; idem, Mischnaiot Seder Nesikin, Introd., pp. XX-XXI; Brull, Enstehung und ursprunglicher Inhalt des Traktates Abot; Loeb, La Chaine