The Essential Talmud is a masterful introduction to the beliefs, attitudes, and methods of the sacred text by which the Jewish people have lived and survived through the ages-by the renowned Israeli rabbi, scholar, and teacher. Rabbi Steinsaltz is the first to capture the flavor and spirit of the Talmud as a human document and to summarize its main principles as an expression of divine law. This expanded edition features a new preface by the rabbi, a historical overview of life in the times of the Talmud, and an in-depth look at the content and appearance of the original Talmudic page. This seminal volume makes abundantly clear the importance of the Talmud in the lives of modern Jews. "This book is indispensable to those, Jews and Christians alike, who would like to gain an insight into what it is that moves the contemporary Jew." (Rabbi Solomon S. Bernards, B'Nai B'rith Anti-Defamation League)REVIEW: "Offers a fascinating introduction to the codified oral tradition." (Christianity Today)
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The Talmud is a repository of thousands of years of Jewish wisdom. Its two-and-a-half million words consist of a conglomeration of law, legend, and philosophy, a blend of unique logic, shrewd pragmatism, history, science, anecdotes, and humor. In The Essential Talmud, Rabbi Adin Steinsaltz, regarded as one of the leading rabbis of the century, offers an introduction to this sacred Jewish text, clearly and brilliantly describing the beliefs, attitudes, and methods that have occupied students of the Talmud for centuries. If the Bible is the cornerstone of Judaism", writes Rabbi Steinsaltz, "then the Talmud is the central pillar, soaring up from the foundations and supporting the entire spiritual and intellectual edifice". The Talmud, though in many ways the most important book in Jewish culture, is a work with which most Jews are almost entirely unfamiliar. Rabbi Steinsaltz, whose life's work includes his efforts to revive the study of the Talmud among the Jewish people, observes that "a Jewish society that ceases to study the Talmud has no real hope of survival". Describing the Talmud as "the backbone of creativity and national life" for Jews, Rabbi Steinsaltz explains that "understanding the Talmud gives one a key, not only for itself, but for all Jewish culture". He goes on to state that "from a cultural perspective the Talmud is the tool for self-understanding" for the Jewish people. Rabbi Adin Steinsaltz has a remarkable encyclopedic knowledge of Torah, Halakhah (Jewish law), and. Kabbalah (Jewish mystical thought), as well as a mastery of the sciences. He has earned worldwide recognition as a scholar, teacher, and mentor. The Essential Talmud, like several other works by RabbiSteinsaltz, has become a modern Jewish classic. His own Talmud translation and commentary, a project that Rabbi Steinsaltz began in 1967, has received extraordinary praise, and tens of thousands of volumes of his Talmud edition are circulating. The Essential Talmud is a superb window through which we can gain a glimpse, and more, of perhaps the most unique sacred work in the history of religion. In a single brief volume, Rabbi Steinsaltz succeeds in capturing the flavor and spirit of the Talmud as a human document and at the same time summarizes its main principles as an expression of divine law. A work of profound scholarship and yet also of concise, simple, and brilliant pedagogy, The Essential Talmud will make equally enlightening reading for those who are already versed in the subject and those who come to it for the first time.About the Author:
Rabbi Adin Steinsaltz is internationally regarded as one of the leading scholars and rabbis of this century. His education includes a degree in mathematics from Hebrew University, in addition to his rabbinic studies. Rabbi Steinsaltz founded the Israel Institute for Talmudic Publications; under its aegis, he has published fifty-eight books on the Talmud, Jewish mysticism, religious thought, sociology, historical biography, and philosophy. His biography of the famed Rabbi Menachem Schneerson will be published in 2007. These books have been translated into Russian, English, French, Portuguese, Swedish, Japanese, and Dutch. He lives in Jerusalem.
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