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The Essential Talmud (English Edition) [Format Kindle]

Rabbi Adin Steinsaltz
5.0 étoiles sur 5  Voir tous les commentaires (2 commentaires client)

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Présentation de l'éditeur

The Essential Talmud is a masterful introduction by Rabbi Adin Steinsaltz to the great repository of Jewish wisdom, the Talmud. A book of profound scholarship and concise pedagogy, The Essential Talmud succinctly describes the Talmud’s history, structure, and methodology. It summarizes the Talmud’s main principles, demonstrates its contemporary relevance, and captures the spirit of this unique and paradoxical sacred text as a human expression of divine law.

Christianity Today

"Offers a fascinating introduction to the codified oral tradition."

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En savoir plus sur l'auteur

Rav Adin Even-Israël (Steinsaltz) est né à Jérusalem en 1937.
Fils unique de parents non pratiquants mais emplis d'idéaux, il a passé la majeure partie de son enfance et de son adolescence dans le quartier hiérosolymite du « vieux » Katamon. Sa personnalité y ressortit rapidement au milieu de figures dominantes comme le Rav Avraham 'Hen et le Rav Dov Eliézorov qui l'ont marqué de leur empreinte.
Lycéen, puis étudiant en chimie et mathématiques à l'université de Jérusalem, il consacra néanmoins la plupart de son temps à approfondir ses connaissances du judaïsme, puisant dans les enseignements révélés et voilés de la Torah. Pendant ces mêmes années, il fit la connaissance de Rav Chémaryahou Sassonkin et de Rav Chlomo Zévin, avec qui il a pu étudier de longues heures. Ce sont eux qui l'ont encouragé à entrer pour quelques temps à la yéchiva 'Habad de Lod.
Par la suite, les occupations de Rav Adin ont couvert des domaines variés. Depuis l'écriture d'articles dans diverses revues, en passant par des conférences ou des cours jusqu'à des activités éducatrices pour les jeunes. À l'âge de 24 ans, il devint le plus jeune directeur d'école dans tout Israël. En 1965, il s'est marié avec Sarah Zyslin-Azimov; ils ont aujourd'hui trois enfants et de nombreux petits enfants. Dans la même année, il fonda l'Institut du Talmud à Jérusalem et s'y est donné corps et âme pour mener à bien l'une des œuvres de sa vie : la traduction et le commentaire du Talmud de Babylone. C'est que le Talmud représente le trésor du savoir et de l'esprit du peuple juif. La traduction est précise, le commentaire dans un hébreu moderne et fluide, accompagné de diagrammes et d'illustrations, de préfaces et d'explications, de données biographiques sur les Sages du Talmud, de commentaires et réflexions ainsi que d'un index détaillé. Tout cela a permis d'ouvrir les portes du Talmud à un large public, assoiffé de connaissances : incapable de s'en approcher jusqu'à présent, il y a désormais facilement accès.
Cette traduction commentée connue sous le nom de « Talmud Steinsaltz » existe aujourd'hui en plusieurs langues, notamment en français, et occupe une place centrale dans les bibliothèques juives ou les instituts académiques. En novembre 2010, après quarante cinq ans de labeur ininterrompu, le Rav Adin Steinsaltz a achevé la traduction et l'édition de 45 volumes.
En plus de ce travail intensif sur le Talmud, Rav Adin a écrit une soixantaine de livres, recouvrant de multiples aspects de la connaissance juive. Nombre de ces livres ont été traduits dans de nombreuses langues, en anglais, en russe, en espagnol, en portugais, en italien et, bien entendu, en français comme désormais le classique livre d'Introduction à la Cabbale : La Rose aux treize pétales ou, plus récemment, Introduction à l'esprit des fêtes juives - une année pleine de vie, parus chez Albin Michel, Personnages du Talmud et Laisse mon Peuple savoir paru chez Bibliophane, ou encore Mots Simples paru chez Avant Propos.
En 1991, sous les conseils orientés du Rabbi de Loubavitch, le Rav Steinsaltz a changé son nom en "Even-Israël".
Au fil des ans, Rav Adin a créé de nombreuses institutions :
Les institutions "Mékor 'Haïm" à Jérusalem comprenant l'école primaire, un lycée-yéchiva où la Torah est enseignée à côté des études générales selon l'esprit et la conception éducative du Rav Adin Even-Israël (Steinsaltz).
Un réseau d'institutions éducatives en Russie (depuis 1989 avant même l'effondrement du régime soviétique) comprenant une université juive et une école de formation pour les enseignantes et les jardinières d'enfants.
La Yéchiva supérieure de Tékoa fondée en 1999 dont les élèves participent à des activités sociales et éducatives en Israël et en Diaspora.
Le Merkaz Steinsaltz fondé en 2006 à Jérusalem qui regroupe sous un même toit un centre éducatif où le Rav et ses élèves donnent des conférences et animent des ateliers, l'Institut du talmud et les bureaux administratifs de la direction.

Le Rav et les activités nombreuses qu'il mène constituent une source d'inspiration pour le plus grand nombre dans le monde juif, voire non juif. En 2002, s'est formée l'association Aleph, en Amérique, en Angleterre, en Australie et en Israël, ou, en France, celle des "Amis du Rav Steinsaltz" qui réunit tous ceux qui souhaitent soutenir ses institutions et diffuser son enseignement.
Les autorités d'Israël ainsi que d'autres pays ont reconnu et apprécié le rôle central joué par le Rav et lui ont décerné prix et médailles dont en particulier, le Prix Israël en 1988, le Prix du Président et du Premier ministre de l'État d'Israël, ou encore le titre doctor honoris causa des universités de Ben Gourion et de Bar Ilan, de Yéchiva University à New York et de Brandes en Floride aux États-Unis.
Le Rav Adin Even-Israël poursuit son œuvre sans relâche, en donnant cours et conférences dans le monde entier. Ses articles ou ses livres continuent d'être publiés dans de nouvelles langues ; ces dernières années, le Rav communique aussi au travers de son propre blog, fournit des réponses aux questions qu'on lui pose sur Internet. Il ne cesse de rechercher de nouvelles voies et de nouvelles opportunités afin de mieux diffuser encore son enseignement de la connaissance et de la sagesse juives à des publics de plus en plus larges.

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Commentaires client les plus utiles
1 internautes sur 1 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
5.0 étoiles sur 5 Essential introduction 16 mars 2009
Par JMM
Format:Broché
Excellent, detailed, yet accessible introduction to the Talmud for everyone interested in knowing more about this fundamental work. As the author says, no one can understand Judaism without understanding what the Talmud is about. The author, himself a translator of the Talmud, is a recognized authority on the subject and penned several others very recommendable books. One missing point is that he doesn't give the source from his numerous quotes.
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5.0 étoiles sur 5 More than meets the eye... 16 février 2006
Par FrKurt Messick TOP 1000 COMMENTATEURS
Format:Broché
Adin Steinsaltz is second to none in the field of Talmudic studies. A translator and editor of the magnificent Steinsaltz edition of the Talmud, he heads the Israel Institute for Talmudic Publications, one of the primary institutes for the discipline. Author of more than 60 books, Rabbi Steinsaltz's writings are what first introduced me to the interesting and complex world of the Talmud in an accessible and engaging manner.
The Talmud is not part of the shared Judeo-Christian tradition; this is a development of rabbinic Judaism after the divergence of the paths. Steinsalz states that if the Bible constitutes the cornerstone of Judaism, the Talmud is its central pillar. The Talmud arose from the writings of teachers and the wise in Palestine and in Babylonia from the aftermath of the destruction of the second Temple up until the early Middle Ages. Steinsaltz traces this history in the first part of the text, from the periods of oral tradition, to the tannaim (the period of Hillel and Shammai), the compilation of the Misnah, the amoraim (interpretations), and the final redaction and printing. Steinsaltz also looks at the various times of the banning and burning of the Talmud. He points out that without the Talmud, the Jewish communities might well have ceased to exist, which is one of the reasons why persecutors sought to limit or destroy the books.
In his second section, Steinsaltz looks at the structure and content of the Talmud. While the Talmud consists of the Mishnah (a book of halakhah, the laws, written in Hebrew), and the Gemarah (the commentary on the law), in fact there is much more to Talmud than this. Into the commentaries rabbis and sages included many details and facets about the culture and general life of Jewish people beyond the legal and theological beliefs.
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Amazon.com: 4.1 étoiles sur 5  29 commentaires
186 internautes sur 189 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
4.0 étoiles sur 5 Very good, if slightly detached, introduction to the Talmud 16 novembre 1998
Par Un client - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format:Broché
I'm a non-Jewish person who is completely new to - but very interested in - Judaism and Jewish thought. Having read around the subject of the Talmud, I realised I didn't know my Mishnah from my Midrash and I sought a book which would tell me exactly what the Talmud was, its history and an overview of its contents. Essential Talmud does that very well, putting the Talmud into context and charting its development and its importance to the Jewish people and their identity. Fortunately for me the book stayed within its scope - I wasn't bogged down by minutiae. On completion of the book, I knew what the various stages of the Talmud were, how they came about and who the main authors were from the Mishnah to the Tosafot. I also knew just how huge the Talmud was and how it was divided and sub-divided. The only negative thing I felt about the book was that it was maybe too 'detached' - it did not transmit or recreate the atmosphere of sagely debate for me or really bring the Talmud 'to life'. More importantly, it would have really benefitted from some sample pages illustrating what the various sections of the page were. Navigating around the beautifully written Talmud's pages seems like a pleasure in itself so it was a missed opportunity not to show what it actually looked like. Overall it was a very enjoyable starting point for a self-confessed novice, teaching me what I wanted to know, though not leaving me quite as enthusiastic to read my first tractate as I thought it might.
110 internautes sur 114 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
4.0 étoiles sur 5 Useful Introduction, but not the "Essential" Talmud 15 avril 2002
Par "krchicago" - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format:Broché
Rabbi Steinsaltz, one of the most respected Talmudists of his generation, has devoted significant effort to introducing the Talmud to a wider audience and encouraging people to actually read it rather than merely read about it. Starting to read the Talmud without some idea of what it is and what it is about would be a very frustrating project, however, and this book is intended to help bridge that gap.
"The Essential Talmud" is divided into three sections, covering history, content and method. The historical section gives a very traditional account of the origins of the Talmud in the oral Torah, and its compilation and editing in Palestine and Babylon. By "traditional" I mean that this is essentially the account that the Talmud gives of itself or that can be filled in from other rabbinic literature. Whether or not this history is completely accurate, it is a significant part of the Talmud's self-presentation and of its authority, and throws important light on both the Talmud's content (largely the teachings of prior masters) and its methods (the obsessive quest to identify the authors of and reconcile the various teachings). In short, it is very difficult to understand the Talmud if you do not understand where the Talmud believes it came from, and Rabbi Steinsaltz's chapters on history are very helpful in that regard. He then goes beyond the Talmud itself to offer a brief history of Talmudic exegesis, and some very interesting information on the printing and persecution of the Talmud.
The second section of the book covers the structure and content of the Talmud. Here Rabbi Steinsaltz offers a very concise summary of the topics touched on by the various tractates of the Talmud. These very brief chapters can do no more than give one a sense of the general subject matter covered, but they successfully provide a general overview. What I found lacking in this section was the complete absence of any citations to the Talmud itself, or any bibliography for further reading on the various subjects. It is easy enough to guess that most of the material on marriage will be found somewhere in Tractates Ketubot and Kiddushin, but it is less easy to determine the source for his comments on the status of women or on ethics and halakhah. Some citations here would have been nice, in case the reader is sufficiently intrigued to want to read more. For example, in the chapter on ethics, Rabbi Steinsaltz summarizes rabbinic thinking on the sometimes conflicting claims of justice ("truth") and compromise ("peace"). I would love to read more on this subject, but I don't know where in the Talmud (or in other commentaries) to look. (For a more detailed look at the subject matter of the Talmud, see Abraham Cohen's "Everyman's Talmud," which has chapters that cover most of the tractate subjects, and additionally pulls together material on other subjects (such as the nature of God, sin and repentance, and so on) that is scattered throughout the Talmud.)
The third section of the book is entitled "Method," and while it is in some ways the most intriguing part of the book, it is also in some ways the least successful. Here Rabbi Steinsaltz attempts to give the reader a sense of how the Talmud operates, what problems it studies, how it approaches those problems, and how it uses logic, midrash and aggadah to achieve its goals. There are many interesting insights here *if* you already have some experience with reading Talmud. The real difficulty is the almost complete lack of concrete examples or actual text from the Talmud to illustrate Rabbi Steinsaltz's points.
Overall, I found this to be a good summary of basic points that someone new to Talmud study needs to know. The book is well written and easy to read. The failure to include any extended passages of text is a major flaw, however, and makes it impossible for this book to really capture the "essence" of the Talmud.
63 internautes sur 64 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
5.0 étoiles sur 5 More than meets the eye... 30 juillet 2004
Par FrKurt Messick - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format:Broché
Adin Steinsaltz is second to none in the field of Talmudic studies. A translator and editor of the magnificent Steinsaltz edition of the Talmud, he heads the Israel Institute for Talmudic Publications, one of the primary institutes for the discipline. Author of more than 60 books, Rabbi Steinsaltz's writings are what first introduced me to the interesting and complex world of the Talmud in an accessible and engaging manner.

The Talmud is not part of the shared Judeo-Christian tradition; this is a development of rabbinic Judaism after the divergence of the paths. Steinsalz states that if the Bible constitutes the cornerstone of Judaism, the Talmud is its central pillar. The Talmud arose from the writings of teachers and the wise in Palestine and in Babylonia from the aftermath of the destruction of the second Temple up until the early Middle Ages. Steinsaltz traces this history in the first part of the text, from the periods of oral tradition, to the tannaim (the period of Hillel and Shammai), the compilation of the Misnah, the amoraim (interpretations), and the final redaction and printing. Steinsaltz also looks at the various times of the banning and burning of the Talmud. He points out that without the Talmud, the Jewish communities might well have ceased to exist, which is one of the reasons why persecutors sought to limit or destroy the books.

In his second section, Steinsaltz looks at the structure and content of the Talmud. While the Talmud consists of the Mishnah (a book of halakhah, the laws, written in Hebrew), and the Gemarah (the commentary on the law), in fact there is much more to Talmud than this. Into the commentaries rabbis and sages included many details and facets about the culture and general life of Jewish people beyond the legal and theological beliefs. It represents a thousand years of wisdom, legend, philosophy, common sense and community interpretation that goes well beyond a strict legal codification. While talking about such well-known topics such as dietary restrictions and Sabbath/holy day observances, one gets a sense for the greater community, what is important and what is identity-forming.

The third section is on method. The Jewish tradition never developed a theological practice like the Christian theological process, largely because the Talmudic process already encompassed much of what would have been otherwise covered. There are particular ways of thinking, approaching problems of interpretation and applicability, as well as an open-endedness to Talmud that makes it a strong and continuing vital presence in Jewish life. The Talmudic scholar is not required to memorise and accept all that is written in the books -- unlike the Bible, it was never seen as having a final redaction and closing of the canon. Indeed, according to Steinsaltz, it is the responsibility of a Talmudic student or scholar to question things that seem to conflict with each other, or with daily life. Just as culture and society continue to change, so too does the Talmud and the way it is applied and interpreted -- this process is built into the document itself.

In this book, Steinsaltz writes for the general audience. He defines his terms and, while he uses a fair amount of Hebrew terminology, he keeps these well explained and relevant. He does not go off on tangents or into too much detail for an introductory survey; however, he does give good examples as highlights (for instance, the discussion about the mouse who brought in breadcrumbs to Passover, etc.). These add colourful details; the Talmud can be wonderfully practical and astonishingly removed from real life, all within pages of each other.

This is a wonderful introduction to the Talmud by a wonderful teacher.
27 internautes sur 28 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
5.0 étoiles sur 5 An excellent introduction to the Talmud 29 mars 2000
Par Jack Peters - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format:Broché
This book does its job very well. It does not aim to explain every last detail of the Talmud, or to impart the same feeling that one has while studying Talmud, it is meant as an introduction to the Talmud, its history and structure. It fills those roles very well. Don't buy this book if you want to know exact details, it is not meant for that. It could potentially be interesting for the seasoned Talmudist, but it would probably say nothing that he didn't already know
33 internautes sur 36 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
4.0 étoiles sur 5 The "central pillar" examined... 7 janvier 2001
Par Thomas J. Brucia - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format:Broché
I expected a lot from this book and (mostly) got it. Adin Steinsaltz is perhaps the most renowned living expert on the Talmud, and has been responsible for the interpretation and translation of the Talmud into several languages. "The Essential Talmud" is, however, an introduction. (I found it was useful to switch back and forth from this book and Abraham Cohen's classic: "Everyman's Talmud". Incidentally, in that work Jacob Neusner, in the foreword, has some interesting comments about Steinsaltz's approach to Talmud.) Elsewhere, Steinsaltz has said: "The Talmud is the repository of thousands of years of Jewish wisdom. And the oral law, which is [as] ancient and significant as the written law (Torah), finds expression therein. It is a conglomerate of law, legend, and philosophy, a blend of unique logic and shrewd pragmatism, of history and science, anecdote and humor." Each of these aspects is discussed in "The Essential Talmud". This work is divided into three parts: (1) "History", (2) "Structure and Content," and (3) "Method". ------ I especially liked Part 1. I found this to be the clearest simple historical outline of oral law I have been able to find (though my Britannica comes close). Steinsaltz starts from the First Temple period and the time of the Great Assembly (in Chapter 2), through the Era of the Zugot (Pairs) i.e. 332 BCE - 37 CE (in Chapter 3), on to the Tannaim (the Scholars) and the compilation of the Mishnah (in Chapters 4 & 5), and then on to the Amoraim (the Interpreters) of both Babylonia and Palestine (in Chapters 6 & 7). Most of the famous historical figures of these periods are mentioned. (A hint: I underlined interesting passages in black, and went back and underlined the names in red; this has proved even more useful than I thought it might!) Steinsaltz carries right on: redaction of the Talmud, exegeses including tosafot, responsa, etc, the development of Talmudic study during the Middle Ages, the first printings of the Talmud in 1482 and 1520, and persecution and banning of the Talmud shortly after. Quite a good overview in only 75 pages! ------ Part 2, "Structure and Content" loosely follows the organization of the Mishnah, order by order. This is a "condensed books" overview of the Talmud. In places Steinsaltz goes into some detail; other areas are skipped over. Especially while studying part 2 I found cross-reading Abraham Cohen's work (despite its admittedly idiosyncratic arrangement) quite useful. Steinsaltz gives the overview; Cohen gives the twig-by-twig detail. Also in this section, Steinsaltz VERY briefly mentions Jewish mysticism in a seven-page chapter. ------ Part 3, "Method" is the part of this book that left me most confused, particularly chapters 28 (The Talmudic Way of Thinking), 29 (Strange & Bizarre Problems), and 30 (Methods of Study). There simply isn't enough space to do the detailed example-principle-application that these topics deserve. The very summary (and consequently abstract) presentation left me with a hunger to understand what the Talmudic way of thinking is - but no more understanding of it than before I read these pages. Perhaps others, with a more abstract mind than mine, may find part 3 to be less perplexing than I did. ------ All in all a very good book. I'm glad I read it, and I will use it as a reference guide in the future.
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