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Koren Talmud Bavli, Vol.1: Berakhot, Hebrew/English, Standard (Color) (English and Hebrew Edition) Hardcover – May 22, 2012

4.7 out of 5 stars 41 customer reviews

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  • Koren Talmud Bavli, Vol.1: Berakhot, Hebrew/English, Standard (Color) (English and Hebrew Edition)
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About the Author

Rabbi Adin Steinsaltz is a teacher, philosopher and spiritual mentor who has been hailed by Time Magazine as a once-in-a-millennium scholar. Born in Jerusalem in 1937, Rabbi Steinsaltz studied physics and chemistry at the Hebrew University. In 1965, he embarked on a life-long mission to make the Talmud, Judaism's central text of law, ethics, customs and history, accessible to all. He has since accomplished the monumental tasks of translating and developing commentaries on the Talmud into modern Hebrew, English, Russian and French. In addition, Rabbi Steinsaltz has established a network of schools in Israel and the former Soviet Union, and has authored some 60 books and hundreds of articles. Rabbi Steinsaltz lives in Jerusalem.
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 568 pages
  • Publisher: Koren Publishers; 1st edition (May 22, 2012)
  • Language: English, Hebrew
  • ISBN-10: 965301563X
  • ISBN-13: 978-9653015630
  • Product Dimensions: 9 x 1.6 x 11.7 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 3.6 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (41 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #278,587 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I admire both Rabbi Steinsaltz and Koren Publications greatly. I am very pleased to report that this project blew me away, exceeding my expectations. Although I'm sure acquiring the entire set won't come inexpensively, I will find some way to afford to buy these as they come out. They're that amazing. [Disclaimer: Although Koren has been sending me review copies of some of their books, this review is based on a copy that I borrowed for a few days from my rabbi.]

Some background, for those who have not tried learning Talmud in English before.

Until now, the student of Talmud who needed English help had, realistically, two sources. First was the Soncino translation, done nearly a century ago. It's dry, academic, and literal. It doesn't give you any extra help understanding the text. Second, over the last two decades, Artscroll/Mesorah has published the Schottenstein edition, which goes too far in the other direction. Overwhelming the reader with help, it's extremely useful for beginners but its extensive mix of discursions can get in the way and bog the reader down.

Meanwhile, Rabbi Steinsaltz has spent the past forty years creating a rendition of the Talmud into modern Hebrew. Part translation, part explication, he interpolates just enough background and explanatory material to fill in the gaps, without handholding the reader all the way. His marginalia are masterful: some summarize the practical halacha, some explain the archaeological or biological realia, some provide capsule biographies of personalities mentioned in the Talmud. His vowelization of the main Gemara text imposes grammatical rigor on what, for most readers, is usually an incoherent hodge-podge of Hebrew, Aramaic, Yiddish, and Yeshivish.
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Format: Hardcover
What an extraordinary gift to all who would like to enter the world of Talmud in English! Beautifully designed, clearly laid out and engaging. The Hebrew/Aramaic texts with vocalization, the translation that expands the almost coded, laconic text so the questions and possible answers become clearer. Succinct summaries of the specific laws as well as in-depth commentary.
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Format: Hardcover
Scholars have contended for some time that the Bible and Talmud translations and commentaries by ArtScroll are flawed because they are composed to reflect the ideology of the extreme right-wing of Judaism. They point out that ArtScroll changes the meaning of Bible and Talmud words and inserts its own frequently incorrect summary of what Bible and Talmud commentators wrote about Bible and Talmud passages.
They recognize that ArtScroll certainly has a right to their view. However they should not distort Scripture and Talmuds to cause readers to believe that these works say what they, ArtScroll, believe. What is tragic, they say, is that many Orthodox synagogues use the ArtScroll siddur (prayer book) and many Jews who study the Talmud use the ArtScroll translations and commentaries to the Talmud because these books are artistically produced. Rabbis who know of the distortions think the problem is not so ubiquitous and harmful because they have failed to study how wide-spread the ArtScroll changes are and how contrary they are to the truth of the texts.
One of many methods ArtScroll uses to accomplish its ideological mission, beside the distortion of the texts and commentaries, is the deletion of views that it opposes. Dr. Marc B. Shapiro, a brilliant Orthodox scholar, has written an insightful discussion on the subject of ArtScroll's deletion of a commentary by Rashbam (1085-1174), the grandson of Rashi, "ArtScroll's Response and My Comments" in Seforim Blog: feedblitz@mail.feedblitz.com.
Rashbam states that the simple meaning of the biblical text in Genesis chapter one is that in the early biblical period, if not until much later, the day began in the morning, not at sunset as is the practice today.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I never dreamed I would attempt to read the Talmud, but with the start of the 13th דף יומי cycle, coinciding with the release of this incredibly accessible volume (and with the aid of Adam Kirsch's weekly Tablet columns about his attempt to complete the דף יומי to keep me company) this goal is within reach. The print, the layout, the commentary, and the pictures combined with Koren's always magnificent book production makes this a worthwhile purchase.
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Format: Hardcover
Roughly twenty years ago, I bought Volume I of the Steinsaltz Talmud from Random House (Baba Metzia Part I). It cost me about $49 dollars for Chapter 1 but it was well worth it, because the explanation in many ways was superior to the Artscroll Talmud; it includes the ruling on Jewish law that is being discussed, among other things. Both the high price for a relatively small portion of the tractate and the introduction of the Artscroll Talmud helped lead to Random House's taking it out of print, which led to a mad scramble to get the remaining volumes while they were still there.

Koren's edition preserves all the features that made me fall in love with the Steinsaltz Talmud, but at a price that is much more reasonable, and it also include the pages of the Vilna edition, which makes it easier to use in following a Gemara class.

This is another soon-to-be classic by Koren.
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