The Essential Talmud: Thirtieth-Anniversary Edition by Adin Steinsaltz and translated by Chaya Galai.
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 Rabbi Steinsaltz, 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.