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Sages of the Talmud - Large Format

Sages of the Talmud - Large Format
Sages of the Talmud is a Massive Collection of Biographical sketches on the Rabbis of the Talmud. It contain nearly four hundred entries and hundreds of anecdotes about the sages, all as recorded in the Talmud itself and of course translated in English. This book is an indispensable resource for anyone interested in the Talmud, it is not only an excellent practical reference guide, but also a text of general interest that may be read for enjoyment. This reference work cites the source of each quotation in the Talmud. The fascinating anecdotes and stories give readers an idea of the kind of social environment in which the sage lived. The work also includes an appendix with the corresponding general history of the time so that the reader can understand the contemporary political and historical climate.

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About - Sages of the Talmud - Large Format

Sages of the Talmud is a Massive Collection of Biographical sketches on the Rabbis of the Talmud. It contain nearly four hundred entries and hundreds of anecdotes about the sages, all as recorded in the Talmud itself and of course translated in English. This book is an indispensable resource for anyone interested in the Talmud, it is not only an excellent practical reference guide, but also a text of general interest that may be read for enjoyment. This reference work cites the source of each quotation in the Talmud. The fascinating anecdotes and stories give readers an idea of the kind of social environment in which the sage lived. The work also includes an appendix with the corresponding general history of the time so that the reader can understand the contemporary political and historical climate. 

In the Talmud, several sages share the same name. This can be confusing to students, who wonder which Rabbi made a particular statement. The author removes this confusion by linking each story and citation to the correct Talmudic sage. Although the names of the sages sometimes appear close to one another in the Talmud, they did not necessarily live in the same time period – some lived hundreds of years apart. The book clarifies important questions, including the period of time in which the sages lived, who their teachers or significant colleagues were, and the house of study or city associated with them. This is a “must have” resource for your library. 

About the author: 

Mordechai Judovits is a long time student of the Talmud, a retired businessman and a Holocaust survivor. He is the grandson of Rabbi Moshe Paneth, the rabbi of Dej, and a great-grandson of Yechezkel Paneth, the author of Sefer Mareh Yechezkel and former chief Rabbi of Transylvania. Mordechai Judovits attended the yeshivot headed by his cousins, first at the yeshiva of Rabbi Elisha Horowitz and later at the yeshiva of Rabbi Yaakov Meilach Paneth, who was also the chief rabbi of Dej. 

The author, along with his parents, brothers and sister were carried away to Auschwitz in 1944. He was liberated in 1945 and in 1947 he immigrated to the USA, where he married and raised a family. He and his wife Helen have two sons, one daughter, seven grandchildren and one great-grandchild. Since retiring he has devoted his time to studying and writing, and has been active in many Jewish organizations, in particular the Boca Raton /Synagogue.


Features - Sages of the Talmud - Large Format

This is a book for everyone, Jews and non-Jews, Talmud-students and secularists, men and women, history and literature lovers.
Even Rabbis who have studied Talmud all their lives will gain information from reading this book and they will enjoy themselves doing so. Mordechai Judovits knows his subject and presents a host of interesting information very well.

The volume introduces readers to some 400 ancient Jewish Sages, men who helped mold current Jewish life, men who lived during the pagan period and during the onset of Christianity just prior to the appearance of Mohamed, men who suffered persecution and persevered, men who made sacrifices and endured hardships so that that Judaism would endure.

The Author answers many questions.
What is the Talmud and why is it important?
What does it contain?
Who were the sages who are mentioned in the Talmud and when did they live?
Why are their lives and their efforts and their teachings valuable?
What events made it impossible for many of them to be unable to be ordained in the traditional manner?

He shows us that the Talmudic Rabbis who devoted their lives to study and to preserving Judaism were frequently working in arduous occupations like other Jews and were not similar to present day pastoral clergy.

The Author also offers some fascinating original ideas.
For example, why didn't these sages have names such as Abraham, Moses, Aharon, David, and Solomon? He suggests that this was due to the persecutions of the period. Jewish parents were afraid of reminding authorities who forbid circumcision that they advocated it by naming their son after the first Jew who was circumcised. He offers similar reasons for the other names. The bulk of the volume is devoted to the 400 sages.

The Author gives us their names, dates, and country. He places each in historical perspective, telling us about their era and who were their teachers. He informs us how they made their living. He narrates events in their lives and significant statements that they made. He concludes each biography with a short reference to other sections in his book so that readers can glimpse the entire world during the sage's lifetime.

For example, the first of three Hillels lived during the first century BCE and the first century CE. He came to Israel from Babylonia.
Tradition says that he was a descendant of King David and lived for 120 years. The Author has three pages describing episodes in his life, including some significant things he said and did and how he impressed people with his humility and his learning. As a young man, Hillel spent half his daily wages as a day-laborer to pay the admittance fee to enter the study hall to study. He lived during the period when the Jewish king Herod was controlled and manipulated by the Romans, when high priests who were ignorant of Jewish law bought their positions. In Avot 1:3, he is reported to have said, among other things: "He who does not study deserves to die. He who uses the crown of Torah for unworthy purposes shall waste away." In 1:14, he says: "If I am not for myself, who will be for me? Yet if I am for myself only, what am I? And if not now, when?"

Rava, to cite another example, is mentioned frequently in the Talmud. He lived in the third and fourth century CE in Babylonia. He ran a wine business. He distributed charity to both Jews and non-Jews. He was fortunate in being friendly with the mother of the king of Persia. He founded the prominent academy in Mehoza in Babylonia and lectured there.

The Author tells stories about him and his ideas in five pages. Rava said, "When a man dies and goes to heaven he is asked: `Did you deal honestly and in good faith with your fellow-men?'" Significantly, he did not say, "fellow-Jews."

Meir, another example, lived during the second century CE. His earned his living as a scribe. The Author describes his teachers, how he was persecuted by the Romans and had to flee Israel to Babylonia, the death of his sons, about his wise wife, about his relationship with an apostate who he admired and respected, and his enormous contributions to Jewish study. He does so in six pages. Meir is recognized for passing on Jewish laws that were later recorded in the Talmud. Yet he was also interested in teaching the common people.

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