Koren Publishers: Can you tell us a little about yourself?
Aaron: I’m Aaron Benedict. I am a history teacher in a Yeshiva high school. I live in Brooklyn, NY with my wife and daughter.
Koren Publishers: How long have you been learning Gemara?
Aaron: I have been learning Gemara since 7th grade.
Koren Publishers: Do you have a chavruta or do you learn by yourself?
Aaron: I am part of my shul’s Daf Yomi shiur (I’m also the back-up giver of the shiur). Additionally, I do learn by myself from time to time.
Koren Publishers: What do you enjoy about learning Talmud?
Aaron: As someone who is a fan of history, learning Talmud allows me to continue the discussions which began thousands of years ago (especially when I am leading the chaburah). Additionally it connects me to those Taanaim and Amoreiam.
Koren Publishers: Do you use the Koren Talmud? If so, how has it been helpful to you?
Aaron: I have been using the Koren Talmud (thanks to Koren’s subscription plan) from the beginning of this Daf Yomi cycle. It has been extremely helpful to my learning. It doesn’t matter which side of the sefer I am using. I like the fact the side of the “classic Vilna” daf has punctuation because it allows me to focus on what the words say/mean and not how to pronounce it or where the thought concludes.
The side with Rabbi Steinstaltz’s commentary is very helpful as well. I appreciate the breakdown of the what is on the page being broken into different paragraphs. Additionally I like how the English translation is side by side with the Hebrew (or Aramaic). The five types of footnotes (Language, Notes, Background, Halacha and Personality) makes it easy to see the etymology of a word, what the halacha is, an interesting insight, or more details about someone who was mentioned. If you are so inclined you can then look up the sources mentioned and go into even greater depth on the subject.
Koren Publishers: What lead you to choose the Koren Talmud Bavli initially?
Aaron: That’s a great question. It all started with a free siddur Koren was giving away if you gave your email address for the mailing list. I received a Koren Sacks Siddur. The commentary Rabbi Sacks provided on the siddur was wonderful but more importantly was the layout of the siddur. The way each paragraph was broken up allowed me to focus on the meaning of the words and enhanced my tefilah.
A friend of mine the told me that Koren was coming out with a edition on the Talmud. I looked at it and immediately knew it was for me. From that point on I was a fan of Koren and I have a many Koren seforim in my library. What I like about Koren is the wide spectrum of people they have writing for them. It allows me to have a diverse set of Jewish thought.