As you may know, The Noé Edition Koren Talmud Bavli with translation and commentary by Rabbi Adin Even-Israel Steinsaltz is one volume shy of completion. The final volume will be available in a few short weeks thus completing the over seven year publication process! Now that you can (almost!) buy the entire set we thought we’d take a look at why this edition is the edition for you.
1) Get the Best of Both Worlds
Take advantage of the different sections of The Noé Edition Koren Talmud Bavli: the bilingual side and the Daf Vilna side. The bilingual side appears when the volume is opened as any English book, with left to right orientation. Here you will find introductions and summaries to every perek (chapter), side-by-side translation, notes, explanations, images and more. The Aramaic text is presented clearly and in small, digestible paragraphs and lines with indented text to clarify dialogue. You will find ample white space, which allows the text to “breathe”. It’s also a lot easier on the eye than other editions. Overall, it’s less overwhelming to the average student.
Opened from the right to left (like a Hebrew book) is the traditional “Vilna” layout of Talmud. Even this is innovative and designed for a smooth learning experience, even for a more experienced student. The Vilna pages in this edition use clear, digitized text in Koren font. The Aramaic of the gemara is fully menukad (vowelized) and punctuated, which helps learners understand the text more easily. The Rashi, too, is vowelized and punctuated – not seen in any other edition of gemara!
2) Save Valuable Shelf Space
Worried about how you will fit an entire set of English/Hebrew/Aramaic Talmud on your bookshelf? The Noé Edition Koren Talmud Bavli comes in just 42 volumes allowing you to utilize your shelf space more efficiently. Even though there is a wealth of information in every single volume, the Vilna page is not repeated over multiple pages, which ultimately saves space.
3) Understand Concepts More Clearly with Colorful, Precise Diagrams
Break down the Talmudic concepts into clear snapshots for beginner and advanced students alike.
Using state-of-the-art design software, Koren’s design team present sleek, colorful diagrams that clearly illustrate the perplexities in throughout the Talmud. The result of extensive analysis between Rabbi Adin Even-Israel Steinsaltz, Rabbi Dr. Tzvi Hersh Weinreb and other Talmud scholars, these visual representations help every student untangle the terms, debates, rules and regulations found in the Talmud.
What kinds of pictures and diagrams are included?
- Colorful imagery illustrates perplexing concepts, even to the most learned individuals:
- Maps detailing the often highly complex logic
- Visual representations of the logic of the Talmud that aid its comprehension and retention
- Pictures from real life, including archaeological excavations, can help make an unclear ruling clearer
4) Helps Students Develop Talmud Skills Gradually
Beginning students of Talmud often find Talmud learning to be overwhelming and foreign. The Noé Edition Koren Talmud Bavli aims to break down the text into digestable text passages and accompanies the student as s/he eventually gains more comfort with the Vilna page. Rabbi Steinsaltz once said, “It’s like having a portable teacher” with you along the way, guiding you sugya by sugya, page by page, chapter by chapter, tractate by tractate.
The bilingual side features a clear, modern English translation with explanations of Talmudic grammar and terminology to get the student to feel comfortable. The side-by-side translation allows for seamless reference to the Aramaic phrases. Additionally, page and chapter numbers to the Vilna section are referenced on each page.
Uniquely, the Vilna page is not repeated in the Koren Talmud. It is presented once which helps students build a ‘learning muscle’ to gain comfort with it at their own pace.
Rabbi Adin Steinsaltz says, “The Talmud expresses the deepest Jewish spirit. My hope is that the Koren Talmud Bavli will render the Talmud accessible to millions of Jews, allowing them to study it, approach it, and perhaps even become one with it.”
5) View Judaism with a Broad Worldview: “Torah and Secular Knowledge”
Rabbi Steinsaltz is known for his prodigious knowledge of Torah and Talmud, along with science, zoology, botany and history. His curiosity about the world-at-large is reflected in his commentary in every one of this books, especially The Noé Edition Koren Talmud Bavli. He includes fascinating notes on language, history, the personalities of Hazal, flora and fauna and more, which bring the text to life.
For anyone who shares a curiosity about the world and wants to understand how Rabbinic life and law as it developed in the Talmud applies to our lives today, this edition is for you.
6) Get to the Peshat (plain meaning of the text)
Peshat is often thought of as the simplest level of interpretation but it is actually the most difficult! Rabbi Steinsaltz says that other kinds of interpretation “are free to forge links between the text and the sources from which they draw and are not constrained by the language and concepts of the Bible. In contrast, discovering the plain meaning of the text requires the interpreter to adhere closely to the literal meaning of the words while paying attention to syntax and context.”
The commentary found in the Noé Edition Koren Talmud Bavli aims to be as transparent as possible to give the student a sense that there is no barrier between him or her and the text. As Rabbi Steinsaltz states so eloquently, “the aim is to let the Torah speak for itself.”