On this edition of “Learning The Noé Edition Koren Talmud Bavli with…” we meet Maxim Delchev of Bulgaria. Maxim is a Director of Jewish Education within the small Bulgarian Jewish community.
Can you tell us a little about yourself?
My name is Maxim Delchev and I am the Director of Jewish education for the Jewish community in Bulgaria. We are a small community in a country that after 45 years of Communism revived its Jewish life. I grew up in the community and that is where my interest to Judaism developed – in terms of learning and in terms of practice. Today I am helping our community to learn and explore Jewishness and find different aspects of that in their everyday life.
How long have you been learning Gemara?
I became interested in Gemara over the last 10 years, but never had a proper Jewish education. At the beginning of the last Daf Yomi cycle I started to read the English translations but stopped after few days, as I didn’t understand the logic behind the text and I found it hard to follow. Two years ago I spent a year in Jerusalem, studying in Pardes Institute for Jewish Studies, where I learned Gemara for the first time in a classical way and that changed my perspective. After I came back to Bulgaria I tried to continue my learning and exploring of Gemara.
Do you have a chavruta or do you learn by yourself?
At the moment I am learning alone. As I feel that this is not ideal, I created a Facebook page in Bulgarian where I am writing part of the Daf and I am leaving everyone to comment and discuss in a way to create a virtual discussion.
Do you use The Noé Edition Koren Talmud Bavli? If so, how has it been helpful to you?
I use The Noé Edition Koren Talmud Bavli because it is amazing to work with the original from the back, but also to use all of the notes from Rabbi Adin Even-Israel Steinsaltz – the Rabbinic personalities and the Halakha notes. It is really helping me to further my journey and to learn in depth all the aspects of Gemara that I may not have had easy access to without Rabbi Steinsaltz’s commentary and notes .
What do you enjoy about learning Talmud?
I am doing my Daf reading every morning before also reading the news and current events. Learning the Daf every day is giving me a lot of perspective about the world around us. I think the world that Chazal created on the pages of the Talmud and their value system is one that I want to try more to bring to the “real world” and hopefully learning every day I will succeed in that.
Can you tell us a little more about your work in the Bulgarian community?
Recently here in Bulgaria we opened our first Jewish school since the end of the Second World War. At this moment it is just a primary school but hopefully in the future we are going to grow and have a high school as well. So hopefully the next Daf Yomi cycle I will be learning together with a lot of students.
If you speak Bulgarian and are interested in Maxim’s work please check out his organization.