Encyclopedia Talmudit

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The Encyclopedia Talmudit (Hebrew: אנציקלופדיה תלמודיתentsiyklopediah talmudiyt) is a Hebrew language encyclopedia that aims to summarize the halakhic topics of the Talmud in alphabetical order. It began in 1942 and is still an active project as of 2014, with 33 volumes published so far. An English translation, the Encyclopedia Talmudica began to be published in 1969. It is published by the Torah literature publishing group Yad HaRav Herzog(he), named for Rabbi Yitzhak HaLevi Herzog, in Jerusalem.

Formation of the encyclopedia[edit]

The project began on the initiative of Rabbi Meir Bar-Ilan (Berlin) (1880–1949), the son of the Netziv. Bar-Ilan organized a group of notable editors. The purpose was to summarize all the Talmudic discussions and all the opinions of Rishonim and Acharonim in encyclopedia articles in alphabetical order.

The first edition of the first volume was published in 1947. This volume included 219 articles in an organized format of summaries. The same volume was reprinted three more times: in 1947, 1951, and 1955. After Bar-Ilan died in 1949, it was republished in a newly revised and expanded edition.

In 1947 Encyclopedia Talmudit won the city prize of Tel Aviv for Torah literature to honor the memory of Rabbi Abraham Isaac Kook.[1]

The worlds great Torah scholars, both Hasidim and Mitnagdim, blessed and supported the project. Supporters included Rabbi Menachem Mendel Schneerson, Rabbi Moshe Feinstein, Rabbi Yosef Shalom Eliashiv, Rabbi Yochanan Sofer, and others.[2]

The administrator of the encyclopedia from its founding has been Rabbi Yehoshua Hutner(he) (1910–2009), who succeeded in securing the initiative with stable financial backing, thanks to his connections with leaders of the Mizrachi movement.

Editors[edit]

The first editor-in-chief was Rabbi Shlomo Yosef Zevin (1886–1978). The first editors were Rabbi Benjamin Rabinovitz-Teomim, Rabbi Shimon Stralitz, Rabbi Yonah Martzebach and Rabbi Alter Hilevitz.

In later years tens of Torah scholars joined the editorial board, among them Rabbi Eliezer Waldenberg, the author of Tzitz Eliezer; Rabbi Isaac Epstein, the judge in the Tel Aviv Beit Din; Rabbi Yehuda Gershoni; Rabbi Shmuel Kroyzer; Rabbi Refael Shmulevitz, the Rosh Yeshiva of the Mir yeshiva (Jerusalem); Rabbi Azriel Levi, the chief editor of the Oz VeHadar version of the Talmud; and others.

The current editor-in-chief as of 2008 is Rabbi Zalman Nehemiah Goldberg. In late 2006 professor Avraham Steinberg(he) entered the role of administrative director.

Contents[edit]

Rabbi Zevin's style was to abbreviate and summarize wherever possible. In the first two volumes he followed an extremely brief format under the influence of Rabbi Bar-Ilan, but in later volumes published after Rabbi Bar-Ilan died the volumes are more encompassing, and include not only the essence of the article but also many of its details and branched topics.

Rabbi Zevin established the listing of primary and secondary articles and the system of halakhic analysis of the encyclopedia. He edited the volumes that were published during his lifetime, and prepared other volumes until the end of letter Heth (ח).

The articles are organized in the following order: definition, sources, reasons and derivations, and various opinions. The first article was Aleph (א) and the last to date has been Kitvei ha-Qodesh (כ). The extent of development in the articles has expanded over time.

There are two volumes of indexes, including an index of topics and of citations from the Babylonian Talmud.

Other editions[edit]

Encyclopedia Talmudit is also published on a computer version on a compact disc as part of the searchable Bar Ilan Responsa Project. (See Torah database.)

Encyclopedia Talmudica is an English translation, commenced 1969. [3] The founding editors of the translation were Isidore Epstein and Harry Freedman.

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ הפרדס, תשרי תש"ח, עמוד 9
  2. ^ Encyclopedia Talmudit, vol 16, introduction
  3. ^ Fuss, Abraham M. (1970-04). "Review Encyclopedia Talmudica by Isidore Epstein; Harry Freedman". The Jewish Quarterly Review, New Series, 60 (4): 356–360. JSTOR 1453560. 

External links[edit]

Hebrew[edit]