The Talmud: The Steinsaltz Edition

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The Steinsaltz Edition is a Hebrew translation of the Babylonian Talmud, that has a literal direct translation of the Talmud along with halacha summaries and commentaries by Torah Scholar Rabbi Adin Steinsaltz. The translation started in 1965 and was completed in late 2010. Between 1989 and 1999 Random House published a small number of volumes in English,[1] and a new printing by Koren Publishers Jerusalem began to re-release volumes in 2012, including an edition with full-color illustrations.

The Hebrew edition contains the standard text of the Talmud with vowels and punctuation in the middle of the page.[2] The margins contain the standard Rashi and tosafot commentaries, as well as Steinsaltz's own translation of the Talmud text into modern Hebrew with his elucidation.[3] Steinsaltz has also recently published an electronic version of the Hebrew edition on DVD.[4]

Koren Talmud Bavli[edit]

Koren Talmud Bavli

In May 2012, Koren launched the Koren Talmud Bavli, a bilingual edition of the Talmud with translation and commentary by Rabbi Adin Steinsaltz. The layout features side-by-side English/Aramaic translation, maps, diagrams and explanatory notes based on Rabbi Steinsaltz's original Hebrew commentary on the Talmud.

Covers of the Koren Children's Siddurim

The project was hailed by Commentary Magazine as "a landmark in making the text accessible to the millions of Jews whose native (and often only) tongue is English."[5] Subsequently, the Jewish Book Council named the Koren Talmud Bavli a 2012 National Jewish Book Award winner in the category of Modern Jewish Thought and Experience.[6] Rabbi Tzvi Hersh Weinreb serves as the Editor-in-Chief of the Koren Talmud Bavli. Rabbi Shalom Z. Berger serves as Senior Content Editor.

Academic Criticism[edit]

Jacob Neusner's How Adin Steinsaltz Misrepresents the Talmud. Four False Propositions from his "Reference Guide" (1998) displays strong disagreement.[7]

Talmudic researcher and lecturer Aharon Feldman penned a lengthy critical review of the Steinsaltz Talmud. Among many criticisms, he writes "Specifically, the work is marred by an extraordinary number of inaccuracies stemming primarily from misreadings of the sources; it fails to explain those difficult passages which the reader would expect it to explain; and it confuses him with notes which are often irrelevant, incomprehensible and contradictory." Feldman says he fears that "An intelligent student utilizing the Steinsaltz Talmud as his personal instructor might in fact conclude that Talmud in general is not supposed to make sense." Furthermore, writes Feldman, the Steinsaltz Talmud gives off the impression that the Talmud is intellectually flabby, inconsistent, and often trivial.[8]


The Steinsaltz Talmud aroused fierce opposition in much of the Orthodox world, with many leading Rabbis such as Elazar Shach, Yosef Shalom Eliashiv, and Eliezer Waldenberg harshly condemning it.[9][10] Waldenberg wrote that when the Steinsaltz Talmud was brought before him, he was "shocked" to see the way in which the Steinsaltz Talmud described the Patriarchs and Talmudic sages, as well as its approach to the Oral Torah. Waldenberg further wrote that the Steinsaltz Talmud had the power to "poison the souls" of those who read it.[11] Mordechai Gifter delivered a pointed lecture on the subject, criticizing Steinsaltz and his defenders in strong terms.[12]


  1. ^ "Steinsaltz edition of the Talmud". Archived from the original on August 16, 2007. Retrieved 2008-08-04.
  2. ^ Reich, Walter (7 January 1990). "Opening the Book of Rabbinical Wisdom". Washington Post. Retrieved 26 August 2013.
  3. ^ Richard N. Ostling; Marlin Levin (1988-01-18). "Giving The Talmud to the Jews". Time magazine. Retrieved 2008-10-17.
  4. ^ "Mercaz Steinsaltz" (in Hebrew). Retrieved 2008-08-04.
  5. ^ Ackerman, Matthew. "America’s Most Important Jewish Event?", 'Commentary', June 26, 2012.
  6. ^ Retrieved on 2013-14-07.
  7. ^ "So to orient Steinsaltz to the discourse he manifestly has missed, I call to his attention the following works in ... of book reviews and criticism I have published over the past forty years: Judaic Law from Jesus to the Mishnah. ..."
  8. ^
  9. ^ pages 288-302
  10. ^
  11. ^ page 292
  12. ^ part two, especially from 19:50 on.

External links[edit]