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September 01, 1989 - Image 31

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1989-09-01

Disclaimer: Computer generated plain text may have errors. Read more about this.

volumes are also said to be
finding their way into the
Soviet Union. A new English
translation, published by
Random House, is due in
December.
Members of Rabbi Stein-
saltz's staff admit that their
edition is popular rather than
scientific. Its purpose is to
make the text available to
those who would otherwise be
unable to study it, not to issue
a new authoritative edition.
Nor has the academic com-
munity taken a great interest.
in it, according to Haim
Dimitrovsky, professor of
Talmud at the Hebrew
University. "I have looked at
some of the volumes when I
go to pray in the synagogue,
and they made a good impres-
sion on me," he said. "They
are not scientific, and are not
intended to be scientific. They
are popular, and it is a nice
commentary."
But for some extremists, the
mere fact that anyone would
presume to put out a new edi-
tion of the Talmud and to
write a new commentary is
sufficient reason for condem-
nation. For them, the format
of the Vilna Shas, an edition
of the Babylonian Talmud
published by "the Widow and
Brothers Romm" a century
ago, is authoritative.

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'They are not
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The Vilna Shas, ironically,
follows the pagination of the
first complete printed edition
of the Talmud, published by a
non-Jew, Daniel Bomberg, in
Venice in the 16th century. It
was Bomberg, the Christian,
who determined the "tradi-
tional" format, with the text
in the centre of the page,
Rashi's commentary in the
inner margin, and the lbsafot
in the outer margin.
It is still not clear why, 20
years after the first volumes
of Rabbi Steinsaltz's Talmud
appeared, Rabbi Schach, who
has attacked a long list of
figures in the Orthodox
world, chose this particular
time to launch his attack. It
may have been Rabbi Stein-
saltz's recent success in set-
ting up a yeshivah in Moscow
and heading a massive project
to copy Jewish sources found
in various libraries in in the ,
Soviet Union. Or it may have
been the growing dependence
on the Steinsaltz Talmud in
yeshivot for ba'alei teshuvah,
the newly religious, and, ac-
cording to some, even in the
regular yeshivot.

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THE DETROIT JEWISH NEWS 31

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