Jews have studied from a printed Talmud with the text, in the original combination of Hebrew and Aramaic, in the middle of the page and the commentaries of Rashi and Tosafot lining the margins. by A DA M M I N T Z As is well known, the printed edition does not contain either vocalization or punctuation. Despite the complicated nature of the Talmud and its di¥cult language, Jews did not compose any translations of the Talmud for centuries.1 Having frequently begun the study of Talmud in their 1. There is a report in youth, Jews were generally familiar with the language and therefore did not feel the Abraham ibn Daud, Sefer ha-Qabbalah, ed. G. Cohen need for such a study aid. In situations where the language or the contents proved (Philadelphia, 1967), p. 66, very di¥cult, students of the text considered the vast literature of commentaries, that Rabbi Isaac ben Shatespecially those of Rashi and Tosafot, to be su¥cient. Indeed, it was not until the nash “interpreted the whole of the Talmud into Arabic for nineteenth century that vernacular translations were composed by Jews. This article the Moslem King al-Hakam will discuss the major Jewish2 translations of the Talmud, particularly those that elic- in the tenth century.” Solo-

The Talmud in Translation

mon ben Joseph ibn Ayyub, the translator of Rambam’s Commentary on the Mishnah into Hebrew, wrote in his introduction to the Commentary on Mishnah Nezikin (printed in the standard editions of the Talmud at the beginning of Rambam’s Commentary on Mishnah, Bava Kamma) that “Rabbenu Óanokh, son of Moses, explained the entire Talmud in Arabic.” Tuviah Preshel, “Targum ha-Shas li-Sfot Nekhar u-Mitnagdav,” Ha-Modia (Sept. 24, 1954), p. 3, argued that Abraham ibn Daud and Solomon ben Joseph were referring to the same work. We have no other record of this translation. 2. Christians also translated portions of the Talmud. The most well known of these translations was written by the apostate Nicholas Donin in 1238. Donin translated thirty-five sections of this work into Latin, with each section containing a di√erent charge against it. These included allegations that the Talmud contained blasphemies against Jesus, hostilities towards Christianity, and proof that the Jews had elevated the authority of the oral Torah over the written Torah, thus impeding the Christian attempt to convert Jews. Donin presented these charges together with the translations to Pope Gregory IX who ordered an investigation of the Talmud. Eventually, due to these allegations, the Talmud was condemned to be burned and, in 1242, twenty-four wagonloads of books, totaling thousands of volumes, were publicly burnt in Paris. For a discussion of the events leading up to this event and the text of these thirty-five allegations, see Óen-Melekh Meròavyah, Ha-Talmud be-R’ei ha-Natzrut (Jerusalem, 1970), 227 √. During the Renaissance, Christian interest in Jewish books, including the Talmud, grew as part of the renewed interest in classical studies. In many cases, this led later on to a need for translations of all Jewish texts. Among the most important translations by Christian hebraists were two eighteenth-century Talmud translations: a translation of the entire Mishnah, together with the commentaries of Rambam and Rabbi Obadiah Bertinoro, by the Dutch hebraist Willem Surenhuis, published in Amsterdam, 1698-1703, and a translation of seventeen tractates of the Talmud, published in Vienna, 1744–1769, by Blasio Ugolini, most probably a convert from Judaism, who included these translations in a collection of thirty-four folio volumes of works by Christian authors on all aspects of Judaism. For an analysis of the Christian hebraists and their interest in Jewish books, see Frank E. Manuel, The Broken Sta√ (Cambridge, 1992). In the last three hundred years, non-Jews periodically translated selections of the Talmud to illustrate the evils of that work. For example, Johann Eisenmenger (1654–1704) translated selections of the Talmud into German as part of his 2,000 page book, Entdecktes Judenthum (Königsberg, 1710). The purpose of this book, as described in its last chapter, was to help Jews recognize their error and acknowledge the truth of Christianity. In the nineteenth century, Luigi Chiarini (1789–1832), an Italian cleric, was commissioned by the Russian government to translate the Talmud into French, for which he received a subsidy of 12,000 thalers. He believed that a translation of the Talmud complete with refutations of the talmudic doctrines would free the Jews


p ri n t i ng t h e tal m u d : f rom bom be rg to sc hot t e nst e i n

ited controversy, and how these translations and the reactions to them have a√ected Talmud study to this very day.3 Attempts to translate the Talmud began in Germany, the home of the Haskalah, in the mid-nineteenth century and continued in the United States and England, countries that inherited this yearning for greater integration. Each of these translations elicited opposition from the more traditional elements of Jewry in these countries. However, the need to translate ultimately prevailed, and translations have come to be recognized by virtually all elements of Judaism. The first attempt by a Jew to translate the entire Talmud was undertaken by Dr. Ephraim Moses Pinner (1800–1880). Born in Poznan, Prussia, Pinner studied 3. I will also only deal with Talmud under the famous Rabbi Jacob of Lissa, author of the Netivot ha-Mishpat. translations or attempted Pinner was widely respected as a talmudic scholar even by his opponents, and it is translations of the entire Talmud. For a list of translations reported that he had received a letter of praise for his talmudic wisdom from the of individual tractates into great Rabbi Akiva Eiger.4 Pinner was also very well versed in Jewish scholarship, Hebrew, Yiddish, French, and he published numerous scholarly works. In 1831, he published Kitzur Talmud English, and Russian, see Yerushalmi ve-Talmud Bavli in Berlin, which contained German translations of Ha-Entzyklopedia ha-Ivrit 32 (Jerusalem, 1981), p. 889. selections from these works and a biography of the tanna, Rabbi Simeon bar Yoòai. A history of translations of Planned as the forerunner of his translation of both Bavli and Yerushalmi, Pinner the Talmud by both Jews and used this work as a way of selling subscriptions to his forthcoming translation. The non-Jews up to the end of first volume of the translation, Talmud Bavli: Berakhot, was published in Berlin in the nineteenth century can be found in Erich Bischo√, 1842. This volume was a splendid folio edition containing the traditional talmudic Kritische Geschichte der Thallayout with the commentaries of Rashi and Tosafot on one side of the page and the mud-Ubersetzungen (FrankGerman translation on the facing page. In addition, Pinner provided punctuation for furt-am-Main, 1899). 4. This praise of Pinner is the Gemara as well as for Rashi and Tosafot. At the bottom of the original Hebrew found in a letter written by page, he included the translation and etymology of certain di¥cult words found in Rabbi Tzvi Hirsch Lehrin to Rabbi Moses Sofer criticizing the text. On the facing page, in addition to a literal German translation of the text, the Pinner translation. This Pinner wrote a more elaborate German commentary, both in German letters, and letter can be found in a colbeneath that, a Hebrew commentary that makes extensive use of the traditional lection of the letters of the commentaries. The volume also contains a translation of the introductions to the Sofer family, Iggerot Soferim, ed. Solomon Sofer (Tel Aviv, Talmud of both Rambam and Rabbi Samuel ha-Naggid. At the beginning of the 1970), II, pp. 73–78. volume, Pinner printed the eighteen haskamot (approbations) given to his work by both rabbis and maskilim of the time. It is significant that all fifteen of the rabbinic haskamot were granted by rabbis from western European countries. The traditionalists of eastern Europe remained opposed in principle to the concept of translations. He also listed nearly a thousand subscribers to his work, including Czar Nicholas I of Russia, King Frederick Wilhelm IV of Prussia, King Wilhelm I of Holland, King Leopold of Belgium, and King Frederick IV of Denmark. The volume is dedicated to Czar Nicholas I. In the introduction to the Berakhot volume, Pinner wrote:
from its influence. Only two volumes appeared, and they were poorly done. See Jewish Encyclopedia, vol. 4 (New York, 1906), pp. 21–22. For an analysis of the nonJewish use of the Talmud during this period, see the references to “talmudic tradition” in Jacob Katz, From Prejudice to Destruction: Anti-Semitism, 1700–1933 (Cambridge, 1980).

Originally, the language of Hebrew was a sign of glory for the Jewish people . . . . However, now it is almost forgotten among the people . . . . This has caused us to be unable to study Talmud in the

and without the financial support Pinner was unable to continue his project.5 Pinner provided two reasons for the necessity to translate the Talmud: the present inability of the Jews to understand it in the original and the need to correct the distortions of the Talmud that had been created by its opponents. Therefore. A German translation was especially useful to further Czar Nicholas’ goals because of its proximity to Yiddish. E. and. Pinner (Berlin. I have taken upon myself to translate the Talmud into German.” a secret report was issued in 1841 to explore why the Jews refused to acculturate into Russian society. pp. As a result of Czar Nicholas’ concern with the “Jewish problem. For more on why Pinner was unsuccessful in completing his project. Czar Nicholas I felt that the only way to expose the evil in the Talmud was to have the Talmud translated. he is unable to teach it to others. see Michael Stanislawski. 1940) and a Subject Concordance to the Babylonian Talmud (Copenhagen. This story is recounted in Joseph Klausner. pp. 1960). see n. 1842). In a similar vein. especially in Russia. Berakhot. however.” PAAJR 50 (1983). the Jews were well entrenched as accepted members of the non-Jewish society in Germany. Historiah shel ha-Safrut ha-Ivrit (Jerusalem. while at the same time. Petersburg where his translation received the endorsement of the Czar. For a comprehensive analysis of the position of the Jews under the reign of Czar Nicholas I.8 The next attempt to translate the entire Talmud into German was undertaken by Dr. He left the traditional world of Lithuania and entered the University of Berlin where he became an expert in Semitic languages. and there are even some who have distorted the Talmud and accused the rabbis of saying things that they never would have said.t h e ta l m u d i n t r a nsl at ion 123 original. Goldschmidt also had an extensive collection of early Hebrew incunabula. regarded the Jews as an alien group that needed to be assimilated into Russian society. Tsar Nicholas I and the Jews (Philadelphia. Up to now no one has undertaken to translate the Talmud into the vernacular. 2 above). having become familiar with German. According to this report. 8. Even if there is one person who understands the Talmud.6 The Czar o√ered huge sums of money to anyone who would translate the work into European languages. the Talmud was the cause of the problem. who ruled from 1825 to 1855. For an analysis of this work. p. Berakhot. 12. A translation would also serve to refute anti-Semitic claims that were being made against the Talmud. M. 1959). trans. Berakhot was the only volume ever published. pp. forced Jewish children to attend military school. Among his many works were The Earliest Illustrated Haggadah (London. III. 11–14. 7. being exposed to the German language. Czar Nicholas I of Russia. thereby serving to convince the Jews of the evils contained within it. generally lacked a knowledge of Hebrew. “The Tsarist Mishneh Torah: A Study in the Cultural Politics of the Russian Haskalah. 6 above). 1983). For a discussion of the Haskalah and the Russian language. It is noteworthy that the Russian maskilim advocated learning Russian rather than German for they felt that the most preferable language was that of the country in which one lives. 115–118. Lazarus Goldschmidt (1871–1950). see Michael Stanislawski. When the Czar recognized that Pinner’s motive was to actually defend the Talmud he canceled his subscription. Pinner felt that a German translation was needed in order to ensure the continued study of the Talmud. that contained a covert plea for the emancipation of the Jews. 6. 58 below. and expelled the Jews from many locations. 165–183. He attempted to accomplish this by several means. Pinner traveled to St. The translation appeared in two editions: a nine- 5. His greatest contribution to Jewish scholarship. He felt that most Jews would understand this translation. By the 1840’s. Luigi Chiarini was one of the people commissioned to translate the Talmud as part of this project (see n. was subsequently dedicated to him. The Czar purchased one hundred copies of Pinner’s translation and the first volume. was his translation of the entire Talmud Bavli into German. see Stanislawski (n. . a German translation of Rambam’s Mishneh Torah was published by the Russian government in 1850. who assumed that Pinner would do what he wanted.7 Seeking financial support. He introduced compulsory military service for Jews. Goldschmidt was born in Lithuania and was a student in the famous Slobodka Yeshivah.

to write a book Semitism that was rampant at that time. N. Due to the popularity of this translation. 1519/20–1523). written originally in German.10 In 1871.ish law.12 . the dean of the Rabbinical Seminary in Berlin. but also presanti-Semitic works and. dated Decem. see Joseph Bloch. For a description of the that Jews make use of Christian blood in preparing matzah and wine for Passover. While he himself was not an observant Jew. a baptized Jew who ents a flavor of the fierce antihad previously accused the Jews of Ostrog. rabbinic approval was limited to rabbis from western European countries. In 1885. Rohling sued Rabbi Bloch for libel but was unable to Meyer case. Rabbi Hildesheimer wrote: 9. his suit and was forced to pay the cost of the trial. so that no one could later claim that the Talmud had been altered. p. In an autobiographical essay that he wrote at the end of his life. circumstances surrounding Rohling was challenged by Rabbi Samuel Bloch. of ritual murder. published Der 10. pp. His extensive personal library is part of the collection of the Royal Library in Copenhagen. The essay. and a twelve-volume edition (Berlin. we know little about Goldschmidt. Goldschmidt was praised for his important contribution to Jewish scholarship and learning by such notables as Rabbi Meir Hildesheimer. In 1895. The translation of both editions was written in German characters. 1960). he decided to do so.” Areshet II. Goldschmidt wrote in his introduction that he was living in Leipzig and was approached by his non-Jewish landlord who suggested that he translate the Talmud into German to correct all misconceptions about it. In a letter written to Goldschmidt on this occasion. though. He claimed. he lost his academic 1923). This letter. 322. In addition. was published in Hebrew translation. At the end of the nineteenth century.11 Areshet (n. a Viennese rabbi and member these two cases. However. 309–330. After much consideration. prove his case. 281–291. He based his work on the first edition of the printed Talmud (Venice. in 1893. This book serves not only as an important historiposition.124 p ri n t i ng t h e tal m u d : f rom bom be rg to sc hot t e nst e i n volume work (Berlin. see Katz (n. commissioned Paulus Meyer. which had not been censored. is published in defamation of the character of those Jews whom he had accused. 1929–1936) without the Hebrew text. his anti-Semitic activity did not cease. there was a terrible outbreak of anti-Semitism directed. and has assured for you a place of respect and honor in the world of Jewish scholarship. 1935. in large part. 1897–1935) containing the original Hebrew text in the middle of the page. a large celebration was held in 1931 on the occasion of its author’s sixtieth birthday. as in the case of the Pinner Talmud. August Rohling. This translation was the first complete translation of the Talmud Bavli and was done entirely by Goldschmidt. pp. Your translation of the Talmud that has opened this vast world for the first time into a foreign language has already taken its appropriate place in the literature of the world. Ben Menaòem and I.9 Goldschmidt explained that he took upon himself this unimaginable task of translating the entire Talmud in response to the anti-Semitic atmosphere that was prevalent at the time. He received good wishes and compliments from Jews throughout the world. that the Talmud requires 11. Poland. 9 above). the anti-Semitic professor of Hebrew literature at Charles University in Prague. against the Talmud. For an overview of this phenomenon. Meyer was also challenged by Rabbi Bloch and was ultimately convicted of ber 15. among other things. as well as a stenographic report of the of the Austrian Parliament. and neither printing included the traditional commentaries of Rashi and Tosafot. 2 Talmudjude. ed. He continued publishing cal document. Raphael (Jerusalem. against the Talmud. a collection of deliberately corrupted quotations and forgeries directed above). Rohling withdrew My Reminiscences (Vienna. that proved by means of rabbinical sources that ritual murder was required by Jew12. surrounded by a German translation with variant readings and notes. shortly after the Paulus Meyer episode. shortly before the case was to be heard. “Targum ha-Talmud ha-Bavli le-Germanit. Besides this essay.

But why speak for it? Let it open its mouth and speak in its own defence! How can it be done? The Talmud must be translated into the modern tongues and urge its own plea . . The vast encyclopedia of Jewish lore remains as it was. Formulated.14 With the growth of the number of Jews living in the United States and England at the end of the nineteenth century. Zikhronot Bat Ami (New Orleans. Issue after issue has appeared. wrote in the Hebrew newspaper. Bloch (n. see the forthcoming article by Marvin J. Goldschmidt quotes this article in Areshet (n. see J. For two contemporaneous opinions of Rodkinson. Also. desperately wanted to be accepted into secular society. trans. The tenth volume contains a history of the development of the Talmud. but it has always been called the Talmud Babli. Rodkinson was born in Russia where he was a Hebrew writer and editor of several publications. an incomplete list of translations of the Talmud. But with the Talmud it is not so. Horodezky. even those committed to maintaining their standards of religious observance. pp. . xii. This work was published in ten volumes (1896–1903) and was reprinted in 1918. There is today no branch of human activity in which his influence is not felt . and Translated into English. and Ephraim Dienard. . No improvement has been possible.” Jewish Culture and History. Rodkinson (New York. 174. He wrote: 13. . 1920). . pp. 15. Rodkinson moved to New York and after attempting unsuccessfully to revive several of his publications. see Joseph KohenTzedek. no progress has been made with it.A. For a description of Rodkinson’s dishonest and manipulative practices in Europe. 1896). Since the time of Moses Mendelssohn the Jew has made great strides forward. 8 (2005). 9 above). a bibliography of works on the Talmud. 320–322. it represents an important chapter in the history of the translation of the Talmud. In 1889. many Jews became more comfortable with English than with their native Yiddish. Corrected.t h e ta l m u d i n t r a nsl at ion 125 Samuel A. 16. The first attempt to translate the Talmud into English was undertaken by Michael Levi Rodkinson (1845–1904). Rodkinson explained why he undertook the publication of an abridged edition of the Talmud into English. 26–43. with Mikhael referring to Michael Rodkinson and Samael the name of Satan. . In the introduction to his work. Rodkinson began publishing what he called New Edition of the Babylonian Talmud: Original Text Edited. Michael Levi Rodkinson: The Life and Literary Career of a Jewish Scoundrel Revisited. began his project of translating the Talmud into English. “this translation was not done by the ‘seventy’ and not by an academy of scholars who divided the work but rather by one young man. 138–151. . pp. but KohenTzedek wrote in the introduction that he changed the title at the advice of several of his friends who felt that it was too explicit in its criticism of Rodkinson. . Sefat Emet (London. He was accused of forgeries and extortion and fled Russia first to Germany and then to Austria. Horodezky. pp. there arose a need for an English translation of the Talmud. While his translation was ultimately not accepted in either Orthodox rabbinic or scholarly circles. 1935). The first step towards this acceptance was the ability to speak the language of the land. I. Many of these immigrants. While living in Vienna. M. and an attempt to justify the morals and ethics of the Talmud for the Christian world. p. It was reprinted in Berlin in 1964 in twelve volumes. This latter work was originally published with the title Mikhael ha-Nehepakh leSamael (London. Heller. I. 1879). He began the work and he completed it.”13 This translation remains the authoritative German translation of the Talmud. Translation! That is the sole secret of defence!16 . 14. 1879). An English translation of the Talmud served to facilitate the study of Talmud and to express the fact that Jews had become part of the English speaking culture in these countries.L. New Edition of the Babylonian Talmud. as chaotic as it was when the canon was originally appointed . viii.” ha-Olam (March 14. 11 above).15 In 1896. S. Rodkinson was accused by the local Jewish newspaper of assisting Rohling in his anti-Semitic attacks. vol. . “He Should Be Called Sama’el. ha-Olam. one of the leading Jewish scholars and historians of the early twentieth century. Within a short period of time. “Maaseh Rav.

pp. for frequently the same pp. with great caution and care. He Rodkinson maintained the division between the Mishnah and Gemara. p. never to enlighten. J. J. The New York Herald. Rodkinson debated. Ibid. was di¥cult. 1897). Maamare Bikoret (New York.”17 His editing of the original went even further. “I have no 21. but ton Times. which was translated first.. Rosh ha-Shanah is thing is found repeated in many tracts..126 p ri n t i ng t h e tal m u d : f rom bom be rg to sc hot t e nst e i n However. Otzar talmudic scholars. misinterpreted passages. pp. Rodkinson. transeven understand English. dedicated two articles to criticizing this translation. The Washing. which serve only to confuse. Due to the di¥culty Eisenstein. In this way there disappear those unnecessary debates ume of his work following within debates. He charged that Rodkinson would lated and abridged by Rodkinson. introduction to Rosh hawhich. “[we] have reedited it [the Talmud] by omitting discussion of his method of all such irrelevant matter as interrupted the clear and orderly arrangement of the translation is found in the various arguments. xvii) that it was cially for beginners. and even contradicted himself.ever. while in this translation each statement included in the fourth volis to be found only once. as Mielziner argued. pp. are included in given endorsements by such prominent scholars. Eisenstein wrote. the first tractate of the Talmud.21 bottom of the Hebrew page The reaction to Rodkinson’s translation provides a very interesting chapter in since it was often much longer the history of translations of the Talmud. xii.. Rodkinson included some press comdi¥cult to arrange the commentary of Rashi on the ments from secular publications praising the translation. 1896).”20 In the final volume. However. The famous American Jewish editor. 286. in regard Rosh ha-Shanah (pp. Rodkinson’s method of translation was unlike any of those that 18.19 delayed at the printers. However. howping with praises for his translation from such publications as The New York Times. the well-known talmudic scholars Marcus Jastrow and Moses Mielziner. Rodkinson easier to understand.D. including with the translation could appear in one small volume. xii. They all 19. he felt it the fourth volume of the translation in the introduction to necessary to comment on the work. on the question the traditional order of the Talmud. not for one man to finish. 285–301. He wrote that. He explained Hebrew introduction to Rosh ha-Shanah (New York. 1903).”18 Rodkinson’s abridged edition of the Talmud reproduces the original explained that he published Hebrew text with punctuation for the tractates of Rosh ha-Shanah and Shekalim. than the text of the Talmud itself. though he also wrote that Rosh ha-Shanah was preferable to other did not include the traditional page numbers. He wrote in the Hebrew praised the work and expressed the need for such an edited edition of the Talmud. it seems that the arrangement of the Hebrew text became too to be published first. and others. He included the and the original text together endorsements of eight leading American Conservative and Reform rabbis. decided to omit the Hebrew page entirely. is not widely used or 17. Ibid. These approbations. in his introduction.22 Eisenstein wrote that 20. arguing that Rodin arranging Rashi on the kinson had done an inadequate job abridging the Talmud in an attempt to make it Hebrew page. i–xix.” Although this edition of the Talmud. p.D. p. He included seven pages of news clipobjections [to an abridged edition of the Talmud]. 1929). 12–18. Eisenstein claimed that Rodkinson did not schools. this tractate first because Berand the commentary of Rashi is included on the bottom of the page in Rosh haakhot. It is 22. espeShanah (p. Talmud serves any purpose. . Some of them are reprinted at the end of the tenth and final volto the question of whether an abridged edition of the ume. “will greatly facilitate the study of the Talmud. left out critical elements of the text. 9–11. which was supposed Shanah. the rest of the tractates contain only the English translation. he argued. and only for the use of students in Zikhronotai (New York. this work is not even worthy of critique but. The History of the Talmud (Boston. therefore. 23 23. this work can not be done with a pair of scissors. Ibid. rather with intelligence.. . However. . Eisenstein. Each volume began with an introductractates since it was short tion to the tractate and a synopsis of subjects contained therein. v-xi). “We have also omitted repetitions. since it was which he calls endorsements and opinions. Ibid. but rather for a group of great reprinted in the second part of his autobiography. A lengthy had preceded him.

was added in 1965. the earnest Jewish cultured reader who is unfamiliar with the original can read and study a translation which introduces him to the world of thought. wrote. Nor can a translation however perfect replace the original. Tohorot. texts of our sources. Each volume contains introductions to the tractates as well as extensive notes 24. 1935). Chief Rabbi from 1948 to 1965. I. dayyan of the beit din of London. Rabbi Dr. . Moed in 1938. later. xv. The notes 1971). xxvii.” translation. p.” . An index volume was published in 1952 providing a very helpful an unscholarly abridgment in general index as well as an index of all biblical references in the Talmud. and the epilogue Seder Nezikin.” The Times Literary Supplement wrote. the foreword was written by Rabbi J.t h e ta l m u d i n t r a nsl at ion 127 respected today. Nezikin was published first in 1935. an adequate job and did not principal of Jews’ College in London. the translators deserve praise for their choice of suitable equivalents for technical terms and phrases that are di¥cult to turn into another language.24 it represents a further attempt to make the Talmud more acces. This expectation is beginning to be realised by the publication of the not published in the order of Soncino edition of the Order Nezikin. A. The Babylonian Talmud. The Minor Tractates. 179). Feldman. p. Nevertheless. 768: “. the first attempt at what purported to also provide further clarification of ideas that are not elucidated by a simple translabe an English translation was tion of the text. the Talmud as well as to other scholarly works on many di√erent topics. Rodkinson usefulness. Rodkinvolume is an important resource even for people who are not using the Soncino son. 1948). Encyclobeneath the translation. Epstein (London. H. This index 20 volumes by M. p.”26 Rabbi Hertz saw this translation of Seder the Talmud. has access to the original. . Epstein was written by Rabbi Israel Brodie. Not everyone. Nashim in Nezikin as the beginning of an important project. writ1936. the librarian and. . text. It written in 1934 at the very beginning of the project.translate the Talmud into sible to the masses. The Babylonian Talmud: Congregations of the British Commonwealth from 1913 to 1946. 25. ed. ed. English translation of the whole Babylonian Talmud has long been looked forward the Soncino translation was to by scholars.L. both from a scholarly perspective and in terms of its to Rodkinson to demand their salaries. I. he argued that the Soncino translation would “introduce” 27. Rabbi Hertz wrote: “A reliable is interesting that. a hiatus during World War II.27 Rabbi Brodie emphasized the contemporary need for an English translation. and Kodashim were published in 1948. These notes serve as cross-references to other volumes of pedia Judaica 15 (Jerusalem. . like many books with multiple authors. Chief Rabbi of the United Hebrew 26. I. “The rendering is accurate and scholarly . While haskamot as we know them are not included in this translation. (London. In particular. I. See for example. ed. For example. In the epilogue. Other reactions to the translation can be found on the back of the book jacket of the 1961 edition of the Soncino Talmud. Rabbi Brodie wrote: English is now the vernacular of more than half of the Jewish population of the world. Epstein. .25 The translation was done by di√erent pay them. Rodkinson’s work was rejected because of its poor quality and Yiddish and he would then hire young educated men who not because of an objection on principle to this type of abridged translation. not even one in a thousand. p. feeling and content which will repay the painstaking e√orts and concentration demanded. Isidore Epstein. Hertz. In his foreword. following the destruction of European Jewry. This translation was published by the Soncino Press in England between said that they had not done 1935 and 1952 under the editorship of Dr. would translate the Yiddish The next attempt to translate the Talmud into English was far more important into English. and after ten thirteen years later. Seder Kodashim. “This translation will open up for the English speaking reader the most varied and indispensable index to the collective wisdom of the postBiblical Hebrew mind. When they came than the Rodkinson translation. He would then hire other men to continue the job scholars and it was published in thirty-five volumes without the original Hebrew (Otzar Zikhronotai. Zeraim. I. sometimes di¥cult and intractable. While he clearly recognized that no translation can ever replace the original.

a project of the United Synagogue of America that was never completed. He tried to gather one hundred scholars who would each translate thirty pages of the Talmud.28 ume set in 1961. 30. N. 223–224. wrote that a Hebrew translation of the Talmud would make it into a popular work able to be read by all. See Immanuel Etkes. However. he maintained that since the Talmud was not written in pure Hebrew. there was a debate among American hebraists about whether there was a need for a Hebrew translation of the Talmud. Bialik English in thirty volumes and Y. . “Rabbi Yisrael Salanter ‫ זצ"ל‬ve-Targum ha-Shas li-Sfat Nekhar. S. This project was never realized due to Rabbi Salanter’s inability either to find the necessary translators or to raise the necessary funds for the project. followed by a short Union of Orthodox Rabcommentary that also included significant manuscript variants. argued that Bernstein was wrong on both claims. A HebrewWhile there were few translations of the Talmud in the hundred years followEnglish edition was published in twenty-nine volumes from ing Pinner’s work.128 p ri n t i ng t h e tal m u d : f rom bom be rg to sc hot t e nst e i n 28.” Ha-Doar 12 (June 3. Rosenfeld.” Ha-Doar 12 (May 13. There is a tradition that Rabbi Israel Salanter (1810–1883) attempted to have the Talmud translated into Hebrew to assist those with little or no background. Tuviah Preshel. 259. Neusner (Chico. The first is Talmud with English Translations and Commentary. the world of Jewish thought. Sefer ha-Aggadah (The Book of Legends)31 by C. wrote that after the proposed Hebrew translation failed. 413–414. In recent decades Jacob Neusner and his students produced translations of both Talmudim as well as most other classical rabbinic sources. S. Throughout the early twentieth mud was never copyrighted. “Al ha-Talmud be-Ivrit. and would also revive the Hebrew language. pendence was carried out under the direction of the renowned Hebrew University Soncino Press secured letters talmudist. 1984). and Bava the Soncino Talmud without their consent. Epstein. Rabbi Salanter wanted to have the Talmud translated into European languages so that talmudic study could be integrated into the curriculum of high schools and universities. argued that Rabbi Salanter never intended to actually translate the Talmud. Bava Metzia. Ravnitsky was an early example. I. 1992). This is important in light of the opposition to translations that we will discuss later.” Ha-Doar 53 (1973). and The Talmud of Babylonia: An American Translation. pp. the Talmud would never become a popular work. Tenuat ha-Mussar (Jerusalem. 1932). p. The letter from the Rabbinical Council of America also forbade the purchasing of the Traditional Press Talmud based on the prohibition of assisting someone in transgressing a sin. He said that by its very nature. These translations were geared for a broad academic rather than a popular audience. Only tractates Bava Kamma. 555. Legends from the Talmud and Midrash (New York. p. This translation. therefore. Two other English translations are worthy of mention. Traditional Press in Hebrewreligious and secular alike. and the with a Modern Hebrew translation in dual numbered columns. The Soncino TalEnglish29 and Modern Hebrew30 have appeared. the Rabbinical standard Talmud texts. Neusner (Chicago. N. 1932). The Hebrew University Talmud abandoned the format of from the Chief Rabbinate in England. which makes them unique among translations of rabbinic literature. published by El Am (Jerusalem. J. The Book of Legends: Sefer ha-Aggadah. it was still used until recently as reprinted in an eighteen-volthe premier English translation of the Talmud. Perhaps the most important Talmud project of the early years after indethis unauthorized edition. J. cultural and religious Zionists sensed the need to make rabbinic thought and. in the past thirty years several important translations into both 1960–1989. Rabbi Yisrael Salanter ve-Reshitah shel Tenuat ha-Mussar (Jerusalem. Furthermore. 31. an unauthorized edition was published by available in formats and language that were accessible to native Hebrew speakers. Dov Katz. one that has profoundly influenced Israeli from 1976–1980. therefore. 1982). “Talmud Ivri. century. 1965). 29. 363–364. it would not assist in reviving the Hebrew language. at the time of the printing of culture. of the Soncino Talmud was Reprinted with the original text on the facing page. The English-only edition the student to the world of the Talmud and. See The Talmud of the Land of Israel. but this project also failed. trans. but rather wanted to compose an extensive Hebrew commentary. this radical departure from traditional modes of learning copying of any material from was not ultimately successful. 1982). In the 1930’s. ed. publishing a text based on significant manuscript variants Council of America. pp. While useful for stubis of the United States and Canada that forbade the dents and scholars alike. J. H. gives the vocalization and punctuation of the original text with a literal translation and an extensive commentary including details of realia and biographical notes on the talmudic sages. Bernstein. 1984). pp. California.

Rabbi Steinsaltz maintained the original text of the Talmud but added punctuation and vocalization. the reader does not have to refer back and forth to the Gemara but rather can easily follow the original text. . chose to intersperse his translation and explanation with the standard talmudic text. Rabbi Steinsaltz provided the student and scholar with the vehicles necessary to familiarize himself or herself with the complex world of the Talmud. as well as the references necessary to further his or her study of the Talmud and its commentaries. Rabbi Steinsaltz added a Hebrew translation and commentary in which he reprinted the original text of the Gemara with a literal translation of each Aramaic term followed by a short explanation of what the Gemara means. realia. Rabbi Steinsaltz felt that it was unnecessary to translate every word literally since much of the Talmud is written in Hebrew. and the commentary by reading Rabbi Steinsaltz’s work on the outside margin of the page. the Israel Prize. for this work. On the outside margin of each page. and in 1989 Rabbi Steinsaltz was awarded Israel’s most prestigious honor. The Epstein Talmud nevertheless set the stage for a far more extensive project of Talmud translation for the modern Israeli reader. a feature missing from the traditional editions of the Talmud. and. 32. the Tosefta. notes on talmudic language. This is from an unpublished letter by Rabbi Moses Feinstein dated 7 Iyyar. In 1967.t h e ta l m u d i n t r a nsl at ion 129 Batra appeared. as well as biographical sketches of talmudic sages and variant texts. but also for those who are just beginning their study of Talmud. 5743 written as a haskamah for the tractates of Betzah and Rosh ha-Shanah. he did not maintain the traditional layout of the talmudic page. The Steinsaltz edition was created with the intention of making Talmud study available to a general Hebrew-speaking audience. to teach them how to understand the sea of the Talmud. served an important function both for those with a background in Talmud and for those with little or no background. explaining the necessity of such a work: This is indeed an important work that will serve a crucial function not only for those who are familiar with the study of Talmud and want to delve further. In this way. thirty-seven volumes of the Steinsaltz edition of the Babylonian Talmud have been published as well as one volume of the Jerusalem Talmud. In the back of every volume. Although he included the classical commentaries of Rashi and Tosafot.32 The Steinsaltz Talmud has. In the Steinsaltz Gemara. Over one million copies of the Hebrew Talmud have been sold. indeed. While there are no haskamot printed at the beginning of each volume. Rabbi Adin Steinsaltz began a project of translating the Talmud into Hebrew. Rabbi Steinsaltz also included paraphrases of selected commentaries. Rabbi Steinsaltz expects to finish the translation of the entire Babylonian Talmud in forty-six volumes. two pages contain the material that comprises one page in a standard Gemara and the traditional page number is identified on the corresponding pages of the Steinsaltz edition. To date. In his quest for composing a useful Hebrew translation. Rabbi Steinsaltz serves as editor for a team of scholars who are writing the actual translation. certain decisions in the Mishneh Torah and the Shulòan Arukh. instead. and even a list of abbreviations found within the book. the translation of di¥cult words. he included extensive indices. the Steinsaltz Talmud did receive an unpublished haskamah from Rabbi Moses Feinstein.

Scholar to Enjoy the TalKetubbot. The first volume of the Spanish edition is being into English has been undertaken by Mesorah Publiprepared for publication. series. Nosson Scherman’s and Rabbi Nesanel Kasnett’s “The Schotwho is the general editor of the ArtScroll series. The printing of the Steinsaltz English Talmud was mud. 192. see B. or “elucida“Judge Not a Book by its Cover. 1. and tenstein Edition of the Babylonian Talmud: The Next Step in Talmudic Elucidation” in this volume. 1984). tion of the Hebrew commentary from the Steinsaltz Hebrew Talmud with some pp.39 Jerome Schottenstein of Columbus. the chairman of the Mesorah FounYour Torah and Their Torah: An Evaluation of the ArtScroll dation. ing the Book of Rabbinical Wisdom. Lightstone. 7. language. 31. Helen Dudar. pp. thirteen volumes of the French edition of the Steinsaltz Talmud and two volumes of the Russian edition have The most recent attempt to translate the Talmud been published. See Rabbi the general editorship of Rabbi Nosson Scherman. who know little or no Hebrew and have lish translation of his Madrikh had no prior training in studying the Talmud.” Truth and Compassion: Essays on Judaism and Religion in Memory of Rabbi Dr.” Tradition 19:1 (1981). 16. ix. Joseph.” New York Times mentary. The English Street Journal ( Jan. “Taladaptations and expansions for the English edition.tary on the right hand side of the page entitled the “Literal Translation.” which appears on the left hand side of the page. Levy accuses the ArtScroll series of being inaccurate. . see Emanuel Feldtext or a detour around the classic manner of man. For a response to Levy. Rabbi Steinsaltz included a commeninto Russian and French.” as they are called. H. and A14. I. 89–95. original Hebrew talmudic text adding vocalization and punctuation. “This edition has been 34. and unscholarly. mudic Translator: Letting His People Know. 3. Called “The Schottenstein Talmud. Oppenheim (Waterloo.”34 36. designed to meet the needs of advanced students capable of studying from standard 35. In this article. realia. Leon WieselThe main aid to studying the intricacies of the Talmud is the “Translation and Comtier. p. explained the nature of this work: Phenomenon. 1989). a major media event and Rabbi Steinsaltz became an p. pp.37 37. Tradition 19:2 (1981). international celebrity. Ontario. mud to provide a substitute for the original 1983). 130.N. Rabbi Yehezkel Danziger. edition also includes an English version of the notes. “Openbiographies found in the Hebrew edition. This article is a shortIn the introduction. In addition. and M. tors. In each volume the translators. 1990).10.g. You Don’t Have to be a Hebrew the English Talmud have been published consisting of the tractates of Bava Metzia. 18. See. saltz Edition: Bava Metzia Rabbi Steinsaltz serves as the editor for a group of scholarly translators in this series (Jerusalem.” intended uled for publication. Like its Hebrew counterpart. The Talmud: The SteinIn 1989.” The Wall the English translation intersperses commentary with the original text. as well as of beginners. p. The Reference Guide (Jerusalem. Walter Reich. unscientific. and “Thanks papers and periodicals. cations. 17. Taanit. “to help the student to learn the meaning of specific Hebrew and Aramaic words. Solomon Frank.36 In addition to the Reference Guide.”33 The English volume maintains the le-Talmud (Jerusalem. 1989). Barry Levy. the editorial director of the 39. and the translation has been praised in many major news1990). He wrote in the introduction to this edition that. and a Spanish translation is sched. The first volume referred to as “The Schottenstein Talmud” was Tractate MegilThe Schottenstein Talmud is being published under lah. the third volume of the series.”38 it is the 38. 1989) is an EngTalmud editions. Meir Zlotowitz. Rabbi Steinsaltz began publishing an English translation of the Talmud. and largest project in the very successful ArtScroll series. 1989). Anna. It consists of a translaBook Review (Dec.. “Our Torah. 137–189. lished by Random House. It bears this name in memory of Ephraim.130 p ri n t i ng t h e tal m u d : f rom bom be rg to sc hot t e nst e i n 33.” People (Dec. Ibid. and Sanhedrin. pp.” The Washington The English edition and the accompanying Reference Guide35 have been pubPost Book Review (Jan. halakhah. ed. as well as the It has also been translated commentary of Rashi printed in Rashi script. twenty-one volumes of to Rabbi Adin Steinsaltz. e. “Unlocking the Rabbi’s Secrets. For a general critique of this series. are listed by name.D. published in 1991. as well. Ohio. It is not the purpose of this edition of the TalJ. Rabbi Scherman and Rabbi ened form of his more lengthy article on this topic.

However. As clear as we believe the English elucidation to be. Since the commentary is considerably longer than the original text. there is another section on the bottom of the notes called “Insights. Its purpose is to help the student understand the Gemara itself and improve his ability to learn from the original. Thus. since English is more familiar to them than the talmudic language. definition of terms. 43. xxv–xxvi. In our day.). the system of vowelization [sic] seeks a balance between grammatical precision and common usage” (ibid.41 Each phrase is translated literally. even the teachers in the yeshivot use English so that the students will understand. with its translation and commentary on the facing page.” which includes important disputes among the commentators and conceptual analyses of major talmudic discussions. the Hebrew or Aramaic words are nearly always translated. since this work is meant primarily as a study aid. . 1990). This feature has been left out of all subsequent volumes. The Talmud must be learned and not merely read. to publish the volume of the Schottenstein Talmud in con- 40. the Rosh ha-Yeshivah of Mesivta Chaim Berlin. One wonders whether this is an attack on the Steinsaltz Talmud. Supplementary background information.). the vowelization [sic] generally follows the correct pronunciation. The translation and commentary. 41. and Rabbi Aharon Schechter. analyze. which they believe will assist scores of people in the study of Talmud. Mesorah has made an e√ort. the editors clarify their position concerning literal translation: “In the English text.43 Each volume of the Schottenstein Talmud contains numerous haskamot from the leading halakhic authorities of our time.42 with the translation in bold type. The translation and commentary contain the actual Gemara text. The haskamot praise the entire ArtScroll series. 44.” while the more complex ones have been omitted.44 As part of the attempt to provide a study aid even for those with a background in Talmud study. The large number of haskamot at the beginning of each volume speaks loudly about the projected audience of this translation. In the first volume. This occurred because the editors felt that anyone able to understand these complex disagreements would be able to read them in the original. which has always been careful to follow the strict rules of vocalization even when the pronunciation di√ers from the common usage. the original page is reproduced several times with a gray line alongside the text being discussed. according to the editors. the reader must contribute to the process by himself to think. As Rabbi Gifter wrote: This volume will be of great use not only for those who are unable to study Gemara but also for those who are proficient in its study. including Rabbi Mordecai Gifter. Rabbi Gifter’s haskamah is the second one printed in this edition of the Talmud. the Rosh ha-Yeshivah of Mesivta Tiferet Yerushalayim. Some of the “Insights” have been incorporated into the “Notes. 42.40 In order to create a Gemara that will adhere to these guidelines. and additional sources are also included in the “Notes” at the bottom of the page. the editors arranged the format as follows: the entire original talmudic page is reproduced. pp. Later in the introduction. The editors explain the rules for vocalization as follows: “Upon the counsel of gedolim. preferably under the guidance of a rebbe. and especially the Schottenstein edition. and thus to understand. thanks to the dedicated work of an exceptional team of Torah scholars. but there are exceptions. There is an additional glossary of terms in the back of every volume. If the Hebrew is a ‘technical term’ that does not lend itself to a simple or comprehensible translation—like gezairah shavah—the Hebrew will be transliterated and explained in the Notes” (ibid. divided phrase by phrase with punctuation and vocalization. almost always adheres to Rashi’s interpretations while other opinions are mentioned in the notes at the bottom of the page. the Rosh ha-Yeshivah of Telz. followed by a more elaborate commentary which clarifies its meaning. Rabbi Dovid Feinstein. Talmud Bavli: Tractate Makkos (New York. when possible. we have striven to prepare the student for the pronunciation he will encounter in the bais medrash.t h e ta l m u d i n t r a nsl at ion 131 study.

they haskamah to an edition of Pirkei Avot published did not materialize due to sti√ rabbinic opposition. See Óayyim Lieberman. and Czernowessence of the original. 109. 1946) by Symcha Petrushka. in accordance with our religion the treal. the opposition of the last advised someone against translating Ein Yaakov because.46 the formal halakhic issue of whether it is permissible to translate the Talmud. Translations of halakhic material have become fashsented an introduction of secular language and. Rabbi Shmuel Walkin followed this same reato accurate translation. “Sefer Tikkunei Shabbat. 1977). the daily synchronized study 45. Opposition to translations of the Talmud in the an exception to the general nineteenth and twentieth centuries was based on a variety of reasons. #214. secular culture into Jewish he forbade anyone from translating his teshuvot because it may lead society. nah must not be translated.47 people to reach incorrect conclusions. all merging opposition to Talmud transinto one another. This fear is expressed in a itz to publish Yiddish translations of the Mishnah. #4. a prominent nineteenthcentury Hungarian rabbi. This article will deal with the opposition to translations of the [of the original]. #70. It will incorporate the halthe great teacher. 1816). Warsaw. however. p. We will not deal with on the Mishnah in Arabic. The most well known Yiddish translation of rabbinic material is a complete translation of the Mishnah (MonIndeed. with a Yiddish translation (Ostrog. eight volumes of the French edition of Talmud by Jews around the world. 181. inability of the translator to translate but also I. in Zekan Aharon.132 p ri n t i ng t h e tal m u d : f rom bom be rg to sc hot t e nst e i n junction with the tractate being studied in Daf Yomi. The problem with translations is not only the See.modernity in Jewish life. “the aggatwo centuries to translations of the Talmud has dot contain hidden meanings. Finally. and if the ignorant are able to read reflected the continuing battle over the role of these in translation. opposition to Talmud translations reflected an inherent not halakhic rulings. 1958). Yoreh Deah. pp. in Arugat ha-Bosem. Others have felt that the mud. For a comprehensive analysis of language of the Gemara and of the MishYiddish translations of Jewish books and the opposition to these translations by many rabbis. Oraò Óayyim. individual volumes of the Talmud have been states: translated into Yiddish. Oraò Óayyim. These kamah is quoted in Moshe Carmilly-Weinberger. Similar to the opposition to the translation of the Torah over two lations because it contained only moralistic teachings and thousand years before. In the nineteenth century. for example: Rabbi Yehudah Aszod. In addition. have The recent translations such as those undertaken by Rabbi Steinsaltz and the been published. 46 This portion of the hasArtScroll series illustrate the growing demand for translations of the Talmud. wrote only a commentary akhic material as it relates to each episode. ship and Freedom of Expression in Jewish History (New York. Censor. III. translator [is bound to change] the meaning 47. these transsoning in a teshuvah dated 1937. esp.” Kiryat Sefer 39 (1963–1964). However. This topic has been discussed in the teshuvah literature. leaving open the possibility. who opposed translations based on the prohibition of teaching the nature of the work that does not lend itself Torah to non-Jews. in his Teshuvot Mahariya. talmudic texts. ionable in all circles today.translations have been widely accepted and are used by Jews throughout the world. Talmud from an historical perspective. Even Moses ben Maimon. Rabbi Grunwald per. During concern that a translation cannot capture the full this period. called the Schottenstein Talmud was completed in March. 103–113. of misunderstanding and even misuse of dic sections than for the halakhic parts. However.45 Edmond Safra Edition. This. if not probproblem of translating the Talmud is a greater problem for the aggaability. The seventy-third and final volume of the of the Talmud. This translation of Pirkei Avot was Polemics on Translations. is only part of the story. For those opponents of mitted the translation of halakhic works based on the community’s translations.” In the previous teshuvah. Since that time. in which he forbade the translation of the Mishnah into the lated volumes gave non-Jews access to the Talvernacular specifically for use by non-Jews. II. 2005. that by logical extension. Yoreh Deah. it should be noted that Rabbi Moshe Feinstein wrote in Iggerot Moshe. because the Toledot Safrut Yisrael 4 (Tel Aviv. they will misunderstand them and will corrupt the words of Óazal. these works in the vernacular repreneed for them. plans were made in Königsberg. which p. #91. Rabbi Moshe Grunwald. . see the classic work by Israel Zinberg. In addition.

and its aftermath are all discussed in Tzvi Hirsch Lehrin.50 50. 182). haskamah. with the commentaries of Rashi and with Pinner’s editorial role and he wrote a haskamah Tosafot and all the necessary notes? Rashi himself was unable for the work. dated 21 Kislev. e. 70.” Moriah 9-10 a haskamah. 49. . he gave Rabbi Luzzatto every matter? the introductory volume in order to enlist his subscripÓatam Sofer’s critique was not directed solely at Pinner. II. Pinner’s attempt Rashi. A similar objection was expressed by Rabbi Samuel David Luzzatto (1800–1865). In a one person’s ability to translate the Talmud. Prior to publishing the first volume of his work. known as Óatam Sofer. Pinner letter printed in Kerem Óemed responded that he did not plan to translate the entire Talmud himself. he was questioning any tion to the entire series. At the time Rabbi Adler served as the questioned the entire project of rabbi of Hanover and was destined to become the Chief Rabbi of the United Hebrew the translation. Among the rabbis whom Pinner approached was Rabbi Moses Sofer (1762–1839). “Concerning this Congregations of the British Empire. it nevertheless became the focus of a bitter controversy. Óatam Sofer thereupon retracted his (1992). While this work contained many haskamot from both rabbis and maskilim of the time. having agreed to participate in the translation and 51. One of the rabbis mentioned by Pinner was Rabbi Nathan then. and he only wrote on the Talmud Bavli” (p. We do not have the text of this retraction either. At this same found in Iggerot Soferim (n. 247. p. It is important to time. “Beclaimed that he did not even consent to give Pinner Inyan Targum ha-Talmud be-Leshon Ashkenaz. the Pinner translation in 1842 was the first attempt to translate the entire Talmud in the modern period. 5695 Óatam Sofer. 70. in which Rabbi Adler both denied ever perspective. pp. he reevaluated his position. As Rabbi Luzzatto wrote. In order to bring an end that Óatam Sofer received from Rabbi Akiva Breslau of Altona. Óatam Sofer published a See Iggerot Soferim (n. a respected German rabbinic scholar. Adler. a letter to Óatam Sofer from Rabbi Akiva Breslau of Altona. How can you possibly understand and translate everything? Many times the great Italian philosopher the rabbis themselves disagree how to understand the comments of and exegete. A copy of this letter can be found in Raphael Rabbinovicz. Rabbi would serve as editor for other worthy. Pinner traveled to many cities seeking haskamot for his project from local rabbis. 4 above). however. 1965). 75-78. he wrote that he had received a letter from note that this presentation of the dispute is from Óatam Sofer’s Rabbi Adler. 174–182. n. Maamar al Hadpasat ha-Talmud (Jerusalem. as well as in the letter Sofer’s original haskamah. Pinner claimed that Rabbi Adler had con. Many rabbis objected to Pinner’s translation and we only know of it from the proclamation he wrote after he were upset with Óatam Sofer for giving Pinner a later retracted the haskamah (see Rabbinovicz. 48 above) and haskamah. Pinner then used this haskamah as a way to complete his translation. at the end of the letter. the subsequent retraction of the haskamah. How can one individual hope to properly understand him all the way to Italy.. pp. II.g.52 It seems. he 1 (1833). However. Óatam Sofer seemed to have been satisfied both Bavli and Yerushalmi. This opposition. This is quoted in a proclamation written by Óatam Sofer after he had retracted his haskamah from the Pinner translation. We do not have the text of the haskamah of Óatam Sofer. that this retraction 52. and how many sheets of paper have been used in explaining one to sell his subscriptions took statement of Rashi. Is it possible to fulfill his promises? Is sented to translate the di¥cult tractates of Eruvin and there enough time in a man’s life to translate the entire Talmud.49 According to Óatam Sofer. did not stop Pinner from continuing to use Óatam it too is referred to by Óatam Sofer in the proclamation that he wrote which is printed in Rabbinovicz. p. Yevamot. p. knowledgeable rabbis who would translate Luzzatto pointed out the many errors he felt Pinner made and the various tractates. in I would ask. In 48 Padua.51 When word of this opposition reached other correspondences on this issue. to this misrepresentation. Óatam Sofer described his reaction upon hearing from Pinner about the planned translation: 48. 4 above). Rather. to convince other rabbis to follow suit.t h e ta l m u d i n t r a nsl at ion 133 As noted above.

It must become a closed chapter. Hilkhot the prohibition against teaching Torah to non-Jews.”53 Pinner responded to his critics: “I am letting it be known While the retraction of the haskamah by Óatam Sofer was not based on the merto all those who speak badly its of the translation. For a short biography of Lehrin. the controversy gave rise to other objections to Pinner’s work. 75. They dress and walk The most informative critique is found in a letter written by Rabbi Tzvi Hirsch Lehlike righteous people but in rin. II. argues that even if Pinner is capable of portraying the Talmud in a posiand for a halakhic perspective. If the deviant Jews claim that the disgeneral prohibition of placing a stumbling agreement between Beit Shammai and Beit Hillel concerning block before the blind. Rabbi their companions that I have written this work. Minòat tify the name of God and to glorify the words of the rabbis. 122–173.” This prohibition tions of the translation. The risk.” Lehrin wrote: 54. he argued. According to Rabbi Lehrin. p. 4 translation that was done in Hebrew letters and was a translation of the above). of Moses Dessau [Mendelssohn]. p. II. p. he is Óinnukh. 1842). he might then be accused of trying to convert the non-Jews to Bleich. 311–340. 74–75. how much There are many issues involved in the question of teaching Torah to non-Jews. 51 How much did those who came before us complain about the translation above). H.56 However. one of the most prominent members of the Amsterdam Jewish community. pp. they will then mock that work and its teachings. 247. 5595.134 p ri n t i ng t h e tal m u d : f rom bom be rg to sc hot t e nst e i n proclamation recounting the entire episode. more so will the non-Jews mock the talmudic tradition. see Rabbi Lehrin is concerned that if the non-Jews are able to understand Isaac. See R. suggests that Rambam does not list it causing a denigration of God’s name and a lessening of because it is included in the respect for the rabbis. an egg that is born on the holiday is irrelevant. upon hearing that he had rescinded his haskamah. about me. see J. if they found a problem with that 55. 232. The Talmud in SanheRabbi Lehrin’s objection to the translation is not based on the technical issue as to drin 59a states. He further ing Non-Jews Torah: Its Historical Development. no. even assuming that it is accurate. The Talmud the Talmud available to non-Jews was a practical concern as well. introduction to his edition of Berakhot (Berlin. was is quoted by Rambam in that non-Jews would be able to read and understand the Talmud. And. in violation of his Mishneh Torah. and truth they are full of evil and a known opponent of any innovation in religious practice. As Rabbi Lehrin includes a second prohibition in Óagigah 13a against continued in this letter: teaching a non-Jew Torah but this prohibition is not menAccording to his [Pinner’s] words. how much more so would they oppose the translation of Lehrin clearly intended to the Talmud into German letters allowing the non-Jews to understand the identify Pinner’s translation with that of Mendelssohn. Mann. buying and reading of this book in their jurisdictions. the fear of integrating into secular (New York. 57. see Lehrin (n. We know that there is a prohibition against teaching the oral which he knew Óatam Sofer Torah to non-Jews. the fear of making Melakhim 10:9. 1983). Iggerot Soferim (n. 77. 48 above). pp. but rather on the implicawho studies Torah is to be executed.” Gesher 8 (1981). “The Prohibition of Teachthe Talmud. David tive light. Rabbinovicz (n. “A heathen whether or not the Talmud can be translated properly. Rabbi written Torah. he is composing this translation to sanctioned by Rambam. society is not only dangerous because it may lead Jews to stray from tra- . It is not for them or Sofer dated 10 Tevet. In the rabbis to prohibit the printing. 4 above).54 In a letter to Óatam deceit. Talmud. In truth.57 Two important articles have been written on the topic: for a historical perspective. 56. II. Iggerot Soferim (n. Contemporary Halakhic Problems Judaism.55 so viciously opposed. p. pp. never to be mentioned again among the Jewish people. that I will not listen to them. 12. He concluded: “I therefore ask all the 53.

This is a play on the verse in Numbers 17:2. Sifra. Rabbi Leopold Greenwald wrote in Otzar Neòmad (Cleveland. “that Óatam Sofer and canceled it could not be translated according to its entire need. his opponents recognized the greatness of his work and sang Goldschmidt’s praises. the Tosefta. 1989).58 Unlike Pinner’s translation. even if it was translated. . 1968). Mi-Dor Dor (Tel Aviv. Suwalki was opposed to these attempts because he felt that the non-Jews would not take the necessary time to study the Talmud. See Zeitschrift fur Hebraische Bibliographie 1 (1896–1897). pp.d. J. 61. However. 59. Samuel A. Pinner was only successful in completing one volume of his translation. 142–143. the Czar took away the permission to continue the project. D.59 There is. p.61 made reference in a teshuvah about teaching Hebrew to non-Jews to an when Czar Nicholas’ censor article he wrote entitled “Et ha-Haatakot Zereih Halah”62 in which he expressed his realized that Pinner was not translating the Talmud to expose the evils of the Talmud as they had anticipated. a Romanian rabbi who moved to Israel after the Second World War and died to stop his project because in 1962. that there were those who wanted to translate the Talmud into Russian and they asked Rabbi Isaac Elòanan Spektor (1817–1896). the rabbi of Kovno. In a similar vein. argued that Pinner was forced Sperber. for his approval. 67–71. .” Jewish Social Studies 4 (April. 8 above). and tractate Berakhot (St. 3-8. 60. a Hebrew writer from Poland. Rabbi David Klausner (n. they did not oppose translations in general. however. 181–185. 83. 1896). Interestingly. p. pp. a Russian orientalist. and similar arguis dubious because the Beraments were made by the òaredim against Goldschmidt’s translation. Seder Nezikin (Berlin. For a biography and a list of works by Rabbi Sperber. Die Recension des Herrn Dr. 321. 1910). 1942). 100–103. 7–8. claiming that as long as the non-Jews are unable to read the Talmud. Rabbi Ho√mann himself translated two orders of the Mishnah into German. the translation of Lazarus Goldschmidt was widely accepted and did not create the uproar of the earlier translation. pp. There are reports of other attempted translations of the Talmud during this period. Petersburg. 1893– 1897) and Seder Tohorot (Berlin. Rabbi David Tzvi Ho√mann (1843–1921) did write several articles that were critical of Goldschmidt’s translation. 1898–1912) by Neòemiah Pereferkovich. As noted above. n. the Mekhilta. only two vague references to opposition to the Goldschmidt translation. wrote in the introduction to his Óayyei ha-Yehudi al pi ha-Talmud (Warsaw.t h e ta l m u d i n t r a nsl at ion 135 dition but also because increased contact with non-Jews may cause the undermining of Judaism and its teachings. 9 above). reprinted in Goldschmidt. The reason for his inability to complete more of this project is a matter of controversy. if non-Jews are given the opportunity to understand the Talmud. Areshet (n. 260–262. Israel Michel Rabbinowicz published four volumes of a French translation of the Talmud in Paris in the 1870’s to counter the frequent attacks of the French anti-Semites against it. Goldschmidt responded to these criticisms in a pamphlet. see Yitzòak Yosef Cohen. . 14.” was used by Rabbi the project. 62.). that Pinner heeded the words of The same complaint that the rabbis had concerning the Septuagint. There is no other record of this change of heart. the Jews can easily refute their claims. pp. I am aware of death of Óatam Sofer. p. two years after the It is not clear to what arguments the author of this article is referring. Mordecai Lipson wrote in his collection of legends and folk stories. Horodezky wrote that. 1889). that there were many people who wanted to translate the Talmud into European languages in order to present the non-Jews with an accurate account of it. Isaak Suwalski. This argument Tzvi Hirsch Lehrin concerning Pinner’s translation . Óakhmei Transylvania (Jerusalem. the Jews would no longer be able to refute their arguments so easily. in the end. an interesting report of opposition to his translation as well. Ho√mann uber Meine Talmudausgabe in Lichteder Wahrheit (Charlottenburg. See Zoza Szajkowski.60 khot translation was printed in 1842. pp. The only prior translation into Russian was an eight-volume translation of the Mishnah. 13 above). 152–155. In an article describing the sixtieth birthday celebration for Goldschmidt. “The Alliance Israelite Universelle and East-European Jewry in the 60’s. Rabbi Spektor opposed the translation. reference is made to critics of the translation: 58. Berakhot. Horodezky (n. Though these articles pointed out flaws in the job that Goldschmidt was doing.

4 above). this reference could only be referring to the Goldschmidt translation. my heart was broken inside me because of the great breach that was created. Emek ha-Bakha. Rabbi Hertz praised the translation project as the means by which the non-Jews would better understand the true essence of Judaism and expressed the hope that. Emek ha-Bakha I (Lithuania. unlike the previous two translations. He wrote fifteen books on halakhic topics. 64. II. In his speech that evening. which he refers to as the Satan. 3. I.”65 Considering the year that it was written. Ibid. 1935). this article was never published. 10. This automatically gave it almost unanimous acceptance. Shemaryahu Menashe Adler. there was at least one rabbi. the Rogachover. anti-Semitism. p. The article is reprinted in the original Yiddish in Emek ha-Bakha. Rabbi Adler emigrated to England and became a London businessman. 69. This is evident from the haskamot included in his books. 1954). he wrote that he had been imprisoned for three weeks on charges stemming from a disagreement that he had with the Chief Rabbinate and that. received the communal approval of the Chief Rabbinate of Great Britain.64 but. In truth. in this way. a collection of the family letters.67 One of the reasons he opposed the Chief Rabbinate was because of their support for the Soncino translation. De Zeit (22 Adar II. would be diminished. He argued that even this is prohibited and noted that he elaborated on this topic in this article. suggests that this article was directed at Goldschmidt’s translation. pp. he was informed that the translation had actually been done with the haskamah of Rabbi Joseph Rozin. p. II. p. the Chief Rabbi wanted to have him expelled from England. While Rabbi Adler was not accepted among the members of the British rabbinate. who opposed this translation as well. n. Rabbi Adler described his impressions upon reading this article in the Yiddish newspaper: “When I read this article. He includes these episodes as part of a prayer that he should not be harmed by the Chief Rabbinate.66 In the introduction to one of his volumes. which was on the rise throughout the world. (Sept. Iggerot Soferim. 29–68. 65.63 Unfortunately. however. 70. opposition to the translation of the Talmud into the vernacular. De Zeit. as well as representatives of the Anglican Church. Apharkasta de-Enia (Romania. published in 1928. he mentioned a new attempt having been made to translate the Talmud into German. he was well respected in other rabbinic circles. In a footnote to Rabbi Lehrin’s letter to Óatam Sofer. 30. 1940). 1935). and remarked that “from Rabbi Lehrin’s letter. the great Polish talmudist known as the Roga- .136 p ri n t i ng t h e tal m u d : f rom bom be rg to sc hot t e nst e i n 63. people should realize the risks involved in translations. 5695). and was a vocal. 68. The Soncino translation. 66.68 He quoted the London Yiddish newspaper. 1928) contains a long list of haskamot written by leading rabbinic authorities such as Rabbi Abraham Isaac Kook and Rabbi David Tzvi Ho√mann. While these two sources make only veiled reference to this translation. Emek ha-Bakha. rabbis and dayyanim from the London community. II. However. 67. In attendance at this celebration were Chief Rabbi Hertz. the fact that this volume of teshuvot was first published in 1940 (the teshuvah itself is undated). as well as literary. The other reference to opposition is a note written by Rabbi Solomon Sofer.69 which describes the party held to celebrate the completion of the first volume in 1935. Emek ha-Bakha II (Lithuania. grandson of Óatam Sofer and editor of Iggerot Soferim. Rabbi Sperber referred to this article in reference to the question of whether the prohibition of teaching Torah to nonJews applies to teaching them Torah in translation. they are historically significant because they show that there was opposition to Goldschmidt’s translation and that this opposition came from two rabbis who were part of the traditionalist camp. David Sperber. p. Rabbi Shemaryahu Menashe Adler. Born in Poland. 1 above). p. Mareh Kohen (London. 29. on another occasion. (n. 6. In his book. 4.. local dignitaries. it is such actions that cause the destruction of the Jewish nation. Preshel (n. See T. contains the haskamah of Rabbi Joseph Rozin. critic of the British Chief Rabbinate.”70 When Rabbi Adler discussed this matter with one of the members of the community. he dedicated an entire section to a discussion about the Soncino translation of the Talmud. 78. #46.

However. after having read the article in the Yiddish newspaper. Kenneth L. Man Schach.75. 57. “Prior to its publicaopposition to it. The man in the kollel was disturbed by what he found in these books weekly publication founded by and reflecting the views of and he began an investigation into the other works of Rabbi Rabbi Schach. Upon receiving this clarification.72 Rabbi Adler concluded his article by quoting Óatam Sofer’s be written in the vernacular. pp. “Ja√ee’s The authorities in Israel. there was little opposition.76 there was no formal of the Talmud edited by Jacob Neusner.. First. while the a copy of Óatam Sofer’s proclamation from a rabbi in LonRogachover eventually rescinded his haskamah. While many did not use this edition because they felt that it would be “cheat. Rabbi Adler wrote to the Rogachover. 1989).” Yeshivat Ha-Kotel and rav of the Old City of Jerusalem. he did permit the writing of a vernacular original position. 1. “I had no one willing to listen to me in this land. It became obvious that the translation was no less all of Rabbi Steinsaltz’s works by the leading halakhic ‘esoteric’ than the original. Cohen. In all likelihood. a ban was placed on abated. he When publication of the Steinsaltz Hebrew Talmud began in the 1960s and was not able to find anyone in England willing to publish it. Rosh ha-Yeshivah of the Ponevezh Yeshi. . he was initially willing to grant one don who wanted to remain to this translation. p. p. but it reflected the willingness 74. 66. Rabbi Avigdor Nevenzahl.77 approached a man in the Kollel Óazon Ish in Bnei Brak to The complaint against the Steinsaltz Talmud is somewhat ask whether some of Rabbi Steinsaltz’s books would be ambiguous.. commentary that could be included on the side of the original Gemara text. “Steinsaltz was to the seminarian what Monarch Pinchas Sheinberg. who lived in Dvinsk 71. In his second letter to Rabbi Adler. Rabbi Adler responded with a lengthy letter explaining that the real purpose of the transla. it was intended to impress the this letter saying that in a case non-Jews who were unable to read the original. His original haskamah was limited to an approval of a commen. Ibid.Steinsaltz. Rabbi Yosef Sholom Eliashiv. The entire episode is described in the English edition of ordered all copies of the Steinsaltz Talmud found in the Yated Ne’eman (August 18.. rather. he was a lonely voice in England. he was silent Adler wrote that he received because. Ibid. The only other criticism of the Soncino translation that I have found is quoted in a review of the English translation ing” to make Talmud study so easy. He wrote rescinded his original hasthat the text of the Talmud should not be translated and that only a transliteration kamah. p. pp.. The problem began. who vah. 77. e. the where the text will only be read by Jews..73 at least be written in Hebrew This episode is important for several reasons. Ibid.Adler added an addendum to tion was not for the sake of teaching Jews but.76. p. but also clarified his of the original is permissible. Ibid.” Jewish Spectator 56:2 (Fall 1991). p. p. Upon hearing this. 30. The English edition of Yated Ne’eman. asking whether he had indeed given his haskamah to this translation. tary in the vernacular and not to a true translation.75 Lithuania. the Rogachover not only The Rogachover responded with a qualified approval of the translation. vocal opponent of the Soncino translation. 1970s.. at the time. 31. This all changed in 1989. In the summer of that year. Rabbi wrote that. published the letters of halakhic authori. See ibid. many talmudic scholars worried that the ‘mystery’ of time that Rabbi Steinsaltz began publishing his English Israel would be revealed and available for appropriation by all.71 Rabbi 72. just around the tion. a appropriate for a library they were establishing. including Rabbi Elazar Menaòem Talmud of Babylonia: Horayot.” JQR 79 (1989). “Competition for Rabbi Steinsaltz. 65–66.”74 Second. 235. according to the report. dean of Notes are to the high school student.anonymous. See.t h e ta l m u d i n t r a nsl at ion 137 chover. and Rabbi Chaim wrote. the Rogachover Rogachover rescinded his haskamah and wrote that it was clearly forbidden to teach permitted the commentary to Talmud to non-Jews. No sooner had the translation appeared when anxiety edition. 66–68. while Rabbi Adler was a characters. He 73.g. when a group of baalei teshuvah neighborhood synagogues to be placed in the genizah. but he thinks that it should response to Pinner in which he retracted his haskamah to Pinner’s work.” See Harry Fox. It is also of this great rabbinic giant of eastern Europe to accept a work in the vernacular that noteworthy that Rabbi Adler published this volume in would assist Jews in understanding the Talmud.

but defended Rabbi Steinsaltz’s basic philosophy. 2. The three books menhas. The translation is that of Yated Ne’eman. The letters written by such authorities as Rabbi Schach. written a comtioned in the original ban mentary to the Gemara known as “Talmud Hamevuar Vehamenukad “ were: Everyman’s Talmud. in total.138 p ri n t i ng t h e tal m u d : f rom bom be rg to sc hot t e nst e i n 78. one letter which did contain a direct reference to the translation of the Talmud. for instance. for the Talmud is presented as a “In these books condemned book of laws similar to secular wisdom. Rabbi Elias argued that Rabbi Steinsaltz did not pay the proper respect to the traditional understanding of Jewish law and the rabbinic role in this process. as it were. this sort of learning causes any report in Yated Ne’eman. ties who had banned it. because they the transcriber are aimed at will be studying Talmud bereft of all holiness and refuting the claim made by Rabbi Steinsaltz’s institute. pretending to wisdom under advice of his yetzer hora. their experience is sibility. there is no direct criticism of it. trace of holiness and emunah to vanish. According to Rabbi Schach. specifically his Talmud. Rabbi Matis Greenblatt responded to these charges in “Rabbi Steinsaltz’s Approach to the Oral Tradition-Revisited. “Popularizing the Talmud: An Analytical Study of the Steinsaltz Approach to the Talmud. and Rabbi Eliashiv are printed on page 19 of that issue of Yated Ne’eman. They reflect the attempt to turn the Talmud into “a book of laws similar to a secular wisdom. Rabbi v’shalom.81 mixing in” and did not reflect the opinion of Rabbi Steinsaltz “who Rabbi Schach’s criticism of the Steinsaltz had no intention of speaking disparagingly of Chazal. In that same issue. and Biblical Images. his study aids faciliriage of David Hamelech and Michal bas Shaul as one tated the reading of the Talmud as a secular book..78 While a number of the letters mention the Talmud translation. Rather. the objections thereby cause the Torah. 80. Transcribers can It is our duty to preserve the “cruse of pure oil” in its purity rather than distort single sentences. 18-27. written by Rabbi Schach. According to the of Gemara. ibid. He wrote: How the heart aches to see “the sanctity being swallowed up” by one who 79. 13–16. Rabbi Elias responded to Rabbi Greenb- tory of opposition to translations of the Talmud. in which he admitted that Rabbi Steinsaltz made certain errors in presentation. chas ve-shalom. . and a city girl. p. the works. to be forgotten. pp. Rabbi Eliezer Waldenberg.80 no transcriber could. have been replaced by the concerns about the e√ects of translations on Jewish readers.79 There was. In actuality. Rabbi Steinsaltz must bear responish. chas has accompanied Talmud study for the past two thousand years. which stated that the errors found in these books were the results of “strange hands sanctity. for what he considered heresy. pp.” The Jewish Observer 22:10 (January. There are. 1. God forbid. eight letters published that criticize Rabbi Steinsaltz. the Talmud is banned because it was written by the same author who penned several books that they considered to contain words of heresy. but increase that which is impure. in which he criticized Rabbi Steinsaltz’s works.” The Jewish Observer 23:8 (November.” The references to meaningless. The fears associated with non-Jewish readership of the Talmud. however. Therefore. pp. with none of the struggle that of a country vulgarian.” While these works may lead more people to study Talmud. Let no one argue were not to isolated sentences but to the whole tenor of that through [this commentary] the number of learners will be increased. p. A small light can dispel much darkness. wherein he has inserted various explanations designed to make the study Women in Tanach. translations into the vernacular are a concession to modernity. The original Hebrew letter is also included in that issue of Yated Ne’eman. 81. 1990).” See Yated Talmud represents a turning point in the hisNe’eman.” Rabbi Schach believed that translations of the Talmud would undermine traditional Talmud study by making it the same as studying a secular work. There were other criticisms of the Steinsaltz Talmud as well. While cloth the story of the marRabbi Steinsaltz attempted to make the study of Talmud easier. It is clear that it will by the BaDaZ. fashion from whole Rabbi Schach expressed a serious concern about the Steinsaltz Talmud. 19–26. argued Rabbi Schach. 1990). Ibid. no longer a critical issue. For Schach wrote. easier. Rabbi Steinsaltz caused “any trace of holiness and emunah to vansuch constructions. Rabbi Joseph Elias wrote a long article.

84.”83 The editors were very sensitive to the need for maintaining the traditional method of study and did not want their translation to be a substitute for it. Rabbi Aharon Feldman. There is one example of opposition to the Schottenstein Talmud from within Orthodox rabbinic circles. found fault with Rabbi Steinsaltz’s Talmud. is reflected in a qualification given by the editors and the rabbis who wrote haskamot to this edition. An ambivalence towards translations is evident not only in the comments by the editors but also in the haskamot that were written for the Schottenstein Talmud. At the conclusion of the blessing it says. . “Learning Gemara in English: The Steinsaltz Talmud Translation. Rosh ha-Yeshivah latt. 111–121. he was obviously critical of other translations. Is there a di√erence between this situation and the preceding one or is there no di√erence? Response: Although we concede that it the intention of the translators to act for the benefit of heaven. an excellent job is done. there are two haskamot in particular that deserve a closer look. “. “Harav Eliashiv said: ‘Because of the times we live in. Where a straightforward translation is required. however. . Regarding the matter about which many of you have asked: The English translation known as the Soncino edition was banned by the scholars and roshei yeshivah of the previous generation . . . there is a blessing from Rabbi Eliashiv.82 As previously mentioned. under the guidance of a rebbe. but. pp. the editors clearly stated that this translation is not intended “to provide a substitute for the original text or a detour around the classical manner of study. That issue also contains a reply by Rabbi Feldman to Rabbi Sober’s letter (pp. responded to Rabbi Feldman. a leading halakhic authority living in Jerusalem and one of the rabbis who opposed the Steinsaltz Talmud. Tractate Eruvin (New York. In the first volume of Makkos. it is a great mitzvah to proceed with this project. Rabbi Moshe Sober. 123–126) and a letter written by David Hojda (pp. 48–64. they ensure that the holiness does not vanish from the study of Talmud. it is a great mitzvah to continue in this project. Rabbi Yosef Sholom Eliashiv. one of the leading òasidic authorities in the United States wrote a lengthy diatribe against studying Torah and Talmud in the vernacular entitled. The second haskamah is written by Rabbi Aharon Schechter. 121–123) that emphasizes the importance of the Steinsaltz Talmud for the layman. In the next issue of that journal.t h e ta l m u d i n t r a nsl at ion 139 82.” Tradition 25:4 (1991). the criticism does not come from outside critics. In that way. 1990). His haskamah is not based on the merit of the edition per se. the beauty of the Steinsaltz Talmud is skin deep.’ He requested that the following be inserted into this volume in his name. 83. . 1994). First. Tractate Makkos (n. Shanu Óakhamim bi-Leshon ha-Mishnah (Brooklyn NY. He wrote: “To my friends and dear students. 44–49). however the text of the blessing does not appear in full. 40 above).” Then the above quote is written in Hebrew. once it ventures into the deeper waters of clarifying the subtleties of Talmudic discourse and of its commentators. In this case. . . However. p. Tradition 26:2 (1992). Its purpose is to help the student understand the Gemara and to improve his ability to learn from the original. wrote: “Since we live in a generation in which people are translating the Talmud irresponsibly in a way that lessens the sanctity of the Talmud. Furthermore. One wonders whether Rabbi Eliashiv would approve of translations if there was no need to undo what others have done. though he does not elaborate about those to which he was referring. now others have arisen and plan to translate the Talmud into English. Rabbi Menashe Klein. This statement is not included with the other haskamot but rather as a blessing on the first page from both Rabbi Shelomo Zalman Auerbach and Rabbi Eliashiv. xxv. it is clear that Rabbi Eliashiv had some mixed feelings even about the Schottenstein edition. He wrote. but rather on its importance in correcting the errors of others. rather.” He then listed what he considered to be many inaccuracies of the Steinsaltz Talmud. nevertheless it is apparent that it is the work of Satan” (pp. it runs out of strength and begins to flounder. While most of the haskamot simply praise the ArtScroll series and note how important it is to have a translation of the Talmud that will simplify its complex study. This concern that the Talmud in translation would lose much of its sanctity is also evident in the reaction to the Schottenstein Talmud. the research editor of the Steinsaltz English Talmud. pp.”84 Two things can be understood from this short comment of Rabbi Eliashiv. .

According to these authorities. p. It is noteworthy that the translations. However. 5 above). by its very nature limited. .86 The editors accepted the advice of Rabbi Schechter.88 On translations resulting in this issue. his reason is not based on the fact exact on the Orthodox community itself. the question remained as to the cost of these 86.” but rather refer to it as an “explanation” of the Talmud. tends to lead to a neglect of the Hebrew language. As Pinner wrote in 1842. we must keep in mind that the recent flood of chas v’shalom. the concern centered on the exposure that translations created haskamah written by Rabbi for the non-Jewish world.140 p ri n t i ng t h e tal m u d : f rom bom be rg to sc hot t e nst e i n of Mesivta Chaim Berlin. It is now possible to study Pinner (n. especially in the United Simon Schwab to this volume praises the editors for having States. . true throughout the past two centuries. a translation. . . So. the works of Rambam. Initially. that a problem of how to present the Talmud to the modern reader who is unable to translation will allow people read the original. Rabbi Schechter wrote: While it may be possible to hold a specific quantity of water in a container. the Steinsaltz and Schottenstein editions have made major contributions. Óumash with Rashi and Ramban. suggested that the editors not call this work a “translation. needs. trans. They are concerned that the unique quality of the Talmud. can encompass only the words but not the depth and greatness of the process of Gemara study (derekh ha-Gemara). Their reservations about the Schottenstein edition reflected the same concerns expressed by Rabbi Schach regarding the Steinsaltz edition. . its sanctity. However. too. in the introduction to his translation. Berakhot. now it is almost forgotten among the people . At the conclusion of his lengthy haskamah. and they called the Schottenstein edition of the Talmud an “elucidation” rather than a “translation. the language of Hebrew was a sign of glory for the Jewish people . . but who at the same time wishes to maintain the experience of to read the Talmud as “they would read a history book. This haskamah appears on the fifth and sixth pages of unable to study the Talmud in the original.” translations of Jewish religious works. would be lost in translation. and even the Mishnah 88. a potential neglect of the A Traditional Message Through Modern Techniques. However. one can not capture the force of a flowing stream. E. but. As the Orthodox community. traditional Talmud study. translations represent the introduction of secular culture into the realm of Talmud study. . M. has become more religiously insular. admittedly necessary to meet contemporary 87. As we have seen. This has caused us to be 85. However. the Talmud was translated a number of times over the past two hundred years in order to make it accessible to those who would otherwise be unable to study it. rather.85 Rabbi Schechter. 12. “Originally. the concern has shifted away from the chosen not to call their work impact of translations vis-à-vis the non-Jewish world to the costs these translations a translation. The reservation about Berurah all in translation without any knowledge of the Hebrew language. therefore. this serves to undermine the sanctity of this great work. it would appear that their apprehension about translations is not based solely on their belief that translations cannot capture the essence of the original.” Both Rabbi Eliashiv and Rabbi Schechter emphasized the limitations of translations of the Talmud. that the Talmud cannot be The Steinsaltz and Schottenstein editions have gone a long way in solving the translated. the longest one in the Schottenstein Edition.”87 While this argument continued to be haskamot.

1993). reprinted as the second part of his father’s derashot. Rather. Doresh le-Tziyyon (Brooklyn. “Hebrew in America. “Words. 1881). pp. who wrote: “If even a fraction of the intellectual resources currently being devoted to the task of translating and popularizing the Jewish experience into the American idiom were to be diverted instead toward the task of making it easier to attain a basic Hebrew literacy.” Commentary 96:1 (July.89 In the final analysis. see the derashah of Rabbi Samuel Landau. in Ahavat Tziyyon (Warsaw. 42–46. the gain would be substantial. The ability to make the Talmud understandable and to present the translation in a manner that is both aesthetically pleasing and easy to use without forfeiting the traditional text and method of study is the supreme challenge only now being met by the courageous scholars who have undertaken this sacred work. For an interesting presentation of the argument that translations are important only as a vehicle to better understand the original Hebrew and not to replace the original. these editions have maintained the primacy of the original text and made it clear that they did not intend a new English work but consider their work as a companion to help understand the original. Meaning and Spirit: The Talmud in Translation. He was critical of those who wrote German translations of the Siddur and the Óumash in order to replace the original. they reflect the exploitation of modern techniques for the purpose of transmitting the Talmud to the Jewish people. 1974). 19a. the son of Rabbi Ezekiel Landau. This essay is a reconsideration of my earlier publication. pp.t h e ta l m u d i n t r a nsl at ion 141 By including the original Hebrew text and integrating the translated material with explanation and commentary.” 89. the recent translations of the Talmud do not represent a capitulation to modernity as feared by Rabbi Schach and his followers. Hebrew language was expressed in a recent article by Alan Mintz.” Torah U-Madda Journal V (1994). 115–155. He wrote that the knowledge of Hebrew is critical because a child will be more prone to accept the teachings of the Torah when they are transmitted in the language in which God gave them to the Jewish people. in which he instructed parents how to educate their children. .

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