New Technology has made studying the Talmud easier
With news that 90,000 Orthodox Jews gathered last month in Met Life Stadium in the Meadowlands (http://nyti. ms/N06xaK) to celebrate the Siyyum HaShas, the completion of a seven-year Daf Yomi cycle of Talmud study, we were reminded of one of our 2005 CompuSchmooze columns.
In that April 2005 column (http://bit.ly/OiFKn0), we interviewed Yehuda Schmidman, who recognized the power of Apple’s iPod to expand opportunities for Talmud study by offering an iPod pre-loaded with shiurim, commentaries on the Talmud by a respected Talmud scholar.
We also produced one of our earliest podcasts from our interview with Schmidman. You can still hear the interview on the Varied Voices blog of the Voice, at http://bit.ly/N3CoBI.
You can still purchase the ShasPod from Schmidman at http://www.shaspods.com/. The lectures take up 13gb of a 20gb Apple iPod, leaving 7gb of space you can fill with your own content.
But what is the state of online Talmud study seven years later? I thought it might be worth taking another look to see how things have progressed.
For starters, there is the Internet Sacred Texts Archive, which offers a 1918 English translation of the Babylonian Talmud by Michael Rodkinson (http://bit.ly/PZ5y55). This is a basic text file of the translation, and doesn’t include the scholarly bells and whistles or the Rashi commentaries that are integral to most Talmud study.
At Halakhah.com (http:// halakhah.com/), you can download translated pages in PDF files organized by tractate. This site provides a helpful box indicating the Daf Yomi study page for the day. The site’s two-column reformatted English Talmud pages offer helpful commentaries in the PDF files, which are organized and designed for printing, although you can save paper and read them on a mobile device. If you prefer files formatted for your Amazon Kindle, you can purchase them at Amazon for $0.99 per tractate (http://bit.ly/NDbXGX).
Chabad offers “Talmud for Beginners,” a series of (so far) 14 videos, each running just under an hour (http://bit.ly/PcXkuz).
Thanks to TheYeshiva World.com, we also learned about the Live Daf website where you can watch recorded video lectures, and a daily livestream video—at 1 p.m. Eastern Time— of each day’s Daf Yomi shiur (http://www.livedaf.net/). You can post questions on each video and the teachers will respond by email.
For iPad users, there is an iTalmud iPad Edition available in the iTunes store for $29.99, at the high end of prices for iPad apps, but it includes access to a full English translation, audio lectures, Rashi and Tosfos commentaries, original page formatting and dictionary and reference works. Purchase it at http:// bit.ly/QC0MLu. The corresponding Android device version of iTalmud is $25.03, available at http://bit.ly/TEXHhJ.
ArtScroll Mesorah Publications offers a free iPad app, but you need to purchase Talmud tractates in the app as you need them. The app is available in iTunes at http://bit.ly/N0bX5R.
Koren Publishers Jerusalem (http://bit.ly/PnDw8x) earlier this year launched an English translation of the Talmud by noted scholar Rabbi Adin Steinsaltz, who appeared a few years ago at the Katz JCC’s Arts, Books and Culture Festival. You can view the video announcing the new Steinsaltz Talmud translation at http://bit.ly/NBCOkP.
Koren has promised an iPad version of the translation will be released “Summer 2012,” but we haven’t seen this in iTunes yet. It is also likely to be pricey, as the individual printed Koren volumes are lavish productions with color photos, and sell for $39.95 to $49.95 per volume.
Even though there may be many more technological enhancements available today that aid our study and understanding, we’re still using them to delve more deeply into the wisdom of thousands of years ago. That’s nothing short of miraculous! email@example.com