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Complete Idiot's Guide to Understanding the Talmud (Complete Idiot's Guides (Lifestyle Paperback)) [Paperback]

Rabbi Aaron Parry

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The Talamud is one of the most unusual written works ever created. Compiled centuries ago by a group of wise men as a way to preserve the oral traditions of the Jewish faith, its complex approach to exploring ideas and subjects from virtually every possible angle has challenged and thrilled some of the world's greatest minds.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 4.6 out of 5 stars  31 reviews
41 of 43 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great overview! 12 Nov 2004
By Heather - Published on
Admittedly, I was a little disapointed when I found out this text wasn't written by Rabbi Benjamin Blech (author of Idiot's Guide's to Understanding Judaism, Jewish History/Culture and Learning Yiddish). However, I found myself pleased with the book and the knowledge of the author.

Rabbi Aaron Parry takes the extremely complex topic of the Talmud, Judaism's oral tradition, and breaks it down into an easy-to-understand (yet still intellectual) approach. In addition to the in-depth explanation, the entire book is peppered with little Talmudic quotes of wisdom.

Rabbi Parry covers information on the writings that make up the Talmud, the organisation of the pages and the orders. It points out which commentaries are where and discusses the sages that wrote them. The book also includes plenty of relevant background information on the creation of the Talmud and those who wrote and contributed to it, as well as explaining modern day application of Talmudic law and important issues of discussion within the Talmud.

I may not be about to go out and study Talmud myself after reading the text, but at least I'll be able to understand if other people are discussing it!
21 of 21 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fun and informative- what more could you want? 7 Sep 2004
By Shana Dietz - Published on
Like most of this series, this one is also enjoyable with an easy to read format. Not for advanced students obviously, this guide can be useful for those with some knowledge [like myself] as well as beginners. It covers the basics - history, structure, methodology - and the extras with humorous anecdotes, short biographies of famous Talmudists, and a good list of websites for further exploration. A must for every Jewish library if you're not already a rabbi, cantor, or Talmud student! Enjoy.
21 of 22 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Comprehensive elementary approach to the meaning of the Talmud 21 Dec 2005
By Manuel Gwiazda - Published on
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
This book is a friendly comprehensive summary intended for secular Jews and non Jews about the meaning of the Talmud, (the Jewish Oral Law). The Torah is the Jewish written Law.

The first half chapters outline brief explanations about Judaism, the origins of the Talmud, and a glimpse of every of its tractates, mostly related to Jewish fundamentals, laws and concepts

The last half chapters illustrate about ancient Talmud Sages opinions about mathematics, ecology, medicine, astronomy, and rulings about controversial issues like cloning, sex and abortion.

It also offers interesting transcripts of famous Talmud pieces of wisdom and websites with Talmud content for daily consultation

Amusing and practical
13 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars This is the book! 14 Nov 2004
By Zachary Goldman - Published on
If you have an interest in the Talmud, whether you are Jewish or Gentile this book is a great introduction. It is not only highly informative and accurate it is also well written, relevant and even suprising. This is not an academic treatise that will put you to sleep nor an unltra-traditionlist's hair splitting. This is a no regrets taste of Talmud that will leave you more learned and intrigued then when you started.
18 of 20 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Accessable, and then some 22 Feb 2005
By Aaron D. Gross - Published on
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
"Talmudic" is often a euphemism for "impossible to fathom". Rabbi Aaron Parry's guide to the Talmud proves otherwise.

One doesn't need to be an electrician to appreciate and benefit from a light switch nor an auto mechanic to benefit from a car. Neither does one need to be fluent in Aramaic as a prerequisite to benefitting from the wisdom of the Talmud.

It is a misnomer to suggest that Talmudic wisdom is "old" or no longer relevant. Rabbi Parry's guide is replete with contemporary examples and applications that demonstrate that the Talmud is as alive today as ever.

In fact, on March 1, 2005, as many as 120,000 Jews across North America are expected to join together in celebration of the 11th "Siyum HaShas" - the culmination of the study of the entire 2,711 pages of Talmud by the "Daf Yomi" (Daf HaYomi) program.

"Daf Yomi" is a study program in which students of the Talmud study one "daf," or page, of Talmud each day. Completion of the program takes approximately seven and one half years. HaShas is an abbreviation for "Ha SHesh Sidrei", referring to the six books of the Mishnah, upon which the Talmud elucidates.

The celebration will be held simultaneously and students of Talmud united by satellite broadcast at Madison Square Garden in New York City, Atlanta, Boston, Chicago, Denver, Los Angeles, New Jersey, Toronto and many other cities.

Even if you aren't yet up to the marathon of participating in the 12th cycle of daf yomi, Rabbi Parry's introduction to the Talmud and its wisdom is a good place to start and would be a welcome addition to any library of a new bar or bat mitzvah or anyone curious about the wellspring of Jewish law.

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