The Talmud (Illustrated) by Michael Rodkinson

The Talmud (Illustrated)

byMichael Rodkinson

Kobo ebook | November 16, 2016

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The Babylonian Talmud is the third edition of the Talmud. Regarded as the authoritative version, it is studied by Rabbis and other scholars. It consists of twenty volumes.

The Talmud (Oral Law) began when the first part of the Talmud (Oral Law) was recorded in the year 200 C.E. (A.D.). The Mishna, as it is called, explained the 613 commandments found in the Torah (Written Law, the first five books of the Bible, attributed to Moses). Later, rabbis added commentaries, known as Gemarah.

The Talmud is a guide for living in accord with the Torah (Written Law). While the Torah codifies behaviors through the 613 commandments, the Talmud provides further discussion and the legal “how” to carry out the commandments. 

It expands guidelines and provides clarification by establishing rituals, explains how to observe laws in the Torah, and interprets those laws so that they can be carried out in a humane way.


For example, the fourth of the Ten Commandments “Remember the Sabbath day to make it holy” (Exodus 20:8) provides few specific guidelines to celebrate the Sabbath, deemed the holiest of holidays. The Torah provides limitations on only a few activities: lighting a fire, leaving a home, cutting down a tree, plowing and harvesting. In contrast to the Torah, the Talmud establishes rituals for celebrating the Sabbath. Some of those rituals are: candle lighting, kiddush, and reading a weekly portion of the Torah when in the synagogue. 


The Talmud provides explanations of laws and offers the how to observe those laws. For example, the commandment to make the Sabbath holy needs much explanation. Among those would be how to keep food hot, how to feed and how far it is permissable to walk from home while observing the Sabbath.

Humane Interpretation

Some injunctions in the Torah are deemed harsh. Laws are revised to lessen consequences. For example, in the Torah, an “eye for an eye,” (Exodus 21:24) taken literally, would mean to blind a person. The Talmud declares that the only appropriate punishment is monetary compensation.

The Talmud, from the 1903 and 1918 editions of the translation by Michael Rodkinson, all 20 volumes. This edition is intended for modern readers. Rodkinson omitted sections where the debate becomes extremely obscure. He points out wherever he did so. The introduction, by Gustav Karpeles, is from the book "Jewish Literature and Other Essays".

Illustrations have been chosen for the modern reader. Some focus upon the holidays included in the Babylonian Talmud. Foremost of these holidays is the Sabbath. Other illustrations depict contemporary observance of Passover, Purim, Rosh Hashona, Yom Kippur and Sukkot. Representation of legal issues is also presented though illustration. We have included a picture of the editor, Rabbi Michael Rodkinson.

The Editor and Translator

Michael Levi Rodkinson (1845-1904) is known as the first translator of the Babylonian Talmud from to English. Born into an observant Jewish family and named Naftali Mich-ael Levi Frumkin, he spent part of his adult life in Germany, later moving to the United States. A publisher and writer, he wrote stories depicting Hassidism which were published in both Yiddish and Hebrew.


For ease of navigation of this massive work, we have added thousands of links. Each volume begins with a summary (explanatory remarks) followed by the linked table of contents for that volume. Then comes for an  introduction and a synopsis of that subject. The synopsis has links to each Mishna with description. Click on the Mishna and view that text followed by related Gemaras. Links from the Mishnas go back to the synopsis for that volume

Title:The Talmud (Illustrated)Format:Kobo ebookPublished:November 16, 2016Publisher:Amity EBooksLanguage:English

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