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A New Index to the Talmud

Hamafteah

The NYT has an article about a new index to the Talmud. (hat tip) It is available in either English or Hebrew and is published by Feldheim.  There is a website for the book that includes some sample pages and it looks very good.  I would be interested to know if anybody has used it.

7 Responses to “A New Index to the Talmud”

  1. 1
    S.:

    It looks good, and probably is good, but it irks me how it is being marketed as the first ever index of the Talmud, and even the New York Times bought it.

    Maybe (even probably) this is better than the Soncino Talmud index, but the Soncino certainly is sufficiently complete so that you can’t say “After 1,500 Years, an Index for the Talmud” (Times) or “Once you discover how useful the HaMafteach is, you’ll wonder: Why didn’t anyone think of this before?” as it says on Feldheim’s site.

  2. 2
    Jacob:

    I just picked up a copy of the English version, it’s sitting right here on my desk. It certainly seems comprehensive. I opened it at random right now, and the entry for “Semen” jumped out at me. There are 8 subheadings and a cross-reference to “discharge” with a page number. I haven’t compared it to the Soncino index, as my copy of that is in storage right now. It is nice to have the standard Vilna shas page numbers rather than the Soncino page numbers, and I’d venture to say the production values are certainly better than Soncino. I do agree with S about the marketing, and I had the same though when I saw the advertising fluff at my local seforim store.
    I’d argue that a second, different index is not a bad thing: indexing is an arcane art and it will be interesting to compare the two. And with something as tangled as the Talmud, it is good to have more than one reference index.

  3. 3
    Menachem Mendel:

    I forgot to add that there’s a nice web index that covers part of the Shas: http://www.webshas.org/index.htm

  4. 4
    S.:

    I noticed that the Times article did mention the Soncino index. All right, at least it did that.

    this was a strange comment:

    “Rabbi Benjamin Blech, professor of Talmud at Yeshiva University, said the rabbis believed that study should not be made too easy. “We want people to struggle with the text because by figuring it out you will have a deeper comprehension,” he said. “They wanted a living index, not a printed index.””

    That’s maybe what Rav Shach said, but he’s being pretty anachronistic. There’ve been many aids and advances for Talmud study and the rabbis were glad to have them. No one wrote an index (unless you count Soncino) the same way no one wrote a lexicon until Rabbi Nathan (I do not intend this literally) and no one wrote a concordance for Tanakh until R. Isaac ben Nathan. Sometimes its not ideology; it just takes someone to do the grunt work.

  5. 5
    Menachem Mendel:

    There is also Goldschmidt’s index that I think was published after Soncino.

  6. 6
    Jacob:

    Never heard of Goldschmidt, I’ll have to check that out, thanks.

  7. 7
    tk:

    There is also Shvilei Hatalmud (do not have it in front of me, authors name escapes me)

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