Adin Steinsaltz - Forward
Some 45 years after he started out, secular -Orthodox Rabbi Adin Steinsaltz has completed the first ever translation of the Talmud into Modern Hebrew. Photo by The Forward
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Some 45 years after he started out, secular -Orthodox Rabbi Adin Steinsaltz has completed the first ever translation of the Talmud into Modern Hebrew.

The Talmud, the central text of rabbinic Judaism, is comprised of the Ancient Hebrew Mishna interspersed throughout the Aramaic Gemara. For a speaker of Modern Hebrew, trying to read this is the equivalent of an English-speaker reading Shakespearean English followed by long chunks of French. French and English, like Hebrew and Aramaic, share an alphabet and some words, but knowing one doesn’t ensure you’ll understand the other.

Translating all 2,711 pages sounds like a grand achievement, but the word “translation” actually underplays what Steinsaltz has managed.

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