Rabbi Wein.com The Voice of Jewish History

Basic Books of Judaism
4 Lectures

Item #: S310

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Item Description:

Judaism is a religion and culture of books. Beginning with the Bible, Jews revere and produce books as no other people. In this series, Rabbi Wein traces the development through a review of the basic books of Judaism. The history of each of them is really the story of Jewish life and the Jewish people - and it confirms the outside world's view of the Jews as "the people of the book."

Individual lectures:

The Bible - No book in the history of mankind has had such widespread influence as the Jewish Bible, the Tanach. But the study of Torah raises many philosophical questions, as seen in the vast number of commentaries that exist. When should Torah be understood literally and when allegorically? How does Moshe's prophecy differ from the later prophets? Analyzing the commentaries of such Torah giants as the Saadya Gaon, the Rambam, and Rabbi Shimshon Rafoel Hirsch, Rabbi Wein pieces together some of the puzzles within this awesome "book of books."

The Mishnah - Though the Oral Tradition existed amongst the Jewish people since the times of Moshe Rabbeinu, it was not put into written form until the destruction of the Second Temple. Yet the act of writing down the Oral Tradition raised serious Halachic questions. Rabbi Wein's explanation of how the Mishnaic Rabbis reconciled these issues will leave listeners amazed by their foresight.

The Talmud - For better or worse, the Jews have been called "the people of the book," and because the Talmud looms so large in Jewish life, it, more than the Bible, really is the book. Rabbi Wein portrays the dynamic personalities of Chazal, the "founding fathers" of the Talmud, and scrapes the surface of just some of the monumental philosophical and ethical questions they pondered.

The Code of Jewish Law - In contrast to the Talmud whose discussions are often esoteric, the Code of Jewish Law gives us "the bottom line" on correct Jewish behavior. Rabbi Wein unravels the complex scholarship that went into codifying the Shulchan Aruch, from the Halachic works that preceded it to the works it later spawned. Each has withstood the test of time and each wielded such authority that even today, any compendium of Jewish Law is incomplete without them.

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