Rabbi Wein.com The Voice of Jewish History

Great Men of the Mishna and Talmud
6 Lectures

Item #: S321

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Item Description:

The Mishna and the Talmud are the books that are the backbone of Jewish tradition, faith and history. Though the principles of the Oral Law were given to Moses on Sinai, the transcription, development and expansion of it was accomplished over a millennia beginning with Ezra (c. 400 BCE) and ending in Babylonia with the advent of the period of the Geonim (c. 585 CE). All of this work was done by people - great men who built the eternal Jewish world. As people, they had families, responsibilities, disappointments and tragedies. This series highlights the lives of some of these great men and will give the listener an insight into their world and into the creation of the great works of the Mishna and the Talmud.

Individual lectures:

Rabbi Yochanan ben Zakkai - On his deathbed, Hillel the Elder blessed Reb Yochanan ben Zakai, the youngest of his students, to become "av l'dorot" - the father of the generations. The blessing was indeed fulfilled. Because of his great foresight in preserving the yeshiva at Kerem b'Yavneh, Rabbi Yochanan ben Zakai emerges as a Torah giant whose life and work guaranteed Jewish survival in the exile.

Rabbi Akiva - From his humble beginnings as an illiterate shepherd to his development into gadol ha dor and rebbe of 24,000 students, Rabbi Wein retraces the steps in the life of this most beloved of Jewish heroes. Even when proven wrong in the Bar Kochba rebellion, his indomitable spirit remained. Rabbi Akiva will forever symbolize the greatness that the simplest of Jews can achieve.

Rabbi Meir - Rabbi Meir is perhaps the most mysterious of all the rabbis of the Mishnah. Recounting Rabbi Meir's role as provocateur amongst the Mishnaic rabbis, his relationship with his former teacher "Acher" the apostate, and his tragic marriage with Bruria, a scholar in her own right, Rabbi Wein unravels some of the mystery behind this brilliant man whose ideas are foundations of the Mishnah and Talmud.

Rabbi Yehuda Hanassi - Amongst the leaders in Jewish history, few occupy as weighty a place as Rabbi Yehudah HaNassi. In the tumultuous times of Roman rule, he befriended Emperor Antoninus and secured years of peace for the Jewish people. But rather than letting them become complacent, he called together a convention of the Torah leaders of the day so they could write down the Oral Tradition once and for all. Though a break from tradition, Rabbi Yehudah Ha Nassi's prescience in doing it not only preserved the Jewish religious tradition but the Jewish people as well.

Rav and Shmuel - Like Hillel and Shammai, this pair of friends and scholars are polar opposites in temperament and outlook, yet are mentioned together 250 times in the Talmud. Drawing on instructive and sometimes funny stories of their lives, listeners will be inspired by the love and loyalty this pair showed each other.

Abaye and Rava - This monumental Talmudic pair lived at the highpoint of the Babylonian exile. Abaye was the inward scholar while Rava was the public leader. Rabbi Wein examines the lives of each and shows how their discussions throughout the Talmud sum up the five hundred years of the Oral Tradition itself.

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