The Wis­dom of Judaism: An Intro­duc­tion to the Val­ues of the Talmud

  • Review
By – March 26, 2012

Dov Peretz Elkins, a Con­ser­v­a­tive rab­bi, has com­piled selec­tions from the Tal­mud along with his own com­men­tary and orga­nized them by major theme: respon­si­bil­i­ty for the wel­fare of oth­ers, human rela­tion­ships, per­son­al val­ues, fam­i­ly val­ues, teach­ing and learn­ing, and every­day prob­lems. These all come back to the basic premise of the Gold­en Rule and involve treat­ing oth­ers fair­ly, being hum­ble and pre­serv­ing human dig­ni­ty, pre­serv­ing the fam­i­ly, learn­ing, and teach­ing the next gen­er­a­tion. Rab­bi Elkins points out that Jews must bal­ance their duty to God with their oblig­a­tions to oth­er peo­ple. Per­form­ing mitzvot is a way to do this since they require hon­est inter­ac­tions and bring peo­ple clos­er to God.

This brief intro­duc­tion to Tal­mud is a good way for inter­est­ed lay read­ers to begin their stud­ies. It is an excel­lent text for dis­cus­sion groups as well. Bibliography.

Bar­bara M. Bibel is a librar­i­an at the Oak­land Pub­lic Library in Oak­land, CA; and at Con­gre­ga­tion Netiv­ot Shalom, Berke­ley, CA.

Discussion Questions