Title: The Spirits Behind The Law: The Talmudic Scholars
Author: Rabbi Jonathan Duker Publisher: Urim Publications, 2007
As we study the Talmud, we come across the names of our great Sages, usually attached to a particular law or halachic position. Often, however, the names are attached to a story about the individual. That is because the Talmud wants us to see these rabbis as real people with dynamic lives.
In this fine work, Rabbi Jonathan Duke portrays 15 of these scholars based on the stories of their lives that appear in Talmudic and Midrashic sources. By weaving the original accounts together with insightful analysis, he provides a human portrait of these treat teachers while remaining faithful to the poetry of the original narrative. With his work, we are able to understand the personalities behind the sugyot.
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Once you pick up To Mourn a Child, you will not be able to put it down, but not for the usual reasons. There is no suspense here, as we know from the outset the sad end of each story. It is rather the searing emotional intensity of this book that will grab you and compel you to keep reading.
Ktav has recently published two books by young scholars whose well-respected teaching skills have been skillfully adapted to the written word. Rabbi Angel, one of the talented and popular Bible teachers at Yeshiva University and rabbi of the historic Spanish and Portuguese Synagogue in New York, brings us a sequel to his well-received Through an Opaque Lens.