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Text-based study enhances Torah study skills

Developed specifically for online, interactive learning

Taught by scholars with a personal interest in the subject

Engaging topics made relevant to real life issues

About the Talmud

Compiled circa 500 CE, the Talmud contains a record of debates and discussions between various Amoraim, elucidating the Mishnah, a written compendium of Judaism's oral traditions. The Mishnah covers the full gamut of Jewish life, arranged in 6 books, each packed with succinct teachings. The Talmud quotes from the Mishnah and thoroughly analyzes it in the light of contemporary works as well as subsequent teachings. Together they form a divinely-inspired work of massive scope. It has also been recognized as an extraordinary scholarly achievement and a model of unparalleled critical analysis.

About the Course

This course will give you a glimpse into the methods and workings of the Talmud. Classic Talmudic topics will be learned in the traditional yeshivah style. You will also gain familiarity with the "hardware" of the Talmud page.

You will have the opportunity to examine various opinions of Talmudic sages, analyzing a case study of disputed ownership and the Talmud's thoughtful approach to resolving it.

What You'll Learn

  • The layout and background of a standard Talmud page.
  • Talmud's methods of analytical thinking.
  • Talmud's approach to resolving conflict.
  • One of the most prominent Talmudic sugyas (topics).

Recommended Reading

Course Syllabus

Unit 1: The Basics
A Taste of Talmud
In this class you will gain familiarity with the dense page of Talmud, identifying its various components and their functions. You will then learn the Mishnah, exploring a case study of ownership dispute and its resolution. You will also dissect the nature of the rabbinical mandated oath, its function and its purpose. Two divergent understandings of our Mishnah, offered by Rashi and Tosafot, the primary commentaries on Talmud, will emerge. What practical differences in the Mishnah arise from their understandings of the Mishnah?
Unit 2: Alternative Arguments
A Taste of Talmud
In this class you will be introduced to slightly altered case scenario. You will learn a common Talmudic argument known as "migu" and will then examine whether the migu brings new differences between Rashi's and Tosafot's divergent understandings of an oath. The class will conclude the Mishnah and begin the Talmud's analysis of the peculiar wording of the Mishnah.
Unit 3: Lateral Application
A Taste of Talmud
As was explained in the first class, that Rabbi Yehuda Hanasi wrote the Mishnah in shorthand with only necessary wording. Here you will learn the concept of ‘tzericha’, where the Talmud will explain why the alternate cases presented in the Mishna are all necessary.
Unit 4: Understanding Testimony
A Taste of Talmud
In class two we discussed the strength of the ‘migu’ and its limitations. In the final class, Rabbi Epstein will continue to build the divergent opinions of Rashi and Tosafot on the strength of witnesses and testimony. We will also conclude the spiritual lesson to draw from an apparently mundane subject.
  • Level: Intermediate
  • Length/Effort:
    5 weeks / 45 minutes per week
  • Category: Talmud
  • Institution:
  • Cost: FREE
    (Suggested Donation$40)
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Meet the Instructor

Rabbi Baruch Epstein received his rabbinic ordination from the Central Lubavitch Yeshiva in Brooklyn, N.Y. He received his dayanut, Judaic law degree, from Rabbi Yisroel Piekarski OBM. Of the Central Lubavitch Yeshiva.

Rabbi Baruch Epstein is a Chabad-Lubavitch emissary at the Regional Headquarters of Lubavitch Chabad of Illinois and the rabbi of Congregation Bais Menachem in Chicago, IL. He is also a member of the Chicago Rabbinical Council.

He and his wife Chaya are the proud parents of three daughters.

  • This course went well beyond the time spent with Rabbi on line. It followed me throughout the week and will guide my thoughts well into the days to come.

    P. Rogers - NY

  • The course was designed really well, had excellent scholarship and explored the topic in satisfying depth. And, it was very, very thought-provoking.

    F Gold - Germany

  • It surpassed my expectations, and I am still in much thought about the subject matter. A good course will leave an everlasting mark on the student, and I have been thusly marked.

    R. Cohen - PA

  • Informative, open to discussion and participation, thought-provoking, compels you to reassess your own stance in your daily life. Thank you for a delightful and stimulating course awesome presentation, handouts…

    C. Berg - California