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Introduction to Talmud and the Oral Law

Rabbi Adin Steinsaltz Even-Israel provides an introduction to the Jewish Oral Law as a preface to his discussion on the Jewish perspective to medical ethics.

8:56
Rabbi Steinsaltz discusses the relationship between the Oral and Written Laws. The Oral Law developed as a "manual" for understanding the Written Law. From the time of Moses until the end of the 2nd century CE, these explanations remained oral and adapted to changing times, languages, and surrounding cultures. Rabbi Steinsaltz then discusses the consequences of the writing down of the Oral Law.
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8:45
Rabbi Steinsaltz introduces the "Oral Law" (the Talmud and associated works) and contrasts it with the "Written Law" (the Bible). He discusses some of the features that make the Talmud a unique work and suggests that it can only be understood properly if engaged interactively. The Written Law, which spans several centuries, serves as a reference and springboard for the Talmud and the rest of Jewish literature.
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9:37
Rabbi Steinsaltz discusses the "four-dimensional" nature of the Talmud, which spans time and space. The Talmud is a composition that brings together the voices of many generations of Rabbis, a discussion in the present tense that is never given an official date of completion. Rabbi Steinsaltz then explains the layout of a page of Talmud, noting how super-commentaries such as Rashi and Tosafot continue this discussion.
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6:53
Rabbi Adin Steinsaltz discusses the first element of the Oral Law, the Mishna. He discusses the orderly organization of this large work. He then proceeds to how the Talmud develops as a commentary on the Mishna.
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8:56
Rabbi Steinsaltz discusses the general nature of Talmudic teachings as a basis for applying the Jewish approach to contemporary matters. Comparing Talmudic Law to English Law, he describes how the Talmud focuses legal discussions around specific precedent cases. He explains that the Talmud consists of disagreeing statements on many topics spread throughout its pages and that in approaching current issues and questions one must piece together all of these statements in order to arrive at solutions.
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