NEW YORK (JTA) — For centuries, studying a page of the Talmud has come with a bevy of barriers to entry.
Written mostly in Aramaic, the Talmud in its most commonly printed form also lacks punctuation or vowels, let alone translation.
And that’s not to mention the Talmud’s size and cost: 37 full volumes, called tractates, that can take up an entire shelf of a library.
Helping students and readers crack these barriers and access what amounts to a library of Jewish law, ritual, folklore and moral guidance has been an ongoing endeavor. .
Sefaria, a website founded in 2012 that aims to put the seemingly infinite Jewish canon online for free, has published an acclaimed translation of the Talmud in English.
The Steinsaltz edition of the Talmud has been in print for decades, in both modern Hebrew and English translation, and parts of it already exist on the internet. But this is the first time it’s being put online in its entirety for free.
“Ninety percent of the world’s Jews speak Hebrew and English,” said Daniel Septimus, Sefaria’s executive director. “From an accessibility point of view, it’s a game changer.”