Adin Steinsaltz

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Rabbi Adin Steinsaltz

Rabbi Adin Steinsaltz (Hebrew: עדין שטיינזלץ) or Adin Even Yisrael (Hebrew: עדין אבן ישראל) (born 1937) is most commonly known for his popular commentary and translation of both Talmuds into Hebrew language, French language, Russian language and Spanish language. In 1988, he was awarded the Israel Prize, State of Israel's highest honor.

Steinsaltz is a noted rabbi, scholar, philosopher, social critic and author world wide whose background also includes extensive scientific training. In 1988, Time magazine praised him as an "once-in-a-millennium scholar."[1]

"A society must ask, seek and demand, that each individual give something of himself From the sum of these small offerings, It can then build itself anew. If all of us light the candle of our souls, the world will be filled with light." -Adin Steinsaltz

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Main article The Irrelevance of “Toleration” in Judaism

The interactions that are possible between Jews and non-Jews in modern times are fundamentally different from those of any previous era in Jewish history. Particularly in the Western world, Jews and non-Jews meet each other in civil society on an equal footing. In the secular context of the modern state, a consensus has been reached about religious freedom. Jews, Christians, Muslims, Hindus, Sikhs, and Buddhists may live side by side—and each by his own faith shall live. “toleration” is a concept very hard to apply in the context of monotheism. Religious beliefs cannot, and really should not, figure as options on a list of legitimate alternatives.

However, there are partial solutions about which not enough has been said. Judaism, despite the absolute and exclusionary quality of its monotheism, has a side that tends toward openness and toleration. This side of Judaism has also an expression in the Jewish abstention from proselytizing. Even ultimately, Judaism does not view itself as the religion of all people. It is the religion of the Jews alone and is, for almost all its practitioners, inherited. The assumption that Judaism is the religion of one people (and a few unsought converts) is emphatically a normative principle and is important to our discussion because it suggests that, within Jewish doctrine, there is room for the religious beliefs of others.

Rabbi Steinsaltz’s involvement in interfaith relations brings him to places around the world to meet with diplomatic and religious leaders, including the Dalai Lama and chief cardinals at the Vatican. In 2000, he delivered a keynote address at the Millennium World Peace Summit of Religious and Spiritual Leaders at the United Nations, and in 2004, he presented at the World Symposium of Catholic Cardinals and Jewish Leaders, hosted by the World Jewish Congress. In November 2005, Rabbi Steinsaltz was hosted by the Vatican, where he delivered a lecture on "Infinity in Science and Faith" at the STOQ (Science, Theology and the Ontological Quest) '05 International Conference on "Infinity in Science, Philosophy and Theology." Through these visits and others, the Rabbi has opened a dialogue among the world’s foremost religious leaders and scholars.

Each year, Rabbi Steinsaltz is invited to Hong Kong by the Ohel Leah Synagogue, where he gives lectures and Talmud classes that are open to the entire community. Hundreds of people who have attended his lectures over the years eagerly await his annual return and the opportunity to study with him once again. During a tour of China, Rabbi Steinsaltz presented a Chinese translation of his commentary to Pirkei Avot (Ethics of the Fathers) to the Chinese National Academy of Social Sciences.

On a recent visit to Australia, he delivered a series of talks in Sydney and Melbourne that engaged more than 1,000 participants. The Rabbi also spoke to the Russian Jewish community there and lead a Shabbat retreat for the Russian-speaking Jews that featured in-depth study of fundamental Jewish topics like prayer and Shabbat. He is often invited to speak in Rome by the Chief Rabbi, Riccardo Shmuel Di Segni. Rabbi Steinsaltz has given classes at the Rabbinical School there and spoken to the community about two of his books that are published in Italian, The Essential Talmud and The Thirteen Petalled Rose.

In response to the brutal attacks of September 11, 2001 and the escalation of violence in the land of Israel, Rabbi Steinsaltz issued an international Call to Prayer to unite the Jewish people during a time of crisis. A prayer composed by Rabbi Steinsaltz, which asks God to respond with mercy to the pleas of Israel, was distributed in the United States, Israel, the former Soviet Union, and around the world and inspired thousands to compose their own personal prayers and to reflect on the need for Jewish unity to bring about a more peaceful world.


Born in Jerusalem in 1937 to secular parents, Steinsaltz studied physics, chemistry, mathematics, and sociology at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, in addition to rabbinical studies. Following graduation, he established several experimental schools and, at the age of 23, became Israel’s youngest school principal, a record still unbroken.

In 1965, he founded the Israel Institute for Talmudic Publications and began his monumental translation to Hebrew language, English language, Russian language, and various other languages. His edition of the Talmud includes his own explanation of the text and a complete commentary on the Talmud. Steinsaltz first translates the Talmud into Modern Hebrew from the original Aramaic and rabbinical Hebrew and adds his explanations, the other language editions are translations of the Hebrew. The only rival to Steinsaltz is Artscroll's similarly popular Schottenstein Edition Talmud (translated first into English and then other languages). To date, he has published 38 of the anticipated 46 volumes. While not without criticism (e.g. by Jacob Neusner, 1998), the Steinsaltz edition is widely used throughout Israel, the United States and the world. Over 2 million volumes of the Steinsaltz Talmud have been distributed to date. The out of print Random House publication of The Talmud: The Steinsaltz Edition is widely regarded as the most accurate and least redacted of any English language edition and is sought after on that basis by scholars and collectors. Controversial Talmud passages previously obscured, omitted entirely or confined to footnotes in English translations like the Soncino Press Talmud, receive full exposition in the Steinsaltz Talmud. Random House ha ... \n

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