Page 71 - Jewish Book Annual Volume 35

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be “difficult for a person versed in Rabbinic literature not to be
seized by excitement when delving into this work.” T he same
can be said for the edition of the Mishnah with all variant
readings, of which the two volumes of the Order
the first fruits.
T h a t i t is possible to describe in so few sentences a work of
such breath-taking magnitude will seem like an understatement
to anyone who has visited the impressive campus of the Academy
on Mount Herzl, and has seen some forty scholars, each in his
own study surrounded by part of the library of over 40,000
Rabbinica, 10,000 microfilms and numerous photostats; each
toiling patiently and learnedly at what the late Professor Solomon
Zeitlin described as “one of the greatest contributions of this
generation to Jewish scholarship.”
While all this is going on, the Academy has kept in touch
with the learned public through the publication of volume after
volume of the
E n tz ik lo p ed ia T a lm u d i t ,
a digest of halachic
literature and of Jewish Law. This work, started in 1947 by the
late Rabbi Meir Berlin (Bar-Ilan) has now reached volume 15;
it is expected to comprise a total of about 36 volumes. Although
intended for an audience that includes the scholarly layman, it
is not exactly light reading. Nevertheless, the demand has been
such that everyone bu t the most recent of the existing volumes
has had to be reprinted at least once, and in some instances,
four and five times.
A number of years ago the Academy projected an English
translation of this work, under the title
E ncyc loped ia T a lm ud ica .
Several volumes did appear, bu t apparently the project has been
shelved for the time being.
When the Knesset set up an Authority in memory of the victims
of the Holocaust, it was and still is only natura l tha t the
commemorative function of tha t Public Body, called
Vashem ,
should loom largest in the consciousness of the people,
of pilgrims, of visiting heads of state and other dignitaries, and
of anyone with an awareness of recent history. Yet it should be
remembered tha t the enabling legislation of 1953 included a