WORLD FAMOUS ARTSCROLL SCHOTTENSTEIN TALMUD ELUCIDATION TO APPEAR IN A NEW FRENCH EDITION
Twelve years ago, a revolution hit the English-speaking world of Torah study. Four years ago, it spread to the Hebrew-speaking world. Now it is coming to French-speaking Jews.
That revolution is an elucidation of the Talmud that not only translates, but explains the often complex train of thought. In addition, the editors provide copious notes that further explain the reasoning and point the reader to a rich lode of source material. Tens of thousands of people in the English- and Hebrew-speaking worlds have been able to engage in Talmud study - many for the first time in their lives - thanks to these volumes. The writers and editors have achieved the difficult feat of providing books that are not only popular with sophisticated phrase in this context than lay people, but are widely used by accomplished scholars, as aids in teaching and their own study.
During a recent visit to Paris with regard to the French Edition, Rabbis Meir Zlotowitz and Nosson Scherman were shown a broad, open plaza only a few minutes drive from where the new edition is being written. In that plaza, in the 13th century, twenty-four wagonloads of the Talmud - every volume hand-written - were burned. That day still lives in infamy. And now, just a few miles away, those twenty-four wagonloads are being replaced and, as time goes by, will be increased exponentially!
Rabbi Yaakov Kamenetsky z.t.l., one of the early spiritual supporters and guiding lights of the ArtScroll Series, related that in the early 1880's, Rabbi Yisroel Salanter z.t.l wanted to commission a French translation of the Talmud, believing that it could bring countless Jews closer to Judaism. His declining health did not permit him to carry out his plan, but more than a century later, it is now happening.
This volume of the forthcoming 73-volume French edition is dedicated by Mme. Lily Safra, in memory of her late husband, Edmond J. Safra, the international banking titan. Safra was the owner of the Republic National Bank in the United States and had major interests in other banks in several countries, until his retirement. He was a legendary philanthropist, who placed major emphasis on traditional Jewish educational and communal causes.
The French edition is edited by Rabbi Aaron Marciano, a highly regarded Parisian scholar and teacher. The new project is warmly endorsed by the popular and charismatic Chief Rabbi of France, Rabbi Joseph Sitruk, who lauds it as an important contribution to Jewish life, and especially to adult education. The Chief Rabbi graciously signified his intention to recommend the new Talmud and eventually to incorporate it into his own extensive classes and lectures.
The trailblazing English-language Schottenstein Edition was dedicated by the late Jerome Schottenstein and his wife Geraldine. Mr. Schottenstein was a legendary department store magnate and philanthropist. His support of the Talmud was continued by Mrs. Schottenstein and their children, Jay and Jeanie Schottenstein, Ann and Ari Deshe, Susan and Jon Diamond, and Lori Schottenstein.
The Hebrew edition was dedicated by Jay and Jeanie Schottenstein. It has become enormously popular even in Israel, where it is seen and used virtually everywhere. As a result, the Schottenstein name has become synonymous with visionary philanthropy and especially with the resurgence of Talmud study around the world.
During his recent visit to Paris, Rabbi Meir Zlotowitz, president of ArtScroll/Mesorah, said, "The surging interest in Jewish knowledge in the French-speaking world has been an inspiring surprise. We are hopeful that the success of our work in English and French will be duplicated in French, thanks to the generosity of Mme. Safra, the support of Rabbi Sitruk, and the skill of Rabbi Marciano and his team. We are ready to do whatever it takes to make the French edition as successful as the English and Hebrew."
The scholarship of the Talmud is funded by the not-for-profit Mesorah Heritage Foundation. "Indeed," said Zlotowitz, "a work of this magnitude is possible only with broad private support. The marketplace can no more sustain such scholarship than tuitions can sustain great yeshivos. Mrs. Safra is leading the way. We are sure her example will inspire others."
The new French edition - the fourth of 73 volumes - is Shabbos vol. 1, which comprises two very popularly studied chapters.
According to David Morgan, of J. Lehmann Ltd, the European distributors of the Talmud. "It is clear that this is more a public service than a business proposition. You'll have a hard time finding a better value anywhere. We have seen it transform Jewish life in England. We expect the same thing to happen in France and other French-speaking communities."
Too optimistic? Not if you trace the history of the Schottenstein Editions so far.