“I’m gonna rise above and go below,
ride with the tide and go with the flow”
(Inez and Charlie Foxx, covered by James Taylor and Carly Simon)
Years ago, my response to the question “What is Talmud” would have been to point to the bookcase and say “See those 20 huge volumes of text which are bending that shelf out of shape? That’s Talmud.”
The real answer is to point my finger at you and say “You are.” Or rather, “Your question is.”
See, Talmud is not written. It’s an ongoing conversation that traditionally started at Sinai (& probably even earlier) and is refreshed with every added contribution. It’s a trickle that grew into a creek that became a river which flowed into a bay and is now an ocean. It’s the proverbial body of water you can’t step into twice, because it changes – and we change—every time we enter.
It’s not a book. We have only one “book” and that is the “Written Torah”. Had history been otherwise, Talmud may have remained oral. It’s only persecutions and the fear of knowledge being lost that our sages tried to record the oral traditions.
It’s not a book it’s a process.
Click on the graphic above and you’ll see how far back Talmud goes and how far it’s come. Where will it take you? I don’t know. Just jump in and go with the flow.
But make sure you find a swimming buddy.