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Thursday, March 13, 2014

Shas Kedem - A Sephardic Shas

Source: Community

Everyone seems to agree that there are more Sephardic Rishonim than Ashkenazic Rishonim.  But when it comes to Aharonim, Ashkenazim have Sepharadim beat hands down, right?  Not so fast.

When my father was younger, he was once told by Rav Chaim Zimmerman ZT"L that there were more Sepharadi Aharonim than Ashkenazic ones.  It was a quite a surprising statement to my father at the time, but when my father did research later in life, he agreed that it is true.

Community Magazine tells us about Shas Kedem - a new Shas that is to have Sephardic sages' commentary printed alongside the Daf.  The article explains why no one has ever heard of most Sephardic Aharonim:
In Sephardic communities, by contrast, both in Asia and Africa, complete editions of the Talmud were never printed, with the exception of the communities in Turkey and Greece, where numerous prominent Jews operated printing houses.

This reality explains why Sephardic Talmud commentators are grossly under-represented in all standard editions of the Shas (Talmud). All the editions produced in Russia and Poland, Ukraine and Lithuania, Slavita and Zhitomir, were printed with the novella, redaction and revisions of numerous Ashkenazic scholars, but with scant few Sephardic commentators. In the famous Vilna edition of the Talmud, the forerunner of all subsequent publications of Shas, which have adopted its format, 124 commentaries, annotations and novella are printed either alongside the text or at the end of the volume, only five of which were written by Sephardic sages. Due mainly to the geographic distance separating the Ashkenazic and Sephardic worlds, printers simply did not have access to a large corpus of Sephardic works as they did to Ashkenazic commentaries, which were thus naturally included in the publications. And even the small handful of Sephardic commentaries which were included – such as those of the Rif (Rabbi Yitzhak of Fez) and the Ran (Rabbenu Nissim of Gerona) – appear in the back of the volumes, after the text of the Gemara. Alongside the text one finds only the commentaries of Rashi and the Tosafists, who represent the Ashkenazic scholarly tradition.

As a result, many treasures of Sephardic Talmudic scholarship received little or no exposure beyond their own countries or circles of followers. Their incisive questions, creative answers, and illuminating comments were mainly transmitted through oral tradition from teacher to student, and thus only a small fraction of their wisdom was preserved.
There will now be a Shas called "Shas Kedem" made jointly by the Kedem Institute and Oz Vehadar that hopes to change all that.   It will bring all the commentaries of the Sephardic sages on the page without having to go to the back.  They are going through the tedious process of collecting information from old books and even manuscripts and categorizing them.  They have already published its version on Messechet Makkot.

It's being dubbed "The Shas of the future."  I wish them much Hatzlaha.


At Thu Mar 13, 09:23:00 PM 2014, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Also, wishing them much Hatzlacha! Very interesting and very understandable, being that many of the great Sephardic were living in North Africa and the Near East. Everything is coming and will be coming together, now that we're in the pre-Moshiach era.

At Thu Mar 13, 09:24:00 PM 2014, Anonymous Anonymous said...

correction: left out the word 'Sages' after Sephardic.

At Fri Mar 14, 01:26:00 AM 2014, Blogger Cosmic X said...

This is sure to enrich Torah learning.


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