First Hungarian translation of the Talmud published
OREANDA-NEWS A community that devotes two decades to translating its most important book "wants to live, and if it wants to live, it also gains strength", Miklós Soltész said referring to the Talmud translation, which has been in preparation since 1998, on the occasion of the publication of the first ever Hungarian transition of the Talmud by the Unified Israelite Congregation of Hungary (EMIH).
At the official launch of the translation in Budapest, the Ministry of Human Capacity’s Minister of State for Church, Minority and Non-Governmental Relations said that in recent years the Government has assisted the Jewish community on numerous occasions, has funded cultural programs and synagogue renovations both in Hungary and across the border, and by establishing and regularly convening the Jewish Community Roundtable is enabling common thinking and joint path-seeking.
All this is a reply to those who want to prevent Jewish-Christian dialogue", Mr. Soltész said, adding that in today's world, in which a violent religion trying to destroy Jewish-Christian traditions around the world, and in which synagogues are being set alight and Christians are being chased away from their homes, solidarity on the part of Jews and Christians is especially important.
In his speech, Chief Rabbi of the State of Israel David Lau emphasized: the Hungarian translation opens up the opportunity to study the Talmud to all Hungarians. “Jews are the people of the book, and although lots of information is available on the Internet today, the book is still a part of life for the Jewish community, which spends one seventh of their lives reading”.
Executive Rabbi of the EMIH Slomó Köves recalled: “Studying the Talmud is a three hundred year old tradition in Hungary. This tradition was interrupted seventy years ago, but today's book launch proves that the "eternal message of the importance of learning" has not been lost but is once again alive”. The executive rabbi noted that dozens of people had worked on translating and proofreading the text. “The Talmud translations previously published in Hungarian only contained proverbs; this is the first time that a complete translation has been published, including full chapters and discourses”, he added.
Slomó Köves thanked David Lau for having visited Hungary, thereby expressing the fact that the Israeli rabbinate appreciates the cultural and religious renaissance of the Hungarian Jewry.
Rabbi of the Budapest Orthodox Rabbinate and leader of the Chabad-Lubavitch movement Baruch Oberlander said that religious Jews should take time to study the Talmud every day, but that this requires knowledge of both both Aramaic and Hebrew, in addition to which they must also learn the Talmud's unique linguistic style. He pointed out that many Jews in Hungary today would like to get to know their own traditions at a higher level, but few are suitably educated in Hebrew and even fewer in Aramaic, and this is why the new Hungarian translation is so important.
According to Rabbi Oberlander, the greatest enemy of Judaism is ignorance: people who are not aware of their own three thousand-year-old culture are capable of turning away from it, and in the non-Jewish community prejudices against Judaism evolve easily without knowledge.
The Talmud is the most important book of Jewish culture, the encyclopaedic collection of thousands of years of Jewish knowledge and tradition, which contains legal texts and biblical explanations. Editing of the book ended in the 6th century. The work was first printed in the 15th century. The printed Talmud is made up of 20 volumes of approximately 750-pages each, about half of which is the Talmud text itself, while the other half is explanation.
Baruch Oberlander told MTI: The recently published Hungarian text of the Talmud contains a total of about 1900 topics, including explanations. The topics include, amongst others, the laws prohibiting work on Saturdays and on settling in the Holy Land, methods of obtaining a found object, the laws on deception and the discourse on rules concerning marriage and divorce.
1500 copies of the first, 19-chapter volume of the Hungarian translation of the Talmud were published, towards which the Government provided funding of seven million forints. The two-volume work presents the Hungarian translation opposite the original Hebrew and Aramaic, in addition to providing explanations.