Decisions, Decisions, Decisions
Reading Tractate Horayot of the Babylonian Talmud
By (author) Joshua A. Fogel
Publication date:01 July 2013
Length of book:110 pages
Comprised of debates among the rabbis of late antiquity in the aftermath of the destruction of the Second Temple (70 C.E.), the Talmud has provided the basis for Jewish ethical and practical norms for centuries. It is also an extremely long and forbiddingly difficult work that has accumulated countless commentaries just as complex over the ages. A recent translation with extensive notes has made it more accessible to English-language readers, but the textual difficulties remain. This volume looks at the tractate Horayot (Decisions), page by page, and offers a modern commentary with doses of humor and comparative examples in an effort to both explain and humanize the text and make it even more accessible to contemporary readers. The central focus concerns how to adjudicate cases when the governing body, the Sanhedrin, incorrectly designates certain practices legal and people follow the erroneous advice as a result.