Forty five years ago in 1967 we first met the Steinsaltz edition of the Berakhot in Hebrew. Twenty one years ago in 1991, we met the first English edition of some volumes of the Steinsaltz Talmud from Random House. At some intervening points we met the actual Rabbi Steinsaltz. One time we had him visit the University of Minnesota and speak with our students. A very few attended. He was charming to them in his own way.
Now in 2012 we have been introduced to the stunning, dazzling, spectacular Koren Talmud Bavli Berakhot in English and Hebrew/Aramic with the Steinsaltz commentary, Koren Talmud Bavli, Vol. 1:Tractate Berakhot, Hebrew/English, Standard (Color) (English and Hebrew Edition)
First impression. This iteration for us is breathtaking. Well, that is because we are a Talmudic blogger and have spent many years with Talmudic editions. This one is downright beautiful, strikingly attractive. Okay, we confess that we fell love with it at first sight.
This clearly is a book of substance and depth. But first, it is so remarkable to behold and so amazing to hold. We've had the book for three days and still, when we look at it, when we embrace it, when we touch its pages, we gasp quietly for a short breath.
In our life yes, with many volumes, there are few about which we have had such an utterly romantic first attraction.
We will be caressing its folios now for the next few days and weeks. Eventually the initial attraction will subside and we will be in a better place to assess the real virtues and shortcomings of the book. Right now in the throes of this passion we cannot say anything at all critical or objective.
You know how that is.