Times: Feldheim Index of theTalmud

Joe Berger wrote an article in the Times about a new index to the Talmud Bavli.

It may be useful. We have not seen it. For sure, indexing is the driest work that a student can do.

Unfortunately, contrary to what Times reporter Berger was told by the publishers and editors of this new work, there were previously published concordances to the Mishnah and Talmud by Chaim Kasovsky, essentially indexing every word of the texts. We own the four volume Mishnah Concordance and have it open in front of us as we write this. You can order a used set on Amazon as of today.

JVL summarizes the Kasovsky work:
KASOVSKY, CHAYIM YEHOSHUA (1873–1960), Israeli rabbinical scholar. Kasovsky received his early education at the Eẓ Ḥayyim Talmud Torah in Jerusalem where his father Abraham Abele Kasovsky was an instructor. At the age of 20, he was contributing articles to various periodicals on such subjects as Hebrew language and grammar, geometry, and talmudic themes.

Kasovsky's reputation rests upon the concordances which he compiled of the Mishnah, the Tosefta, Targum Onkelos, and the Babylonian Talmud (the last of which he was unable to complete). He undertook this task alone and under difficult conditions. He finally evolved a scheme which served as the "key" to the compilation of the concordances. Unable to afford a publisher, Kasovsky acquired a primitive press and set and printed the first volume of the concordance of the Mishnah himself. Its appearance in 1914 caused a sensation in the scholarly world. A committee was established to provide the necessary means to enable Kasovsky to continue his work: the four-volume Oẓar Leshon ha-Mishnah (1957–60); the six-volume Tosefta concordance (1933–61); and the four-volume Onkelos (1933–40). Kasovsky's works subsequently became indispensable to all scholars in those fields. His Talmud concordance (1954– ) consisted of 24 volumes by 1970, up to the letter Mem. After his death, his youngest son Benjamin continued the work (from vol. 10, 1962). His oldest son, Moshe, prepared a concordance of the Jerusalem Talmud under the auspices of the Israel Academy for Sciences and Humanities and the Jewish Theological Seminary of America.
We do hope the printed edition of the new index gives proper credit in the book to the published  Kasovsky work that preceded it.

Kasovsky's Tosefta Concordance can be downloaded here -  אוצר לשון התוספתא

The other works are out of print or hard to obtain. So we do welcome this new Talmud study tool.

Note that these new index books are not available for ordering on the publisher's web site as of this posting.


Gil Student said...

Soncino index http://www.soncino.com/product_info.php/products_id/33

Gary Shapiro said...

Dear Professor,

Publicizing and giving credit to those Mishnaic and Talmudic concordances seems like a very worthy act, but the idea behind this index appears to be rather different: a thematic approach to locating Talmudic material. Concordances only go so far, especially where common words are involved. If someone wants to locate the Talmudic sources, e.g., on "Tzedaka," looking up that word in a concordance will not really do the job, I believe--both in terms of finding the right texts and in terms of turning up "false hits."

Gil Student said...

See JD Eisenstein's Otzar Ma'amarei Chazal: http://www.hebrewbooks.org/2932

Tzvee Zahavy said...

Can it be true that Feldheim is not issuing this book in electronic form as well? What, no iPad iPhone Android apps?

Thank you Gil for both links. There are dozens more tools like those out there in the synagogues and yeshivas.

When we get these new volumes, we will evaluate if indeed there is new value in them. Clearly, the Times thinks there is news value in an index. Keep it dry and content free and you can write about religion every day...

Stephan Parnes said...

While the Kasovsky concordance to the Bavli is not a subject index, there is another work which is a subject index to the Bavli, although it is, unfortunately, out of print):

אזנים לתורה : קונקורדנציה לתלמוד בבלי לפי נושאים
Oznayim la-Torah : ḳonḳordantsyah la-Talmud Bavli le-fi nośʼim
Author: גולדשמידט, אליעזר, 1871־1950. ערכה והוציאה לאור רפאל אדלמן. אדלמן, רפאל. ; Lazarus Goldschmidt; Rafael Edelmann
Publisher: א. מונקסגורד, Ḳopenhagen : E. Munḳsgord, 1959.

There is also a subject index to the Bavli being created on the web that you may wish to explore: Mordecai Torczyner’s Webshas -- http://www.webshas.org/


Stephan Parnes