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Textual Sources for the Study of Judaism

Translated by Philip S. Alexander
"Alexander assembles material from Scripture and tradition, through religious law and ethical literature to a section on Society and the Jews, and prefaces the whole with an admirable introduction."—Jonathan Sacks, Jewish Chronicle

"The texts . . . which are drawn from over two thousand years of history, are usefully divided, annotated and glossed. They enable students to explore the tradition in a new way [and] give a marvellous insight into the richness and liveliness of the Jewish religion and culture: we are given wit and pathos in addition to popular story and religious law."—Janet Trotter, Resource

Table of Contents

General introduction
Foreword and acknowledgements
1. Introduction
1.1. Scripture and tradition
1.2. Liturgy
1.3. Tales of the saints and scholars
1.4. Religious law
1.5. Ethical literature
1.6. Philosophy and theology
1.7. Mysticism
1.8. Modern movements, modern thinkers
1.9. Religion and politics
1.10. Society and the Jews
1.11. Chronology
2. Scripture and tradition
2.1. The Chain of Tradition
2.1.1. Mishnah, Pirqei Avot 1:1-18 and 2:8. From Moses to the Tanna’im
2.2. The Baraita of Rabbi Ishmael. The thirteen principles by which the Torah is expounded
2.3. Bible commentaries
2.3.1. Targum Pesudo-Jonathan to Genesis 22:1-19. The sacrifice of Isaac
2.3.2. Mekhilta of Rabbi Ishmael to Exodus 19-20. The giving of the Torah on Sinai
3. Liturgy
3.1. Weekday liturgy
3.1.1. The Shema and its benedictions
3.1.2. The Amidah (Shemoneh Esreh or Eighteen Benedictions)
3.2. Sabbath liturgy
3.2.1. Qiddush for Sabbath evening
3.2.2. Havdalah service for the end of Sabbath
3.3. Passover liturgy
3.3.1. Two extracts from the Passover Haggadah
4. Tales of the saints and scholars
4.1. Honi the Rainmaker (Mishnah, Ta’anit 3:8)
4.2. Haninah ben Dosa the Healer (Babylonian Talmud, Berakhot 34b)
4.3. Rabban Yohanan ben Zakkai answers a gentile objector (Pesiqta deRav Kahana 4:7)
4.4. Rabbi Eliezer goes to study with Yohanan ben Zakkai (Avot deRabbi Natan A,6)
4.5. The heavenly voice (bat qol) is ruled out of court (Babylonian Talmud, Bava Mezi’a 59a-b)
4.6. Moses visits Rabbi Aquiva’s academy (Babylonian Talmud, Menahot 29b)
4.7. The martyrdom of Rabbi Aqiva (Babylonian Talmud, Berakhot 61b)
5. Religious law
5.1. The Talmud
5.1.1. Mishnah, Berakhot 8:1-8. Differences between the House of Shammai and the House of Hillel
5.1.2. Babylonian Talmud, Shabbat 73a-75b and 49b. Work forbidden on the Sabbath
5.2. The Shulhan Arukh
5.2.1. Shulhan Arukh, Hoshen Mishpat 26:1-6. Prohibition against resorting to non-Jewish courts
5.2.2. Shulhan Arukh, Yoreh De’ah 335:1-10. Laws regarding visiting the sick
5.2.3. Qizzur Shulhan Arukh 36:1-28. Laws regarding the salting of meat
6. Ethical literature
6.1. Mishnah, Pirqei Avot. Miscellaneous moral maxims
6.2. Bahya ibn Paquda, The Duties of the Heart, Gate 5, ch. 5. The fight against the evil inclination
6.3. M. H. Luzzato, The Path of the Upright, ch. 13. On abstinence
7. Philosophy and theology
7.1. Sa’adiah Gaon, The Book of Beliefs and Opinions, Introduction 6.
The relationship between faith and reason
7.2. Judah Halevi, The Kuzari, 5:14-19. The teachings of the philosophers and the theologians
7.3. Maimonides, Commentary on the Mishnah, Sanhedrin 10 (Heleq). The thirteen fundamental principles of the Jewish faith
8. Mystical literature
8.1. Ma’aseh Bere’shit
8.1.1. Sefer Yezirah. The mysteries of creation
8.2. Ma’aseh Merkavah
8.2.1. Heikhalot Rabbati 15:1-22:2. The ascent to God’s heavenly throne
8.3. Qabbalah
8.3.1. The Ein Sof and the ten Sefirot (Zohar, Bo, II 42b-43a [Ra’aya Meheimna])
8.3.2. Torah (Zohar, Be-ha’alotkha, III 152a)
8.3.3. The ’other side’ [sitra ahra] (Zohar, Terumah, II 173a)
8.3.4. Tiqqun (Zohar, Terumah, II 155a)
8.3.5. Exile and redemption (Zohar, Aharei Mot, III77b and Zohar, Bo, II 40b [Ra’aya Meheimna])
8.3.6. The spiritual constitution of man (Zohar, Lekh, 183b)
9. Modern movements, modern thinkers
9.1. Hasidism
9.1.1. Shivhei Ha-Besht. The Besht reveals himself to the sect of the Great Hasidim
9.1.2. Letter of Zecharish Mendel of Jaroslav. The spiritual exercises of the Zaddiqim
9.2. Reform
9.2.1. The Pittsburgh platform, 1885
9.2.2. The Columbus platform, 1937
9.2.3. Solomon B. Freehof. Responsum concerning the use of an anaesthetic during circumcision
9.3. Three modern thinkers
9.3.1. Moses Mendelssohn. Judaism as revealed legislation
9.3.2. S. R. Hirsch. The dangers of updating Judaism
9.3.3. Solomon Schechter. The faith of Catholic Israel
10. Religion and politics
10.1. Zionist thinkers
10.1.1. Theodor Herzl. The Jewish State
10.1.2. Ahad Ha-Am (Asher Ginsberg). The deficiencies of Western Zionism
10.2. Laws of the State of Israel
10.2.1. Declaration of the State of Israel (1948)
10.2.2. The Law of Return (1950/1954/1970)
10.2.3. Rabbinical Courts Jurisdiction (Marriage and Divorce) Law (1953)
10.2.4. Judge Silberg’s verdict in the ’Brother Daniel’ case (1962)
11. Society and the Jews
11.1. Richard I’s charter to certain Jews in England (1190)
11.2. Fourth Lateran Council, 1215. Decrees concerning the Jews
11.3. The Ballad of Hugh of Lincoln
11.4. The Assembly of Jewish Notables, Paris, 1806
11.4.1. The questions of the emperor
11.4.2. Reply of the assembly to question 3
11.4.3. Reply of the assembly to question 6
11.5. Holocaust documents
11.5.1. Dieter Wisliceny’s account of Himmler’s antisemitic ’world view’ (Nomvember 1946)
11.5.2. Letter from Göring to Heydrich instructing him to implement the ’Final Solution’ of the Jewish question (July 1941)
A. Scriptural readings for Sabbaths (parashiyyot for the annual cycle)
B. The Jewish liturgical year 5745 (1984-85)

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