Students, Scholars, and Saints

Students, Scholars, and Saints

Students, Scholars, and Saints

Students, Scholars, and Saints

Excerpt

Asked to define the meaning of the term Shekinah, Rabbi Sherira Gaon, the famous head of the celebrated Academy of Pumbedita, Babylonia, wrote: "Know, that the Shekinah is to be found among the scholars of the Academy, it is the light of God abiding among them." Divested of its metaphorical expression, this remark of the great leader of Judaism in the second half of the tenth century contains a profound truth, that the spiritual and intellectual life of the Jews always had its center of gravity in the Talmud Academies, or Yeshibot. A knowledge of the life of the Yeshibah will therefore bring us closer to an understanding of the history of the Jews in the last two thousand years.

The lectures presented to the public in this volume, though delivered at long intervals and called forth by certain occasions, form a unified collection. They all have the same purpose, to give the reader some insight into the cultural life of the Jew, by making him acquainted with the bearers of this culture. It was in the Talmud Academies that the spiritual life of the people pulsated, and hence a closer acquaintance with the ideas and ideals of the talmudic scholar will lead to a better knowledge of that life.

The talmudic scholar is the normal type of Jew by which Rabbinic Judaism is to be judged, though, it is . . .

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