Sage Tales: Wisdom and Wonder from the Rabbis of the Talmud

Sage Tales: Wisdom and Wonder from the Rabbis of the Talmud

by Rabbi Burton L. Visotzky
     
 

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These ancient stories whisper truth to your soul.

Great stories have the power to draw the heart. But certain stories have the power to draw the heart to God and awaken the better angels of our nature. Such are the tales of the rabbis of the Talmud, colorful, quirky yarns that tug at our heartstrings and test our values, ethics,

Overview

These ancient stories whisper truth to your soul.

Great stories have the power to draw the heart. But certain stories have the power to draw the heart to God and awaken the better angels of our nature. Such are the tales of the rabbis of the Talmud, colorful, quirky yarns that tug at our heartstrings and test our values, ethics, morality—and our imaginations.

In this collection for people of all faiths and backgrounds, Rabbi Burton Visotzky draws on four decades of telling and teaching these legends in order to unlock their wisdom for the contemporary heart. He introduces you to the cast of characters, explains their motivations, and provides the historical background needed to penetrate the wise lessons often hidden within these unusual narratives.

In learning how and why these oft-told tales were spun, you discover how they continue to hold value for our lives.

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

"One of our tradition's liveliest teachers has managed to capture all of his rare vibrancy on the page. Who knew that Midrash could read like a great detective story?"
Abigail Pogrebin, author, Stars of David

“Both ancient and timeless … this retelling and retooling of ancient rabbinic wisdom tales [does] the sages and us a great service. Brings these … sages alive that we might hear their wisdom once more. A book to be savored.”
Rabbi Rami Shapiro, author, Hasidic Tales: Annotated and Explained

“Enlivens ancient wisdom with modern whimsy, decodes Talmudic enigmas with narrative grace, and humanizes the giants of early rabbinic Judaism in ways that make each character real, quirky and unforgettable. Has there ever been a book of solid scholarship that was this much fun to read?”
Letty Cottin Pogrebin, author, Deborah, Golda and Me:
Being Female and Jewish in America
; founding editor, Ms. magazine

“A treasure trove of information, insight and meaning. It is a 'must read’ for anyone interested in knowing more about rabbinic texts, traditions and history, while being charmed and entertained. Be prepared to experience rabbinic Judaism come alive!”
Dr. Norman Cohen, author, The Way Into Torah

“A revelation…. A thrilling journey full of wisdom, humor and timeless lessons…. In short, Rabbi Visotzky has blessed us with a deep and lasting gift, a spectacular work that we want to read over and over again.”
Rabbi Naomi Levy, author, Hope Will Find You and To Begin Again

“Reading Sage Tales is like going to the best show on Broadway followed by an elegant dinner with a critic, a holy skeptic who is illuminating, entertaining, learned and enlightening…. I loved this book!”
Rabbi Irwin Kula, author, Yearnings: Embracing the Sacred Messiness of Life;
co-author, The Book of Jewish Sacred Practices

“Lets you reach … into the collective consciousness of Jewish value teachings and offers you a glimpse into what life ought to be and can be.”
Reb Zalman Schachter-Shalomi, author, First Steps to a New Jewish Spirit

“Wit, insight and deep sensitivity permeate every sentence and draw the reader into an irresistible journey to uncover the spiritual, intellectual and emotional underpinnings of rabbinic literature. [An] important contribution to the field.”
Rabbi Sharon Brous, IKAR

Library Journal
Rabbi Visotzky (Appleman Professor of Midrash & Interreligious Studies, Jewish Theological Seminary; The Genesis of Ethics) here presents a smattering of tales about the teachers and leaders of the Jewish community at the time of the creation of the Talmud—that is, the generations following the destruction of the Temple in Jerusalem. There is a great deal of Jewish lore and practice that comes from places other than Hebrew Scripture, and this book is a fine place to start that journey, with stories, many touching or amusing, that address typically Jewish responses to the experience of the divine, the search for happiness, and coping with difficulty and suffering. VERDICT Including a brief who's who and, very important, the tales in their original form as an appendix, this chatty, friendly overture to the lessons of the Talmud by a scholar and rabbi is excellent for casual readers as well as synagogues.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781580234566
Publisher:
Turner Publishing Company
Publication date:
02/01/2011
Pages:
256
Product dimensions:
6.30(w) x 9.00(h) x 1.10(d)

Meet the Author

Rabbi Burton L. Visotzky, named one of Forward's top fifty Jewish leaders in America, has been engaging spiritual seekers with the ancient wisdom of Judaism for over forty years. He is Appleman Professor of Midrash and Interreligious Studies and director of the Louis Finkelstein Institute for Religious and Social Studies and of the Milstein Center for Interreligious Dialogue at the Jewish Theological Seminary of America. Rabbi Burton L. Visotzky consulted with Bill Moyers and was a featured participant in the PBS television series Genesis: A Living Conversation. He is a lecturer and scholar-in-residence in synagogues, churches and mosques throughout North America, and the author of nine other books, including Sage Tales: Wisdom and Wonder from the Rabbis of the Talmud and Reading the Book: Making the Bible a Timeless Text.

Rabbi Burton L. Visotzky is available to speak on the following topics:

  • The Genesis of Ethics: Bible Study and Moral Development
  • Reading the Book: Making the Bible a Timeless Text
  • Sibling Rivalries: Judaism and Christianity in Their Formative Years
  • In Preparation for Passover
  • The Road to Redemption: Ancient and Modern Readings of Exodus

Click here to contact the author.

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