Following the destruction of the Second Temple in 70 C.E., Judaism
faced a serious crossroads. The rabbis of late antiquity spent the
next few centuries in extensive debates in an effort to create an
ethical and practical basis for a Torah-based faith. Their
extensive discussions constitute the bulk of what we now know as
the Talmud. This collection is not only massive; it is forbiddingly
difficult and has accumulated numerous commentaries over the
centuries since it first appeared. Recent translations have made it
somewhat more accessible to English-language readers, but textual
difficulties remain. This volume looks at tractate Zevachim
(Sacrifices), which is mostly concerned with meat offerings
slaughtered and presented at the Temple (when it stood). Joshua A.
Fogel approaches the text, page by page, commenting with doses of
humor and comparisons in a manner meant to explain and humanize the
text for contemporary readers.
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