After many years of work, the first volume of the first-ever Italian translated Talmud, the Tractate of Rosh HaShanah, was presented to the president of Italy, Sergio Mattarella last week.
“It is not easy to read and to understand the whole text, but even a few drops of the elixir of life that flows in it are precious for those who are nourished by it,” commented the Talmud giant rav Adin Steinsaltz, who cooperated on the project and attended the ceremony hosted by the prestigious Accademia dei Lincei.
The plan is to translate in Italian the whole Babylonian Talmud, which consists of 36 tractates written in Aramaic and ancient Hebrew. The project was started in 2011 thanks to a Protocol signed by the Italian Presidency of the Council of Ministries, the Ministry of Education, the Council of National Research and the Union of Italian Jewish Communities (UCEI).
“After the persecutions of the past centuries, and the tragedy of the Shoah, today there is the understanding that these pages are part of Italian history, and are needed for the growth of Italian society which has to be open to dialogue,” said Rome Chief Rabbi Riccardo Di Segni.
“We all share the hope that everyone can finally understand some treasures of this millenary wisdom, full of values and meanings that though ancient, never cease to surprise us for their modernity,” added UCEI president Renzo Gattegna.
The Italian minister of Education Stefania Giannini stressed how Italy and Europe are both in need of deeper knowledge to better understand cultural and religious pluralism.
The project of translating the Talmud has so far involved over 80 people, rabbis, experts, translators and computer scientists.
Taking the podium during the presentation were also the president of Accademia dei Lincei Alberto Quadrio Curzio, the president of the Council of National Research Massimo Inguscio, the president of the Consortium for the Translation of the Talmud Clelia Piperno, historian Alberto Melloni and the former undersecretary of the Presidency of the Council of Ministries Gianni Letta.