THE VERY REV. THE CHIEF RABBI
ISRAEL BRODIE, B.A., B. LITT.
[page xi]'And knoweth the place thereof' (job. XXVIII, 23) The compilation of comprehensive indices to the monumental Soncino translation of the Babylonian Talmud is the work of a patient and meticulous scholar, worthy of praise and constant gratitude. This volume of reference finally completes the great enterprise of which the late Mr. j. Davidson was the inspired and persistent architect. May his memory be for blessing! The generosity of Mr. and Mrs. Albert Segal which made the publication of this volume possible merits the thanks of all scholars and students who, I am sure, will make frequent use of its contents.
Of all the world's classics of encyclopaedic proportions the Talmud, by its multifarious contents, its peculiar presentation and sequences of subject matter, is a most intricate and confusing maze. It is difficult to thread one's way through its massive pages unless assisted by the helpful experts who contrive systematic directives -'who make handles to the Torah'- to meet the varied approaches of those who seek to know its wisdom and doctrine, its laws and its poetry, its folklore and even its apparent trivia. The well-known Midrash comes to mind. King Solomon applied his wisdom and prudence to help students find their way through the intricacies of the Torah. He was like the clever man in the parable of the large palace with many doors where a man would enter, become confused and not find the door by which he entered. The clever man took a clew of rope and suspended it by the door of entry so that it could serve as a guide to all who entered or came out.
This volume is such a clew, with its invaluable general and special indices of topics, names, Biblical references and glossary.
May this volume guide the student to a deeper and luster appreciation of the civilisation embodied in the majestic treasury of the Talmud: 'so may abundant peace be to those who love Thy Law and may they not stumble therein.' (Psalm CXIX, 165).