Setting the Talmud Free
More than fifty years ago, Rabbi Adin Even-Israel Steinsaltz took it upon himself to make the Talmud, the central text of Jewish life, available to all. In 1965, he began translating the 37 tractates of the Talmud from ancient Aramaic into Modern Hebrew, with an English translation published in the Koren Talmud Bavli Noé Edition. Ninety percent of the world’s Jewish population speaks English or Hebrew as a first language, so making the Talmud intelligible in these two languages is a colossal achievement, but until now, this precious content was only available to those with access to a physical volume.
Today, Sefaria is excited and humbled to announce the release of The William Davidson Talmud, a free digital edition of the Babylonian Talmud with parallel translations, interlinked to major commentaries, biblical citations, Midrash, Kabbalah, Halakhah, and an ever-growing library of Jewish texts.
The William Davidson Talmud will continually evolve as we add additional commentaries and connections, and will ultimately include Rabbi Steinsaltz’s complete Modern Hebrew and English translations. You can already access 22 tractates in English (Berakhot to Bava Batra) online on our website. The Modern Hebrew translations will start appearing online later this year, and the remaining English tractates will follow.
For the Jewish people, our texts are our collective inheritance. They belong to everyone and Sefaria wants them to be available to everyone, with free and open public licenses. Through the generous support of The William Davidson Foundation, Rabbi Steinsaltz’s English and Hebrew translations and interpolated textual explanations will be available with a Creative Commons Non-Commercial license, making them free for use and re-use -- even beyond Sefaria.
We’re incredibly grateful to our partners, The William Davidson Foundation, Matthew Miller and Koren Publishers, and Rabbi Menachem Even-Israel and Milta, for helping bring this unprecedented intellectual property deal to fruition. We could not have asked for better collaborators, and we’re all thrilled to be able to give The William Davidson Talmud to the world.