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Rabbi Meni Even Israel, son of Rabbi Adin Steinsaltz, of blessed memory, and Executive Director of the Steinsaltz Center, spoke to Israel National News - Arutz Sheva about the massive growth in the number of people choosing to study Jewish sources since the October 7th massacre.

“We moved from a few hundred thousand visitors to about 2 million,” he said, referring to the Steinsaltz Center Daily Study App and Portal. “It's incredible, but actually quite logical. When something happens, whether personal or, in this case, a national emergency, people look for meaning, for hope, for something new. Jewish texts are always the first place to go.”

He added, “Generally, the Steinsaltz perspective is very user-friendly for the simple reason that the underlying goal is not to try to make you religious. Rather, it’s to help you understand the text, to own the text.”

When people asked Rabbi Adin Steinsaltz what his purpose was in translating the Talmud, he explained that his aim was that “you should have a teacher in your pocket. Anywhere you go, you have someone guiding you, helping you. Still, the actual understanding and the effort is done by the learner."

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A Vision for Today

Rabbi Adin Steinsaltz had a very unique method of making the Talmud accessible to everyone. “He specifically used correct language, whether Hebrew or English,” Rabbi Even Israel explained. “He always tried to make the material accessible for people in their own language, so that it would be easier to read.”

Another method he employed for the sake of accessibility was the addition of extra supporting material: images, graphics, and other historical facts. “Jewish texts can be intimidating: black book, small letters. I think it’s tremendous that he thought about making the texts more user-friendly, already in the '60s. He had a vision for what people would need far in the future.”

While in the beginning, there was criticism that Rabbi Steinsaltz's translations would make the study of Talmud too easy, it has become accepted that they have improved Torah study, Rabbi Even Israel explained, "especially today when people have an attention span of about 4 and a half seconds.” Rabbi Even Israel said that the English Talmud is dissected into six-minute teaching moments, so that anyone can learn.

Users can download 12 different cycles; for example, there’s Daf Yomi, Amud Yomi, or just Ikar Hadaf, which is a synopsis.

Rabbi Even Israel shares that one of the first to give his approbation for the Steinsaltz Talmud was American posek hador Rabbi Moshe Feinstein. “He said that the pictures and notes make it very useful for the layman, but especially so for Torah scholars.”

Backstory & Context

One of the best examples is the famous Talmudic teaching that follows the argument between Abaye and Rava about the laws of lost objects, Rabbi Even Israel said. "You have three pages of discussion going back and forth, but then my father adds a few lines of explanation about the background and reality of those two sages that puts everything into context.” Abaye was very poor as a child, and therefore his idea of losing an object reflected that reality, while Rava, by contrast, was wealthy, and for him, losing an object didn’t have the same significance.

The work that Rabbi Steinsaltz spearheaded has now become more accessible than ever before. On August 6, the Steinsaltz Center launched the new Daily App and Portal, but they have since upgraded it, adding more information. The Hebrew site contains the entire Jewish Canon, including Talmud, Mishna, Tanach, Rambam, and Tanya. The English site is still in the process of completing those projects and currently includes the entire Talmud and Tanach. The Tanya, Mishna, and Rambam are still in the process of being translated. The app and portal contain many articles that Rabbi Adin Steinsaltz penned over the years, and a lot more material, including videos of his shiurim, are in the process of being uploaded.

“For example, we are now uploading one chapter of Pirkei Avot each week, coinciding with the traditional summer learning of Pirkei Avot,” he said.

A Mishnah for Every Neshamah

One of the most important and meaningful projects currently underway is the Mishnah for Every Neshama campaign, which enables people to commemorate the fallen through studying via this application. "We are currently completing my father’s translation of the Mishnah. Last October, we released the Hebrew commentary and now we are doing the English. In honor of the fallen in the current war, we have decided to dedicate the translation of the Mishnayot of Seder Taharot for the elevation of their souls. Parallel to this, we are providing donation opportunities to commemorate a soldier or a loved one.”

Let My People Know

"Let my people know" was my father’s motto, but it was also his vision and mission. Throughout his life, he maintained that first and foremost, he was an educator, dedicated to teaching people. Another oft-repeated line was, “You always have to move forward. If you can’t run, then crawl. If you can’t crawl, just move your fingers. But take some action to move forward.”

According to Rabbi Even Israel, his father believed that Jewish knowledge belongs to everyone, hence the wording, "let my people know" – it’s your knowledge, grab it and learn it.

Downloading the app or portal couldn’t be easier. Either visit or download from the Android or Apple stores - or click here.