Type: Commentary



Recent printings of the Talmud have incorporated additional short comments (glosses) by various Rabbis who lived during last few centuries. Most of these glosses are emendations to the text, while others contain useful (or cryptic) cross-references.

Often these comments were copied from the handwritten notes that the authors inscribed in the margins of their personal copies of the Talmud.

Many such glosses are assembled in the supplementary pages at the back of the Vilna Talmud edition. Among those which appear in the margins of the actual Talmud page we may count the following:

  • Glosses by the Ga'on of Vilna
  • Hagahot Ha-Ba"H
  • Glosses by Rabbi Isaiah Berlin
  • Gilyon Ha-Sha"S by Rabbi Akiva Eger

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    The term "Ga'on" (="pride") was originally the official title bestowed on the heads of the Talmudic academies in Babylonia (and perhaps in the Land of Israel) in the post-Talmudic era.

    In later usage, it came to be used more loosely as a designation for great scholars.

    "Responsa" are letters containing answers to questions, mostly on issues in Jewish law.

    Many collections of responsa, composed by leading Jewish scholars, have been preserved.

    They offer us a valuable means of studying how the ancient legal system was adapted to changing historical and social circumstances.