iTalmud English Edition: Review

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Editor’s Note: The following article is reprinted from “Pacific Jewish Center | Rabbi’ blog“, published: October 22, 2009

By Rabbi Eliyahu Fink

I love technology and I love Talmud. So imagine how excited I was when I found out that I could learn Talmud on my iPhone!

For the last few weeks I have been testing an incredible iPhone app. iTalmud English Edition is one the best apps I have ever used on the iPhone.

iTalmud English Edition is a very powerful tool that anyone that wishes to study or research anything in the Talmud must have.

User Interface
All good iPhone apps maintain the beauty and simplicity of the iPhone in their user experience. iTalmud English Edition is all those and much more. It is so easy to use and so elegantly presented that it almost feels like an iPhone app developed by Apple! When you start the app you get a simple menu with the basic functions of iTalmud English Edition.
What Does iTalmud English Edition Do?

The app brings the entire Talmud to your fingertips. You can browse the entire Talmud by page or search the entire Talmud by term. The app includes an English translation of the Talmud that is easily accessed as well. In addition, audio classes of every single page are available via the menu. You can find any Daf Yomi class in the world from the menu as well.

Reading Talmud
There are 3 ways to read Talmud in iTalmud English Edition. The default view is a modern Hebew font text view. The text size is large enough to read and wherever Rashi has a commentary the words are hyperlinked so that clicking the text will bring up the Rashi. Very intuitive and perhaps the way Rashi intended us using his commentary – through hyperlinks! iTalmud English Edition also gives you the standard Talmud page view. When invoked, the app downloads a pdf of the folio with the tzuras hadaf preserved. Using multitouch gestures like pinching to zoom and flicking to scroll you can navigate the page pretty easily. The 3rd way to read Talmud with iTalmud English Edition is to read in English. The user just needs to tap the English button on the menu bar and the full English text of the page is displayed. It’s really easy to use. Also, a bookmark can be placed at any time so that you can return to that spot later by tapping bookmarks in the menu.

Listen to Talmud
Many people prefer to have a teacher guide them through the Talmud. iTalmud English Edition has a full library of audio lectures on every page of the Talmud. The classes are taught by Rav Dovid Grossman, an accomplished Rebbe in Yeshiva Gedola of Los Angeles. His explanations are clear and concise and make learning Talmud easier and interesting. The classes are downloaded to your iPhone but stay within the app so you can listen while you read along on using any of the three ways to read Talmud.

Search
Type any Hebrew or Aramaic word into the search box and you will get a comprehensive list of where that word is found in the Talmud. Tap on any of the pages listed and it will take you to that page and the word your searched will be highlighted. This is really a great tool if you are preparing a dvar Torah or just can’t recall the exact page of a Talmudic passage you remember. One limitation of the search is that the results are limited. So when I searched for a fairly common term, the results ended after 3 tractates. Hopefully, this is something that can be addressed in a later version.
Daf Yomi
All around the world, people study Talmud. There is a universal folio a day cycle called Daf Yomi. In almost any city with Jewish people studying Talmud one can find lectures on that day’s stduy. With iTalmud English Edition the location of those lectures is easy to find. iTalmud English Edition will give you as much information as possible. Details include time, location, phone number, teacher and language. A vital tool to folio a day students around the world, iTalmud English Edition, will help you find a lecture near you.

Conclusion
I give iTalmud English Edition 5 stars, 2 thumbs up, a gold medal, whatever. It is a really impressive iPhone app. The price is right too. At $25 you can have the entire Talmud in your pocket – 4 ways! Compare that with a print Talmud which will run anywhere from $150 to $1500. The app gives you everything you need to study Talmud at home or on the road. Kudos to the developers at Crowded Road for providing us with such a great app at such a great price. (…)

Promotional consideration was provided by Crowded Road for the review of their iTalmud English Edition app.

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