Posted on October 21, 2012 by Leah Kahn
When I read Relics for the Present, I am quickly enamored with the ancient wisdom of our tradition. Levi Cooper intricately and intelligently interlaces the p’shat of the text together with the interpretations of a variety of commentators, which results in meaningful interpretations that the Talmidei Chachamim may have actually wished to convey to future generations. With his choice of commentators, Cooper brings texture to the arguments and stories of the Talmud. He could easily stop there, but doesn’t, adding one more piece to his thoughtful tome that simply makes the book magical. Bringing his own ideas and interpretations to the meaning of the questions and challenges posed by the Talmud, Cooper offers new wisdom for the modern Jew, deeply rooted in the ancient text. This last element transports readers straight to the Beit Midrash, as if they are sitting across from Cooper, pouring over the Talmud with him in chevruta. Readers will come away from the encounter with a fresh charge for living a Jewish life in the modern world.