Rabbi Edwin Goldberg, author of Love Tales from the Talmud (URJ Press, $14.95) talks about his book, relationships and wisdom from the Rabbinic sages. The book has study questions and translations which guide the readers to an appreciation of Rabbinic literature. Rabbi Goldberg has also written Swords and Plowshares: Jewish Views of War and Peace and Heads and Tales: Stories of the Sages to Enlighten Our Minds.
Rabbi Goldberg will speak about his book in the Miami Book Fair International Sunday, Nov. 21 at 11:00 a.m., Room 3410 (Building 3, 4th Floor).
RS: Tell me something about your childhood.
RG: I grew up in Kansas City. My parents were very different from one another. My father's family came to this country in the 1860's. He felt comfortable being American because his family had been here for generations. My mother's family came to escape the prison camps in Germany. She had a different take.
RS: Rabbi Goldberg, is there a special reason why you wrote Love Tales from the Talmud?
RG: I had written my book on the issues on life, and its prequel, Heads and Tales: Stories of the Sages to Enlighten Our Minds, when my publishers asked me to write like a War and Peace. This made me think about the Talmud, and how I am passionate about its stories. Do you know that the word "Love" does not come out even once in the book? It is a short book. The tales are over 2, 000 years ago.
RS: Were you a good student as a child?
RG: Yes, I never liked Math or Science, but I liked History, English, and Literature.
RS: Do you believe Love conquers all?
RG: No. It depends. In the Middle Ages, a notion developed saying Love conquers all,but the Rabbis didn't believe in that. That notion would be inmature, egotism, selfish.
RS: Who has influenced you the most?
RG: Rabbi William Silverman from Kansas City. I grew up with him.
RS: Rabbi Goldberg, would you say the tales are true in the historical sense?
RG: I believe they are true stories that never happened, but are true consequences of our actions. I want people to learn from these stories. In a perfect world, of changing behavior. I would like to reach out and teach these tales full of Rabbinic wisdom how we can make a better world.