Talmud in China

Wayne's World

Combine an increased interest in business education in China with a rise in sales of self-help literature along with the impression that ancient Jews and modern Chinese face many of the same problems, you get a publishing boom on the Talmud. It is not that the Chinese are studying the Talmud per se. If they were, they would discover that the Talmud is, in effect, the collected interpretations of Scripture that concretizes Jewish practice in all areas. To be sure, the Talmud deals with business matters but from the objective of ensuring good ethics rather than material success. The Chinese, however, are studying Talmud as some kind of secret code for prosperity. Titles such as Crack the Talmud: 101 Business Rules, The Illustrated Jewish Wisdom Book, and Know All the Money-Making Stories of the Talmud are not stereotypical attacks on Judaism but a tribute to the reverence Chinese have for Jews as paragons of excellence. There is even a Talmud Hotel in Taiwan that includes a copy of the book Talmud Business Success Bible in every room! (Take that, Gideons!)  Chinese admiration for Jews extends to Michael Kadoorie, the hotel and power generator magnate, who ranks as the richest non-Chinese in greater China with a net worth estimated at $5 billion. Now it’s only a matter of time before there will be a kosher deli in every Chinese neighbourhood.


Words to Live By

What lies behind you and what lies ahead of you pales in comparison to what lies inside you.

– Ralph Waldo Emerson

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