The Bible explains the Creation of the world and of the Jewish people. But for 1,500 years it has been the Talmud that instructed Jews how they were to live in the world. The Babylonian Talmud, which reached its final form in the land that is now Iraq around the year 500, is composed of two parts. At its core is the Mishnah, a law code evolved by sages in the Land of Israel for centuries, until it was written down around 200 C.E. And surrounding the Mishnah is the Gemara (“completion”), a record of the debates and discussions that later rabbis held to clarify the meaning of the laws. Open a volume of Talmud today and you will find Mishnah and Gemara at the center of the page, surrounded by a universe of commentaries—rabbi speaking to rabbi across the centuries. More than a book, the Talmud is the greatest creation of the Jewish mind—both a guide to life and the living testimony of Jewish civilization.