Yesterday, while in Hevron, I was informed of the passing of a great man and a dear friend, Professor Yisrael Moshe Ta Shma, recipient of the 2003 Israel Prize in Talmud, after a long illness. He was a great scholar whose command of every aspect of rabbinic literature, in print and in manuscript was incredible. There will no doubt, be alot of discussion of his contributions to scholarship. I am writing a review of his last book for the journal Sidra, where I will write an appreciaton of his work.
In addition to being a world class scholar, Professor Ta Shma was a mensch and a true friend. In contrast to alot of academics, he was generous with his knowledge and with new ideas. Despite his incredible level of activity and scholarly output, he always had time to sit and talk and share his massive knowledge. I used to love sitting in his study and just drinking it all in.
He was a man of dignity and courage. The last four years were very difficult for him healthwise. Yet he faced these difficulties with fortitude and a wry sense of humor. Haval al de-avdin ve-lo mishtakhin. Yehi Zikhro Barukh ke-fi she-po'alo hu berakha.