If All the Seas Were Ink

A Memoir
Narrated by: Dara Rosenberg
Length: 9 hrs and 41 mins
4.2 out of 5 stars (37 ratings)

Audible Premium Plus

$14.95 a month

1 audiobook of your choice.
Stream or download thousands of included titles.
$14.95 a month after 30 day trial. Cancel anytime.
Buy for $24.99

Buy for $24.99

Pay using card ending in
By confirming your purchase, you agree to Audible's Conditions of Use and Amazon's Privacy Notice. Taxes where applicable.

Publisher's Summary

**WINNER of the 2018 Sami Rohr Prize for Jewish Literature and the 2018 Sophie Brody Medal for achievement in Jewish literature**
**2018 Natan Book Award Finalist**
**Finalist for the 2017 National Jewish Book Award in Women's Studies**

The Wall Street Journal: "There is humor and heartbreak in these pages...Ms. Kurshan immerses herself in the demands of daily Talmud study and allows the words of ancient scholars to transform the patterns of her own life."

The Jewish Standard: “Brilliant, beautifully written, sensitive, original."

The Jerusalem Post: "A beautiful and inspiring book. Both religious and secular readers will find themselves immensely moved by [Kurshan's] personal story.”

American Jewish World: “So engrossing I hardly could put it down.”

At the age of 27, alone in Jerusalem in the wake of a painful divorce, Ilana Kurshan joined the world’s largest book club, learning daf yomi, Hebrew for “daily page" of the Talmud, a book of rabbinic teachings spanning about 600 years and the basis for all codes of Jewish law. A runner, a reader and a romantic, Kurshan adapted to its pace, attuned her ear to its poetry, and discovered her passions in its pages. She brought the Talmud with her wherever she went, studying in airplanes, supermarket lines, and over a plate of pasta at home, careful not to drip tomato sauce upon discussions about the sprinkling of blood on the Temple altar. By the time she completed the Talmud after seven and a half years, Kurshan was remarried with three young children. With each pregnancy, her Talmud sat perched atop her growing belly.

This memoir is a tale of heartache and humor, of love and loss, of marriage and motherhood, and of learning to put one foot in front of the other by turning page after page. Kurshan takes us on a deeply accessible and personal guided tour of the Talmud, shedding new light on its stories and offering insights into its arguments - both for those already familiar with the text and for those who have never encountered it. For people of the book - both Jewish and non-Jewish - If All the Seas Were Ink is a celebration of learning - through literature - how to fall in love once again.

©2017 Ilana Kurshan (P)2018 Brilliance Publishing, Inc., all rights reserved. Published by arrangement with St. Martin's Press.

What listeners say about If All the Seas Were Ink

Average Customer Ratings
Overall
  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    19
  • 4 Stars
    8
  • 3 Stars
    8
  • 2 Stars
    2
  • 1 Stars
    0
Performance
  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    14
  • 4 Stars
    9
  • 3 Stars
    5
  • 2 Stars
    4
  • 1 Stars
    2
Story
  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    18
  • 4 Stars
    8
  • 3 Stars
    6
  • 2 Stars
    2
  • 1 Stars
    0

Reviews - Please select the tabs below to change the source of reviews.

Sort by:
Filter by:
  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars

Started out interesting, but flagged badly

I just started learning Daf Yomi with this cycle of Shas, and happened across an article by the author that mentioned her book. I was excited to find it on Audible. I started out enjoying it greatly; the author is highly literate and makes many comparisons between the Talmud and classic literature. When the book begins, she is heartbroken over her divorce and begins to fill the void in her heart with Talmud. Drawing lessons from the Sages, however esoteric, and making them relevant to her own experience was quite interesting. However, to make my own literary allusion, “all happy families are alike”; when she meets and marries her current husband, the loss of tension and conflict in the narrative greatly reduces its appeal. It’s great that she’s so happily married now, but listening to her endlessly gush about how wonderful her husband is quite literally put me to sleep. The relevance of the Talmud to her daily life begins to feel like more of a stretch, and for one tractate, she phoned it in, giving the entire volume no more than a few sentences. If you’ve just started studying the daf, however, the book is still a worthwhile read/listen. The narrator, on the other hand, is just awful. She mispronounces many words both in Hebrew and English (and even one term in French as a bonus)—most egregiously, the very phrase “daf yomi” itself. I’m not talking about Sephardic vs. Ashkenazic pronunciation of the Hebrew; I’m talking about flat-out mispronounced words. This is highly annoying, and for the life of me, with the resources of the internet available, I cannot understand how audiobooks get released with so many mispronounced words. It’s the auditory equivalent of typos and grammatical errors.

1 person found this helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars
  • NK
  • 03-29-20

Interesting

I found the book interesting and liked how the author interwove descriptions of her topics of study with details of her life she felt were related to these topics.

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars

Disappointing Narrator

The narrator does not know how to pronounce many of the words in the text that are in Hebrew. This is very distracting. Audible did not do it's homework in finding a narrator who speaks the foreign words that are integral to the story.

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Wonderful!

Fabulous story interwoven with inspiration from the Talmud. Only negative: the narrator does not have the background the author describes, and her pronunciations were completely off. I could get used to Daf “Yumi” if it were mentioned once in the book, but 200 times! Not to mention pronunciations of most Hebrew words and of course, “Isreal”.