HAYIM NAHMAN BIALIK (1873-1934) is the leading Hebrew poet of the twentieth century. Born in the Ukraine, he moved to Odessa in 1891 where he was drawn to the circle of Ahad Ha'am. In 1921, he left Soviet Russia for Berlin and emigrated to the land of Israel in 1924. YEHOSHUA HANA RAVNITZKY (1859-1944) was a pioneer of modern Hebrew journalism and publishing. A native of Odessa, he became Bialik's closest collaborator. Together they founded the publishing house of Moriah, which brought forth the first edition of Sefer Ha-Aggadah in 1908-11. Ravnitzky settled in Tel Aviv in 1921, where he and Bialik subsequently founded the Dvir Publishing House.
To have Book of Legends/Sefer Ha-Aggadah available in English is to open to the entire English-reading world -- Jew, non-Jew, religionist, secularist -- one of the very great creations of humankind: a rich and intricately woven tapestry of tales, homilies, legends and dreams that come to us from the very roots of the imagination. What a treasure!"
-- Chaim Potok "Bialik and Ravnitzky's great compendium of Rabbinic legend and homily has been an indispensable resource ever since its publication in Hebrew eight decades ago....English readers are very fortunate to be able at last to avail themselves of this extraordinary compilation." -- Robert Alter "In translating Bialik and Ravnitzky's incomparable thematic anthology into very readable English, William Braude, master translator of Rabbinic texts, has provided the English reader with a wonderful access to the wealth of Rabbinic interpretation and lore. This book should be a fixture in the library of every serious Jew." -- Norman J. Cohen, Dean, Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion "Sefer Ha-Aggadah has long been one of my favorite volumes of Jewish literature. Bialik and Ravnitzky arranged topically a vast collection of Talmudic and midrashic material. Whatever one is looking for, be it stories about biblical characters or reflections on love, evil, childrearing, or healing; it is there .... A most welcome addition to the growing collection of Jewish classics now available in English translation." -- Judith Hauptman, Associate Professor of Talmud, Jewish Theological Seminary "Sefer Ha-Aggadah restored the prestige of the non-legal sections of the Talmud and nurtured aesthetic appreciation for one of the world's most creative and colorful literatures. I fully endorse this marvelous translation by William Braude." -- David Weiss-Halivni, Columbia University