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Download As a Driven Leaf Audiobook

Extended Audio Sample As a Driven Leaf Audiobook, by Milton Steinberg
4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 4.00 (885 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: Milton Steinberg Narrator: George Guidall Publisher: Susan Dworkin Format: Abridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date: November 2005 ISBN:
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As A Driven Leaf is a novel in which fictional and historical characters comfortably coexist. It is a gripping tale of the renegade Talmudic sage, Elisha ben Abuyah, caught in a personal struggle between his own faith and the compelling culture of Rome, circa 70 CE.

The genius of Milton Steinberg's great work is that it illuminates the political and intellectual conflicts of Rabbinic times in a way that shows their relevance to Jewish faith, nationhood, and personal development in every era, including our own.

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Listener Opinions

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Tzippy | 2/11/2014

    " Elisha ben Avuyah is one of my favorite Talmudic figures, so I had to read this book as soon as I learned it existed. If I had been writing a book about his life, it would have been in a slightly different light and would have put more of an emphasis of the story where R' Meir tries to convince Elisha to get back on the derech and Elisha "proves" to him (suing Talmudic logic) that it can't be done--that scene is so tragic (in the classic sense of the word) I can't even describe it. Anyway, this book is definitely historical fiction and the author takes a lot of liberties with the story, but it's done very respectively. It doesn't go around trying to portray people like R' Akiva as a jerk (unlike some other Biblical/Talmudic fiction I can think of). "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Cynthia | 2/5/2014

    " Fictional account of the age of the Talmud. Elisha ben Abuyah struggles to live in two worlds, destroying his chances to live in either. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Lauren | 2/5/2014

    " I read this book for a course in college, and it spoke volumes to me. An amazing historical account of the rabbinic age during Roman occupation. I have only read it once, but I remember it so fondly. Profound emotions and I have thought about it for years... "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Dan | 2/3/2014

    " Top notch fiction. Intimately drawn characters debate questions on faith, reason and the nature of human suffering in a meticulously researched, vivid historical setting. The protagonist is as tragic a main character as I have read. Steinberg's prose is at points simple and exact, at others complex and overpowering. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 marg | 1/30/2014

    " A great read ... Elisha is a very sympathetic figure and for the most part the story is even handed, I think, though I was very troubled by the ending. I found his conflict to be eloquently expressed and extremely relatable. While I found the story to be mostly accurate I was irked by some of the modernizations and places where he clearly took liverties for the sake of fiction - Steinberg's prerogative, of course, but still a little unnerving. Did the tannaim really hang out as couples like something out of a Teaneck sitcom? Would Bruriah and R' Meir really flirt in front of guests, let alone R' Meir's teacher? Was the depiction of R' Meir and Elisha's interaction really so realistic, it seemed at times as though R' Meir was the teacher ... and other things detracted from my enjoyment, but ultimately it held my attention and presented an issue that is just as relevant today, assuming the author was being authentic there as well (and I assume he was) which was both chilling and comforting. It's on reserve for you, Z! "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Ellen | 1/29/2014

    " Very well researched and written book about historical people, places, times as the basis but fleshed out with believable fiction. Although I slogged through the middle and had to make the effort to finish it, I'm glad I read this book. Reading about how Jews might have lived amongst the Greeks and Romans was intriguing. Also the plot - that a learned, affluent, highly respected and pious Rabbi could reach a turning point in his life where he absolutely questions his religion and way of life - was thought-provoking and realistically written. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Devorah | 1/28/2014

    " A wonderful, thought-provoking, and moving novel about Rabbi Elisha ben Abuyah, a Talmudic scholar who left Judaism after a struggle with the Hellenistic ideas of his time. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Amy Schwartz | 1/19/2014

    " one of my most favorite books. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Jay Ginsburg | 12/16/2013

    " Vividly set in a crucial time of change in Jewish history, and v. good as a novel. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Jaime | 12/1/2013

    " "No matter what other doubts we may encertain, we cannot question the reality of friendship. And in a world where so little is certain that is a great deal." "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Jeremy Copeland | 11/21/2013

    " I really enjoyed the story. I also really enjoyed the insight into jewish culture and the way the rabbinical system works. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Emily Comisar | 9/19/2013

    " A compelling story with choppy writing. It took me much longer to read than I thought it would. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Rachael | 9/18/2013

    " I can understand people loving this book-but too much philosophy and religious questioning for my degenerate soul :) "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Tamar | 7/23/2013

    " i read this in highschool - i don't remember it being particularly well written but the idea that chazal were actual people was for some reason very revolutionary for me at the time. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Lynne | 7/11/2013

    " A wonderfully written historical novel based on the life of Elisha ben Abuyah. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Bonnie | 6/18/2013

    " Makes the characters of the Talmud come alive. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Shira | 4/28/2013

    " Wonderful book. Confusing, probing, relatable. I thought the last 50-100 pages was a cop out. It made the final answer too easy, and sold Elisha's questions short. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Karen | 2/5/2013

    " one of my all time favorites "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Steve Hemmeke | 9/5/2012

    " Excellent depiction of religious belief (1st century orthodox Jew, here) colliding with the world, and sometimes losing. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Richard | 7/14/2012

    " This is one of the most important books that I've ever read. It deals with the age old conflict of faith and reason. A beautiful work. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Isaac | 5/21/2012

    " loved this book, primarily for its references to actual agada in the Talmud "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Elaine Grant | 3/20/2012

    " Excellent book on the culture of First Century Judaism. I gained many insights into the sentiment and various movements of the period. I thought it was very interesting, if not the typical 'happily ever after' book but then, historical books rarely are. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Deb | 12/8/2011

    " An incredible glimpse into the struggle of religion, philosophy and the life of the early rabbinic sages. Couldn't put it down! "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Staci Woodburn | 10/26/2011

    " Really great for exploring a character who has a crisis of faith and philosophy. "

  • 1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5 Joanne | 8/15/2011

    " Despite a nice intro by Chaim Potok, couldn't get into this book. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Eve | 6/22/2011

    " I thought this was rather poorly written, although the theme is interesting. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Yael | 4/13/2011

    " One of the most amazing books ever. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Cynthia | 3/6/2011

    " Fictional account of the age of the Talmud. Elisha ben Abuyah struggles to live in two worlds, destroying his chances to live in either. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Tamar | 2/6/2011

    " i read this in highschool - i don't remember it being particularly well written but the idea that chazal were actual people was for some reason very revolutionary for me at the time. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Laura | 12/19/2010

    " One of my all-time absolutely favorite books! "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Goldfrancine | 10/7/2010

    " Loved it! A great blend of Jewish culture and history. However anyone who has ever considered themselves spiritual yet skeptical of religion will enjoy this reading! "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Tricia | 5/22/2010

    " Very well written and great character development. Crisis of faith between Judaism and Greek philosophies. Based on life of an apostate rabbi. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Khiogreen | 2/24/2010

    " I heard a lot of good things about this book. So I decided to read it. It's a good read. I think it would help to have more background knowledge such as culture and religion. "

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