Any kind of learning requires participation.
Otherwise, it is like playing tennis with your hands folded: if you do not return the ball, you are not playing.
The word “Talmud” means “learning.”
Any description of what the Talmud is would take a lot of time, and would not give any real understanding of it, because the main point about the Talmud is that it is totally impossible to read it without interacting with it – by asking questions, answering, finding out, reacting inwardly.
In a sense, the Talmud is a book that has an inscription on it: “Study me!” which means, “Work with me, live with me.”
The process of learning, of interaction, that is what the Talmud is all about.
–Rabbi Adin Steinsaltz