Adam Kirsch is a contributing editor for Tablet Magazine and the author of Benjamin Disraeli, a biography in the Nextbook Press Jewish Encounters book series.
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In Matters of Divorce, as in Uber’s ‘Surge Pricing,’ What’s Unjust Isn’t Always Illegal

This week’s ‘Daf Yomi’ probes the connection between the magical thinking of the Bible and the rational concerns of the Talmud

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Let’s Talk About Sex With Minors, Rape, and ‘Uncovering the Nakedness’ of Sisters

Talmudic rabbis, gladiators of the mind, sought glory and eternal fame—but also pondered the mundane side of being human

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Mark Greif’s Brilliant Contribution to the History of Ideas

‘The Age of the Crisis of Man’ traces the fall and rise of individualist pragmatism in America

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The Return of Martin Guerre: Abandoned, Adulterous, Raped, and Widowed Wives

Talmudic sages say that sinful acts—especially those committed by women—are not the rabbis’ fault

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Does a Penis Make the Man? Hermaphrodites, Eunuchs, and Jews With Genital Deformities

Jewish law loves to separate people into airtight categories. Real-life sex and gender are more complicated. What then?

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The Time of His Time: Letters From Norman Mailer

The turbulent private—and public—affairs of a titanic figure in American Jewish intellectual life

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Only the Wife Knows If the Husband’s ‘Semen Shoots Like an Arrow’

And other problems of divorce, infertility, and urination, in this week’s Talmud study

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The Unforgivable Sin of Survival

Only now, years after he survived Auschwitz, can we hear the alienation and fury of H.G. Adler’s newly translated ‘Shoah Trilogy’

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Virgins, ‘Partial Virgins,’ Sodomy, Bestiality, Prostitutes, Marriage, and Forbidden Sex

In the patriarchal society of the Talmud, a woman’s body is always under the supervision and scrutiny of men

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The Great Jewish American Liberal Academic Anti-Anti-Zionist Freak-Out

‘The Case Against Academic Boycotts of Israel’ shows how the boycott movement is more significant than its achievements suggest

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Can a Woman Rape a Man, as Shia LaBoeuf Claimed? The Rabbis Have a Say.

This week’s ‘Daf Yomi’ Talmud study is NSFW

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Talmudic Rabbis Ponder Sexual Relations That Are Prohibited by Jewish Law

Plus legitimate and bastard offspring, slaves, and distinctions between Jews, non-Jews, and half-Jews

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Thou Shalt Not Covet Thy Brother’s Wife. Unless He Dies. Then—Well, Here’s the Thing…

In this week’s ‘Daf Yomi,’ questions of obligation in matters of levirate marriage, and how values change with time

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Converting for Love (Like Natalie Portman’s Husband)? The Talmud Forbids It.

Talmudic Rabbis regulated not just actions but reputations, and left a legacy we debate and refute to this day

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The Great Israeli Novel Smiles at the Settlers

With his newly translated novel ‘The Hilltop,’ Assaf Gavron stakes his claim to be Israel’s Jonathan Franzen

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How To Solve Disputes Between Schools of Jewish Thought? In Private, or Not at All.

At what point does a disagreement between groups of Jews become a point of religious principle, which cannot be compromised?

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The Talmud’s Difficulty Is What Makes the Talmud ‘Talmudic’—And Unlike the Law

Daf Yomi: In rabbinic Judaism, study is not merely a pragmatic enterprise, but a religious act in itself

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Sex With Your Uncle? OK. Sex With Your Widowed Daughter’s Rival? Not OK.

When two mitzvot conflict, the Talmud asks, how do we decide which takes precedence?

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Martin Amis and Howard Jacobson Get the Holocaust Backwards, From Different Angles

New novels answer Irving Howes question: Can we accept aesthetic pleasure in a book about the Shoah?

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The Study of Law as a Spiritual Act: Finding Truth and Meaning in the Talmud

Two years and 100 columns in to the Daf Yomi cycle, our critic pauses to reflect on its intellectual challenges and delights

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The Talmud’s Mysticism Is Too Mindblowing Even for Its Students

Tread carefully, the rabbis warn, when seeking to understand creation or envision God

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David Bezmozgis’ Brilliant Alt-History of an Adulterous Sharansky Who Never Was

New novel ‘The Betrayers’ boldly places at its center the most famous refusenik and all he represents for Soviet Jewry

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If Even the Angel of Death Makes Mistakes, Where Is There True Justice?

The Talmud imagines the world as organized for the benefit of Torah sages, even in matters of sex and death

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Rules for Hair Cutting and Rending Garments—and Exceptions for Newborns

Daf Yomi: The Talmud’s ruling principle is that there is always a correct course of action, since God is watching

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A Most Unlikable Woman

An aging feminist meets a new generation in Brian Morton’s sharp, sympathetic novel ‘Florence Gordon’

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In the Days Between the Major Holidays, Little Clues to Jewish Ritual and Life

Talmudic rabbis debate professional eulogizers, trying to strike a balance between the holy and the mundane

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Wicked Sons: Benjamin Kerstein, Doron Rabinovici, and Norman Finkelstein

Is Jewish rebellion really a form of submission? Two new novels and one political critic examine apostasy.

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Are Jews Meant To Be Farmers, Workers, or Thinkers?

So much of the Talmud is about working the land, and the rules that govern labor, profit, and loss

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How Can We Respect Both the Sanctity of Jewish Things and the Practical Needs of the Jews?

In this week’s ‘Daf Yomi,’ Talmudic rabbis debate the value of recycling, upselling, renovation, and sacred trash

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American Jews Speak English, but Our Sacred Texts Are in Hebrew

What happens when the most authoritative guardians of the tradition are sometimes baffled by the tradition themselves?