Adam Kirsch

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.

Too Much, Too Little: Talmudic Rabbis’ Creativity Shines When Interpreting Prohibitions

Manna, and fasting, are not just miracles of sustenance and faith, but also elements of jurisprudence

Some Jewish Acts Seem Meaningless. The Talmud Says You Should Do Them Anyway.

Illogical Jewish laws are ‘matters that Satan challenges’: raising doubts for enemies of Judaism and skeptical Jews

Anxiety Is Not Only a Jewish Disorder, Reveals Brilliant and Compassionate New Memoir

Scott Stossel’s ‘My Age of Anxiety’ does for crippling fears what Andrew Solomon’s ‘The Noonday Demon’ did for depression

What Happens When the Talmud Asks, ‘What If?’

Probing hypothetical, metaphysical problems was the rabbis’ way of defining what matters most in Judaism

A Reluctant Jew in Post-Holocaust Germany

Yascha Mounk’s entertaining new memoir sheds light on postwar history and current German politics

The Talmud Pays Little Attention to What Jews Believe, Yet Asks Them To Have Faith

Judaism’s manual of sacred technology prizes holiness over beauty, action over thought, and ritual over belief

Happy Countries Are All Alike; Every Unhappy Country Is Unhappy in Its Own Way

In Zeruya Shalev’s fearless new ‘The Remains of Love,’ lives on a kibbutz stand as a parable of Israel

In the Talmud, the Fall of a Priestly Upper Class Is Just Deserts

Biblical examples of righteousness and wickedness show that in Judaism, goodness remains possible and divine

Which Came First: Abraham and the Patriarchs or Moses and the Torah?

A Talmudic problem: Abraham lived before the law was given, so how can his actions be used to interpret the law?

What the Talmud Would Say About the Pew Survey of American Jews: Stop Counting

An ancient principle of Judaism, debated at length in the Oral Law, is that it is a sin to count Jews—or is it?

Miraculous Architecture of the First Temple Leads to Religious Sectarianism in the Second

To the Talmudic rabbis, a miracle is more plausible than the notion that their sources were incorrect

The Talmud Says God Can’t Protect Jews From Persecution; They Must Take Precautions

A ‘mezuzah,’ like Judaism, is designed for life in this world, not for a messianic future, or for martyrdom

One of the Most Remarkable Books About the Holocaust Was Just Published

In Slavko Goldstein’s newly translated ‘1941,’ Nazi-backed fascists tear through the Balkans. Yugoslavia never recovered.

The Talmud’s Yom Kippur, With Sacrifice and Blood, Is Nothing Like Jewish Ritual Today

The rabbinic tradition arose from the fact that the Bible doesn’t tell us what we need to know to lead our lives

The Importance of Cubits and Shewbread and Everything That Makes Your Eyes Glaze Over

In their faith, Talmudic rabbis kept contradictory thoughts, believing in both the reality of miracles and their unreliability

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