Adam Kirsch is a poet and literary critic, whose books include The People and the Books: 18 Classics of Jewish Literature.
Jewish law loves to separate people into airtight categories. Real-life sex and gender are more complicated. What then?
By Adam Kirsch · December 30, 2014
And other problems of divorce, infertility, and urination, in this week’s Talmud study
By Adam Kirsch · December 16, 2014
In the patriarchal society of the Talmud, a woman’s body is always under the supervision and scrutiny of men
By Adam Kirsch · December 9, 2014
‘The Case Against Academic Boycotts of Israel’ shows how the boycott movement is more significant than its achievements suggest
By Adam Kirsch · December 2, 2014
This week’s ‘Daf Yomi’ Talmud study is NSFW
By Adam Kirsch · December 2, 2014
Plus legitimate and bastard offspring, slaves, and distinctions between Jews, non-Jews, and half-Jews
By Adam Kirsch · November 25, 2014
In this week’s ‘Daf Yomi,’ questions of obligation in matters of levirate marriage, and how values change with time
By Adam Kirsch · November 18, 2014
Talmudic Rabbis regulated not just actions but reputations, and left a legacy we debate and refute to this day
By Adam Kirsch · November 4, 2014
At what point does a disagreement between groups of Jews become a point of religious principle, which cannot be compromised?
By Adam Kirsch · October 28, 2014
Daf Yomi: In rabbinic Judaism, study is not merely a pragmatic enterprise, but a religious act in itself
By Adam Kirsch · October 21, 2014
When two mitzvot conflict, the Talmud asks, how do we decide which takes precedence?
By Adam Kirsch · October 14, 2014
New novels answer Irving Howe’s question: Can we accept aesthetic pleasure in a book about the Shoah?
By Adam Kirsch · October 8, 2014
Two years and 100 columns in to the Daf Yomi cycle, our critic pauses to reflect on its intellectual challenges and delights
By Adam Kirsch · October 7, 2014
Tread carefully, the rabbis warn, when seeking to understand creation or envision God
By Adam Kirsch · September 23, 2014
New novel ‘The Betrayers’ boldly places at its center the most famous refusenik and all he represents for Soviet Jewry
By Adam Kirsch · September 17, 2014
The Talmud imagines the world as organized for the benefit of Torah sages, even in matters of sex and death
By Adam Kirsch · September 16, 2014
Daf Yomi: The Talmud’s ruling principle is that there is always a correct course of action, since God is watching
By Adam Kirsch · September 9, 2014
Talmudic rabbis debate professional eulogizers, trying to strike a balance between the holy and the mundane
By Adam Kirsch · August 26, 2014
Is Jewish rebellion really a form of submission? Two new novels and one political critic examine apostasy.
By Adam Kirsch · August 20, 2014
So much of the Talmud is about working the land, and the rules that govern labor, profit, and loss
By Adam Kirsch · August 19, 2014
In this week’s ‘Daf Yomi,’ Talmudic rabbis debate the value of recycling, upselling, renovation, and sacred trash
By Adam Kirsch · August 12, 2014
What happens when the most authoritative guardians of the tradition are sometimes baffled by the tradition themselves?
By Adam Kirsch · August 5, 2014
Antic embellishments, like Esther being good in bed, help Talmudic rabbis to more fully explicate the text’s divine meaning
By Adam Kirsch · July 29, 2014
Talmudic rabbis, like us, can only study the course of history for the elusive signs of God’s intentions
By Adam Kirsch · July 22, 2014