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.

Are American Jews Creating a New Jewishness, or Just Abandoning the Real Kind?

Most American Jews have effectively cast off rabbinic guidance. Would the Talmud’s rabbis have respected us for it, or disdained us?

How the Talmud Has Bridged the Gaps Between Various Jewish Cultures for Ages

By imbuing even the most mundane things—like vinegar—with importance, the rabbis find proof of sacred history

The Talmud, in Seeking To Eliminate Ambiguity, Maps the Invisible Onto the Visible

Daf Yomi: Much of the rabbinical ingenuity is devoted to figuring out how to draw clear lines in murky situations

Jesus Was a Rebel and a Bandit. What Made Him Also the Christian Son of God?

Reza Aslan’s powerful new ‘Zealot’ paints a vivid, accessible portrait of Jesus as a Jewish nationalist

In the Shadow of the Divine, Reaping Unintended Benefits at the Edges of the Law

Daf Yomi: A closer look at the Holy of Holies provides a fascinating illustration of how the rabbis of the Talmud read the Bible

Appreciating the Talmud’s Sublime Devotion to Torah for Its Own Sake

Daf Yomi: For the rabbis, trivial—even outdated or immaterial—problems can provide the best thought experiments

Math Lessons and Quantum Physics in Studies of Rabbinic Stringency and Leniency

Daf Yomi: For generations, Talmudic training has meant exercising the mind in logical thinking, not just learning laws

The Talmud’s Abstractions Live in Concrete Examples About Candles and Weasels

Daf Yomi: In textual analysis, the rabbis found biblical bases for customs and rituals that lacked them

Mastering the Mechanics of Wealth and Power in ‘A Dual Inheritance’

In Joanna Hershon’s absorbing new novel, a Jew on the margins of American respectability reaches the pinnacle of the class pyramid

In the Talmud’s Timeless Laws, a Vast Temple of the Mind

Long after the Jerusalem Temple was destroyed, Talmudic rabbis kept it alive in their imaginations, and ours

How the Talmud Maps Behavior by Exploring Definitions, Not Listing Rules

Daf Yomi: The rabbis examined practical dimensions of deep questions, including those raised around saliva, urine, and sex

Robert Alter Wants Us To Think More Seriously About the Bible as Literature

The scholar, critic, and masterful translator remains dedicated to uncovering the full subtlety and intelligence of the stories in sacred texts

Why the Talmud Draws Imaginary Lines All Around Us—and Over Our Heads

Daf Yomi: Our literary critic ambles over rooftops, ruins, and ships, in search of meaning in Jewish commentary

The Talmud Paints a Vivid Picture of Jewish Family Life in This Week’s Daf Yomi

Daf Yomi: Our literary critic discovers more rules on male authority, Shabbat meals, and how the rabbis thought about wealth

The Mythmakers

Rachel Kushner’s new novel The Flamethrowers is overly cool and stylish. So, why do the critics swoon for her?

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