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.

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?

Who Can Follow These Rules?

This week’s Talmud reading prompts strikingly contemporary questions about observance and belief

The Irrelevance of Pleasure

As the rabbis remind us again this week, the law is the law—whether it pleases you or not

Nathaniel Rich’s Apocalypse

The New York of the young novelist’s vividly imagined Odds Against Tomorrow looks an awful lot like us

You Only Live Once

The Talmudic rabbis saw the world as a wedding—a place of charity and pleasures to be enjoyed while it lasts

The Talmud’s Absolute Value

Through reasoning, the rabbis brought all of natural creation under the rule of law

Monster Mash

Helene Wecker’s new The Golem and the Jinni reads like When Harry Met Sally, if Harry and Sally were beasts

When Messiah Is an Afterthought

The Talmud’s pragmatism and wonder meet in a technical problem about the height of a boundary line

Crossing the Line

By avoiding authoritative rulings in favor of nuanced debate with the ideas of the past, the Oral Law refuses to simplify

Crimson-Blooded Americans

In André Aciman’s new Harvard Square, an Egyptian-born Jew and a Tunisian Muslim meet their limits

Are Truffles Food?

As our Talmud column returns, debates over Oral Law range from the existential to the mundane

A.B. Yehoshua’s Many Ghosts

The writer’s new novel, The Retrospective, is a surreal study of the contested sources of Israeli identity

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