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.

Navigating the Talmud’s Alleys

The range of problems and the variety of answers in the study of Oral Law lead to new pathways of reasoning

Written in the Stars (Or Not)

To overcome fated lives, the Talmud’s rabbis argued, perform virtuous acts according to Torah

Leave the Jewish People Alone

Rabbis left enforcement of their Talmudic decrees to communal standards and voluntary commitment

Ancient Laws for Modern Times

When is a tent just a tent and not like a bed or a hat? To update Jewish laws, the rabbis reasoned by analogy.

Elements of Stille

Alexander Stille never stopped investigating his parents, as shown by his new memoir about his World War II heritage

Birth Right

You wouldn’t expect that the tractate on Shabbat would be the place to discuss circumcision. You’d be wrong.

A World Without Jews

An exhilarating new intellectual history argues that anti-Judaism is at the heart of Western culture

Can’t Touch This

Talmudic rabbis debate the reach of permissions and prohibitions, and Jews are rewarded for virtuous behavior

Surrender or Die

A gripping new history of Flavius Josephus portrays a Roman Jewish writer forever wrestling with his identity

Queen for a Day

The rabbis who reasoned about the day of rest also celebrated it. Plus: The Talmud on iPad and in translation.

Are Books All We Have Left?

A masterful encyclopedia sums up our history and culture but raises the question of where Jewishness lies today

Rabbinic Mind Games

Lionizing those who perform feats of memory and logic, who reason strictly from premise to conclusion

Things Broken and Repaired

In this week’s page of Talmud, the rabbis show their skill at making distinctions between obligation and acting out

The Pretenders

In order to understand Sabbath rules, the rabbis show, one must imagine exactly what work the Israelites did

Intention Versus Action

This week, the rabbis ask if two half-sins equal a whole one. In what part of a sin is sinfulness located?

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