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.

Why the Sabbath Is Everything

This week, the Talmud’s rabbis explore possible holy day violations to determine the nature of the sinner

Does God Care About Shoes?

In this week’s Talmud study, Jewishness is not just moral and theological matters. It is a way of life.

The Badness of Good Stories

This week, Talmudic rabbis seek righteousness in the Bible’s tales of vice, weakness, and human frailty

The Power of Positive Thinking

This week, deduction and analogy propel the Talmud from the mundane to the miraculous

Herman Wouk’s Last Shot

With The Lawgiver, the best-selling novelist takes another stab at the kind of Hollywood fame he’s always coveted

Eggs and Babies

This week’s Talmud study reveals legal debates that refine the limits and nature of inherently abstract concepts

First-Century Technology

When new inventions made widespread sinning the norm, ancient rabbis adapted. The Talmud’s God approved.

Standing on One Foot

The origin of a famous anecdote shines light on the compromises of Conservative and Reform Judaism

Light Advice From the Rabbis

A Talmudic discussion of Hanukkah and Sabbath candles leads to a lesson in the sacred and profane

A Math Genius’s Sad Calculus

Benoit Mandelbrot, the father of fractal geometry, pens a disturbing new memoir on mathematics—and survival

Of Lice and Men

Study of the Talmud’s second tractate reveals how the rabbis stuck to logic and made it sacred

Big Eater

Food-obsessed Jews, including an obese matriarch, are subtly rendered in Jami Attenberg’s The Middlesteins

The Rabbis’ Mental World

The last chapter of the first tractate brings modern readers back to sex, bowel movements, and thunder

Talmudic Pride and Prejudice

This week’s Daf Yomi considers—with Chaucerian verve—whether a rabbinic elite spoke for the Jewish people

School of Arts and Sciences

In a haunting memoir, an Upper West Sider puts family secrets—including AIDS—under the microscope

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