(Photoillustration Tablet Magazine; original photos Shutterstock)
Vox Tablet

Close Encounters With Talmud

Seven months into a seven-and-a-half-year study cycle, book critic Adam Kirsch is hooked—and flummoxed

March 29, 2013
(Photoillustration Tablet Magazine; original photos Shutterstock)

As an author and literary critic (including for Tablet), Adam Kirsch has written about Lionel Trilling, Benjamin Disraeli, Emily Dickinson, and Isaac Bashevis Singer, among many others. This past August, he moved into less familiar territory when he joined the tens of thousands of Jews participating in Daf Yomi, studying a page of Talmud a day. The study cycle will take seven and a half years to complete. Since he began, Kirsch has been writing a weekly column to share his reflections on these essential Jewish texts, and on the Daf Yomi process itself.

On today’s Vox Tablet, Kirsch shares some of those reflections with Jonathan Rosen, author of The Talmud and the Internet, and editor of the Jewish Encounters series, published by Nextbook Press. Together, they consider the value of studying Jewish law even if you don’t intend to follow it and marvel at the complex logic, outlandish scenarios, and deeply human responses to be found within these pages. [Running time: 22:28.]

Vox Tablet is Tablet Magazine’s weekly podcast, hosted by Sara Ivry and produced by Julie Subrin. You can listen to individual episodes here or subscribe on iTunes.

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