A Talmudic reading of a Hassidic tale—and vice versa. Continue reading The Baal Shem Tov and the Boy who Played Flute on Yom Kippur
In their discussion of King Herod’s reconstruction of the Second Temple, Talmudic storytellers emphasize themes of sight, blindness, and illegitimate rule. They also make a surprising suggestion about who really should get credit for this renovation.
Prof. Jeffrey L. Rubenstein Continue reading Herod’s Renovation of the Temple – The Talmudic Version
Prof. Jeffrey L. Rubenstein Continue reading Herod’s Renovation of the Temple – Uncovering the Talmud’s Persian Influences
A short history of how the Mah Nishtana changed: From three to four to five questions
Prof. Joseph Tabory Continue reading How Many Questions in the “Four Questions”?
A striking talmudic passage asserts that it is biblically permitted to eat the ḥametz of a non-Jew on Passover. How are we to explain this strange claim? What might this development teach us about the dynamics of rabbinic texts? Continue reading Hametz Owned by a Non-Jew May be Eaten on Passover?!
The Ancient Fire that Fueled the Chanukah Story
A Feminist Reading
Dr. Marjorie Lehman Continue reading Kimchit’s Head Covering: Between Rabbis and Priests
During the ten days between Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur two concluding blessing formulas are switched to refer to God as a judge What is the meaning of this change? What can talmudic manuscripts teach us about this liturgical practice?
How the Mishnah’s version of a tannaitic homily advances a more active human role in divine deliverance. Continue reading Directing the Heart to God: Moses’ Hands, Brass Serpents, and the Shofar
A New Reading of the Midrash of R. Akiva and the Fox on the Temple Mount.
Dr. Meir Ben-Shahar
|Abstract: In recent years, a growing consensus has emerged that the Bar Kokhba revolt should be connected to Rome’s establishment of the city of Aelia Capitolina on the ruins of Jerusalem. A new interpretation of Rabbi Akiva’s famous consolation upon seeing a fox emerge from the Holy of Holies (Sifre Deuteronomy 43) suggests that this homily can actually be read as a call to arms against Rome.|
In the wake of the destruction of Jerusalem, rabbinic literature’s presentation of mothers donating their children’s weight in gold to the Temple – following the rabbinic interpretation of ‘Arakhin – comes to exemplify both piety and tragedy. Continue reading Memorializing the Temple through the Maternal Practice of ‘Arakhin
Prof. Michael Chernick Continue reading The Pesach Seder of the “First Mishna”
Dr. Shai Secunda
The end of the first chapter of b. Megillah preserves the only complete Babylonian midrash on an entire biblical book. Continue reading Why and How a Complete Midrash on Esther was Preserved in the Babylonian Talmud
Dr. Barry Wimpfheimer
|Excessive drinking on Purim is recommended by the amora Rabbah, in a rare Aramaic ruling that is followed by a strange account of a drunk Rabbah slaughtering his colleague, R. Zeira, at a Purim feast. What are we to make of this shocking law and story, and what do can they teach us about the unique, carnivalesque quality of Purim?|
How and why the Bavli reworked the tale and turned the Sadducee into an inglorious martyr
The Mishnah states there are four Rosh Hoshanah’s and periods of Judgment. How is the 1st of Tishre different?
Dr. Rabbi Avraham Walfish Continue reading Composing Rosh Hashanah as a Day of Judgment