Tag Archives: talmud-midrash

(סמא דמותא) Death-Torah (Coronavirus)

  As a rule, religious tradents associate kedushah (holiness) with life and images of life like light, water, and fruit. But with what kind of life? Life in this world or life in the world to come? In truth, religion … Continue reading

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(Things) Mishnah Shabbat is Beautiful

    cedar bast [lekhesh], uncombed flax [ḥosen], raw silk [kalakh], willow bast [petilat ha’idan], desert weed [petilat hamidbar], nor green mosspitch [zefet], wax [sha’ava], castor oil [shemen kik], burnt oil [shemen sereifa], fat from a sheep’s tail [alya], tallow … Continue reading

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(Without Justice And Without A Judge) Tulsa (לית דין ולית דיין)

לית דין ולית דיין The accounts here of gruesome death from the race-massacre in Tulsa bring to mind the words of the arch heretic in midrash and Talmud, Elisha ben Abuye, reflecting in response to Roman rule; the world is … Continue reading

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Care for a Corpse (Gemilut Chasadim) Flowers (Cornovirus)

Readers of ethics and Jewish ethics, in particular, should recognize in the remarkable story about this woman and this powerful act of caring for a corpse one of the greatest acts of kindness marked in rabbinic sources that one person … Continue reading

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(Art & Artifice of Religion) Lishna de-Rabbanan (Aharon Lichtenstein)

  Yitz Landes posted here at Twitter this translation of a bit from Aharon Lichtenstein touching upon [1] art, artifice, and artificiality of the type of literary style in (Jewish) religion intentionally removed from lived social contexts and cultural surroundings, … Continue reading

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(Talmud & Art) Cats at Seder Behold I Bite the Mouse (Illuminated Haggadah)

Pesach is almost done with this year but I wanted to share with my Talmud, art, and animal friends this charming little post from the amazing blogsite here at the Bodleian. These medieval illuminated images from the Haggadah are the … Continue reading

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(Foucault) Inside (Mishkan)

Deep inside a chapter on the Beit Ha’Mikdash in the Bavli, I found this little gem on a Coronavirus detour through Foucault’s The Birth of the Clinic. It speaks as well to the rabbinic gaze, to “powers of truth” in a … Continue reading

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Pikuach Nefesh Is/Is Not An Overriding Halakhic Value

I’ll might take this post down because maybe I’m getting it terribly wrong. But I’m going to give it a shot. The principle of Pikuch Nefesh (saving life) is a well-known and a cardinal principle of Jewish law. The notion … Continue reading

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The Unsearchable Human Heart Of Government (Shabbat 11a)

In line with the Book of Proverbs and the vast scope of responsibility, the rabbis about government and the political heart were Weberian in their practical realism and bleak view of things. Michael Satlow posted on FB this beautiful gemara, … Continue reading

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Plague in the City (Bava Kamma 60b)

[[Michel Serre, Vue de la Cours pendant la peste de 1720]] What to do during the time of plague? “A person should always.” “The Sages taught.” “What is the reason?” “And if you should say.” “The sages taught.” “The sages … Continue reading

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