Last week, the Israeli Talmudist Zvi Arieh Steinfeld passed away. He lived a life filled with religious and intellectual achievements (here is a description from a Festschrift edited in his honor at Sidra, the journal he founded and edited during its first decade), yet for those of us lucky enough to have known him personally, his greatest quality was encapsulated in an infectious smile that conveyed both a self-deprecating humility and a zest for a life dedicated to lernin’. He was one of the sweetest souls I have ever encountered. Continue reading
Even in Israel, the new academic year is now in full swing. So this is a good time to look back at 2012-2013 dissertations and these that have been defended. Here at The Talmud Blog we’ll do our best to list the recently submitted ones that may be of interest to our readers. Please feel free to forward to us anything that we may have left out. We hope to update this post as we receive more material. Continue reading
A few weeks ago I was learning daf yomi while nursing my daughter when I came upon the following Talmudic passage, which begins with a quote from the Song of Songs: “‘Our little sister has no breasts.’ Rabbi Yohanan said: This refers to Eilam, who merited to learn but not to teach” (Pesachim 87a).” My infant daughter was lying bare-skinned on my breast, and I looked down at her as I puzzled over this passage. Why is having no breasts analogous to learning but not teaching? Continue reading
For those who won’t be able to make it in person, we’ll be live streaming the first session of a four part series taught by David Brodsky of Brooklyn College on “Rabbinic Literature and Its Dis-Contents: Situating the Genres of Talmud and Midrash in Their Civilizational Context.” This session is entitled “The Alexandrian School of Homeric Interpretation and the Origins of Midrash,” and will be streamed on the Drisha Institute’s ustream channel starting at 7:00pm EST. If you cannot make it live (physically or virtually), the class will be made available later for download. And as always, questions can be left in the comments section below.
Shamma Friedman, Studies in Tannaitic Literature: Methodology, Terminology and Content. Jerusalem: Bialik Institute, 2013. Hebrew. XVII+534 pp. NIS 111.
Shamma Friedman is a didactic master. His aptitude for explaining and teaching complex matters in simple and concise language is impressive -and useful. His articles were the first ones I read in Talmudics and they were accessible enough for me to say, “I could probably do that.” (I have since learned that I probably cannot, at least not with Friedman’s panache). It is thus no surprise that many of his models have become the new standard in the field and were adopted (sometimes overzealously) by both his students and his wider readership. Continue reading
If you find yourself foraging for what to read on the final Saturday afternoon of daylight savings time, here are some exciting-looking articles that recently came out. Enjoy, and feel free to leave your comments below. Continue reading
Recently, my seven-year old son was invited to his friend’s house on a Shabbat afternoon for a siyum. I asked this child’s father what the siyum was on. “Oh,” he responded, “He finished Berakhot in daf yomi.” My jaw dropped. He’s a bright kid and all, but I hadn’t realized what kind of a rare talmudic genius my son was playing soccer with. Continue reading