Come and Hear by Adam Kirsch
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What I Saw in My Seven-and-a-Half-Year Journey through the Talmud
A literary critic’s journey through the Talmud.
Spurred by a curiosity about Daf Yomi—a study program launched in the 1920s in which Jews around the world read one page of the Talmud every day for 2,711 days, or about seven and a half years—Adam Kirsch approached Tablet magazine to write a weekly column about his own Daf Yomi experience. An avowedly secular Jew, Kirsch did not have a religious source for his interest in the Talmud; rather, as a student of Jewish literature and history, he came to realize that he couldn’t fully explore these subjects without some knowledge of the Talmud. This book is perfect for readers who are in a similar position. Most people have little sense of what the Talmud actually is—how the text moves, its preoccupations and insights, and its moments of strangeness and profundity. As a critic and journalist Kirsch has experience in exploring difficult texts, discussing what he finds there, and why it matters. His exploration into the Talmud is best described as a kind of travel writing—a report on what he saw during his seven-and-a-half-year journey through the Talmud. For readers who want to travel that same path, there is no better guide.
Year first published: 2021