A SECULAR TALMUDIC:
RECONNECTING WITH JEWISH TRADITION
Imagine reading a page of Talmud every single day for more than seven years. Not just reading it, the way you skim quickly through a mystery novel. Studying it, deciphering it, searching for hidden meanings.
Then imagine doing all that if you are unabashedly secular.
Poet and literary critic Adam Kirsch did just that, taking on the challenge of the Daf Yomi, the study regimen that tens of thousands of religious Jews follow to delve into Talmud for 2,711 consecutive days.
Why did Kirsch join them? He wanted a deeper understanding of Jewish literature and history — and realized that he could master neither without knowing what wisdom and strangeness the Talmud offers.
Kirsch joins us to discuss his long journey and new book, Come and Hear, a travelogue about what he found and why it matters.
Adam Kirsch is the author of three collections of poetry, five books of criticism and two biographies. Long the poetry critic at the New Republic, he now is an editor of The Wall Street Journal’s Weekend Review section and a contributing editor at Tablet.