Sacred Writings

A Bride for One Night: Talmud Tales by Dr. Ruth Calderon, Ilana Kurshan

By Dr. Ruth Calderon, Ilana Kurshan

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Ruth Calderon has lately electrified the Jewish international along with her teachings of talmudic texts. during this quantity, her first to seem in English, she bargains a desirable window into a few of the liveliest and such a lot colourful tales within the Talmud. Calderon rewrites talmudic stories as richly imagined fictions, drawing us into the lives of such characters because the girl who hazards her lifestyles for a sister suspected of adultery; a humble schoolteacher who rescues his village from drought; and a spouse who attire as a prostitute to seduce her pious husband of their backyard. respiring new existence into an historical textual content, A Bride for One Night deals a shocking and provocative learn, either for an individual already intimate with the Talmud or for someone drawn to essentially the most influential works of Jewish literature.


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Example text

Nonetheless, while the existence of this ritual served to prevent incidents of violence and murder, it also left half the population under constant threat. “She shall be absolved and shall retain seed”: I picture the woman who dared to plead innocent, who came to Jerusalem and stood before God, facing the holy sanctum with her secret hidden from the entire world, drinking the bitter water mixed with dust and with letters erased from the scroll. Such a woman converts the Sotah ritual into a religious act.

During the sweet period that followed, Reish Lakish studied hard. He devoted himself to the rabbi who had taken him apart in the river and then put him back together as a new man, built from layers of Torah and Mishnah. Sometimes he worried: Is it possible to be remade? What happened to all the instincts of 22 The Other Side the robber? Now Reish Lakish was a man according to the standards of the yeshiva world. He was even given a new name: Rabbi Shimon ben Lakish. It seemed as if he had been born among the sages, as if he had studied among the children at Beit Rabban.

That night he felt drawn to his learning; an explanation that had long eluded him nearly took shape. He took his notebook and climbed atop the roof. The night was dark and clear, with stars shining in honor of him and his Torah. Rav Beloved Rabbi 35 Rehumi felt that he was on the verge of figuring out the talmudic argument that had been puzzling him. They would teach his explanation in Nehardea, in Sura, in Pumbedita, in the Land of Israel: “Rav Rehumi said . . ,” “The law is like Rav Rehumi .

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