The Talmud manages to do what few legal systems even attempt: it integrates psychological and moral issues seamlessly with normative legal guidelines. But to appreciate the full extent of this integration, it’s important to pay attention to something that is too often left out of today’s Gemara classes: the aggadah.
The Disputation in Barcelona: Theatrical Challenges – Part 3
Jewish audiences are highly invested in the outcome of any play featuring controversy between Christians and Jews. For Jewish audiences, this is not just an interesting play about a past event. In the Jewish psyche, medieval disputation is simply another event in a continuous line of trials, persecutions, expulsions, missionizing, book-burnings, and pogroms. Jewish practice keeps ancient events fresh.
The Disputation in Barcelona: Theatrical Challenges – Part 2
This publication was made possible with the support of the Louis and Dina Van de Kamp Foundation, August 2020 Dear Friends. In May, 2017, Yael Valier, a student and contributor to the David Cardozo Think Tank, launched a remarkable play about the famous Disputation of Barcelona. This disputation about the respective truths of Judaism and […]
The Disputation in Barcelona: Theatrical Challenges – Part 1
In the context of the launch of a new theater company whose mission is to bring entertaining theological content to audiences in and around Jerusalem, Roy Doliner’s Divine Right was chosen as the company’s first production. This play about the Disputation of Barcelona balances historical accuracy and creative dramatic content in a satisfying and intellectually honest portrayal of the events of the Disputation for educated lay audiences. This paper examines the technical, dramaturgical, and theological issues that arose during this production for the playwright, director, actors, and audiences.
The Perfect Torah Versus The Evolving Torah – Part 7
This is the last of a seven-part series on the thoughts of the Mei HaShiloach, the famous and highly unusual work by the Chassidic thinker, Rabbi Mordechai Joseph Leiner of Izbica. In this essay, Yehuda DovBer Zirkind discusses how the ideas of Mei HaShiloach may impact the future evolution of halachah. Many observations by the Mei HaShiloach touch on my opinion that Halacha will have to liberate itself from what we can only call “Defensive Halacha,” which became the norm while the Jewish people were living in exile.