Author Archives: Alan Haber

Secular Talmud II

R Alan Haber / Dr. Ruth Calderon’s inaugural address to the Knesset last week has gone viral on YouTube. Nine days after being posted, it has already received close to 180,000 views.[1] The speech is entirely in Hebrew, and there are no subtitles on the video. I therefore deduce that the great majority of the 180,000 people who watched it were Israelis. It’s worth asking what it was about this speech that Israelis found so remarkable. When I ponder that, I come to very different conclusions than those expressed in Gil’s post earlier this week. I am not going to argue with Gil’s impressive analysis of the Talmudic sources regarding a talmid she-eino hagun and learning she-lo li-shmah. I believe that his interpretation of those sources is absolutely correct. But applying them to this case shows a misunderstanding of contemporary Israeli society.

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