The Talmud is a chaotic text with a few frustrations. When you open to the first page, it assumes that you’ve already read the whole thing. Its logical path is a non-linear patchwork of discussion across time and space. Some of its resolutions feel like deus ex machinas. While the Talmud has many possible interpretations, the structure (or lack of) may provide meaning to our own lives, if we approach it openly.

Talmud: Our Central Questions

1. The Talmud and Contemporary Life: What can the Talmud offer contemporary society?

2. The Book of the Talmud: What type of book is the Talmud, and why is it so complex?

3. The Story of the Talmud: Where does the Talmud that we know come from?


Why start here? In a brief opening thought, David explains the role of Talmud in finding meaning amid chaos.
In this episode, David discusses the formation and character of the Talmud with special guest Ari Bergmann, founder and Chief Investment Officer at Penso Advisors LLC, as well as Talmud professor at Yeshiva University.
In this episode, David discusses the mystifying qualities of the Talmud and how we find meaning in the nuance of Talmudic law with special guest Chaim Saiman, professor at Villanova Law School.
In this episode, David and special guest, Michelle Chesner, Columbia University’s Norman E. Alexander Librarian for Jewish Studies, discuss how the formatting of sacred Jewish texts has developed throughout Jewish history and impacted religious Judaism.
It’s hard to make sense and order within the Talmud. But maybe that’s the point. Listen to some brief closing thoughts on the value of building meaning specifically when it is not apparent.
In this episode of the 18Forty Podcast, we sit down for a special podcast with our host, David Bashevkin, to review the first topic that 18Forty covered: Talmud.