For modern Western readers, it seems natural to see a gaping divide between the Torah’s ritual laws (like the prohibitions against eating certain foods) and its civil laws (like those governing torts). The biblical text, by contrast, slips easily from one category to the other, while the Talmud recognizes a distinction but tends to portray both categories as part of a unified and unchanging divine law. Drawing on the work of the early-20th-century Russian talmudist Shimon Shkop, Chaim Saiman argues that the Jewish tradition does recognize a qualitative difference between these two areas of halakhah:
Does Rabbinic Judaism Acknowledge a Fundamental Difference between Civil and Ritual Law?
By Restoring Funding to UNRWA, the U.S. Is Ensuring That the Israel-Palestinian Conflict Continues
Last week, the White House announced its plan to resume funding of the UN Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees (UNRWA)—which had ceased in 2018—to the tune of $150 million per year. UNRWA, unlike the UN organization that cares for refugees from every other conflict the world over, does not seek to resettle its charges or to integrate them into the countries where they live, but instead keeps them and their descendants refugees in perpetuity. While the administration justified its decision as “a means to advance a negotiated two-state solution,” Einat Wilf argues that it will do nothing of the sort: