How the Talmud’s Depiction of Fetuses Learning the Entire Torah Differs from Its Platonic Parallel

April 5 2019

According to a talmudic passage, a candle burning above the head of a fetus in utero enables it to “look and gaze from one end of the world to the other”; moreover, the fetus is taught the entire Torah. But at the moment of birth an angel smacks the child on the mouth, causing it to forget what it has learned. Inevitably, this teaching has invited comparison with Plato’s theory that the immortal soul is all-knowing, and that all learning is in fact recollection of what was once known. Alex Ozar argues, however, that the differences between the two teachings are more salient than their similarities:

Create a free account to continue reading

Welcome to Mosaic

Create a free account to continue reading and you'll get two months of unlimited access to the best in Jewish thought, culture, and politics

Register

Create a free account to continue reading

Welcome to Mosaic

Create a free account to continue reading and you'll get two months of unlimited access to the best in Jewish thought, culture, and politics

Register

Read more at Lehrhaus

More about: Judaism, Plato, Talmud, Torah study

Why Israel’s Political Crisis Remains Unresolved

April 8 2020

On Monday afternoon, Benny Gantz and Benjamin Netanyahu—the leaders of Israel’s two major political parties—seemed poised to finalize a coalition agreement that would end the yearlong political stalemate. By the evening, talks broke down after Likud negotiators backtracked from a compromise over judicial appointments, and Gantz ordered his representatives to leave the table. Haviv Rettig Gur explains that Netanyahu, the incumbent prime minister, has found himself on the horns of a dilemma: he can’t form a government without compromising with Gantz, but he risks burning his bridges with his right-wing allies, foremost among them the Yamina party:

Create a free account to continue reading

Welcome to Mosaic

Create a free account to continue reading and you'll get two months of unlimited access to the best in Jewish thought, culture, and politics

Register

Create a free account to continue reading

Welcome to Mosaic

Create a free account to continue reading and you'll get two months of unlimited access to the best in Jewish thought, culture, and politics

Register

Read more at Times of Israel

More about: Benjamin Netanyahu, Benny Gantz, Israeli politics, Yamina