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

 

What Palestinians Want

July 10 2020

In an extensive report on a major survey of Palestinian public opinion, David Pollock sums up his key findings. Above all, the results suggest that large numbers of Palestinians are willing to make compromises with Israel in the short term, but tend to harbor maximalist, even militant, long-term goals:

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 Washington Institute for Near East Policy

More about: Palestinian public opinion, Palestinians, Two-State Solution