Tales of Ailing Rabbis
Suffering Is Precious: What, in the Talmud, is the worst disease of all? Can one treat a patient against his will? Is it fair to quarantine the sick? And what happens when a psychological treatment backfires? Join Gila Fine’s four-part series on talmudic tales of illness, exploring its medical, emotional, and social aspects, the challenges it poses and opportunities it provides.
Tales of Ailing Rabbis: Contagious Illness – The Quarantine Violation of R. Yehoshua
Is it fair to quarantine the contagiously ill? How do we reconcile personal rights with public welfare? And what happens when R. Yehoshua tries to disarm the Angel of Death? A reading of Ktubot 77b, through Michel Foucault and Susan Sontag, Rav Kook and R. Aryeh Levine, Monty Python and R. Sacks, José Saramago and Kaci Hickox.
Tales of Ailing Rabbis: Terminal Illness – The Euthanasia of Rebbe
Is euthanasia murderous or merciful? What, in the Talmud, is the worst disease of all? And how does one broken jar cause the death of the great Rebbe? A reading of Ktubot 104a, through the Shulhan Arukh and Sefat Emet, Iggrot Moshe and Tzitz Eliezer, Carol Gilligan and Elisabeth Kubler-Ross, Abraham Joshua Heschel and Brittany Maynard.
Tales of Ailing Rabbis: Mental Illness – The Shock Therapy of R. Hiyya
What are the psychological roots of infidelity? How does a married couple go for years without a moment’s intimacy? And what happens when the wife’s attempt to cure her husband backfires? A reading of Kiddushin 81b, through the Bible and Midrash, Demosthenes and Rashi, Oscar Wilde and Robert Louis Stevenson, Sigmund Freud and C.J. Jung and Esther Perel.
Tales of Ailing Rabbis: Illness as Metaphor – The Purging of Rav
Can one treat a patient against his will? What, according to the Talmud, are the causes of bowel disease? And why does Shmuel cruelly humiliate the man who would become his lifelong hevruta, the great Amora Rav? A reading of Shabbat 108a, through the Talmud and Midrash, the Geonim and Rishonim, Mikhail Bakhtin and Daniel Boyarin, Joseph B. Soloveitchik and Avraham Steinberg.
Gila Fine is the editor in chief of Maggid Books (Koren Publishers Jerusalem). She is also a teacher of Aggada at the Pardes Institute of Jewish Studies, exploring the stories of the Talmud through philosophy, literary criticism, psychoanalysis, and pop-culture. Gila is the former editor of Azure: Ideas for the Jewish Nation and has previously taught at Hebrew University, Tel Aviv University, and the London School of Jewish Studies. Haaretz has called her “a young woman who is on her way to becoming one of the more outstanding Jewish thinkers of the next generation.”