Talmudic rabbis’ lenient interpretation of Biblical laws made the death penalty difficult to impose, even in cases where murder was clearly the intent
‘Daf Yomi’: The odd case of preemptive punishment highlights Talmudic rabbis’ generous interpretation of the Torah’s unenforceable laws
Talmudic rabbis disagree on whether the action or the intention of veneration or protest is more important. Plus: Is magic holy?
Taken out of context, ancient Rabbinic laws—such as those on capital punishment discussed in this week’s ‘Daf Yomi’ study—can attract the attention of those who hate us
Romanian writer Mihail Sebastian’s 1934 autobiographical novel ‘For Two Thousand Years’ remains a classic document of 20th-century Jewish history
Talmudic rabbis pondered the most fundamental ethical questions—including the value of human life—in debating death sentences by hanging or stoning
Five years into the seven-year ‘Daf Yomi’ cycle of Talmud study, our columnist pauses to reflect on what the ancient text has taught him about being Jewish today
In this week’s ‘Daf Yomi,’ how Talmudic rabbis carried the life-or-death burden of sitting in judgment of others
Daf Yomi: Do Talmudic rabbis seek justification for givens by retrofitting biblical text to their needs? The case of the Sanhedrin courts.
In this week’s ‘Daf Yomi,’ tough-minded and practical wisdom on financial transactions from the ancient rabbis
In this week’s ‘Daf Yomi’ Talmud study, the rabbis attempt to imagine every possible way to alter a legal document, and a coinciding method to thwart each of them
A question of morals for a loopy Coen-brothers script, in this week’s ‘Daf Yomi’ Talmud study
With surprising analogous thinking, ancient Talmudic sages tackled very modern questions—by accident or foresight, depending on how liberal your views—of transgender rights, the rights of unborn fetuses, women’s rights, and wealth distribution
In this week’s ‘Daf Yomi,’ what’s right—and what’s legal—in matters of inheritance
In this week’s ‘Daf Yomi,’ one sage overrules the consensus, and men may dispose of their wealth upon their deathbeds at will
How Moses could know how his people’s story would end before it was even written is in keeping with the spirit of ‘Daf Yomi’
Daf Yomi: Interpreters of ancient Jewish law ‘often give the impression of doing whatever needs to be done to make the Bible mean what they want it to mean’
In this week’s ‘Daf Yomi,’ why the law is in the details
In this week’s ‘Daf Yomi,’ Talmudic sages ask what it is safe to assume in matters of transactions within the law, and what must be specifically proven
This week’s ‘Daf Yomi’ Talmud study goes straight to the essence of the matter. Plus, ‘fish tales’ and 750-mile-high waves.
Polish poet and essayist Adam Zagajewski’s extravagant and miraculous new collection, ‘Slight Exaggeration,’ takes on banality and vulgarity through elegant art