Rightly or wrongly, Talmudic thinkers presumed that gentiles would persecute the Jews in their midst
The sages debate the demerits of little white lies, and consider the subtleties of legal claims made by spouses and other property owners
Talmudic rabbis are less interested in mystical speculation than in concrete questions, like the state of women’s hymens
Israeli novelist Gail Hareven dives fearlessly into the the moral quagmires of abuse, vengeance, and the legacy of the Holocaust
The ‘Daf Yomi’ cycle heads into thorny gender issues around marriage, gynecology, and Sabbath sex
Talmudic rabbis ask what agency young women have in determining their fate in sex, marriage, and divorce
This week’s ‘Daf Yomi’ probes the connection between the magical thinking of the Bible and the rational concerns of the Talmud
Talmudic rabbis, gladiators of the mind, sought glory and eternal fame—but also pondered the mundane side of being human
‘The Age of the Crisis of Man’ traces the fall and rise of individualist pragmatism in America
Talmudic sages say that sinful acts—especially those committed by women—are not the rabbis’ fault
Jewish law loves to separate people into airtight categories. Real-life sex and gender are more complicated. What then?
And other problems of divorce, infertility, and urination, in this week’s Talmud study
In the patriarchal society of the Talmud, a woman’s body is always under the supervision and scrutiny of men
‘The Case Against Academic Boycotts of Israel’ shows how the boycott movement is more significant than its achievements suggest
This week’s ‘Daf Yomi’ Talmud study is NSFW
Plus legitimate and bastard offspring, slaves, and distinctions between Jews, non-Jews, and half-Jews
In this week’s ‘Daf Yomi,’ questions of obligation in matters of levirate marriage, and how values change with time
Talmudic Rabbis regulated not just actions but reputations, and left a legacy we debate and refute to this day
At what point does a disagreement between groups of Jews become a point of religious principle, which cannot be compromised?
Daf Yomi: In rabbinic Judaism, study is not merely a pragmatic enterprise, but a religious act in itself
When two mitzvot conflict, the Talmud asks, how do we decide which takes precedence?
New novels answer Irving Howe’s question: Can we accept aesthetic pleasure in a book about the Shoah?
Two years and 100 columns in to the Daf Yomi cycle, our critic pauses to reflect on its intellectual challenges and delights