The Pretenders

In order to understand Sabbath rules, the rabbis show, one must imagine exactly what work the Israelites did

Intention Versus Action

This week, the rabbis ask if two half-sins equal a whole one. In what part of a sin is sinfulness located?

Spiritual Moneyball

The R.A. Dickey trade; or why the New York Mets, like American Jews, are at risk of losing their soul

Bring On the Plum Pudding

Or, how I learned to stop worrying and love Christmas

Giving Up Christmas as a Convert to Judaism

I don’t feel nostalgic about Christmas—I’ve discovered the magic of Hanukkah

Why the Sabbath Is Everything

This week, the Talmud’s rabbis explore possible holy day violations to determine the nature of the sinner

Does God Care About Shoes?

In this week’s Talmud study, Jewishness is not just moral and theological matters. It is a way of life.

Who’s Got Hanukkah Envy?

As the Festival of Lights gains exposure in schools, stores, and public displays, even non-Jews want to take part

The Badness of Good Stories

This week, Talmudic rabbis seek righteousness in the Bible’s tales of vice, weakness, and human frailty

Our Waterlogged Prayers

As we endure a season of destructive storms and surging seas, why on earth would we pray for rain?

The Power of Positive Thinking

This week, deduction and analogy propel the Talmud from the mundane to the miraculous

Eggs and Babies

This week’s Talmud study reveals legal debates that refine the limits and nature of inherently abstract concepts

First-Century Technology

When new inventions made widespread sinning the norm, ancient rabbis adapted. The Talmud’s God approved.

Standing on One Foot

The origin of a famous anecdote shines light on the compromises of Conservative and Reform Judaism

God Is My Traffic Cop

I keep getting messages from God about driving on the Sabbath, so I’m going give it up—for one Saturday

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