The Other Torah

A new English translation of the Samaritan Torah offers scholars a different version of the sacred text

The Irrelevance of Pleasure

As the rabbis remind us again this week, the law is the law—whether it pleases you or not

Even Criminals Rest in Peace

What would Jewish law have to say about alleged Boston Marathon bomber Tamerlan Tsarnaev’s burial?

You Only Live Once

The Talmudic rabbis saw the world as a wedding—a place of charity and pleasures to be enjoyed while it lasts

The Talmud’s Absolute Value

Through reasoning, the rabbis brought all of natural creation under the rule of law

Holiday Haircuts Give Hope

Haircuts are a Lag b’Omer tradition. Some have turned this Jewish custom into a way to help needy kids.

When Messiah Is an Afterthought

The Talmud’s pragmatism and wonder meet in a technical problem about the height of a boundary line

Crossing the Line

By avoiding authoritative rulings in favor of nuanced debate with the ideas of the past, the Oral Law refuses to simplify

The Search for an Ancient Blue

The Torah tells us to put a blue thread on our tzitzit. Why has it taken 1,300 years to figure out how?

Are Truffles Food?

As our Talmud column returns, debates over Oral Law range from the existential to the mundane

Do We Still Need Yom HaShoah?

The commemorative day is confusing and arbitrary. Let’s find a more meaningful alternative.

Close Encounters With Talmud

Seven months into a seven-and-a-half-year study cycle, book critic Adam Kirsch is hookedand flummoxed

What’s the Point of Passover?

Do today’s Seders exist to remember the past, or did past events occur so that they could be remembered later?

Navigating the Talmud’s Alleys

The range of problems and the variety of answers in the study of Oral Law lead to new pathways of reasoning

Written in the Stars (Or Not)

To overcome fated lives, the Talmud’s rabbis argued, perform virtuous acts according to Torah

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