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Are Jews Exempt from Capital Punishment?

Talmudic rabbis’ lenient interpretation of Biblical laws made the death penalty difficult to impose, even in cases where murder was clearly the intent

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Put to Death For Crimes Yet to Be Committed

‘Daf Yomi’: The odd case of preemptive punishment highlights Talmudic rabbis’ generous interpretation of the Torah’s unenforceable laws

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False Idols

Talmudic rabbis disagree on whether the action or the intention of veneration or protest is more important. Plus: Is magic holy?

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The Anti-Semite Can Cite Talmud for His Purpose

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

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Lest Ye Be Judged

In this week’s ‘Daf Yomi,’ how Talmudic rabbis carried the life-or-death burden of sitting in judgment of others

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Follow the Money

In this week’s ‘Daf Yomi,’ tough-minded and practical wisdom on financial transactions from the ancient rabbis

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The Art of Forgery

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

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What Happens When a Dying Man Doesn’t Die

A question of morals for a loopy Coen-brothers script, in this week’s ‘Daf Yomi’ Talmud study

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How a Cucumber Decides Whether a Son Inherits Over a Donkey

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

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The Inheritance

In this week’s ‘Daf Yomi,’ one sage overrules the consensus, and men may dispose of their wealth upon their deathbeds at will

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Taking a ‘Sharp Knife’ to the Talmud

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’

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Terms of Service

In this week’s ‘Daf Yomi,’ why the law is in the details

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Caveat Emptor

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

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When You Buy a Cow (or a Boat) What Do You Get From the Seller? When Is It Yours? And What Really Is a Cow Anyway?

This week’s ‘Daf Yomi’ Talmud study goes straight to the essence of the matter. Plus, ‘fish tales’ and 750-mile-high waves.

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The Art of the Deal

Talmudic rabbis regulated real estate transactions based on biblical principles of ownership and centuries of experience of the practicalities of Jewish life

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If You’ll Buy That, the Rabbi’ll Throw the Golden Gate in Free

This week’s ‘Daf Yomi’ Talmud study examines the origin of rules for real estate transactions

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Talmud to Betsy DeVos: Yes, We Need Public Schools

In this week’s ‘Daf Yomi,’ rabbinical thinking on the relationship of public goods and private obligations explains the advantages of universal education accessible to all

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Who Wrote the Torah?

This week’s ‘Daf Yomi’ Talmud study dives into a foundational puzzle of the religion

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What the Talmud Says About Trump’s Border Wall, Paid For by Mexico

In this week’s ‘Daf Yomi,’ when it comes to privacy, good fences may indeed make good neighbors

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What the Rich Owe the Poor

In this week’s ‘Daf Yomi,’ the deep Jewish roots of income equality, and the shared dignity it brings

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The Talmud as Epic

This week’s ‘Daf Yomi’ brings to life rabbinic heroes on their intellectual battlefield: larger-than-life figures worthy of Greek drama

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Need a Reason to Hope This Campaign Season? Try the Timeless Talmud.

Can it get any worse? Yes, yes, it can, a lot worse, but the continuity of learning in the ‘Daf Yomi’ cycle has remained unbroken.

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Lost and Found

In this week’s ‘Daf Yomi,’ how the Talmud transforms absolute Torah commandments into contingent human laws, prizing practicality over literalism

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I Swear

A simple dispute over ownership leads the Talmudic sages into a debate, in this week’s ‘Daf Yomi,’ about the value of a spiritual oath versus secular claims of honesty

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Jew vs. Non-Jew vs. Jew

In this week’s ‘Daf Yomi,’ Talmudic sages attempt to deal with the risks inherent in communal loyalty taking precedence over common law and principled justice

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Smoothing the Path to a Sinner’s Repentance

In this week’s ‘Daf Yomi,’ ancient oral law makes it easier for thieves to regain spiritual balance with their victims—a reminder of the kinship of all Jews

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Thievery Corporation

In this week’s ‘Daf Yomi,’ how the theft of a pregnant cow leads the Talmudic sages to examine the concept of wages

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Is ‘An Eye for an Eye’ Really an Eye for an Eye?

In this week’s ‘Daf Yomi,’ Talmudic rabbis reinterpret a famous biblical verse to allow compassion to trump logic

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An Ox, a Donkey, a Sheep, and a Garment Walk Into a Bar…

In this week’s ‘Daf Yomi,’ dissecting the hermeneutics that governs the Talmud’s approach to law

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Law v. Lore

In this week’s ‘Daf Yomi,’ competing strands of legal wrangling and storytelling in the ancient compendium of Jewish thought

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