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Talmud: We Don’t Negotiate With Terrorists

This week’s ‘Daf Yomi’ features captives, kidnappers, and extortionists; ransom, escape, and stonings—and black magic

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Is ‘Tikkun Olam’ for the Betterment of the World, or Just for the Betterment of Divorce?

In this week’s ‘Daf Yomi’ Talmud study, Jews may not realize the origins of a central idea of modern social justice

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Does the Talmud Condone Bestiality?

Literal interpretations of misogynistic and gossipy fidelity laws leads to a surprising logical conclusion

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Decomposing Bodies, Congealing Carcasses, Handfuls of Corpse Dust, and Other Interests of the Rabbis

The Talmud’s obsessions are not necessarily our own, and in this week’s ‘Daf Yomi,’ the ancient wise men engage in theoretical debate over ritual impurity

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When Making a Vow, Consider Where You Stand

Because a corpse is always a source of ritual impurity, and because on a geological timescale corpses are everywhere under our feet, aren’t all religious Jews impure?

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Why in Jewish Law Good Can Be Evil and Evil Good

In this week’s Talmud study: Is just thinking about pork a sin?

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The Jewish Legal Basis for Male Dominion Over Vows by Women? It’s in the Bible.

Bridging the abstract simplicity of divine pronouncements to the practical mess of everyday life

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The Talmud’s Guide to Jewish Feminine Beauty

The ancient text takes up the problem of ‘new circumstances’ in maintaining vows, and in so doing stumbles on what makes women attractive

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For the Love of Pickles

In the heat of summer, nothing is as refreshing as a cold pickle. Just ask my kids.

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Do Torah Scholars Have the Right Not To Be Drafted by the Government?

In rabbinic Judaism, learning replaces noble birth as a source of power and status—including the power to avoid state responsibility

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The Talmud as a Jewish ‘Canterbury Tales’ of Earthy, Ribald Moral Inquiry

Along with other questions of mind and body, this week’s ‘Daf Yomi’ is also a field guide to Talmudic-era cuisine

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What’s Mine Is Mine and What’s Yours Is Mine, Too

Giving, taking, owning, donating, and other elements of property law, in this week’s ‘Daf Yomi’

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The ‘Court Jew’ Controversy Re-Erupts

New reality for an old phenomenon: How Obama and Israel changed the stakes of Jewish power

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Why Taking Vows Is a Wicked Act

In this week’s ‘Daf Yomi,’ the Talmud explores why oaths are not for the virtuous, except in the rarest of cases

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If Victorious, I Vow To Sacrifice My Daughter—Wait, No! I Didn’t Mean That! Uh-Oh.

Bridging the gap between biblical terseness and the needs of a functioning Jewish legal system

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Making Sex Education Smarter

Teenagers need to learn about more than anatomy, as some Jewish educators already know

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How To Make Tchav, a Chilled Soup That’s Perfect for Shavuot

Video: This Ukrainian sour sorrel soup is a refreshing way to welcome summer

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For Jewish Widows, Like Modern Drug Offenders, Just How Much Matters

Why Talmudic law is precise, and how practical matters can test the moral foundations of the system

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Marriage: A Math Problem

Studying who’s owed what, when, and how much in cases of divorce, widowing, and inheritance

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Divorce Court: Talmud

Settling scores, carving up estates, negotiating claims, in biblical law. Plus: A virgin is worth twice as much as a widow or divorcee.

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The Art of Jewish Hair

A fascinating New York City museum exhibit looks at black women’s hair and nails. Don’t wait for the Jewish version.

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Jewish Bride Has a Mole? Grounds for Divorce. Husband Smells Bad? Live With It.

Inequality under the wedding canopy, in this week’s ‘Daf Yomi’ Talmud study. Plus: a story about cheating the Angel of Death.

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Raising Little Jewish Feminists

How do we teach kids that gender equality is fabulous?

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How To Make ‘Brik,’ a Tunisian Treat That’s the Toast of Paris

Video: Fry up these savory snacks at home, and make your own spicy harissa for dipping

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Love and Marriage, Love and Marriage, They Go Together Like …

If the point of marriage is not happiness but religion, what constitutes grounds for divorce? Plus: tips for grooming pubic hair.

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Inside Obama’s Meeting With Jewish Leaders

What he said, what they said, and what America is now saying to the world about exterminationist anti-Semitism

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Enough With the Holocaust Books for Children!

Yes, we need to teach kids about our history. But our history constitutes a lot more than one tragic event.

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How Often Should Married Jewish Couples Have Sex?

And other matters of conjugal bliss in this week’s Talmud study, including a woman’s right to sexual fulfillment

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Honey, I Shrunk the Jews!

Why did Obama send a lowly vice-presidential adviser to inform American Jewish leadership about his Iran deal?

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Would a Jackal Take Better Care of Its Young?

For most Jews in Talmudic times, marriage was the biggest financial transaction of their lives

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