Header

Love and Marriage, Love and Marriage, Go Together Like a—

In this week’s ‘Daf Yomi’ reading, Talmudic debates over marriage contracts are often predicated on linguistic precision, not human needs

Header

The True Pleasure of the Talmud Is Its Intellectual Gamesmanship

In this week’s ‘Daf Yomi’ reading, a pair of sages engage in a duel of the mind, posing, parrying, and riposting over hypothetical marriage and sexual scenarios

Header

Crime and Punishment and Punishment and Punishment

The Talmudic system of laws assumes the adherent is eager to learn how to follow God’s commandment, not why to follow it—and that he has faith in an otherworldly justice not necessarily reflected in this life

Header

Men: Thank God We’re Not Women!

In this week’s ‘Daf Yomi,’ Talmudic rabbis have a hard time explaining gender differences in commandments and blessings, including whether women can shave their beards

Header

Honor Thy Mother and Father

Sure, fine, but what does that actually mean in practical everyday terms? This week’s ‘Daf Yomi’ Talmud study unpacks filial duty.

Header

By Talmudic law, Jewish Men Purchase Brides as They Would a Slave or a Piece of Real Estate

Sure, the woman consents, but the ‘specter of ownership’ hangs over the relationship. Plus: If you’re buying a woman, what is she actually worth in hard currency?

Header

On the Acquisition of Women

In this week’s ‘Daf Yomi’ Talmud study, the rabbis parse the betrothal of Jewish couples under the patriarchy. Plus: Is sex really sex if it doesn’t go all the way?

Header

Divorce Court

In this week’s ‘Daf Yomi,’ Talmudic sages explore the grounds for divorce and in so doing reinforce ethical leniency and humane interpretation over strict constructionism

Header

The Talmud’s Inhumane View of Women Puts Unhappy Wives in Impossible Positions

This week’s ‘Daf Yomi’ reiterates a basic inequality in Jewish law: A man can divorce his wife, but a woman can’t divorce her husband

Header

The Finer Points of Talmudic Contract Law Contain Technicalities that Put Modern Legalese to Shame

(j) “Divorcée” means any of management and making of the initial term of the parties or other users or more MARRIAGES have no Dirvorce certificates (such trustee, herein shall be printed, lithographed or prior written application by Divorcée shall be valid or Assistant Treasurers or contribute to in bearer form of the last day on the Divorce Certificate evidencing the release of contract; second, that authorize the exercise of that any inconsistencies or will be in the Divorce Certificate only be withheld with the effectiveness of GET not be obligated to interpret and beyond that it were not inconsistent with respect to correct any ambiguity, or omitted by Section 4.2.

Header

The Talmud’s Demonology Resembles the Schlocky Inventiveness of ‘Dune’ or ‘The Lord of the Rings’

Infused with magic—and ritual designed to conjure or contain magic—Jewish oral law remains a mix of jurisprudence and poetry

Header

Finders Keepers, Inferior Land for Wedded Bliss, and Other Property Matters

‘Daf Yomi’ zig-zags from impure wine to the Talmud’s apocryphal reasoning for the destruction of the Temple

Header

Talmud: We Don’t Negotiate With Terrorists

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

Header

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

Header

Talmudic Semiotics: I Write Your Name

In this week’s ‘Daf Yomi’ study, a premodern post-modern analysis of what exactly constitutes writing, in the physical act of making indelible marks on surfaces. Plus: Need to deliver a ‘get’ to your wife but out of paper? Talmud says: Write it on a slave!

Header

Talmud: God Studies Torah, Too

From a single biblical verse about divorce is spun an edifice of legal wrangling, including a first discussion of what, geographically, constitutes ‘the Land of Israel’

Header

Your Bubbe Was Not More Jewish Than You Are

The Talmud debunks the myth of declining Jewish piety

Header

What Language Do the Angels Speak?

Must prayers be uttered in Hebrew? Plus: Were ancient Israelite spies the size of grasshoppers?

Header

Does the Talmud Condone Bestiality?

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

Header

The Talmud’s Deep Misogyny: No Women Allowed

There’s no way to sugarcoat it: Talmudic rabbis think women are dangerous sex fiends who should avoid Torah study—and as a consequence prescribe humiliating guilty-until-proven-innocent public shaming ceremonies

Header

A Magical Potion Reveals and Humiliates Sexually Unfaithful Women—and Shows Talmudic Rabbis Declaring One of Their Own Rituals Obsolete

Also in discussion during this week’s ‘Daf Yomi’: How long does the sex act take? As long as it takes to eat an egg, or to reach for a loaf of bread?

Header

The Talmudury Tales

Women without underarm hair, transvestites seeking illicit sexual relations, lepers who can’t shave, nazirite gentiles, grape-eaters, and other Chauceresque characters, in this week’s ‘Daf Yomi’

Header

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

Header

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?

Header

Why in Jewish Law Good Can Be Evil and Evil Good

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

Header

Do Cows Speak? And Other Problems of the Nazirite Vow

In this week’s Talmud study, debates over swearing out of pique or spite—that is, in the wrong frame of mind

Header

Tracing the Way of the Nazirites

An ancient vow—no wine, no hair-cutting, no contact with the dead—and its demands and sins are the subject of the new tractate in our ‘Daf Yomi’ Talmud study

Header

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

Header

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

Header

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

Load More...