To the Talmudic rabbis, religion was not opposed to the law but deeply connected to its study, even if dialogue wins over decree
For a hundred generations Jews lived in anticipation of redemption, a historical tension that continues to define Judaism
Why read the Talmud as a secular Jew? In part, for its expression of an independent Jewish creativity and spirituality.
The Talmud describes rabbis who were not just judges and legal analysts, but magicians as well
In staking claims about the validity of Jewish identity, the rabbis show that the Diaspora has existed for nearly as long as Judaism
Pi, irrational numbers, and squaring the circle are all brought to bear to find justifications for tradition
In dissenting opinions, Talmudic rabbis propose and debate every detail of Sukkot’s booth and, in so doing, measure God
A holy desecration is unethical in part because of the social pressure to reflect well on the tribe
Manna, and fasting, are not just miracles of sustenance and faith, but also elements of jurisprudence
Illogical Jewish laws are ‘matters that Satan challenges’: raising doubts for enemies of Judaism and skeptical Jews
Judaism’s manual of sacred technology prizes holiness over beauty, action over thought, and ritual over belief
Biblical examples of righteousness and wickedness show that in Judaism, goodness remains possible and divine
A Talmudic problem: Abraham lived before the law was given, so how can his actions be used to interpret the law?
An ancient principle of Judaism, debated at length in the Oral Law, is that it is a sin to count Jews—or is it?