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?
In this week’s Talmud study: Is just thinking about pork a sin?
In this week’s Talmud study, debates over swearing out of pique or spite—that is, in the wrong frame of mind
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
Bridging the abstract simplicity of divine pronouncements to the practical mess of everyday life
The ancient text takes up the problem of ‘new circumstances’ in maintaining vows, and in so doing stumbles on what makes women attractive
In rabbinic Judaism, learning replaces noble birth as a source of power and status—including the power to avoid state responsibility
Along with other questions of mind and body, this week’s ‘Daf Yomi’ is also a field guide to Talmudic-era cuisine
Giving, taking, owning, donating, and other elements of property law, in this week’s ‘Daf Yomi’
This week’s Talmudic debate is centered on the perceived and real benefits of study, teaching, and sacrifice
In this week’s ‘Daf Yomi’ study, why vows are hardly sacred, and why circumcision is the most glorious of rituals
This week’s ‘Daf Yomi’ Talmud study refutes the ‘dual loyalty’ charges against Jews
Discussing vows, Talmudic rabbis detour into the temptations of Jewish love-making—where almost anything goes
In this week’s ‘Daf Yomi,’ the Talmud explores why oaths are not for the virtuous, except in the rarest of cases
Bridging the gap between biblical terseness and the needs of a functioning Jewish legal system
Why Talmudic law is precise, and how practical matters can test the moral foundations of the system
Studying who’s owed what, when, and how much in cases of divorce, widowing, and inheritance
Settling scores, carving up estates, negotiating claims, in biblical law. Plus: A virgin is worth twice as much as a widow or divorcee.
Inequality under the wedding canopy, in this week’s ‘Daf Yomi’ Talmud study. Plus: a story about cheating the Angel of Death.
If the point of marriage is not happiness but religion, what constitutes grounds for divorce? Plus: tips for grooming pubic hair.
And other matters of conjugal bliss in this week’s Talmud study, including a woman’s right to sexual fulfillment
For most Jews in Talmudic times, marriage was the biggest financial transaction of their lives
We, too, stoned our women for infidelity. Patriarchal injustice persists in Orthodoxy. What’s a modern Talmud reader to do?
Reading the oral law today forces Jews to reconcile repellent, outdated legal views with modern morals
Talmudic rabbis believe ‘the hand of Heaven’ makes sure that the punishment fits the crime
Rightly or wrongly, Talmudic thinkers presumed that gentiles would persecute the Jews in their midst
The sages debate the demerits of little white lies, and consider the subtleties of legal claims made by spouses and other property owners
Talmudic rabbis are less interested in mystical speculation than in concrete questions, like the state of women’s hymens
The ‘Daf Yomi’ cycle heads into thorny gender issues around marriage, gynecology, and Sabbath sex
Talmudic rabbis ask what agency young women have in determining their fate in sex, marriage, and divorce