You Only Live Once

The Talmudic rabbis saw the world as a wedding—a place of charity and pleasures to be enjoyed while it lasts

The Talmud’s Absolute Value

Through reasoning, the rabbis brought all of natural creation under the rule of law

When Messiah Is an Afterthought

The Talmud’s pragmatism and wonder meet in a technical problem about the height of a boundary line

Crossing the Line

By avoiding authoritative rulings in favor of nuanced debate with the ideas of the past, the Oral Law refuses to simplify

Are Truffles Food?

As our Talmud column returns, debates over Oral Law range from the existential to the mundane

Close Encounters With Talmud

Seven months into a seven-and-a-half-year study cycle, book critic Adam Kirsch is hookedand flummoxed

Navigating the Talmud’s Alleys

The range of problems and the variety of answers in the study of Oral Law lead to new pathways of reasoning

Written in the Stars (Or Not)

To overcome fated lives, the Talmud’s rabbis argued, perform virtuous acts according to Torah

Leave the Jewish People Alone

Rabbis left enforcement of their Talmudic decrees to communal standards and voluntary commitment

Ancient Laws for Modern Times

When is a tent just a tent and not like a bed or a hat? To update Jewish laws, the rabbis reasoned by analogy.

Birth Right

You wouldn’t expect that the tractate on Shabbat would be the place to discuss circumcision. You’d be wrong.

Can’t Touch This

Talmudic rabbis debate the reach of permissions and prohibitions, and Jews are rewarded for virtuous behavior

Praying for My Patients

As a doctor, I know there’s a power higher than me. That’s why I pray every day for the people I’m treating.

Queen for a Day

The rabbis who reasoned about the day of rest also celebrated it. Plus: The Talmud on iPad and in translation.

Rabbinic Mind Games

Lionizing those who perform feats of memory and logic, who reason strictly from premise to conclusion

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