Header

Queen for a Day

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

Header

Rabbinic Mind Games

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

Header

Things Broken and Repaired

In this week’s page of Talmud, the rabbis show their skill at making distinctions between obligation and acting out

Header

The Pretenders

In order to understand Sabbath rules, the rabbis show, one must imagine exactly what work the Israelites did

Header

Intention Versus Action

This week, the rabbis ask if two half-sins equal a whole one. In what part of a sin is sinfulness located?

Header

Why the Sabbath Is Everything

This week, the Talmud’s rabbis explore possible holy day violations to determine the nature of the sinner

Header

Does God Care About Shoes?

In this week’s Talmud study, Jewishness is not just moral and theological matters. It is a way of life.

Header

The Badness of Good Stories

This week, Talmudic rabbis seek righteousness in the Bible’s tales of vice, weakness, and human frailty

Header

Testing My Faith

I’d left Orthodoxy. But as I waited for HIV test results, I looked to God and the Talmud for comfort.

Header

The Power of Positive Thinking

This week, deduction and analogy propel the Talmud from the mundane to the miraculous

Header

Eggs and Babies

This week’s Talmud study reveals legal debates that refine the limits and nature of inherently abstract concepts

Header

First-Century Technology

When new inventions made widespread sinning the norm, ancient rabbis adapted. The Talmud’s God approved.

Header

Standing on One Foot

The origin of a famous anecdote shines light on the compromises of Conservative and Reform Judaism

Header

Light Advice From the Rabbis

A Talmudic discussion of Hanukkah and Sabbath candles leads to a lesson in the sacred and profane

Header

Of Lice and Men

Study of the Talmud’s second tractate reveals how the rabbis stuck to logic and made it sacred

Header

The Rabbis’ Mental World

The last chapter of the first tractate brings modern readers back to sex, bowel movements, and thunder

Header

Talmudic Pride and Prejudice

This week’s Daf Yomi considers—with Chaucerian verve—whether a rabbinic elite spoke for the Jewish people

Header

The Right Way to Pray

One Talmudic rabbi’s prayers work, while others’ fall on deaf ears. Is humility more pleasing to God than pomp?

Header

Talmudic Rebbe-llion

A coup at the rabbinic academy deposes Gamliel and unleashes a torrent of questions

Header

Let’s Get Physical

In this week’s Talmud reading, the soul addresses God, but the body has its own agenda

Header

Talmud’s Warriors and Scholars

This week’s Daf Yomi reframes the debate over the primacy of force or scholarship in Jewish values

Header

The Talmud’s Many Demons

Sages in a superstitious age accepted the existence of invisible devils and the use of magic to render them visible

Header

A Talmudic Journey Begins

Our book critic dives into Daf Yomi’s daily regimen expecting a law code, but instead finds a chain of questions

Header

Women Join Talmud Celebration

As the daf yomi cycle of Talmud learning concludes this week, a Jerusalem study group breaks a barrier

Header

Wheel of Fortune

From the archives: A year into the financial meltdown, the calendar keeps turning, and so does the economic cycle

Load More...