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?
Infused with magic—and ritual designed to conjure or contain magic—Jewish oral law remains a mix of jurisprudence and poetry
Why Talmudic law is precise, and how practical matters can test the moral foundations of the system
If the point of marriage is not happiness but religion, what constitutes grounds for divorce? Plus: tips for grooming pubic hair.
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
Talmudic rabbis, gladiators of the mind, sought glory and eternal fame—but also pondered the mundane side of being human
Talmudic sages say that sinful acts—especially those committed by women—are not the rabbis’ fault
Jewish law loves to separate people into airtight categories. Real-life sex and gender are more complicated. What then?
And other problems of divorce, infertility, and urination, in this week’s Talmud study
This week’s ‘Daf Yomi’ Talmud study is NSFW
Plus legitimate and bastard offspring, slaves, and distinctions between Jews, non-Jews, and half-Jews
In this week’s ‘Daf Yomi,’ questions of obligation in matters of levirate marriage, and how values change with time
At what point does a disagreement between groups of Jews become a point of religious principle, which cannot be compromised?
Daf Yomi: In rabbinic Judaism, study is not merely a pragmatic enterprise, but a religious act in itself
When two mitzvot conflict, the Talmud asks, how do we decide which takes precedence?
Two years and 100 columns in to the Daf Yomi cycle, our critic pauses to reflect on its intellectual challenges and delights