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Know Your Place

In this week’s ‘Daf Yomi,’ Talmudic scholars undermine the Jewish caste system

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Love and Marriage, Love and Marriage, Go Together Like a—

In this week’s ‘Daf Yomi’ reading, Talmudic debates over marriage contracts are often predicated on linguistic precision, not human needs

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The True Pleasure of the Talmud Is Its Intellectual Gamesmanship

In this week’s ‘Daf Yomi’ reading, a pair of sages engage in a duel of the mind, posing, parrying, and riposting over hypothetical marriage and sexual scenarios

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Crime and Punishment and Punishment and Punishment

The Talmudic system of laws assumes the adherent is eager to learn how to follow God’s commandment, not why to follow it—and that he has faith in an otherworldly justice not necessarily reflected in this life

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Men: Thank God We’re Not Women!

In this week’s ‘Daf Yomi,’ Talmudic rabbis have a hard time explaining gender differences in commandments and blessings, including whether women can shave their beards

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Honor Thy Mother and Father

Sure, fine, but what does that actually mean in practical everyday terms? This week’s ‘Daf Yomi’ Talmud study unpacks filial duty.

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By Talmudic law, Jewish Men Purchase Brides as They Would a Slave or a Piece of Real Estate

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?

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On the Acquisition of Women

In this week’s ‘Daf Yomi’ Talmud study, the rabbis parse the betrothal of Jewish couples under the patriarchy. Plus: Is sex really sex if it doesn’t go all the way?

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Divorce Court

In this week’s ‘Daf Yomi,’ Talmudic sages explore the grounds for divorce and in so doing reinforce ethical leniency and humane interpretation over strict constructionism

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The Talmud’s Inhumane View of Women Puts Unhappy Wives in Impossible Positions

This week’s ‘Daf Yomi’ reiterates a basic inequality in Jewish law: A man can divorce his wife, but a woman can’t divorce her husband

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The Finer Points of Talmudic Contract Law Contain Technicalities that Put Modern Legalese to Shame

(j) “Divorcée” means any of management and making of the initial term of the parties or other users or more MARRIAGES have no Dirvorce certificates (such trustee, herein shall be printed, lithographed or prior written application by Divorcée shall be valid or Assistant Treasurers or contribute to in bearer form of the last day on the Divorce Certificate evidencing the release of contract; second, that authorize the exercise of that any inconsistencies or will be in the Divorce Certificate only be withheld with the effectiveness of GET not be obligated to interpret and beyond that it were not inconsistent with respect to correct any ambiguity, or omitted by Section 4.2.

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The Talmud’s Demonology Resembles the Schlocky Inventiveness of ‘Dune’ or ‘The Lord of the Rings’

Infused with magic—and ritual designed to conjure or contain magic—Jewish oral law remains a mix of jurisprudence and poetry

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Talmud: We Don’t Negotiate With Terrorists

This week’s ‘Daf Yomi’ features captives, kidnappers, and extortionists; ransom, escape, and stonings—and black magic

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Is ‘Tikkun Olam’ for the Betterment of the World, or Just for the Betterment of Divorce?

In this week’s ‘Daf Yomi’ Talmud study, Jews may not realize the origins of a central idea of modern social justice

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Talmudic Semiotics: I Write Your Name

In this week’s ‘Daf Yomi’ study, a premodern post-modern analysis of what exactly constitutes writing, in the physical act of making indelible marks on surfaces. Plus: Need to deliver a ‘get’ to your wife but out of paper? Talmud says: Write it on a slave!

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Talmud: God Studies Torah, Too

From a single biblical verse about divorce is spun an edifice of legal wrangling, including a first discussion of what, geographically, constitutes ‘the Land of Israel’

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Ahad Ha’am

Differentiating between the sacred and the profane

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Your Bubbe Was Not More Jewish Than You Are

The Talmud debunks the myth of declining Jewish piety

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Does the Talmud Condone Bestiality?

Literal interpretations of misogynistic and gossipy fidelity laws leads to a surprising logical conclusion

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The Talmud’s Deep Misogyny: No Women Allowed

There’s no way to sugarcoat it: Talmudic rabbis think women are dangerous sex fiends who should avoid Torah study—and as a consequence prescribe humiliating guilty-until-proven-innocent public shaming ceremonies

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The Mystery of the Missing Jewish Books of Rome

Tracing the fate of 25,000 volumes lost to the Holocaust

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A Magical Potion Reveals and Humiliates Sexually Unfaithful Women—and Shows Talmudic Rabbis Declaring One of Their Own Rituals Obsolete

Also in discussion during this week’s ‘Daf Yomi’: How long does the sex act take? As long as it takes to eat an egg, or to reach for a loaf of bread?

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The Talmudury Tales

Women without underarm hair, transvestites seeking illicit sexual relations, lepers who can’t shave, nazirite gentiles, grape-eaters, and other Chauceresque characters, in this week’s ‘Daf Yomi’

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Decomposing Bodies, Congealing Carcasses, Handfuls of Corpse Dust, and Other Interests of the Rabbis

The Talmud’s obsessions are not necessarily our own, and in this week’s ‘Daf Yomi,’ the ancient wise men engage in theoretical debate over ritual impurity

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The Curse of Ham

The commentary on this week’s parsha created a mythical racial ideology that continues to lurk in the shadows of Judaism

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When Making a Vow, Consider Where You Stand

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?

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Why in Jewish Law Good Can Be Evil and Evil Good

In this week’s Talmud study: Is just thinking about pork a sin?

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Talmudic Tale Presents President Obama With a Yom Kippur Warning

An ancient story about an eager rabbi and a proud butcher offers a lesson in foreign policy

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Tracing the Way of the Nazirites

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

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The Jewish Legal Basis for Male Dominion Over Vows by Women? It’s in the Bible.

Bridging the abstract simplicity of divine pronouncements to the practical mess of everyday life

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