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
In this week’s Talmud study, debates over swearing out of pique or spite—that is, in the wrong frame of mind
Bridging the abstract simplicity of divine pronouncements to the practical mess of everyday life
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
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
Bridging the gap between biblical terseness and the needs of a functioning Jewish legal system
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.
Reading the oral law today forces Jews to reconcile repellent, outdated legal views with modern morals
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