Header

Why Read Daf Yomi? To Rediscover an Older Way of Imagining the Jewish Spirit.

To the Talmudic rabbis, religion was not opposed to the law but deeply connected to its study, even if dialogue wins over decree

Header

The Talmud Is a Training Manual for Jews Preparing for the Next Holy Era

For a hundred generations Jews lived in anticipation of redemption, a historical tension that continues to define Judaism

Header

Rabbi Wolpe’s Picks: Questions of Boundaries

‘Collected Essays, Volume 1,’ by Haym Soloveitchik

Header

Jewish Culture Was Not Always a Response to Non-Jewish Culture

Why read the Talmud as a secular Jew? In part, for its expression of an independent Jewish creativity and spirituality.

Header

Rationalism, Mysticism, Slaves, and a Sukkah Made From an Elephant

The Talmud describes rabbis who were not just judges and legal analysts, but magicians as well

Header

‘Too Holy To Print’: The Forbidden Books of Jewish Magic

Books fraught with danger—curses, secrets, marvelous cures, diviners, demons—caused political intrigue and censorship

Header

Two Books Explore New Perspectives on the Talmud, With a Focus on Women

Ruth Calderon reimagines ancient tales, while Tova Hartman and Charlie Buckholtz examine characters in the margins

Header

In the Talmud, Jews Losing Touch With the Everyday Words of the Holy Land

In staking claims about the validity of Jewish identity, the rabbis show that the Diaspora has existed for nearly as long as Judaism

Header

Math Problem for Talmudic Rabbis: Building the Right Size Sukkah

Pi, irrational numbers, and squaring the circle are all brought to bear to find justifications for tradition

Header

How Large Must a Sukkah Be To Be Called a Sukkah—And Yet Still Be Far From Heaven?

In dissenting opinions, Talmudic rabbis propose and debate every detail of Sukkot’s booth and, in so doing, measure God

Header

Talmud for Boys, Challah-Making for Girls—Gender Rules in Orthodox Day Schools

Gender-typing is at work as early as daycare. A new book examines how this inequity plays out and undermines religious classrooms.

Header

Reading David Foster Wallace Led Me Back to Studying the Talmud

The late author’s work was Talmudic in nature. That’s why his books made me miss the Jewish texts I’d left behind.

Header

In the Talmud, One Sin Is Beyond Repentance: Giving God and Jews a Bad Name

A holy desecration is unethical in part because of the social pressure to reflect well on the tribe

Header

Teach Your Daughters Well: Real Jewish Learning Is for Girls, Too

As a Hasidic girl, I was denied the chance to study Torah properly. Now I want my daughter to learn more than I did.

Header

Too Much, Too Little: Talmudic Rabbis’ Creativity Shines When Interpreting Prohibitions

Manna, and fasting, are not just miracles of sustenance and faith, but also elements of jurisprudence

Header

How Shamma Friedman, Winner of This Year’s Israel Prize, Revolutionized Talmud Study

Meet the American-born JTS professor who modernized an ancient pursuit

Header

Some Jewish Acts Seem Meaningless. The Talmud Says You Should Do Them Anyway.

Illogical Jewish laws are ‘matters that Satan challenges’: raising doubts for enemies of Judaism and skeptical Jews

Header

Rabbi Wolpe’s Picks: Who Wrote the Talmud?

Jeffrey Rubenstein translates ‘The Formation of the Babylonian Talmud’

Header

The People of the Book vs. The People of the Kindle

What happens when our libraries are purged from our homes, replacing spines with screens?

Header

What Happens When the Talmud Asks, ‘What If?’

Probing hypothetical, metaphysical problems was the rabbis’ way of defining what matters most in Judaism

Header

The Talmud Pays Little Attention to What Jews Believe, Yet Asks Them To Have Faith

Judaism’s manual of sacred technology prizes holiness over beauty, action over thought, and ritual over belief

Header

Remembering Edgar M. Bronfman, Sr.

What one young writer learned from the late businessman and philanthropist

Header

In the Talmud, the Fall of a Priestly Upper Class Is Just Deserts

Biblical examples of righteousness and wickedness show that in Judaism, goodness remains possible and divine

Header

Which Came First: Abraham and the Patriarchs or Moses and the Torah?

A Talmudic problem: Abraham lived before the law was given, so how can his actions be used to interpret the law?

Header

What the Talmud Would Say About the Pew Survey of American Jews: Stop Counting

An ancient principle of Judaism, debated at length in the Oral Law, is that it is a sin to count Jews—or is it?

Header

Miraculous Architecture of the First Temple Leads to Religious Sectarianism in the Second

To the Talmudic rabbis, a miracle is more plausible than the notion that their sources were incorrect

Header

The Talmud Says God Can’t Protect Jews From Persecution; They Must Take Precautions

A ‘mezuzah,’ like Judaism, is designed for life in this world, not for a messianic future, or for martyrdom

Header

The Talmud’s Yom Kippur, With Sacrifice and Blood, Is Nothing Like Jewish Ritual Today

The rabbinic tradition arose from the fact that the Bible doesn’t tell us what we need to know to lead our lives

Header

The Importance of Cubits and Shewbread and Everything That Makes Your Eyes Glaze Over

In their faith, Talmudic rabbis kept contradictory thoughts, believing in both the reality of miracles and their unreliability

Header

Reconstructing the Life of the Temple and Its All-Too-Human Denizens

In the Talmud’s descriptions of self-glorifying and self-enriching Temple priests, lessons for today’s public officials