The origin of a famous anecdote shines light on the compromises of Conservative and Reform Judaism
A Talmudic discussion of Hanukkah and Sabbath candles leads to a lesson in the sacred and profane
Study of the Talmud’s second tractate reveals how the rabbis stuck to logic and made it sacred
The last chapter of the first tractate brings modern readers back to sex, bowel movements, and thunder
The world’s most famous detective, returning to TV tonight, is the embodiment of the non-Jewish Jew
This week’s Daf Yomi considers—with Chaucerian verve—whether a rabbinic elite spoke for the Jewish people
One Talmudic rabbi’s prayers work, while others’ fall on deaf ears. Is humility more pleasing to God than pomp?
A coup at the rabbinic academy deposes Gamliel and unleashes a torrent of questions
Yoram Hazony’s new book bases Judaism on a naturalistic reading of the Bible, but it’s a stretch
In this week’s Talmud reading, the soul addresses God, but the body has its own agenda
This week’s Daf Yomi reframes the debate over the primacy of force or scholarship in Jewish values
Sages in a superstitious age accepted the existence of invisible devils and the use of magic to render them visible
Our book critic dives into Daf Yomi’s daily regimen expecting a law code, but instead finds a chain of questions
As the daf yomi cycle of Talmud learning concludes this week, a Jerusalem study group breaks a barrier
I idolized my dad and resented him. As I’ve untangled our relationship, I adopted his passion: Talmud study
Plus the problem with the new Arabic Talmud, and more
They’re frustrating, and sometimes broken, but the men in my shul make services divine
Few people know the programming languages like Java and Ruby that run the modern world. The People of the Book should fight against this illiteracy.
I grew up in a world of observance, separate from secular America, but soon realized that the borders are more porous than they seem
Comment of the Week
Why 2011 brings history’s first complete register of the body of Jewish law
Sixty years ago, I committed a small act of injustice against someone whose name I never knew. This Yom Kippur, I can finally set the record straight.
Scholar Adin Steinsaltz discusses his recently completed edition of the Talmud, why the Internet is better than TV, and the prospect of the Lubavitcher Rebbe and Elvis playing cards together
A vivid new scholarly book illuminates how the calendars of early modern Europe—playful, alive, and beautifully designed—reflected and transformed Jewish conceptions of time
Restaurants offering dishes like bacon-wrapped matzo balls are garnering praise for embracing Jewish tradition while also rejecting it. But a chef turned rabbinical student suspects they’re just lazy.
The Jews and their excellentness
But do we deserve it?
Muslim zealots claim the Internet is a Jewish conspiracy. They’re not wrong.
Reconsidering Hillel, the legendary rabbi whose distillation of Judaism’s core teachings still applies
Supreme Court Justice Elena Kagan, Jewish law, and the principle of binding precedent