In this week’s ‘Daf Yomi,’ minima and maxima decorate the memory palaces Talmudic rabbis built to sustain the oral tradition of Babylonian learning
In this week’s ‘Daf Yomi,’ Talmudic sages make ‘valuations’ and ‘assessments’ of living people, in ancient actuarial tables with premiums paid at the Temple
Adam Ehrlich Sachs’ ‘brilliant, weird, and profound’ new novel, ‘The Organs of Sense,’ imagines a visionary blind Jewish astronomer in the court of Holy Roman Emperor Rudolf II
In this week’s ‘Daf Yomi’ Talmud study, the biblical redemption of a woman’s eldest opens logical byways into cesarean sections, stillbirths, and when Jewish life begins
In this week’s ‘Daf Yomi’ Talmud study, how Jewish conceptions of friendship and trust are tied up in ritual purity and levels of religious observance
This week’s ‘Daf Yomi’ Talmud study happens to pit contemporary abortion law against Jewish views of conception and viability in all animals
In this week’s ‘Daf Yomi’: Why are Jews allowed to drink milk at all? Plus: what Talmudic rabbis misunderstood about menstruation and the sources of other bodily fluids. Also: the right way to sacrifice a donkey.
A worthy new biography of the late historian Eric Hobsbawm shows the ardent communist in the crucible of the 20th century
This week’s ‘Daf Yomi’ tackles the eternal problem of theodicy: If God is both good and omnipotent, why is there evil in the world?
In this week’s ‘Daf Yomi’ Talmud study, the practical-minded, hyperspecific, sometimes contradictory rules of Jewish ritual purity. Plus: Why religious uncleanliness is like a virus.
In this week’s ‘Daf Yomi’: Are the laws of kashrut based on an overly wide interpretation of a single verse in Deuteronomy?
In this week’s ‘Daf Yomi,’ prohibitions against slaughtering the young of sacrificed livestock reveal the thoroughness and complexity of Talmudic study of contingencies
Isaac Mizrahi’s new ‘I.M.’ is a classic Jewish memoir of rebelling against stifling expectations to flourish in American possibility
In this week’s ‘Daf Yomi,’ Talmudic rabbis imagine a situation involving a weasel, a cow’s womb, a fetus, vomit, and a firstborn calf. Naturally.
‘Daf Yomi’: To avoid conflicts of interest, Talmudic rabbis put limits on their own authority over kosher slaughter
In a landmark new translation, Robert Alter revives the literary power of a Hebrew masterpiece
In this week’s ‘Daf Yomi,’ why a Jew may not sacrifice an animal in such a way that its blood flows into the ocean, and other rules protecting worshippers from the limits of paganism
In this week’s ‘Daf Yomi,’ the Talmud reiterates how intention defines human acts. Plus: Does a dropped blade accidentally decapitating an animal count as ritual slaughter?
A boxed set for the writer’s centenary confirms him as the master of possibility
For Amos Oz, the real Israel was cherishable precisely because it was not a high ideal but a fact achieved only by labor and compromise
In this week’s ‘Daf Yomi,’ intentionality and human agency remain at the heart of Jewish law. Plus: the difference between a pagan and a heretic.
In this week’s ‘Daf Yomi,’ Talmudic rabbis debate who is free to butcher animals piously according to Jewish ritual. Plus: the one transgression that is unforgivable under the Torah.
In this week’s ‘Daf Yomi,’ Talmudic rabbis ask if it is possible to do service to the true God in the wrong location
In this week’s ‘Daf Yomi,’ the Talmud is ‘a kind of speculative historical fiction’ about Temple rituals
In this week’s ‘Daf Yomi,’ Talmudic scholars grapple with the number of sacrificial measuring cups in the First Temple
In this week’s ‘Daf Yomi’ Talmud study, discussion of proper meal offerings displays the circularity and uncertainty of rituals recreated from a destroyed culture
A first English translation of the great Italian Jewish author’s single-volume compendium of tales of Ferrara reminds us of the power of his ghosts
In this week’s ‘Daf Yomi,’ Talmudic rabbis—debating the origins of the omer—explore the sanctity of different forms of wheat. Plus: Can seeds found in elephant dung be made clean by replanting?
‘Daf Yomi’: Are Jews like olives, crushed for their oil, or like the leaves on the olive branch, enduring through all seasons?
In this week’s ‘Daf Yomi’ Talmud study, two schools of biblical thought diverge over the ritual clothing fringes. Plus: Does a dead man get to wear tzitzit?