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The Birds

‘Daf Yomi’: The Talmud’s shortest and most difficult tractate is nominally about the sacrifice of feathered animals. In fact, it sets up a number of mathematical problems that delight the rabbis in their pursuit of pure knowledge.

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Ends With Benefits

This week’s ‘Daf Yomi’ Talmud study debates the right way to use consecrated Temple leftovers without crossing holy lines

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Sacrificial Ram

Sacred meat, slaughtered animals, and blood on the altar, in this week’s ‘Daf Yomi’ Talmud study

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Captive Among the Gentiles

This week’s ‘Daf Yomi’ Talmud study suggests contemporary secular Jews have a lot to atone for

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If a Man Gives a Woman a Lamb in Exchange for Sex

This week’s ‘Daf Yomi’ follows its own logic from animal sacrifice to definitions of prostitution

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When Does Human Life Begin?

This week’s ‘Daf Yomi’ Talmud study happens to pit contemporary abortion law against Jewish views of conception and viability in all animals

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Blood and Milk

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.

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Impure Thoughts

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.

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Kosher Overreach

In this week’s ‘Daf Yomi’: Are the laws of kashrut based on an overly wide interpretation of a single verse in Deuteronomy?

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Offspring Fever

In this week’s ‘Daf Yomi,’ prohibitions against slaughtering the young of sacrificed livestock reveal the thoroughness and complexity of Talmudic study of contingencies

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Womb Raider

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.

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Slaughtering With Intent

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

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Cuts Like a Knife

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?

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Vesselmania

In this week’s ‘Daf Yomi,’ Talmudic scholars grapple with the number of sacrificial measuring cups in the First Temple

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There’s No Business Like Showbread Business

‘Daf Yomi’: Are Jews like olives, crushed for their oil, or like the leaves on the olive branch, enduring through all seasons?

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Salt Bae

In this week’s ‘Daf Yomi’ Talmud study, the rabbis debate the use of the flavor-enhancing mineral in sacrificial offerings. Plus: Why wood needs to be sprinkled with salt before it is burned—over wood.

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On the One Hand

In this week’s ‘Daf Yomi’ Talmud study, the rabbis search the mists of time to try to recover which hand is to be used in the rituals of sacrifice and offering

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Who Gets to Eat Sacrificial Meat?

In this week’s ‘Daf Yomi,’ Talmudic rabbis raise contradictions in the rules governing ritual purity, ‘acute mourning,’ and imperfections in the priesthood

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Dirty Laundry

In this week’s ‘Daf Yomi,’ Talmudic rabbis decide how to clean the garments used in ritual slaughter (using urine). Also: When is a garment just a cloth?

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Cooking Times and Air Rights

In this week’s ‘Daf Yomi,’ Talmudic rabbis determine the finer points of animal sacrifice and follow their logical reasoning to the limits of the absurd

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Suited to the Fire

In this week’s ‘Daf Yomi,’ Talmudic rabbis continue their investigations into sacrificial offerings and remain dispassionate in their analysis of sexual sins. Plus: the origin of the word ‘treyf.’

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Bird Sacrifice

In this week’s ‘Daf Yomi,’ Talmudic rabbis try to establish the rules governing ritual slaughter of feathered offerings

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Mapping the Temple

Daf Yomi: Talmudic rabbis, as distant from the original animal sacrifices as we are from the Civil War, try to piece together a layout that matches the Torah

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Blood of the Soul

This week’s ‘Daf Yomi’ Talmud study continues to explore the real—and hypothetical—practicalities of ritual animal sacrifice

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On Priestly Perfection

In this week’s ‘Daf Yomi,’ how ancient Talmudic rabbis recreated and understood the lost religious culture of the First Temple

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If A, Then B

Through Daf Yomi’s exercises in mathematical logic, Talmudic rabbis attempt to decipher the will of a reasonable God. Plus: What distinguishes guilt from sin?

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Slaughtered Offerings

In making animal sacrifices, says this week’s ‘Daf Yomi’ Talmud study, ancient Jews learned the importance of doing religious actions with deliberate purpose

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Rediscovering My Judaism—in Africa

I went to Ghana to study drumming. But I learned much more about the religion I’d cast aside, including how to reclaim it.

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A Brief History of a Fowl Custom

Talmudic scholars have never agreed on the pre-Yom Kippur chicken sacrifice

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

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

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