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Oil Change

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

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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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The Talmud as Rube Goldberg Machine of the Mind

In this week’s ‘Daf Yomi,’ one rabbi finds a way out of a complex problem with meal offerings other rabbis created

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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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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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Statue of Limitations

This week’s ‘Daf Yomi’ Talmud study considers how Jews can avoid idolatry and still live in a public space full of graven images

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Immoral, Weak, Abusive, Untrustworthy, and Murderous

What Talmudic sages thought of the pagan gentiles of their day is disturbingly paranoid and hostile

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Thou Shalt Sell No White Rooster and Bow to No Idols

Daf Yomi: How could Jews live as a minority among peoples, the Romans and the Persians, whose religion they considered sinful?

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The Talmud’s Revenge Fantasies

In this week’s ‘Daf Yomi,’ the oft-banned tractate that indulges a God ‘making sport’ with the enemies of a persecuted and oppressed people

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The Order of Things

The reasoning behind the Talmud’s categories and sub-categories isn’t always apparent. In this week’s ‘Daf Yomi,’ the Talmud wonders about its own organization.

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The Talmud and the Thought Police

‘Daf Yomi’: Do heretical Jewish thinkers have a say in the World to Come?

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Rebellious Elders

Daf Yomi: Why heresy is rare in Talmudic law, where judicial dissent and tiered courts institutionalized freedom of thought

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False Idols

Talmudic rabbis disagree on whether the action or the intention of veneration or protest is more important. Plus: Is magic holy?

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Surprise, Discovery, Ritual, Meaning, and Wonder

Five years into the seven-year ‘Daf Yomi’ cycle of Talmud study, our columnist pauses to reflect on what the ancient text has taught him about being Jewish today

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Reading Torah Against the Grain

Daf Yomi: Do Talmudic rabbis seek justification for givens by retrofitting biblical text to their needs? The case of the Sanhedrin courts.

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Follow the Money

In this week’s ‘Daf Yomi,’ tough-minded and practical wisdom on financial transactions from the ancient rabbis

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The Art of Forgery

In this week’s ‘Daf Yomi’ Talmud study, the rabbis attempt to imagine every possible way to alter a legal document, and a coinciding method to thwart each of them

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An Old Jew Is on His Deathbed, and Says to His Son…

In this week’s ‘Daf Yomi,’ what’s right—and what’s legal—in matters of inheritance

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The Inheritance

In this week’s ‘Daf Yomi,’ one sage overrules the consensus, and men may dispose of their wealth upon their deathbeds at will

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Taking a ‘Sharp Knife’ to the Talmud

Daf Yomi: Interpreters of ancient Jewish law ‘often give the impression of doing whatever needs to be done to make the Bible mean what they want it to mean’

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Caveat Emptor

In this week’s ‘Daf Yomi,’ Talmudic sages ask what it is safe to assume in matters of transactions within the law, and what must be specifically proven

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The Law of the Kingdom, or the Law of the Jews?

In this week’s ‘Daf Yomi’ Talmud study, the rabbis debate whether Jews owe anything to gentiles, when it comes to property rights

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Daf Yomi: ‘Whoever Is Stronger Prevails’

Talmudic rabbis solve territorial disputes by giving the spoils to the victor

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If You’ll Buy That, the Rabbi’ll Throw the Golden Gate in Free

This week’s ‘Daf Yomi’ Talmud study examines the origin of rules for real estate transactions

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What the Rich Owe the Poor

In this week’s ‘Daf Yomi,’ the deep Jewish roots of income equality, and the shared dignity it brings

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The Talmud as Epic

This week’s ‘Daf Yomi’ brings to life rabbinic heroes on their intellectual battlefield: larger-than-life figures worthy of Greek drama

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Why the Talmud Allows Jews to Profit Off Gentiles

In this week’s ‘Daf Yomi’ Talmud study, focusing on religious duty over secular egalitarianism

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Not in Heaven

Man’s authority to interpret the Torah in a ‘postmagical age’ is the subject of this week’s ‘Daf Yomi’ rabbinical debate

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