What I took as a literary critic from the rich humanist landscape of page-a-day Talmud study. And a farewell.
As the seven-and-a-half-year cycle of page-a-day ‘Daf Yomi’ Talmud study comes to a close, the ancient rabbis discuss when adolescence ends and compare female sexual maturity to ripening figs
In this week’s ‘Daf Yomi,’ Talmudic rabbis debate if a miscarriage causes religious impurity and discuss what to do when a woman discharges a fetus that resembles a fish
This week’s ‘Daf Yomi’ Talmud study explores the origins of sexual puritanism in the faith: why Jewish men can’t touch themselves even while urinating, how erections lead to idol worship, and how masturbation delays the arrival of the Messiah
‘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.
This week’s ‘Daf Yomi’ Talmud study suggests contemporary secular Jews have a lot to atone for
This week’s ‘Daf Yomi’ follows its own logic from animal sacrifice to definitions of prostitution
In this week’s ‘Daf Yomi,’ drawing a distinction between what is permitted and what is legal
This week’s ‘Daf Yomi’ Talmud study explores many ways to pay off a divine debt: in gold, silver, pitch, vegetables—or limbs
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
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
At 100, the U.K.’s greatest Jewish celebrity tabloid writer would rather dance with Sophia Loren
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
Or, how the Jews reconquered London
‘Daf Yomi’: To avoid conflicts of interest, Talmudic rabbis put limits on their own authority over kosher slaughter
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