While studying another arcane tractate of the Talmud, I recall my childhood lessons with my father and my struggle to understand everything he taught me
Seven-and-a-half years, 2,711 pages, 288 columns, plus 2 podcasts, a camel on fire, a eunuch, bowls full of sacrificial blood, and an elephant that might be dead
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
In this week’s ‘Daf Yomi’ Talmud study, ancient rabbis take sides on how to deal with uncertainty when it comes to ritual impurity in women
‘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 debates the right way to use consecrated Temple leftovers without crossing holy lines
Sacred meat, slaughtered animals, and blood on the altar, in this week’s ‘Daf Yomi’ Talmud study
What my father and I learned by studying Talmud—and each other
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,’ 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, 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.
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?