Jewish Culture Was Not Always a Response to Non-Jewish Culture

Why read the Talmud as a secular Jew? In part, for its expression of an independent Jewish creativity and spirituality.

Rationalism, Mysticism, Slaves, and a Sukkah Made From an Elephant

The Talmud describes rabbis who were not just judges and legal analysts, but magicians as well

In the Talmud, Jews Losing Touch With the Everyday Words of the Holy Land

In staking claims about the validity of Jewish identity, the rabbis show that the Diaspora has existed for nearly as long as Judaism

Math Problem for Talmudic Rabbis: Building the Right Size Sukkah

Pi, irrational numbers, and squaring the circle are all brought to bear to find justifications for tradition

How Large Must a Sukkah Be To Be Called a Sukkah—And Yet Still Be Far From Heaven?

In dissenting opinions, Talmudic rabbis propose and debate every detail of Sukkot’s booth and, in so doing, measure God

In the Talmud, One Sin Is Beyond Repentance: Giving God and Jews a Bad Name

A holy desecration is unethical in part because of the social pressure to reflect well on the tribe

Too Much, Too Little: Talmudic Rabbis’ Creativity Shines When Interpreting Prohibitions

Manna, and fasting, are not just miracles of sustenance and faith, but also elements of jurisprudence

Some Jewish Acts Seem Meaningless. The Talmud Says You Should Do Them Anyway.

Illogical Jewish laws are ‘matters that Satan challenges’: raising doubts for enemies of Judaism and skeptical Jews

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

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

The Talmud Pays Little Attention to What Jews Believe, Yet Asks Them To Have Faith

Judaism’s manual of sacred technology prizes holiness over beauty, action over thought, and ritual over belief

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