Browsing Tag

talmud

What The Talmud Says When It Talks Dirty
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What The Talmud Talks About When It Talks About Sex

By On March 30, 2016

Who knew that medieval rabbis had so much to say about sex? The Talmudic sages compared the size of their “limbs,” mandated that couples engage in foreplay, and decided how often husbands… Read More

The 6 Genders of the Talmud
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The 6 Genders of the Talmud

By On November 9, 2015

If you want to smash the gender binary (by, for example, giving transpeople a comfortable place to pee), Judaism can feel like an odd fit. The obligation to observe commandments is traditionally… Read More

The Next Darwin is this 33-Year-Old Jewish Biophysicist
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The Next Darwin Is a Jew Named Jeremy England

By On October 26, 2015

Question: What does the Talmud have in common with the laws of thermodynamics and natural selection? Answer: Jeremy England, 33-year-old assistant professor at MIT, who is a Harvard grad, Rhodes Scholar, modern… Read More

A New, Digital Wonderland of Jewish Text
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A New, Digital Wonderland of Jewish Text

By On September 8, 2014

Imagine a digital wonderland where every Jewish text is available free and open-source, where the extraordinary expanse of our texts are waiting to be combed, prodded, and commented upon by interested parties… Read More

What’s In God’s Tefillin?
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What’s In God’s Tefillin?

By On June 25, 2014

Tefillin, or phylacteries, are the black leather straps and boxes that are worn on the head and on the arm during weekday morning prayers. Madonna puts them on with her teeth. Barbie has a pair. Once on… Read More

star-trek-1
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The Talmud of Star Trek

By On May 26, 2014

The Talmud says that killing a single person is like destroying the entire world. In the Star Trek: The Next Generation episode “The Inner Light” (1992), writer Morgan Gendel took the concept literally. Inspired… Read More

rebel-son
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Ben Sorer U’Moreh

By On August 1, 2012

Think kids today have trouble with authority? The Torah (Deuteronomy 21:18) tells the story of a ben sorer u’moreh, a “stubborn and rebellious son” who “doesn’t hearken to the voice of his father or mother.” Let’s just… Read More

woman-smelling-tree
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Smells, and Other Signs of Love

By On July 19, 2012

Scientists believe that there has been an evolutionary decline in the human sense of smell. Perhaps it was more potent back when people were hunters and gatherers–but these days, our olfactory sense is good for… Read More

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The Fifteen Commandments

By On May 25, 2012

“All pay heed!” cries Mel Brooks, playing Moses in History of the World, Part I–“The Lord has given unto you these Fifteen Commandments!” He promptly drops one tablet, which shatters. Without missing a beat, Moses… Read More

sinbad of the talmud
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Sinbad in the Talmud

By On April 25, 2012

The Talmudic sage Rabbah bar bar Hana got around. Unlike most scholars of his time–who stuck to either a yeshiva in Jerusalem or in Babylonia–bar bar Hana traveled back and forth between both places. But, in… Read More

cleopatra
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Rabbi Cleopatra

By On March 10, 2012

There are all sorts of strange cameos and guest-starring roles in the Talmud. Just like a sitcom, where, unexpectedly, Larry David might be having lunch with Mayim Bialik, the ancient rabbis also had guests show… Read More

scepter
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The King’s Wand

By On March 7, 2012

One of the Talmud‘s oddest discussions has to be the debate over the length of King Ahasuerus’s royal scepter. At one point in the Purim story, Esther entered the king’s throne room to beg him not to put the… Read More