Category Archives: Talmud

Talmudic Advice on Producing Male Children

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With three daughters and no sons, not infrequently do people mention something from the Talmud about how to have male children. Knowing that the statement, in particular, was not the only one suggesting how to have male children, I decided … Continue reading

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“שאף הן היו באותו הנס”: Rabbi Yehoshua, son of Levi’s Including of Women in a Few Holiday Practices

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In a categorical statement, the Mishnah proposes that “כל מצות עשה שהזמן גרמה–האנשים חייבין, והנשים פטורות – All positive commandments that time causes: men are obligated; women are exempt” (mKiddushin 1.7).  However, there are some exceptions (there are always exceptions…). … Continue reading

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Blessing on Seeing a Large Crowd of Jews

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These past couple of days, I have had the pleasure of being with hundreds of other young adult Jews here in New Orleans and there is such a great amount of energy to being with them.  It makes one wonder … Continue reading

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The Mitzvah Against Verbal Oppression (“How Not to Be a Jerk”): An Example from the Babylonian Talmud

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I had the opportunity to be one of the speakers at the tenth annual Jewlicious Festival, held recently in Long Beach.  Ten days ago, one of the two text-based discussions I led, which I called “What Not to Say”, had … Continue reading

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Mitzvot in Rabbinic Literature That Are Considered to be Equivalent to All of the Mitzvot (שקולה מצוה זו כנגד כל המצות כולן)

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An interesting phenomenon in Rabbinic Literature is the rhetorical move of considering a particular mitzvah as being as weighty as all of the rest of them. While I have previously written about the study of Torah not being a part … Continue reading

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Just Because Some Rabbinic Texts are Androcentric Doesn’t Mean There Aren’t (Or Can’t Be) Gynocentric Correlates

When it comes to reading rabbinic literature (Mishnah, Talmud, etc.), the androcentrism of the Rabbis does not often seem like such an issue as much as it does when they discuss women, relationships, and sex. Not infrequently, I come up … Continue reading

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Judging Favorably (הוי דן לכף זכות)

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A common occurrence of human life is evaluating that which is around us, whether it be things that happen, people doing things, or other matters.  This, amongst other purposes, helps us situate ourselves vis-á-vis the larger world and help us … Continue reading

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“Therefore, Let’s Say Both of Them”: The Blessing Combination of Rav Papa

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There is an interesting phenomenon in the Babylonian Talmud, whereby the phrase הלכך נמרינהו לתרוייהו is used to indicate that a blessing should not just be used to thank God for one thing, but actually should use two pre-existing options … Continue reading

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Rava and Jews Who Were Not Fond of the Rabbinic Traditions

As I mentioned on Thursday in my post on the first chapter of the Tanya, Rava seems to be defending the many Jews with whom he has been in contact who do not follow the words of the Sages, as … Continue reading

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Early Rabbis Approach Proverbs 14:34 (Some Initial Thoughts)

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In reading the first chapter of the “Regular People Book” (ספר של בינונים) as part of my Tanya-reading-and-blogging project, I, of course, am going through all of the Talmudic references (which are interesting). One that I found worth exploring in … Continue reading

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