The Talmud is a central text of Judaism. It takes the form of a record of rabbinic discussions pertaining to Jewish law, ethics, philosophy, customs and history.

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Who established the Shema?

The Gemara in Berachos 12b says "They sought to establish [various passages] in the Shema" and "they establish[ed] the passage of tzitzis in the Shema" (Artscroll trans.) I had thought that the ...
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What does R' Shimon mean when he “Expounds the reason of a verse”?

There is a known argument In Kiddushin and other places where it says that R' Shimon "expounds [for Halachic purposes] the reason of a verse" (דרש טעמא דקרא). What does this mean? Does it mean that ...
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How does someone adopted as an infant determine Jewish status?

While this question applies to me it is being edited to become more general in accordance with the rules of this site. If an infant, the child of a non-Jewish mother (and therefore not Jewish), is ...
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125 views

Rebbe Akiva's encounter with the stone

The Gemara in Kesubos 62b - 63a, "Rebbe Akiva was a shepherd for Ben Kalba Savua. His daughter saw that he was modest and of fine character. She asked him, ‘If I marry you, will you go to the Beis ...
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Do Jewish hermeneutics include an analogue for repudiating the “argument ad hominem”?

I'm wondering whether traditional sources have a name or an approach to dealing with what is known more generally as an "argument ad hominem". That is, are there sources in which some variation of ...
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How does one make a Hadran on two Masechtos?

I'm almost finished with learning Shavuos and Bava Metzia side by side, and I was going to make a siyum on the two of them together. That got me thinking: what should I do about a Hadran? You name the ...
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Why do Rabbis curse in the Gemara?

I've always believed cursing people is forbidden in Judaism, but I recently read the following on the Gemara: Berakhot 13b והא רבי יהושע בן לוי לייט אמאן דגני אפרקיד For lo, R. Joshua b. Levi ...
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Has completing the entire Talmud ever been a tenet of Rabbinical Ordination?

Has there ever been a requirement in any Rabbinical program to finish the entire Talmud, not just select mesechtas + related halachos?
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Source for a Talmudic story of three caskets

In the Merchant of Venice, suitors attempting to win Portia's hand must choose from 3 caskets (of gold, silver and lead). Those who chose wrong must leave immediately and never marry anyone. One who ...
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120 views

Identification of Censored Areas of Talmud

Unfortunately, the Talmud and other writings have been subject to censorship since their completion. These alterations seem still to be present in many modern editions of the Talmud. How ...
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201 views

Order of Masechtos in Seder Moed

According to the standard Shas print (Vilna Bavli), the order of Masechtas is Pesachim-Shekalim-Rosh Hashana-Yoma-Sukka-Beitza. This makes (some) sense as this is the order of holidays. However, the ...
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What is the status of the “minor tractates”?

There is a collection of "minor tractates" some of which contain material not found in other works of torah sh'baal peh (the oral law). What is the origin of these tractates? Who wrote/compiled them? ...
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181 views

Persia will completely annihilate Edom which will cause moshiach to come

I heard that in a passage in the Talmud it says Persia will completely annihilate Edom and the rest of the world which will then spur about moshiach' arrival, the Yalkut Shimoni (Yeshaya 60:499), ...
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Why are Masekhtot referred to by content while Humashim by their first word(s)?

Hamishah Humshe'i Torah (i.e. The Five Books of Moses) are most commonly referred to by the first word(s) in each (e.g. "Bereshit bara", "We'eleh HaDevarim"), though I'm aware of commentators (e.g. ...
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The concept of קם ליה בדרבה מיניה

I'm trying to understand this concept. I've Googled around and could't find any straightforward answers. I don't need too many details, just the explanation that's given in the Gemara (I understand ...
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Is there anything in the Tanakh or Talmud about a woman that raises her children alone?

I just lost my grandmother. She raised her 5 children alone. I am looking for things in the Tanakh or Talmud to cheer my dad up. Is there anything in the Tanakh or Talmud about a woman that raises her ...
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Connecting Shas and Halacha

What resources are available to trace the connections from the Gemara to the Halachic codifications and the reverse? For example, how can someone learning Daf Yomi find the related Halachic rulings ...
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All but every 6th letter begins the name of a misechte

For each letter in the aleph beis, there is at least one misechte in shas whose name starts with it — besides for every 6th letter (vuv, lamed and tzadi). Did anyone ever hear any explanation ...
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Tzlach - source of name?

The Noda BiYehuda has a commentary on Shas known as Tzlach - can someone help me by explaining what that stands for?
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287 views

What does the word Dochak mean?

When I study gemara with some people, I often heard the sentences "he is dochak", "he's not so dochak". What does this word mean exactly ? I do not find it in the dictionnary.
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Did the Jews in the Midbar know the entire Torah?

The G'mara in Y'vamos (ד) and B'rachos (כא) records a dispute over whether laws can be deduced from the fact of two p'sukim appearing adjacent to one another in the Torah. The Mahara"tz Chayos (...
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When and why does the Gemoro say “vehilchoso”?

Sometimes, after the Talmud records a disagreement, it concludes by saying that the Halacha is like one side of the debate (“vehilchoso”). See e.g. http://hebrewbooks.org/shas.aspx?mesechta=2&daf=...
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75 views

Source for Gemara about Gedalia

Where can I find the Gemara which this speaker is talking about ? In short, he quotes a Gemara which talks about Gedalia. Gedalia heard that Yishmael was coming to murder the people of the town but ...
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Did HaShem “regret” creating someone/something

I heard once that it says somewhere in Chazal that there were certain things or people that HaShem "regretted" (had "charatah") in creating. Although I don't remember which examples were given or if a ...
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Relationship between “Tafasta mi'uta tafasta” and Occam's Razor

The Talmud often invokes the principle of תפסת מרובה לא תפסת תפסת מועט תפסת. (E.g. Yoma 80a) This would seem to be a presentation of Occam's razor. I am looking for confirmation (or rejection) of the ...
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173 views

What was Rav's relationship to R' Hiyyah?

In Mo'ed Katan (Bab. 20a) the Gemara relates a story about how Rav learned of the death of his parents from a conversation with R' Hiyyah. The Gemara tells us their relationship, and it's pretty ...
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161 views

Can someone explain the meat-vinegar issue in 7th perek of Pesachym?

I have a question with regards to the sugya in Pesachym 74B regarding soaking meat in vinegar. To start with: if blood has already been purged, why soak in vinegar to remove the blood? how can the ...
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Riddle: Honor-Dishonor [closed]

When is doing an action to honor something considered a dishonor and therefore okay?
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264 views

What is the source of my father's Hebrew name? It is כלאוונא

I am going getting a GET from my wife and the Rabbi asked for my father's Hebrew name. I told him it was כלאוונא, the same as my great-grandfather. The rabbi said he had never heard of the name. ...
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Why is the Rif's digest of tractate Niddah hidden in tractate Shevuos?

Rabbi Isaac Alfasi's summary of tractate Niddah is hidden in masechet Shevuot. Why is it buried in maseches Shevuos?
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Brachos Daf 2a - What does Creation have to do with Krias Shema?

The Gemorah in Brachos Daf 2a asks two questions right away after learning the Mishnah. The second is: Why is it that the Mishnah taught about the time at night for Krias Shema first - really we ...
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Haman in the Torah

Similar to Alex's question, Why did the Gemara say "From where is the source of Homon in the Torah? Homin Hoetz." when it could have used "Vechaltem es Homon"? Anyways, what is the purpose of ...
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377 views

Which Talmudic source for Ḥanukah is the real source?

What is the Talmudic source for Ḥanukah? In discussing candles for Shabbath, the Talmud (Shab. 21b) goes into a discussion about candles generally, touching upon Ḥanukah candles, and ultimately asks, ...
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139 views

What is the connection between giving tz'daka and tripping on steps?

"Paso'ach Tiftach Es Yadecha Lo", open up your hand to the poor (Re'eh 15:8). The Gemara in Bava Basra (10a) tells the story how Rav Papa was walking up the stairs and his foot slipped and he was ...
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Difficulty understanding Gemara's logic about number of necessary sukkah walls

Some background information At Sukkah 6b, the gemara presents a dispute between R' Shimon and the Rabanan about how many walls are necessary for a sukkah to have. The Rabanan hold that a sukkah ...
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Daughter of Pharao doing Teshuvah?

Are there any commentaries which shows that the daughter of Pharao refuted idolatry, made a act of repentance or anything like that? I wonder what it was that made her save Moshe, that she had ...
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Why did R. Zera want to forget the Talmud Bavli?

I read that R. Zera fasted one hundred days to forget the Babylonian Talmud before he left Babylon to live in the Land of Israel. Why would he do this when I've understood that the Babylonian Talmud ...
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111 views

What is a “migu”

A popular topic discussed sometimes at length in Yeshivas I would like to pose the question here with a few additional points: What is a "migu"? How is it used in Shas? What is a "classic" (or the ...
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Is every mishna mentioned in the Bavli?

On a previous question that I asked, one correspondent pointed out the existence of a Mishnaic index, which lists every page of the early rabbinic literature on which there is a reference (or allusion)...
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Gemara on volunteering?

I heard that there was a Gemara to the effect of "volunteers cost more than employees because their motivation is not as good" -- or somesuch. Any ideas? Thanks.
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Do they still print g'maras with regular Torah Or?

It used to be the standard for many many years that each in-text quotation of a Biblical verse in the Vilna edition Talmud Bavli had a little circle before the first word, which corresponded to a ...
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162 views

Do angels sing?

After reading the last Tosfos on Chullin 91b ( http://hebrewbooks.org/shas.aspx?mesechta=31&daf=91b&format=text) I wondered if angels sing? Is there an explicit source in Tanach that they sing?...
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439 views

Which Raban Shimon ben Gamliel was it who was martyred?

The Ten Martyrs liturgy describes Rabbi Yishmael the High Priest and Raban [=nasi or "chief rabbi"] Shimon ben Gamliel as killed by the Romans at the same time. Rabbi Yishmael served as cohen gadol ...
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Elijah the prophet as one who appears in times of need

Various Christian commentators state that Jewish literature represents Elijah as one who appears from heaven to help in times of need. The only example given is contained in the Babylonian Talmud ...
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387 views

Why is it Ok to have tzizit without techelet?

The Mishna in M’nachot 4:1 says that the mitzvah of the white tzizit is not gone if there is no techelet, and the mitzvah of the techelet is not gone if there is no white. That seems a straight ...
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How would anyone ever “worship idols out of love or fear”?

It says in the Gemara (Krisus 3a) that if one worships an idol without accepting it as a god, he isn't liable to even bring a chatas. This opinion seems to held according to everyone. Yet, the Gemara ...
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Difference between the Mishnah, Gemara and the Talmud

As a non-Jew, I would like to know the difference between the Mishnah, Gemara and the Talmud. I understand that the Oral Law was not written down until after the destruction of the second temple. That ...
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248 views

Why Choose Talmud Bavli For The Daily Study

As we know it is a big custom to learn a daf of Talmud Bavli a day (Dafyomi). My question is why did they choose to pick Talmud Bavli. There are so many other Subjects that could actually affect ...
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Where does the Talmud discuss the reason for Onan's death?

Genesis 38 says that instead of impregnating Tamar, Onan let his seed go to waste, and that this angered God, and therefore God killed Onan. I have a vague memory of reading somewhere in the Talmud ...
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How could the Temple have become tamei?

At Yoma 41a, there is a discussion regarding the appropriate offering for someone who causes the Temple to become Tamei (ritually impure)? But what are we talking about becoming tamei? The utinsels ...