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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What are the authoritative Jewish documents?

When I'm reading through answers on this site I often see users make references like - Baba Batra 75A Or Chagiga 12A I don't understand what these mean. What are the documents that ...
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0answers
147 views

When was the bending of the knees in bowing introduced?

The Gemara in Berachos 12a says that we bow at Baruch and we straighten at Hashem. Nowadays the familiar practice is to bend the knee at Baruch, to bow at Atah, and to straighten at Hashem, as stated ...
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1answer
115 views

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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2answers
127 views

How do we understand the idea of something missing from the mishnah חסורי מיחסרא והכי קתני?

The gemoro often reconciles the argument of a mishnah with other evidence by saying חסורי מיחסרא והכי קתני - there is something missing from the mishnah and this is how you must learn it. See for ...
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1answer
332 views

Can one make a siyum mesechta if it was learned in English translation?

If someone has some trouble with Aramaic and learned parts of a mesechta in English translation (for example with an Artscroll Gemara), can he still make a siyum?
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2answers
239 views

Is the Talmud part of the Jewish canon? [closed]

In response to another question, I was told that the Talmud was considered canonical by Orthodox Jews. I have heard it called authoritative, but never canonical before. The cursory sources I checked ...
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1answer
127 views

Dialogue Between Jews and Romans in Jewish Tradition

I always wonder what people refer to when they quote things spoken between the Jews and the Romans. Does ancient Jewish doctrine include instances of dialogue between the Jews and the Romans?
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5answers
278 views

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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1answer
95 views

Rashi in Horayos

I'm learning now Horayos, and it seems to me that Rashi there is somewhat different. Too verbose, I would say. Are there any sources that in Horayos Rashi is indeed Rashi, or it is not?
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3answers
352 views

Practical guide to the Brisker method in English?

Is there a book that serves as a practical guide in English to applying the Brisker method of learning Gemara?
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2answers
291 views

Paskening from Talmud vs. Shulchan Arukh

Sometimes poskim will pasken from the Talmud (gemara) instead of the Shulchan Arukh. However, I thought that we pasken from the Shulchan Arukh and not from the Talmud. What is the proper way for ...
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2answers
112 views

In the גמרא when should I read 'לך' as 'לְךָ' and when should I read it as 'לָךְ'?

When I use an Artscroll gemara with vowels, sometimes it will vocalize the word לך differently. The pattern I notice seems to be that it vocalizes לך as לְךָ for hebrew, i.e. a mishna or braisa, and ...
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0answers
280 views

Does Kiddushin 81b imply that one opinion allows for suicide if that is the only way to keep from sinning?

The Gemoro in Kiddushin 81b brings down the following (shortened version of the) story: Rabbi Chiya Bar Ashi used to say 'May God save me from the Yetzer Hora'! When his wife overheard him she ...
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1answer
165 views

Source for “Ein Mazal B'Yisroel”

I know that there is a Gemarah (somewhere in Shabbos I think), that discuses birth signs, based on days of the week and month. The Gemarah ends with Ein Mazal B'Yisroel and a few stories that ...
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1answer
46 views

Learning words from the servants of Rebbi

Where is the gemarah that discusses how the sages didn't know the meaning of certain words until their heard the servants of Rebbi Yehuda HaNasi using those words in everyday conversation?
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2answers
137 views

Why was Chanah called an “Ishah Kesheirah”?

The Gemoro says that when Chanah was caught by Eli davening and whispering, he asked the Urim Vetumim about her to see if she was ok. The letters ה ר ש כ appeared on the Urim Vetumim. Eli understood ...
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2answers
355 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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2answers
160 views

What is the logical explanation for קם ליה בדרבה מיניה?

HodofHod: In essence, the idea is this: If a person does one act, and with that one act incurs two different kinds of penalties, we only apply the stricter one. So if a person (for example) ...
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3answers
231 views

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 ...
13
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4answers
239 views

Who is the voice of Tosafoth?

Tosafoth were the sons-in-law, grandchildren, and students of Rashi (and their students), and "they" wrote a commentary on the Talmud that is often at odds with Rashi's earlier commentary. Sometimes ...
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3answers
2k views

Online English Rashi (Talmud)

Is there an English translation of Rashi's commentary on the Talmud available online?
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1answer
185 views

Best way to translate “קא”

In the Aramaic of the Babylonian Talmud, there is a widely used word "קא", like in the sentence והא קא קרי (in Berahot 13:1). What is the best way to translate it to Hebrew or English? Or maybe just ...
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3answers
760 views

Why were some of the works of Rabbi Steinsaltz banned?

Apparently some of the works of Rabbi Steinsaltz were banned. What are the specific examples that prompted the ban? Is there a list of all of his works that have been banned, as I am interested in ...
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1answer
111 views

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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1answer
246 views

How was Rabbi Yochanan allowed to walk with his son's bone?

It says in Brachos 5B that R' Yochanan used to show people his tenth son's bone (all of his children passed away, and he used to carry a bone of his tenth child). How was he allowed to not bury this ...
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2answers
499 views

What was wrong with the word Talmud?

The Wikipedia article on The Talmud says: and Pope Pius IV commanded, in 1565, that the Talmud be deprived of its very name. The convention of referring to the work as "Shas" (shishah sidre ...
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3answers
416 views

Are women forbidden from Teaching Gemara\Talmud?

Assuming that women are allowed to learn Gemara\Talmud\Torah she-Ba'al Peh, are they still forbidden from teaching it to others (either men or women)? Textual sources for (either references or links) ...
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1answer
79 views

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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1answer
96 views

Merit and Ein Mazal L'Yisrael

The Gemara (Shabbos 156b) tells a story with Shmuel and a non-Jewish astrologer named Avlait. They observed people entering a swamp. Avlait said that a certain man would not emerge from the swamp ...
8
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1answer
189 views

Sharp sword on the throat

The Gemara says Berachot 10a אפי' חרב חדה מונחת על צוארו של אדם אל ימנע עצמו מן הרחמים Even if a sharp sword is resting on one's thought he shouldn't hold back from (asking for) mercy." Why ...
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1answer
462 views

How were men allowed to watch an execution?

It says in Maseches Sota (8a) that that if a woman would be punished by stoning, she would be stoned virtually unclothed, and men would be allowed to attend. The Gemara says that there is no concern ...
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2answers
381 views

Academic review of Steinsaltz Gemara

One of the nice aspects of the Steinsaltz Gemaras is that he provides little historical background pieces to figures and objects referenced in the text, as well as linguistic analysis of certain ...
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2answers
402 views

Looking for a source for well done Purim Torah Gemaras

One example that is utterly irreverent yet very well done and funny is the Simpsons episode done up as a blatt of gemera. (As a positive aspect, his use of B'Laz for Rav Shmuel David Ha'Tzair, as ...
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1answer
137 views

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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1answer
126 views

Why not “Where is Achashverosh in the Torah”?

In Chullin 139b, the Gemara asks about hints in the Torah for several of the figures in the Megillah, and provides answers: "Where is {Haman, Esther, Mordechai} hinted at in the Torah?" ...
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1answer
146 views

Plural vs Singular masechtot names

Why are some masechtot names plural (e.g. gitin, kidushin) while others are singular (e.g. tomid, nida and shabos)?
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2answers
298 views

Insults in the gemarah

Why do tanaim and amoraim use disparaging terms (bavlai tipshai, for instance) or insults when talking with one another. If there is something positive to be learned from this behavior why is it no ...
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2answers
369 views

Pocket-size Talmud/Gemara

Is there is a pocket-size Gemara? Soft cover preferred. This would be a great invention if it doesn't already exist.
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0answers
80 views

Can the Gemara be used as scriptural basis to prove a point? [closed]

In a discussion to my answer on Mordechai - was he or wasn't he? I was told that the Gemara can not be used as scriptural basis to prove a point. Being that the Gemara clarifies scripture is that ...
14
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5answers
330 views

Rabba bar bar Chana

There is a rabbi in the Talmud referred to as רבה בר בר חנה. Why is he called that way? It says that Rabba was the grandson of Chana. Who was Chana? Was it(?) a woman? Why wasn't he called after his ...
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1answer
307 views

Sherlock Holmes-ian deduction in the Talmud

I remember learning a story in the Talmud (I think) and am trying to find the source. I'm a little fuzzy on the details, but this is what I remember. There was a Talmudic Rabbi who was sold into ...
6
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1answer
114 views

Where can I find the booklet “Structure of Debate”?

I was in a different shul this past Shabbos when I saw a very interesting booklet of more than 200 pages called "Structure of Debate" by Jonathan Bailey. It's a primer to learning gemara. I tried ...
3
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1answer
5k views

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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4answers
481 views

Why was the Gemara written in Aramaic?

The Gemara (the Bavli and Yerushalmi) are the fundamental texts that we possess of the Oral law. Why were they written in Aramaic? At first glance, Ravina and R' Ashi probably knew that this will be ...
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1answer
358 views

Why was the Mishna written in Hebrew while the Gemara wasn't?

By the time of the Mishna, people speaking in Aramaic on a day-to-day basis. Nonetheless, R' Yehuda Hanasi wrote the Mishna in Hebrew. So were the Toseftas and the Braisos. Why? On the other hand, ...
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1answer
61 views

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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3answers
418 views

Yaakov Avinu didn't die

This question was asked by msh210 during Parshas Hashavua chat. It says in the Gemara that R' Yitzchak said to R' Nachman in the name of R' Yochanan "Jacob our forefather didn't die". R' Nachman ...
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6answers
204 views

Talmud Yerushalmi Halachot

The halacha we have today is mostly sourced in Talmud Bavli(the Babylonian Talmud),Medrash and Zohar. I would like to know what Halachot which we have today which are sourced strictly in the ...
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423 views

Where are the magic cucumbers discussed in the Talmud?

Where are the magic cucumbers discussed in the Gemara by a Rabbi proud of his knowledge? Are magic cucumbers discussed elsewhere? Thanks.
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80 views

Connection of Toch Kedei Dibbur to Walking 4 Amot

According to this, the gemara compares Toch Kedei Dibbur (the length of time neccasary to greet someone; see Shalom alecha rebbi (u'mori) ) to the time it takes to walk 4 amot (cubits). Thus, with ...