In the Talmud’s Most Difficult Tractate, the Rabbis Tackle Mathematical Probability

Oct. 25 2019

The talmudic tractate of Kinnim (“nests”) takes up only three pages in standard editions, and includes only Mishnah (the Talmud’s earlier stratum), without Gemara (the later stratum). As the title implies, it is concerned with bird sacrifices, which were mandated—during the time the Temple stood—for a handful of occasions. Traditionally, Kinnim is considered one of the most challenging parts of the Talmud, as Adam Kirsch explains:

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Read more at Tablet

More about: Halakhah, Judaism, Sacrifice, Talmud

The U.S. Has Managed to Force a Stalemate in the Syrian Civil War, at Least for Now

In a little remarked-upon statement in May, James Jeffrey, the State Department’s envoy for Syria policy, said that his goal was to turn the war-torn country into “a quagmire for the Russians.” By using economic leverage, this policy has achieved modest success, writes Jonathan Spyer:

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Read more at Foreign Policy

More about: Bashar al-Assad, Russia, Syrian civil war, U.S. Foreign policy