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2
votes
2answers
107 views

What nationality was Bilam?

In Numbers 22:5, the Torah is unclear as to where Pethor is. If it wants to tell us where Pethor is, then tell us, but one can only figure out where Pethor is if one knows of which people was Bilam. ...
5
votes
2answers
81 views

The Necessity of 12 Tribes

Why was it necessary for there to be 12 tribes, with different portions of Israel given to each? The Midrash even states that when the sea split, there were 12 separate paths for each tribe (Pirkei ...
3
votes
1answer
58 views

Why didn't Esther reveal her origin earlier?

Mordechai tells Esther not to reveal her origin (Esther 2:10) ostensibly in the hopes that they would assume she was of ignoble birth and dismiss her (Rashi ad loc.). Once she is chosen by the king, ...
3
votes
2answers
636 views

Are Christians and/or “Messianic Jews” considered Jewish by Jews?

I know Judaism is not "Christian", but I am under the impression that there are some differences amongst Jewish traditions. At the extreme, I have even heard of "Messianic Jews" who believe Jesus was ...
1
vote
1answer
39 views

How are we kings' children and why does it matter?

The mishna, Shabas 14:4 (daf 111 amud 1), cites R. Shim'on as stating that "all Jews are children of kings" (and therefore can use a certain oil on their skin on Shabas). In what sense is it the ...
8
votes
2answers
258 views

Purchasing from a Jew

רמבם, הלכות מתנות עניים י:ז שמנה מעלות יש בצדקה זו למעלה מזו, מעלה גדולה שאין למעלה ממנה זה המחזיק ביד ישראל שמך ונותן לו מתנה או הלואה או עושה עמו שותפות או ממציא לו מלאכה כדי לחזק את ידו עד שלא ...
12
votes
3answers
2k views

How does someone not know they're Jewish?

In this answer, someone said they got offended when people wore crosses, especially if they didn't know they were Jewish. I'm just wondering how someone can not know what religion they follow?
0
votes
2answers
107 views

Book/s about apostasy throughout Jewish history

I am looking for book/s on the subject of apostasy throughout Jewish history. I haven't been able to find anything that focuses on this subject. I would appreciate any pointers What I have in mind ...
13
votes
3answers
1k views

Does a Jewish grandmother (mother's side) really get one accepted as a Jew?

My grandmother (mother's side) is 100% Jewish and even living in Israel. As far as I know, that makes, me a Jew, too. But it feels a little bit strange to say that I am Jewish just because my ...
3
votes
0answers
94 views

Ratio between gentile vs jewish persons for jews to consider

I am interested to know, according to written law, if there is something like a ratio or relativization to consider between people of the tribe and gentiles that a Jew is bound to. Is there's such a ...
0
votes
4answers
504 views

What is the source of hatred perceived by Jews in different parts of the world?

I don't know if this is off topic but a similar question is here at Christianity SE and I thought it would be interesting to ask the corresponding one here. It intrigues me how people from other ...
2
votes
1answer
39 views

Tracing your Jewish roots [closed]

How do you find out about family Jewish history if you only have a Jewish grandfathers name and place of birth but no date of birth?
2
votes
1answer
40 views

How did the Sanhedrin count votes

The Great Sanhedrin was too large (71 judges) to simply know how everyone voted. There must gave been a way to count votes, in a legal fashion. (Just counting people is prohibited.) So, by what ...
2
votes
1answer
34 views

Why was King David Punished for Sending Others to Conduct a Census?

If there is no agency for sin, why was King David punished for sending people out to conduct a (forbidden) census? (Explanation of agency: The Talmud says "ein sheliach l'dvar averia," which means, ...
7
votes
1answer
693 views
1
vote
2answers
386 views

Matrilineal descent & Zera Israel

Would someone with Jewish heritage from a distant foremother on their maternal grandfather's side be considered Zera Yisrael? In other words, does the person fit the definition of Zera Yisrael since ...
7
votes
1answer
263 views

“Am I Jewish​​​?”

How can one tell if one needs to convert or if one is already Jewish? Would one's or one's ancestors' conversion to another religion or their lack of knowledge about Judaism change anything?
13
votes
1answer
156 views

Where are the lost tribes?

Are they spread all round the nations? If so, how will they still be Jewish, surely they will have assimilated so many generations later? Or are they spread within the Jewish nation? I learnt in the ...
7
votes
2answers
184 views

How did Moshe know he was Jewish?

Shemot 2:11 says how Moshe went out to see the suffering of his people: וַיְהִ֣י ׀ בַּיָּמִ֣ים הָהֵ֗ם וַיִּגְדַּ֤ל מֹשֶׁה֙ וַיֵּצֵ֣א אֶל־אֶחָ֔יו וַיַּ֖רְא בְּסִבְלֹתָ֑ם וַיַּרְא֙ אִ֣ישׁ מִצְרִ֔י ...
9
votes
2answers
2k views

My great great grandmother was Jewish - am I? [duplicate]

I've discovered that my great, great grandmother was Jewish - i.e. my mother's mother's mother's mother. She converted to Catholicism upon marriage. Are matrilineal descendants of a Jewess who ...
1
vote
2answers
136 views

Non-born-Jew Atheists without any Jewish belief or custom, while having Jewish self-identity for any reason. Is this accepted as Jew?

For example, people who discover to have Jewish descent and begin feeling themselves as being Jewish as well, because the feeling of "brotherhood" towards other Jews is strong. Is it a Jew, semi-Jew, ...
4
votes
2answers
683 views

How did 70 souls give birth to millions in a few generations? [duplicate]

For two hundred and ten years, Bnei Yisrael were in Egypt. 70 souls entered, among them only 2 unmarried women (Dina and Serach) and also Yocheved who is said to have been born right at that moment. ...
4
votes
2answers
560 views

Theological Justification for Discrimination against Sephardim?

There have been numerous cases of Ashkenazi Haredi schools in Israel discriminating against Sephardim. I am personally very disturbed by what I consider to be a great chillul Hashem, and I find such ...
6
votes
2answers
1k views

Is it forbidden for the Jews to Establish a Nation of Israel?

I keep on reading about a lot of Orthodox Jewish Rabbis opposed to the building of the nation of Israel as they deem it to be blasphemous and heresy in violation of God's commandment to the Jews. I ...
8
votes
2answers
429 views

May a halachically 'Jewish' Atheist work as a 'Shabbat goy'?

I am aware that in Judaism, adherents are forbidden from performing many types of work on the Sabbath/Shabbat/Shabbos. Although it has come to my attention that some consider the employment of a ...
10
votes
1answer
132 views

Can a yefas toar be Jewish?

I realize that when the torah discusses אשת יפת תואר it specifies כִּי-תֵצֵא לַמִּלְחָמָה, עַל-אֹיְבֶיךָ (Bamidbar 21:10) But I would still like to know if the halacha of אשת יפת תואר could ...
21
votes
4answers
3k views

Why is the Jewish Population so small?

Judaism is one of the oldest religions, but there aren't many Jews compared to Muslims and Christians. What are main reasons behind that?
0
votes
1answer
124 views

Who are the original Jews? [closed]

Is the people running Israel at the moment the original Jews and was the letter J in the Greek or Hebrew alphabet?
5
votes
2answers
222 views

Israel Am v.s. Goy

Is Israël an Am or Goy or both? whats the Torah definition and best translation of both terms? Because it seems that Israël is being called both Am as a Goy. (Am Kadosh: Devarim 26:19 and Goy ...
4
votes
4answers
819 views

Matrilineal Descent

I have heard that matrilineal descent (i.e. having Judaism passed down through the mother) comes from the Roman period when women were raped by Roman soldiers and the babies were then said to be ...
0
votes
1answer
71 views

Was Adam Jewish?

As I understand it, both Adam and Avraham had direct communication with God. Did Adam's communication with God make him Jewish? If not, what is the difference between the belief system of the ...
0
votes
2answers
454 views

Ezra claimed that Samaritans are not Jews. Is genetic data in conflict with this?

Ezra claimed that those who live on Israel are totally different people that happen to worship the same God. He probably didn't know for sure because he was in Babylon during their birth. I wonder ...
2
votes
2answers
73 views

klal yisroel, torah and achdus

I heard someone say that the only way klal yisroel was able to accept the Torah was through achdus? Does anyone know the source for this? Does anyone know if it's in Chofetz Chaim Al HaTorah?
2
votes
0answers
99 views

Can the Black Obelisk's depiction of King Jehu tell us something about the appearance of ancient Israelites?

The Black Obelisk depicts King Jehu in a subordinate position in front of the Assyrian king, Shalmeneser III. This is the oldest known portrayal of an Israelite. Here we can see the King's style of ...
2
votes
1answer
74 views

Who were the 'mixed multitude' that went up with the children of Israel in Ex 12:38?

Who were the 'mixed multitude also went up with' the children of Israel in Exodus 12:38? Were they part of Israel? What does Judaism, Jewish tradition say about this mixed multitude?
6
votes
1answer
231 views

What is the Significance of Ten Generations in the Torah when it comes to Genealogy

No Ammonite or Moabite shall be admitted into the congregation of the Lord; none of their descendants, even in the tenth generation-Deuteronomy 23:4 What is the significance of the ten-generation ...
4
votes
2answers
83 views

Aleinu - are we happy that other nations worship idols?

I was reminded by seeing this question regarding racism that I had always wondered about how to interpret the well-known prayer of "Aleinu". The first half of the prayer seems to be thanking Hashem ...
2
votes
1answer
34 views

Hashem to Moshe - *your* nation?

וַיֹּאמֶר יְהוָה אֵלַי, קוּם רֵד מַהֵר מִזֶּה--כִּי שִׁחֵת עַמְּךָ, אֲשֶׁר הוֹצֵאתָ מִמִּצְרָיִם: סָרוּ מַהֵר, מִן-הַדֶּרֶךְ אֲשֶׁר צִוִּיתִם--עָשׂוּ לָהֶם, מַסֵּכָה. (דברים ט:יב)‏ Why is ...
-4
votes
3answers
1k views

When did the switch to matrilineal descent occur?

Does anyone know when the switch the matrilineal descent took place? I've seen other information about the potential impetus, but when did it become so? Was there even a switch?
2
votes
1answer
112 views

The situation of a lost Jew

Someone who is adopted to a Christian family, but has some indication of a Jewish ancestry - such as a mezuzah, and who is interested in studying and practicing Judaism, what would it take to ...
5
votes
3answers
129 views

Was Uriah Jewish?

Uriah the Hittite (mentioned in 2 Shmuel 11 and various other places) seems to be Jewish based on his name (Light of God). So why was he called "the Hittite"? Is there any opinion that he was not ...
10
votes
4answers
345 views

Difference between jewish and zionist?

I was in Israel last summer (Rehovot) visiting a close friend and his wife. In one of our very long conversations with them she said, "I would say I am not jewish, but I am a zionist". ...
25
votes
4answers
5k views

Are children adopted by Jews Jewish?

I was adopted around the time I was three months old by my parents who are both Jewish. I do not know what religion my biological mother was, in fact I have very little detail about her at all. I was ...
3
votes
1answer
90 views

Counting Jews with non-Jews

There is a prohibition of counting Jews (see here) for a number of reasons: 1) Out of love for His people, G‑d counted us at important junctures of our history. The completion of the Tabernacle ...
26
votes
5answers
3k views

Is it possible for a Gentile to convert to Judaism?

Is it possible for someone who is Gentile to convert to Judaism? What is the prevailing belief of Jewish people on this subject? What scripture backs up this belief? What do prominent Jewish ...
-2
votes
3answers
631 views

Certificate of Divorce by God to Israel

I find the following verse to be very harsh as it gives a pink slip of Divorce to Israel and Judah Jeremiah 3:8: וָאֵרֶא, כִּי עַל-כָּל-אֹדוֹת אֲשֶׁר נִאֲפָה מְשֻׁבָה יִשְׂרָאֵל, שִׁלַּחְתִּיהָ, ...
8
votes
2answers
102 views

Asher Bachar Banu and the medrash [duplicate]

We say every day "Asher Bachar Banu Mi'Kol Ha'amim" - Chosen from among all the nations. Yet we all know the famous medrash (quoted in Avodah Zara 2b) which says that G-d went to all the nations and ...
3
votes
1answer
215 views

How was Moses able to speak to at least 600,000 people?

The book of Exodus says that Israelites had 600,000 men of fighting age. And often it has paragraphs like this: Exodus 35:4 (JPS): And Moses spoke unto all the congregation of the children of ...
7
votes
2answers
514 views

Why Do Converts Change Their Names?

Rabbi Avigdor Miller said that it used to be that gerim (converts) and baalei teshuvah (repentants) who had been given non-Jewish names did not change their names when they became part of the Jewish ...
12
votes
6answers
557 views

Why is there so much space and matter,etc. in the universe?

If the point of all of creation is for the Jewish people to accept and carry out the torah [I realize this is not axiomatic and may be a point of contention - see Shabbat 88a] what is the need for the ...