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7
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2answers
4k views

Why blessings on Mt. Gerizim and curses on Mt. Ebal?

Devarim 11:29 says: וְהָיָה, כִּי יְבִיאֲךָ יְהוָה אֱלֹהֶיךָ, אֶל-הָאָרֶץ, אֲשֶׁר-אַתָּה בָא-שָׁמָּה לְרִשְׁתָּהּ--וְנָתַתָּה אֶת-הַבְּרָכָה עַל-הַר גְּרִזִים, וְאֶת-הַקְּלָלָה עַל-הַר עֵיבָל. ...
4
votes
0answers
88 views

Holidays south of the equator

When Jews first started establishing communities south of the equator, they must have noticed that the holidays fell completely at the wrong times of the year. (For example, Pesach, referred to as hag ...
6
votes
1answer
66 views

Over what parts of current Israel do the laws of Shemittah apply?

Over what parts of current Israel do the laws of Shemittah apply? Do the laws apply to the West Bank (Judea and Samaria)?
2
votes
1answer
282 views

Eiruv in Manhattan?

There are two ways one could build an Eiruv on an island: One build walls, Tzuras Hapesachs, etc. One relies on the "natural" walls. This hetter applies only if The ocean does not bring up ...
2
votes
1answer
52 views

Is there something shocking about the location of Mount Gerizim and Eval?

In Devarim 11:30, after describing the blessings and curses to be delivered on Har Gerizim and Eval, Moshe says the following: הלא המה בעבר הירדן אחרי דרך מבוא השמש בארץ הכנעני הישב בערבה מול ...
7
votes
1answer
1k views

Is the term Cushite used to refer to people of African descent?

While reading the book of Numbers (I am a Christian, I don't know if it is referred to something else in Judaism), I came across the passage (Numbers 12:1-15) where Miriam and Aaron were speaking ...
2
votes
1answer
64 views

Rashi to Devarim 11 (11). In what way is mountain land superior to the land of the plain?

Rashi on Devarim 11 (11) "But the land, to which you pass to possess, is a land of mountains and valleys and absorbs water from the rains of heaven” says The mountain land is superior to the land ...
2
votes
0answers
42 views

Where is “Nachal Mitzrayim”?

According to Numbers 34:5 the south-western most point of (Biblical) Israel is "Nachal Mitzrayim". My first question is what river is this referring to? The first time I remember reading this I ...
9
votes
3answers
106 views

Does learning Torah or doing Mitzvos protect others from enemies?

I know from the gemarah Bava Basra 7b-8a that learning (being a talmid chacham) or doing many mitzvos can protect oneself from enemies (such that when a city is taxed for a wall that was built to ...
1
vote
2answers
43 views

Who or what was Gilaad?

In parshas pinchas ch 26 vs 29 we find Menasheh had a son Machir who had a son Gilaad (גלעד). In fact this family group was called "Gilaadi" (גלעדי). At the end of parshas Matos ch 32 vs 39 - 40 we ...
7
votes
1answer
109 views

42 camps and 42 non-refuge Levite cities (Masei)

What is the significance of the numerical correspondence between the 42 camps or waypoints mentioned in the recounting of the forty years of wandering (Bamidbar 33) and the fact that 42 of the 48 ...
2
votes
1answer
107 views

Where did the well come from?

Numbers 21:16, on the topic of the "Wars of God", after describing the flow of the streams of Arnon toward the borders of Moab says: וּמִשָּׁם בְּאֵרָה הִוא הַבְּאֵר אֲשֶׁר אָמַר יְהוָה לְמֹשֶׁה ...
1
vote
1answer
49 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
1answer
71 views

reprinting of tanyas in many locations, why?

Why do Lubavitcher חסידים print “ספר של בינונים" in many different places — something about outward expansion of wellsprings?
2
votes
3answers
123 views

Why is Edom considered to be “Western culture” and not southern Jordan?

I have a vague notion of hearing in various places that America or Western culture in general is Edom and that this final exile is called Galus Edom. Also as in reference to the blessings in Genesis ...
3
votes
1answer
315 views

Sources for the world being round in the Gemara

Can anyone bring me proofs from the Gemara that proves the world was round-and that this was known 2000+ years ago? I have looked around and I can't seem to find any sources which prove this.
4
votes
3answers
66 views

Why did God say יִקָּווּ הַמַּיִם, it should happen by itself naturally

In Bereishis 1:9 it says וַיֹּאמֶר אֱלֹהִים יִקָּווּ הַמַּיִם מִתַּחַת הַשָּׁמַיִם אֶל מָקוֹם אֶחָד וְתֵרָאֶה הַיַּבָּשָׁה , And God said, "Let the water that is beneath the heavens gather into one ...
6
votes
6answers
167 views

Al Hamichyah - Wide land?

In the Brocho after eating grains which are not bread we say: על ארץ חמדה טובה ורחבה Translated very loosely as: On the Land (ISRAEL) that is desirable good and WIDE. Now, anyone with a ...
1
vote
1answer
57 views

Does anyone hold that בֵּית לָחֶם is also a person's name?

In Divrei Hayamim I 4:4 Hur is listed as the father of בֵּית לָחֶם. אֵלֶּה בְנֵי-חוּר בְּכוֹר אֶפְרָתָה, אֲבִי בֵּית לָחֶם The commentaries I have seen read this as he fathered people who lived ...
3
votes
2answers
57 views

Where is הגר? The country, not the person

In the מטה אשר (commentary to שמלה חדשה), it is recorded that it was the custom of Jews in "מדינות מלכות רוסיא וגאלציא וגם במדינת הגר בקהילת היראים" to use the sefer שמלה חדשה to learn the halachos of ...
5
votes
1answer
55 views

Shmos 2:15 – Moshe fled from Paroh and dwelt in Midian. Why Midian?

Shmos 2:15 – Moshe fled from Paroh and dwelt in Midian. Why did he choose Midian? The only slightly helpful references I saw said a) (attributed to a Medrash but I do not see it) that he was ...
10
votes
4answers
559 views

How to reconcile Biblical Flood story vs science and history?

Genesis spends a good deal of time -- Chapters 6 through 11 -- discussing the "mabul mayim", a flood that killed all humanity outside the ark. Here is what the Torah's text says about the universality ...
9
votes
3answers
113 views

Where is Adam created?

The Torah tells us G-d brought Adam into Gan Eden after his creation from earth (Bereishis 2:15). If this is the case where was Adam created?
4
votes
2answers
95 views

Why be happy Shushan Purim?

Rama (695:2) quotes from the Maharil (though I don't see it there): וחייב במשתה ושמחה קצת בב׳ ימים י״ד וט״ו and one must have a drinking party and joy, a little, on two days: the fourteenth and ...
4
votes
1answer
26 views

Where was the “beis Ha'Sereifah”?

On daf 68 of Yoma, we learn that the par chotas (chatos bull) and seir Hashem (goat for God) were intertwined and taken by cohanim to the "beis Ha'sereifah", outside the camp, to be burned. We also ...
8
votes
2answers
123 views

How did the Sages know that Jerusalem had a wall in the times of Joshua?

The criterion for whether a city celebrates Purim on 14 Adar or Shushan Purim on 15 Adar is whether it was walled in the times of Joshua (about 3300 years ago). (Well, Shushan itself is an exception, ...
7
votes
1answer
299 views

What are some understandings as to how animals populated different continents after the flood?

What are some understandings as to how animals populated different continents after the flood? Did some species of animals survive the flood? Or are we to understand that the flood only affected the ...
5
votes
1answer
129 views

Rivers in Genesis

I will be upfront about it - I am skeptical of our tradition about the Torah being given on Mount Sinai, and suspect that Judaism is a man-made religion. It's not that I don't want Judaism to be true, ...
4
votes
1answer
90 views

Why does Scripture in parashat bereishit need to mention the four rivers?

In Bereishit 2:10, scripture mentions the following: 10: And a river flowed out of Eden to water the garden, and from there it separated and became four heads. 11: The name of one is Pishon; ...
1
vote
0answers
25 views

Why does Pniel have two spellings? [duplicate]

In Parshat Vayishlach, the place where Yaakov is named Israel is named פְּנִיאֵל (Pniel) by Yaakov, and then one verse later it is called פְּנוּאֵל(Pnuel). Why are these two alternate spellings so ...
5
votes
0answers
44 views

Tourist guides for Kohanim

I recently saw a tourist guide for Kohanim, published online by the Chicago Rabbinical Council, listing certain Chicago tourist sites that are, and are not, problematic for Kohanim. Are there any ...
4
votes
1answer
41 views

Why does the eruv tavshilin only apply to Jews in this city?

When we make an eruv tavshilin, we often close with "for us and for all the Jews in this city." so that others who forgot or aren't observant can rely on your eruv for their own shabbas preparations. ...
4
votes
3answers
98 views

Did God know the holy place right away during the exodus?

Around the time of the exodus, the Torah says (Deut. 12:11, in Rabbi Kaplan's translation): there will be a site that God will choose as the place dedicated to His name. It is there that you ...
7
votes
1answer
114 views

Is Gan Eden a physical place?

Is Gan Eden mentioned in Genesis a physical place? Does it exist physically somewhere on the planet or is it some kind of spiritual place or even some kind of analogy?
1
vote
0answers
65 views

Why is it common for the people in the chumash to name every place they pass?

It seems pretty arbitrary, but in many cases in the Chumash, we find our patriarchs, Moses, etc, name places they pass based on some action that took place there. Is there any additional meaning to ...
2
votes
0answers
171 views

Did Achashverosh rule over the entire Old World?

Megilla 11a says "Three ruled over the world - Achav, Achashverosh and Nebuchadnetzar." It suggests a few other names that weren't on the list and rejects them because they didn't rule over one ...
9
votes
2answers
293 views

The size/shape of biblical Israel

Based on this Tosafot in Bava Metzia 28a (D"H Chamisha Asar Yom), Eretz Israel is a square (400 sq. Parsah), and the distance between Jerusalem and the Jordan river is 1/39th the distance between ...
2
votes
0answers
104 views

What is meant by the term “midina”/“provinces” as in the 127 ruled by Ahasuerus?

Esther 1:1 says: Now it came to pass in the days of Ahasuerus -- he was the Ahasuerus who reigned from Hodu to Cush, one hundred twenty-seven provinces. For historical context, the period of the ...
10
votes
3answers
359 views

Pre-1948, what flags were found in American synagogues?

Certainly throughout the 1970s and 1980s, it was not at all uncommon to see an American synagogue where the Aron Kodesh was flanked by American and Israeli flags. Pre-1948, was there just an American ...
2
votes
0answers
73 views

Why is elevation not factored into zmanim in places like New York?

As you might already know, zmanim (for Shabbos, etc.) are determined by a number of factors, one being the elevation of the particular locale. But for some reason, if you check the charts and ...
11
votes
2answers
436 views

May one walk under the Arch of Titus?

I have heard that it is prohibited (or at least that the custom is not) to walk under the Arch of Titus in Rome. Is this accurate? If so, what is the source? Would it make a difference if a large ...
11
votes
4answers
502 views

Why wasn't the Torah given in Israel?

One might naturally expect that the Jewish people would enter the land and then receive the Torah there. It seems logical to me that the Torah should come from a holy place characterized by the ...
7
votes
3answers
171 views

Why was the torah given on a mountain?

I have seen many divrei torah about the fact that Har Sinai was not the tallest mountain (based on Sota 5a) and the importance of humility in acquiring torah. But, why was the torah given on a ...
6
votes
1answer
118 views

Why don't islands read the m'gila two days?

Bavli, M'gila 5 amud 2, cites a doubt as to when the m'gila is read in T'verya: on the fourteenth of Adar, as in most places, or on the fifteenth, as in a city walled since the time of Y'hoshua. The ...
2
votes
0answers
134 views

Where did the Jews send the goat “for Azazel” while in the desert?

Rashi (Vayikra 16:8) says: Azazel: This is a strong and hard mountain, [with] a high cliff, as the Scripture says [in describing Azazel] (verse 22 below),“a precipitous land (אֶרֶץ גְּזֵרָה),” ...
4
votes
1answer
34 views

Southern Birkas Ha'ilanos

I've seen Saying Mashiv HaRuach in the Southern Hemisphere. Similarly, is Birkas Ha'ilanos (ברכת האילנות) said in Tishrei in the southern hemisphere? That's when the trees bloom.
-2
votes
1answer
157 views

What are the oldest interpretations of Deuteronomy 33:2?

This verse in Torah sounds highly cryptic and it seems that a message is conveyed in it: And he said: The LORD came from Sinai, and rose from Seir unto them; He shined forth from mount Paran, and ...
4
votes
2answers
316 views

What's the “ORegon 7-1222” on R' Moshe Feinstein's letterhead? [closed]

The English part of of R' Moshe Feinstein's letterhead reads as follows: RABBI MOSES FEINSTEIN 455 F.D.R. DRIVE New York, N.Y. 10002 __ ORegon 7-1222 See for instance this letter, this ...
4
votes
0answers
74 views

Geographic size of an Eruv

Inspired by Is Juneau, Alaska -- surrounded by natural barriers -- a natural eruv Is there a maximum square mile or square kilometer area that may be enclosed by an Eruv? (sources)
6
votes
0answers
84 views

Is Juneau, Alaska — surrounded by natural barriers — a natural eruv

I recently visited Juneau, Alaska. It is a small city of 35,000. The city limits are quite large, however -- 3,225 square miles -- but much of this area is separated from downtown Juneau on Douglas ...