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5
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3answers
187 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 ...
5
votes
2answers
299 views

Was Rav Hai Gaon a kabbalist?

In a recent conversation a friend indicated that Rav Hai Gaon was a well known kabbalist, while another friend pointed to his teshuva [teshuvas ha'geonim 115] to indicate that he was not [and ...
5
votes
2answers
347 views

Source of appellation “Shimshon HaGibor”

I've heard it claimed that the expression "Shimshon HaGibor" (Samson the Mighty) [as a descriptive of Shimshon in Tanach] was invented by the Zionists, to promote their "strong Jew" narrative. Is this ...
5
votes
3answers
143 views

Great People Not Mentioned in the Torah

It has been said that the Torah is not a history book and her words are succinct. In addition to the "obvious" people and stories/events discussed in scripture, there are many others mentioned if only ...
5
votes
1answer
216 views

Was Marcus Jastrow an apikores?

During Yeshiva I remember some bochrim made a point of not putting the Jastrow dictionary on top of sefarim, and would often talk about how it does not have kedusha because it was written by an ...
5
votes
1answer
144 views

Was Ruth beautiful?

The Tanach seems to make a big deal out of the beauty of certain women, including Sarah, Rebecca, Rachel, and Esther, but no mention of is made regarding Ruth's appearance. This seems particularly odd ...
5
votes
1answer
103 views

Who was R' Jacob Pidanki?

Every once in a while the Judaica Press English translations (such as this one) will quote R' Jacob Pidanki in their commentary anthology. Who was R' Jacob Pidanki? Where did he live? What ...
5
votes
1answer
99 views

Is Pinchas of Balak/Pinchas same Pinchas as Shoftim?

Is the Pinchas from the generation that left Egypt the same as the Pinchas mentioned in Shoftim 20? Pinchas's zealotry earns him an eternal priesthood because of going above the letter of the law ...
5
votes
1answer
102 views

When ended Beth Shammai?

I am looking for a way to recognize members of the Beth Shammai and Beth Hillel when I learn the gemara and mishna. I need to know when the Beth Shammai ended (as well as the Beth Hillel) to find out ...
5
votes
1answer
419 views

Did Rashbi Write the Zohar?

In my experience, many religious Jews think that Rabbi Shimon Bar Yochai wrote the book we have today called the Zohar. The Zohar is a Jewish work of mysticism that was published in the 13th century. ...
5
votes
2answers
176 views

Pronunciation of חשמונאי

A friend today told me that the word חשמונאי traditionally pronounced "Chashmonai" should really be pronounced "Chashmunai" with the vav being read as a shuruk vowel instead of a cholom. Is this ...
5
votes
3answers
524 views

Understanding Shabsai Tzvi

Who was Shabsai Tzvi and why was he considered evil?
5
votes
2answers
239 views

What became of Moshe's sons and their descendants?

After Yisro brings Tzipora and Moshe's sons back to him at Exodus 18:2-5, they are not mentioned by name again in the Torah. Divrei Hayamim (Chronicles I 23:14 et seq.) lists their male descendants ...
5
votes
1answer
181 views

Ben Drosai - what was his Zechus?

Gemara Shabbos 20a and in other locations mentions כמאכל בן דרוסאי Rashi explains that Ben Drosai was a thief who ate his food when it was only cooked 1/3. Did Ben Drosai have some sort of Zechus ...
5
votes
2answers
90 views

Why is the name of Eliezer often missing?

Very often in the torah Eliezer's proper name is omitted when he is discussed. Examples include the story of finding a wife for Yitzhak where he is referred to as Eved or Ish, his accompanying Avraham ...
5
votes
0answers
197 views

What is the lineage of Yona ben Amitai?

The gemarah (Yerushalmi succa 5:1) and midrash (yalkut shimoni Yona, remez 550) indicate that the prophet Yona ben Amitai descended from Zevulun (father) and Asher (mother). However other sources ...
4
votes
6answers
264 views

Which Biblical and Talmudic personalities visited Heaven and returned to earth?

In the Haftorah to Parashas Yisro, Isaiah 6:1 - 7:6, we read of Isaiah's prophetic vision where he visited Heaven. What Biblical and Talmudic personalities are said to have visited heaven and ...
4
votes
2answers
164 views

Who were members of Beth Shammai?

I know Rav Eliezer was one, but do we know other members of Beth Shammai?
4
votes
2answers
50 views

Who is “הנגד” that the Ramban is referring to?

The Ramban in Sefer Bereishis, Perek 17, Passuk 1, ד״ה א-ל שקי quotes Rebbi Avraham (the Ibn Ezra) who says something in the name of ״הנגד״ . The words of the Ramban are: ״ורבי אברהם יפרשו בשם הנגד ...
4
votes
1answer
44 views

Identity of “the Greek rabbi” in the Raavad's gloss (Tum'at Met 17:3)

In the Raavad's gloss on Hilkhot Tum'at Met 17:3, he mentions a scholar who (like the Rambam) also erred in his definition of בטח - as found in the Mishna, Ohalot 12:3. Where the Rambam thinks that a ...
4
votes
1answer
172 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 ...
4
votes
1answer
114 views

Who was the King of Cheshbon (in the Torah)?

Who was the king of Cheshbon, mentioned in Bamidbar?
4
votes
2answers
109 views

Is there an orthodox publication of the book(s) of the Maccabees?

I would like to know if any orthodox publisher has put out a version of the book(s) of the Maccabees.
4
votes
2answers
1k views

When in history did Purim happen?

When in history did Purim happen? I understand that there are several opinions that this is based on (who אחשורוש was, whether this was before or after the end of the exile), but I've been unable to ...
4
votes
1answer
292 views

Was Pharoh's daughter named Basya or Bisya?

Was Pharoh's daughter named Basya or Bisya? Sources please!
4
votes
1answer
90 views

The Longest Pesach

There is a famous tape by Rabbi Shmuel Kunda entitled "The longest pesach" about a time when the Noda Beyehuda added on an extra day to Pesach in order to uncover a plot to poison the Jews of Prague. ...
4
votes
1answer
66 views

Who was ר"מ in Sefer Kol Bo?

Nobody knows for certain who authored Sefer Kol Bo (ספר כל-בו), and various theories exist as to who, and when, it might have been. (For a brief example of such theories, see here). Likely it was in ...
4
votes
1answer
28 views

Who is the Arba'ah Turei Even?

In the back of the Frankel printing of the Rambam, they have a section of collected commentaries. One of them is a work titled "Arba'ah Turei Even." The Frankel bio page identifies the author as אלעזר ...
4
votes
1answer
146 views

Why is the Rambam so famous?

If someone were to take a survey asking people to list Jewish 'Sages' I would venture to guess that the Rambam (Maimonides) would top that list. Even within the Jewish (religious) world there seems to ...
4
votes
1answer
118 views

Who was Rabi Tanchuma?

Was there an actual person Rabi Tanchuma attributed to writing the medrash that goes by this name? Do know anything about him?
4
votes
1answer
161 views

How common was polygamy in Biblical times?

How prevalent was polygamy among Jews in Biblical times? I can only think of five Jews in Tanach who had multiple wives: Avraham, Yaakov, Elkanah, David, and Shlomo (although I probably missed a ...
4
votes
2answers
137 views

Why is the Or Hachayim's yahrzeit in Luach Colel Chabad?

The Luach Colel Chabad is a calendar published annually by Colel Chabad. It includes instructions for special prayers and Torah readings according to the Chabad custom. It also mentions red-letter ...
3
votes
2answers
2k views

How many Maccabees were there and what were their names?

How many Maccabees were there and what were their names?
3
votes
3answers
251 views

Did Mordechai have children?

Megillas Esther ends by saying: וְדֹבֵר שָׁלוֹם לְכָל־זַרְעוֹ - and speaking peace to all his seed. I realize Rashi applies this to the previous clause, of all the nation, but perhaps there are ...
3
votes
4answers
215 views

Is Absalom considered a “ben sorrer umoreh”?

Is Absalom considered a ben sorrer umoreh (devarim 21:18, bal haturim) for his rebellion? I thought there where never any cases of ben sorrer umoreh.
3
votes
1answer
140 views

Menashe & Ephraim: Twins?

Were Menashe and Ephraim, sons of Yosef Hatzadik, twins?
3
votes
1answer
168 views

How would first century Jews in Judea have reacted to the Jesus Movement's messianic claims?

My understanding is that first century Jews in Judea, Jerusalem, etc, would have known that Jesus could not possibly be the messiah, because the messiah was expected to be triumphant in life, and no ...
3
votes
2answers
182 views

How could Yochanan Kohen Gadol abolish the wakers?

The mishnah (Maaser Sheni end of 5:15 and Sotah 48a) lists 5 edicts of Yochanan Kohen Gadol including the abolishing of the "wakers" - the singing by the Levi'im in the Beit HaMikdash of Psalm 44:24 - ...
3
votes
2answers
70 views

Are there any ma'amrei chazal on תּוֹלָע בֶּן-פּוּאָה?

תּוֹלָע בֶּן-פּוּאָה was the shofet from Yissachar (Shoftim 10:1-2). I have not been able to find any information on him anywhere. Do chazal or any later commentators mention anything about him?
3
votes
1answer
62 views

Is the book of Enoch part of judaism?

The book (or books) of Enoch is a collection of works purportedly made by Enoch, the great grandfather of Noach, before the flood. I read that they are not part of the Tanach, even though it contains ...
3
votes
1answer
32 views

Discrepancy -shoftim 7:18 and 7:20

Before Gideon goes out to war: יח וְתָקַעְתִּי בַּשּׁוֹפָר אָנֹכִי וְכָל אֲשֶׁר אִתִּי וּתְקַעְתֶּם בַּשּׁוֹפָרוֹת גַּם אַתֶּם סְבִיבוֹת כָּל הַמַּחֲנֶה וַאֲמַרְתֶּם לַיהֹוָה וּלְגִדְעוֹן: He says ...
3
votes
1answer
238 views

Does anyone (other than those in Chabad) believe that the late Lubavitcher Rebbe is the mashiach?

Are there any sects or significant Rabbanim, other than those in Chabad, who hold that the late Lubavitcher Rebbe (now that he has passed away) is mashiach? If there are those that do believe him to ...
3
votes
1answer
130 views

Source for Haman's hat

As a little kid, I was always told that a Hamantasch is representative of Haman's three cornered hat. Is there an actual source that says Haman wore a three cornered hat or is it just Folklore?
3
votes
1answer
93 views

What happened to Balak?

What ever happened to Balak after the Bil'am affair? Bil'am is referred to often as Bil'am HaRasha' (the wicked), and he is blamed for the entire encounter as well as the Ba'al Pe'or incident. But ...
3
votes
1answer
205 views

Can you attend Purim dressed like Hitler?

My question concerns an halakic issue about dressing up during Purim. Would someone allowed to dress up like Hitler during Purim, provided that this infamous man was the modern version of Haman? I ...
3
votes
0answers
107 views

Who came up with this story?

It says in Mekor Baruch (of Rabbi Baruch Epstein) The Rosh Yeshiva of Volozhin, the Netziv, was once sitting down surrounded by several high-caliber students – avrechim versed in Torah, wise, and ...
3
votes
0answers
44 views

Seeking teachings or stories involving the rabbis mentioned in the hagadda, to add a little more spice to the seders

To help me prepare for conducting seders again this year, can anyone point me to a compilation of teachings or stories involving any or all of the rabbis in the hagadda? Autobiographical tidbits? ...
3
votes
0answers
64 views

King Zecharia; A Court of His Own?

The Talmud in Gittin 88a says that Israel was only destroyed once it had seven courts that worshipped idols: Jeroboam son of Nebat's, Baasa son of Ahija's, Ahab son of Omri's, Jehu son of Nimshi's, ...
3
votes
1answer
180 views

Tribes of the Northern Kings

Jeroboam is said to hail from Ephraim (Kings I 11:26), and Baasa from Issachar (15:27). I understand mention of Jeroboam's Tribe, given Ahijah the Shilonite's prophecy about his potential enduring ...
3
votes
0answers
109 views

Anywhere in Tanach where brothers-in-law have the same name?

Is there anywhere in Tanach where brothers-in-law have the same name? Either two sisters married men with the same name, or a woman married someone with the same name as her brother. There is a ...