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19
votes
7answers
2k views

Why don't Jews think Jesus is the messiah?

Christians say that Jesus is the Messiah spoken of in the Old Testament; Jews disagree. Why couldn't Jesus be the Messiah spoken of? Or could he possibly have been?
13
votes
5answers
462 views

Naming after bad people

Why have there been famous(ly righteous) Jewish people named after Yishma'el, who, Chaza"l tell us, was evil and an enemy of Jews? Has anything similar happened with Esav? Korach? Others?
10
votes
4answers
692 views

What attitudes toward Jesus are acceptable for a Jew?

What attitudes toward Jesus are acceptable for a Jew? I understand that idolatry, or embracing the mainstream Christian perception of Jesus as divine, is absolutely out of the question. Furthermore, ...
21
votes
6answers
987 views

Anyone who says these people sinned is mistaken. For real?

The Gemara (Talmud Bavli Shabbos 55b-56b) relates that several Biblical figures who, from the text itself, seemed to have sinned, in reality did not. These statements take the form of "כל האומר פלוני ...
2
votes
1answer
755 views

How many prophets were there and who were they?

How many prophets are recognized by Judaism, and what were their names? I found a website that claims the number of prophets is 124000. Is this true? Are all of their speeches or writings ...
5
votes
1answer
451 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. ...
6
votes
2answers
377 views

which kings must Moshiach descend from?

Moshiach must definitionally descend from David, and according to this answer he must also descend from Shlomo. However, Moshiach cannot descend from Yehoaichin because of Yirmiyahu's curse. Are ...
4
votes
2answers
173 views

Who were members of Beth Shammai?

I know Rav Eliezer was one, but do we know other members of Beth Shammai?
16
votes
2answers
1k views

Understanding “The Bruriah Incident”

Masecheth 'Avodah Zarah (18b) cryptically mentions "מעשה דברוריה" - "The Beruriah Incident" - as a reason R' Meir fled to Bavel. Rashi (ad loc) explains that R' Meir was teasing his wife (the noted ...
8
votes
1answer
578 views

Naming after the Patriarchs/Matriarchs and Biblical heroes

Nowadays it is very common for Jews to name their children after the Patriarchs, Matriarchs, and Biblical heroes. But it doesn't seem (to me) as though this was very common until well into the period ...
6
votes
1answer
1k views

How did the Ten Martyrs actually die?

On Yom Kippur and Tisha B'av we read about the Ten Martyrs who were gathered and killed by Emperor Hadrian to atone for the Sale of Yosef HaTzadik. In addition to the idea that the Ten Martyrs didn't ...
2
votes
1answer
249 views

What does the talmud/rabbinic writing have to say about Yeishu hanotzri (Jesus)?

I Understand that the name Jesus was not uncommon 2000 years ago, and Jewish writings about person of historical interest to the christian church call him "Yeishu hanotzri" = "Jesus the Nazarene". I ...
14
votes
4answers
1k views

Was Darius Jewish?

Darius the Second (the son of Queen Ester and Achashveirosh) was at first glance Jewish, as he was the son of a Jew. On the other hand,the Gemara Rosh Hashana implies that he wasn't Jewish. What was ...
7
votes
2answers
111 views

Did Cain and Hevel have דעת?

Kayin and Hevel were born before Adam and Chava sinned and ate from the Tree of Knowledge. (See Rashi to 4:1.) Did Kayin and Hevel ever receive the understanding that their parents got from the fruit?...
6
votes
2answers
183 views

Changing someone else's name

In parshas Shlach Moshe changes Yehoshua's name. Does this mean his name really changed? IE was he called up to the torah as Yehoshua? Were his kids "ben Yehoshua"? Are there any other examples in ...
6
votes
5answers
532 views

Mordechai - Religious Leader or Political figure?

I'm looking to gather some more background, context, sources and opinions, regarding Mordechai's religiousness, or lack thereof. This was the topic of a recent comment thread on Was Darius Jewish?,...
5
votes
3answers
2k 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 ...
8
votes
2answers
727 views

What historical figures have been identified as 'Amalek?

Adolf Hitler is often said to have been from 'Amalek. I've even heard it said not only figuratively but literally (how one could know that is a mystery to me). What other historical figures are ...
12
votes
1answer
493 views

Eldad HaDani's Lasting Influence - Is there any?

Eldad HaDani is (apparently) considered today to have been a fraud. According to this Wikipedia article, he was a traveler who told stories of his place of origin, which he claimed was a sovereign ...
6
votes
1answer
594 views

What was Avraham Avinu's mother's name?

What was Avraham Avinu's mother's name? Our shul received a paper with questions on Simhat Torah, with this question being one of the harder ones. Is there a midrash on her name?
8
votes
2answers
405 views

How historically accurate is Josephus?

How accurate is the writing of Josephus? Can we rely on any of his writings to establish authentic Jewish practices or in areas of halacha?
7
votes
2answers
164 views

What financial arrangement did Rambam have with his jeweler brother?

I was taught in yeshiva that as a young man, Rambam just studied Torah and was supported by his brother, who was a jewel merchant. Then his brother died at sea, so Rambam became a physician. Recently ...
7
votes
3answers
479 views

Bimei Matisyahu ben Yochanan Kohen Godol

In "Al Hanisim" we say "Bimei Matisyahu ben Yochanan Kohen Godol", "in the days of Matisyahu the son of Yochanan the Kohen Gadol (=high priest)". Who was the Kohen Godol: Matisyahu or Yochnan?
6
votes
2answers
269 views

Did Shlomo Molcho actually declare himself a messiah?

I know this is widely claimed, but is there a historical source that can confirm that Shlomo Molcho considered himself a messiah (as opposed to merely predicting a keitz and generating a messianic ...
5
votes
2answers
316 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 ...
3
votes
1answer
307 views

Did what David do to Batsheba and Uriah technically legal (not sin?)

David is a king. Uriah is fighting for him. As a King David has right to send any of his soldiers to any missions. Presumably that includes suicidal mission. It is possible that Batsheba is not ...
1
vote
1answer
103 views

Teacher and tradition of R' Judah ben Meir HaKohen

Who was the teacher of R' Judah ben Meir HaKohen, and from which chain of tradition does he derive? I ask because I cannot find much information about him online, other than many references to his ...
0
votes
2answers
71 views

What is the source for R' Meir and R'Elazar Beth Shammai membership?

What is the source for R' Meir and R' Elazar being members of Beth Shammai? Also, what is the source for the Beth Hillel membership of R' Yehuda? I heard from several persons (including one Rabbi) ...
12
votes
1answer
552 views

Did any of the early Rabbis encounter Mohammed?

Mohammed, the prophet of Islam, lived in Saudia Arabia, mainly in Mecca and (later) Medina. He lived from 570-632CE. According to this wikipedia article there were Jews in Saudia Arabia at that time: ...
4
votes
1answer
151 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 ...
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?
12
votes
2answers
299 views

Could someone who has committed a heinous crime convert to Judaism?

Is there any reason that someone who has committed horrible sins in the past (for example, mass murder) could not become a Jew? Assume, of course, that the sinner/criminal is willing to do teshuvah ...
9
votes
1answer
31k views

How many children did King Solomon have?

King Solomon [1 Kings 11 (4)] “had seven hundred wives, princesses, and three hundred concubines;” How many children did he have? Three. The question is referred to at http://wiki.answers.com/Q/...
5
votes
1answer
104 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 ...
4
votes
1answer
98 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 ...
2
votes
0answers
56 views

Name of Pharaoh that we were enslaved to in Mitzrayim

Do we know what the name of Pharaoh (i.e. king or president) whom we were enslaved to when we were in Mitzrayim was?
8
votes
1answer
70 views

Do Chazal discuss Mishael and Eltzaphan

Do chazal provide any information on מִישָׁאֵל and אֶלְצָפָן the levite cousins of Aron and Moshe who removed Nadav and Avihu from the mishkan (Vayikra 10:4)? I'm looking for any sources that discuss ...
6
votes
3answers
372 views

List of people in Tanach

Can I find anywhere a comprehensive list of every single person that is mentioned in Tanach. Including somewhat "biographical" information, who they were, family, what they did, how they fit into ...
6
votes
1answer
150 views

Who Exactly Threatened to Excommunicate Ramchal?

Rabbi Moshe Chaim Luzzato, known as Ramchal, was a controversial and prolific Italian philosopher and Mekubal. According to the linked Wikipedia article, after disseminating Kabbalah in Italy, "...
6
votes
1answer
239 views

Chazon Ish and Medicine

I have recently studied the Chazon Ish's work Emunah U'Vitachon and in the opening pages, the Chazon Ish displays a vast knowledge of human anatomy. Also, the Chazon Ish successfully mapped out a plan ...
6
votes
1answer
975 views

When did people living for 900 years start to look old?

In the early days of the world, the standard age of living was well into the hundreds, with many people living until they were 800 or 900. Being that people lived so long, when did they start to "look ...
5
votes
3answers
242 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 true?...
5
votes
1answer
222 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
102 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
2answers
93 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 ...
4
votes
1answer
316 views

Was Pharoh's daughter named Basya or Bisya?

Was Pharoh's daughter named Basya or Bisya? Sources please!
3
votes
1answer
161 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
3answers
310 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 ...
2
votes
1answer
118 views

Where do chazal refer to rus and naomi as birds?

Where is the chazal that refers to Rus and Naomi (na'ama?) as shnei preidos tovos - two good birds?
2
votes
2answers
222 views

Is IshBoshet, Saul's son, his real original name?

Boshet means shameful or abomination. Did his parents name him that? http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ish-bosheth In short, the question is whether that's his original name.