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16
votes
5answers
843 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 ...
16
votes
2answers
720 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 ...
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 ...
13
votes
5answers
580 views

Why doesn't Tefilat Geshem have a verse referring to Miriam?

The "Tefilat Geshem" ("Prayer for Rain") recited on Shemini 'Atzeret contains six verses. Each verse refers to a different person (except the last, which refers to a nation) and makes various ...
13
votes
2answers
269 views

Do we have any proof (Biblical or other Judaic) that current-day Arabs have lineage from Yishma'el?

I am relating my question to Hashem and Arabs. Offhand, I thought that Islam claims ties to Yisma'el. If true, I don't know how or why it makes that claim. If it's all Arabs, even non-Muslims, how do ...
13
votes
2answers
192 views

How long did Chava (Eve) live?

The Torah tells us that Adam HaRishon lived for 930 years. Is there a source that tells us for how long Chava (Eve) lived? I have been unable to find any source that discusses how old Chava was when ...
12
votes
4answers
479 views

Does anyone in Tanach ever get divorced?

Does anyone in Tanach ever get divorced? Not merely separated but fully divorced.
12
votes
2answers
274 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 ...
12
votes
1answer
424 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 ...
12
votes
1answer
449 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: ...
11
votes
3answers
431 views

Jarchi = Rashi?

Is Rabbi Solomon Jarchi the same as Rashi? I saw Jarchi on the Internet on a Google search awhile ago, that it was Salomo son of Isaac, a French Biblical commentator and was wondering if it was the ...
11
votes
2answers
357 views

Is there a chief Rabbi of the United States?

Is there currently or has there ever been historically a chief Rabbi of the United States? If not, why not?
9
votes
1answer
217 views

Why was Rabbi Yitzchok Alfasi known as the Rif - rather than the Ria? (הרי"ף - רבי יצחק אלפסי)

Rabbi Yitzchok Alfasi was known as the Rif. The Roshei Teivos of his name is רי"א, and as far as I know there is no other historic figure known as the רי"א. Then why was he known as the Rif?
9
votes
1answer
24k 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 ...
9
votes
2answers
129 views

Who was the קדוש מרדוש?

Today, in a shiur, I heard someone quote an opinion of the "קדוש מרדוש" (pronounced "Kadosh Meradoosh", I think). The Bet Yosef in E"HE 35 seems to quote the מרדכי who quotes him, so apparently he's a ...
9
votes
2answers
222 views

Looking for information on the Savoraim

I am looking for more information on the Savoraim such as a list of who they were, what they wrote outside of comments/amendments in the talmud, meaning do they have responsa, ethical or halachik ...
8
votes
2answers
111 views

Do we know more about נבח?

The last verse of Parshas Mattos (Bamidbar 32:42) is about a fellow named Novach who conquered a city and named it after himself: וְנֹבַח הָלַךְ וַיִּלְכֹּד אֶת קְנָת וְאֶת בְּנֹתֶיהָ וַיִּקְרָא ...
8
votes
2answers
487 views

Why did the Lubavitcher Rebbe give out dollars?

Rabbi Menachem Mendel Schneerson, the late Rebbe of Lubavitch used to give out dollars to people who came to meet him. Why did he do this?
8
votes
3answers
526 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, ...
8
votes
1answer
543 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 ...
8
votes
1answer
82 views

What is the genealogy of Judah ben Bava?

Is Judah ben Bava, noted for continuing the tradition of ordination, the son of Bava ben Buta, the Rabbi who was spared by Herod?
8
votes
2answers
365 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?
8
votes
1answer
63 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 ...
8
votes
1answer
192 views

Rabi Yochanan Ben Zakai, or Josephus?

Josephus in Wars 3. 8. 9. records a story of how he meets Vespasian, tells him that he will become ruler, and Titus will take over his position. Vespasian, although sceptical at first eventually ...
7
votes
3answers
169 views

R' Yehoshua Ben Levi — A Tanna or an Amorah?

I had always assumed that R' Yehoshua Ben Levi was an Amorah. However, we know he is quoted in the mishnah in Avos (Perek 6 Mishnah 2. Which is really a braisa, not a mishnah, but still a Tannaic ...
7
votes
2answers
195 views

Who was Yehoshua Bin Nun's father?

Who was Yehoshua Bin Nun's father? Obviously his name was "Nun". Who was he exactly? What do we know about him (and from what sources)?
7
votes
3answers
371 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?
7
votes
2answers
545 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 ...
7
votes
2answers
154 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
103 views

Why were there 8 kings of Edom?

Is there any symbolism or other explanation as to why there were specifically eight kings of Edom who ruled before any king in Yisrael did, like it says in Bereshis 36 (31-39)?
7
votes
1answer
60 views

How come Metzudat Tzion never did a perush of difficult words in the chumash?

Why did the author of Metzudat Tzion never write an explanation of difficult words in the chumash, as he did for most of the Nach? There are hard words in the chumash that require explanation even for ...
7
votes
1answer
111 views

Why does the Gemara often mention that certain Amoraim were asleep?

I've noticed that in the Gemara you often see a pattern where two people are discussing an issue in front of an Amorah (e.g R' Yirmiyah) while he was asleep. After their discussion he wakes up and ...
7
votes
1answer
57 views

Why didn't Terach go to the Land of Canaan?

In Genesis 11:31, Terach takes Avraham (then Avram), Sarah (then Sarai), and Lot to the Land of Canaan, i.e. Israel. However, they stopped in Charan, and Terach spent the rest of his life there. Why ...
7
votes
0answers
143 views

How do we determine the nature of the reign of the kings when the numbers don't seem to add up?

In the book of 2 Kings, the kingdoms of Judah and Israel were separate. In Amaziah's (Judah) 15th year, Jeroboam (Israel) began to reign. In Jeroboam's (Israel) 27th year, Azariah (Judah) began to ...
6
votes
5answers
511 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 ...
6
votes
3answers
290 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
889 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 ...
6
votes
3answers
320 views

Who was the strongest person in Tanach?

I found, lying in a local synagogue's bes midrash room, a card that looks as though it came from a children's Judaism-trivia game. It had four questions on it, and, on the reverse side, their answers. ...
6
votes
1answer
254 views

Who was the mother of Avraham's daughter?

According to one opinion in the Gemarah (Bava Basra 16b, also 141a), when it says Avraham was blessed with everything (Bereishit 24:1) it means that he had a daughter. Who was her mother?
6
votes
1answer
416 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?
6
votes
1answer
187 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
2answers
299 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 ...
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 ...
6
votes
2answers
245 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 ...
6
votes
2answers
179 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
3answers
115 views

Was Caleb a foreigner (Non-Isralite)?

Was Caleb a foreigner, even though he represented the tribe of Judah (Numbers 13:6) and was one of the first judges of Israel (Judges 1)? In Numbers 32:12 and Joshua 14:14 we read that Caleb is the ...
6
votes
2answers
93 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 ...
5
votes
3answers
144 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
269 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
340 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 ...