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14
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4answers
715 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 ...
14
votes
1answer
382 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 ...
13
votes
3answers
380 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 ...
12
votes
2answers
223 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 ...
11
votes
2answers
246 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?
10
votes
4answers
435 views

Does anyone in Tanach ever get divorced?

Does anyone in Tanach ever get divorced? Not merely separated but fully divorced.
10
votes
3answers
268 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 ...
10
votes
1answer
287 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 ...
9
votes
1answer
199 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
17k 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
114 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
162 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
1answer
79 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
0answers
58 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 ...
7
votes
2answers
69 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 ...
7
votes
3answers
280 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
1answer
446 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 ...
7
votes
2answers
158 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
2answers
306 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
114 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
253 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
1answer
96 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

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
5answers
474 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
197 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
3answers
304 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
2answers
165 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
714 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
115 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 ...
6
votes
2answers
477 views

What was the main subject of controversy between the Rabbis and Yeshu (Jesus)? [closed]

Jesus and his followers were seen as a separate sect among the Jews during the time he lived on earth. When did the Jews or Rabbis decided to declare him as an impostor, and why? What was the main ...
6
votes
1answer
259 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, ...
6
votes
2answers
158 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
0answers
110 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 ...
5
votes
1answer
111 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 ...
5
votes
2answers
184 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
1answer
78 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
2answers
202 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
1answer
85 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
83 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
3answers
420 views

Understanding Shabsai Tzvi

Who was Shabsai Tzvi and why was he considered evil?
5
votes
1answer
146 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
0answers
120 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
243 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
299 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 ...
4
votes
2answers
37 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 ...
4
votes
1answer
107 views

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

Who was the king of Cheshbon, mentioned in Bamidbar?
4
votes
2answers
236 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
192 views

Was Pharoh's daughter named Basya or Bisya?

Was Pharoh's daughter named Basya or Bisya? Sources please!
4
votes
1answer
53 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
112 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 ...