Questions related to how something was in the past, and how it's developed since then.

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Chazals intention behind bedikat hametz

Nowdays, it seems to be standard for jewish family's to begin cleaning their houses days before Pesach. By the time bedikat hametz arrives, the houses are usually hametz free. From reading Talmud ...
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1answer
56 views

Where have the old Hashkafah.com forum regulars moved to? [closed]

Some topics are not a good fit for Mi Yodeya. It's sometimes better to post on a Jewish forum or mailing list instead. A few years ago, Hashkafah.com (also known as "H.com") was host to a thriving ...
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0answers
30 views

Chronological order of parshiyot in Sefer Vayikra

I am trying to figure out when several parshiyos in Vayikra were said by Moshe to bnei yisroel. For example, the parshiyos of Tazria and Metzora - when did Moshe teach them? In במדבר פרק ה Hashem ...
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1answer
89 views

What is the origin of the song Echad Mi Yodeya?

Who is the author or what is the origin of the song commonly found in the haggadah called Echad Mi Yodeya?
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0answers
30 views

Earliest use of the word “gematria” to mean the value of words

What's the earliest use of the word "gematria" followed by the use of it to mean the value of the word? I'm aware that in Pirkei Avot the word itself is used, but that is not used in conjunction with ...
2
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1answer
97 views

Do the sages ever use the word “Jews” to describe the B'nai Israel before the Assyrian captivity?

This may be more a semantic question than anything else, but I'm wondering what the position is on using the word "Jew" to refer to Israelites before the Assyrian captivity. My impression is that the ...
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3answers
784 views

Has the Torah been changed over the ages?

It is quite a famous argument from Muslims for authenticity of the Quran that the previous Holy Books (Bible and Torah) sent by God have been corrupted or changed by their followers and that Quran is ...
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26 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 ...
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157 views

Did Rashi wear a yarmulke?

Tractate Sofrim (14:14) records two opinions that concern the wearing of a head covering during the Shema: there are those who say that it is not necessary, and there are those who say that it is ...
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64 views

Is there a rebuttal to the questions of Purims historicity?

I have seen several different version of the same argument, that the story of Purim is not historical - example. I would like to know if there is any rebuttal to this argument, preferably something ...
2
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1answer
36 views

When did daily birkas kohanim stop?

The original practice, from what I understand, was that kohanim would bless the congregation every day during the amida of shacharis (and of musaf and n'ila when they were said, and of mincha on a ...
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58 views

Why have there been no Hashgachas on DVDs, books, CDs, etc.?

Even many foods that do not require Hashgacha have a Hashgacha. At times, after a book, CD, or DVD hits the market, there is a proclamation banning it. Perhaps, instead, a book, CD, or DVD could have ...
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1answer
133 views

Is land ownership traditionally considered a status symbol in Judaism?

I'm writing a paper for a Jewish Film class about the the movie The Apprenticeship of Duddy Kravitz, and there is a scene in the beginning where Duddy's Zayda tells him "A man without land is ...
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0answers
73 views

The Second Temple [closed]

I'm a BT of just over 5 yrs now, struggling but studying hard (50 yrs of 'catch-up'!). I think of myself as a Chassidic Jew. I'm still intrigued, yet in a quandary about the validity of the 2nd ...
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1answer
72 views

What is the history of Teimani peyos?

How is it that many Teimanim wear long peyos (simanim) similar to many Chasidim, considering that their culture has been mostly isolated from Ashkenazi Europe? Do any historical sources tell us when ...
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95 views

Why does almost every community say Lecha Dodi?

The prayer Lecha Dodi was composed in the 16th century which is relatively recent as the general Nusach of prayer was founded between 516 BCE – 70 CE by the Anshei K'neset Hagdolah, and its rare that ...
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35 views

Who developed the vowels for the Hebrew language Ezra or the Masoretes? [duplicate]

I've read that Ezra developed pointings to serve as vowels. 200 years later, when the Bible was translated from Hebrew to Greek, all Hebrew manuscripts had the new form of writing. Who developed the ...
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1answer
52 views

Shechita for chicken

What is the halachic source requiring us to ritually slaughter chicken specifically, and was there ever a time in history that Halachic Jews ate chicken without first performing ritual slaughter?
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1answer
52 views

Is there any attestation to the name “יעל” spelled with an Aleph?

Larry Gonick's Cartoon History of the Universe includes the story of Yael killing Sisera. The author renders the name with the common "Y" to "J" substitution as "Jael" and, in an aside, mentions that ...
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44 views

Timing of the 2nd Beit Hamikdash's building

If you associate Koresh with Cyrus, Daryavesh with Darius (Cyrus's son) and Artachshasta with Xerxes, there seems to be a 166 year discrepancy between the historical time and the 420 years the Seder ...
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0answers
70 views

Why no 15-minutes-early clause in English rabbis' contracts?

Rabbi Yitzchak Reuven Rubin wrote in 2001: In fact, it wasn't long ago that every rabbi in England was required by contract to "present himself fifteen minutes before the time of Divine worship." ...
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2answers
207 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 ...
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1answer
106 views

Are there other historical written accounts of Har Sinai besides the Torah? [closed]

Are there any other written historical accounts of the giving of the Torah on Har Sinai besides what we have in the Torah?
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77 views

Why doesn't Rav Saadia Gaon write about wearing tefillin even during prayer?

In the Siddur of Rav Saadia Gaon, he only mentions tephilin once, and even then is only talking about the bracha made when putting it on. No where does he say that when davening, you should be wearing ...
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70 views

Identification of Censored Areas of Talmud

Unfortunately, the Talmud and other writings have been subject to censorship since their completion. These alterations seem still to be present in many modern editions of the Talmud. How ...
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1answer
116 views

Talmudic Censorship

Unfortunately, the Talmud and other writings have been subject to censorship since their completion. These alterations seem still to be present in many modern editions of the Talmud. Why aren't these ...
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1answer
209 views

Why don't we say Rav Sadiaa Gaon's phrase for before and after baths?

In Rav Sadiaa Gaon's siddur, he lists a short tephillah for before and and after baths. Why isn't that said anymore (I'd assume it was said in his time)? The text I'm referring to can be found here: ...
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2answers
371 views

Can halacha change based on scientific research?

Shabbat 39a says: "With regard to heating food in the sun itself, everyone agreed that one is permitted to place food in the sun to heat it, as it is certainly neither fire nor a typical form of ...
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1answer
159 views

How was Tevilas Ezra effective in limiting conjugal relations?

Many go to mikve (perform ritual immersion) every morning. One reason for this is voluntary continuation of a cancelled decree, Tevilas Ezra, meant to limit conjugal relations by requiring immersion ...
5
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1answer
72 views

burying the dead in Jerusholaim - 1948

The Rambam (Beis Habechira 7 14) rules that one may not bury people in the old city of Yerushlaim. What did they do during the siege in 1948 when they couldn't leave the old city? Where did they bury ...
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4answers
653 views

Was stoning practiced in 30-32 CE?

In the New Testament (Christian Bible) there is a story where a woman caught in adultery was brought to Jesus and requested to judge according to the Law of Moses. John 8:1-11 (NKJV) Now ...
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53 views

Why are challot traditionally braided?

What is the reason that challot are traditionally braided? When did this tradition begin?
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1answer
103 views

When did the practice of Exodus 35:2 stop?

Exodus 35:2 JPS ב שֵׁשֶׁת יָמִים, תֵּעָשֶׂה מְלָאכָה, וּבַיּוֹם הַשְּׁבִיעִי יִהְיֶה לָכֶם קֹדֶשׁ שַׁבַּת שַׁבָּתוֹן, לַיהוָה; כָּל-הָעֹשֶׂה בוֹ מְלָאכָה, יוּמָת.‏ Six days shall ...
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40 views

Parshas Zachor before Purim?

Prior to the story of Purim was there a special yearly reading of Parshas Zachor? At which point in history was it instituted to read Parshas Zachor before Purim?
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2answers
145 views

Examples of Rabbis who had strong disagreements and were amicable

I'm looking for examples of Rabbis who had a serious disagreement and were nevertheless very kind and thoughtful towards each other. The main reason I'm asking for examples is to illustrate what a ...
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2answers
90 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 - ...
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0answers
61 views

In What year was “Al Pi Kabalah” first quoted for a Halachic ruling?

The phrase "al pi Kabalah" (based on Kabalah) is often used in teshuvot for various minhagim or halachot. When is the first recorded instance of somebody recording the Halacha either "al pi Kabalah" ...
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0answers
71 views

When was the modern manuscript for the Torah agreed upon?

(This question is also asked here on history.SE for a different perspective.) Considering that variations have occurred in the Torah's text over time (I think the Gemara may mention events where a ...
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83 views

Any famous Jews named Muhammad, Mahmud, Mehmet, etc.?

There is a halacha that one may not name a child after an evildoer, a principle known as shem reshaim yirkav taken from Yoma 38b ("ועל בן קמצר וחביריו נאמר ושם רשעים ירקב", cf. Mishlei 10:7). Later ...
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1answer
90 views

Why do Jewish books use shiny text on the spine?

I have noticed that sefarim (Jewish books) tend to use golden-colored shiny text on the spine and cover. Of course, there are some notable exceptions (e.g. books by Mossad HaRav Kook), but this seems ...
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1answer
144 views

When was the last Korban Pesach done?

In which year, or decade, was the last Korban Pesach performed by Jews on Har Habayit? So far, my research has found Rabbi Gamliel of Yavneh, and his slave Tevi, which would be around 80-120 CE. But ...
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2answers
174 views

Didn't Rambam say Aleinu leshabeach?

Siddur Mesorat Moshe is a siddur whose text follows the rulings of the Rambam. I received a copy a couple of weeks ago and am now using it daily. A completely never-seen-before thing is that there's ...
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2answers
206 views

Yeshua Sar Ha-Panim

"Yeshua Sar Ha-Panim" is mentioned in some machzorim in the following prayer between the shofar blasts on Rosh Hashanah: יהי רצון מלפניך שתקיעת תשר"ת שאנחנו תוקעין תהא מרוקמת ביריעה על ידי הממונה ...
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55 views

How was the tomb of the matriarchs determined?

Apparently there is a "tomb of the Matriarchs" in Tiberias which is purported to house several nashim tzidkaniot. I'd like to know how it was determined that those women were buried in that place.
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0answers
63 views

Why is there seemingly such a disconnect between the Geonim and the Rishonim?

It seems that there was a disconnect or upheaval of some kind between the times of the Geonim and the times of the Rishonim and the hakhamim that these two eras contained. Shittoth regarding tefila, ...
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1answer
72 views

Variant text of דרור יקרא

The text of the Shabbat zemer דרור יקרא has a line based on Isaiah 63:1-3 (מי זה בא מאדום חמוץ בגדים מבצרה וכו') which usually reads: דרוך פורה בתוך בצרה, וגם בבל אשר גברה However, I also have ...
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2answers
169 views

Why is there a dispute as to which tefillin are the correct ones?

Since the mitzvah of tefillin is observed every day except for Shabbos and festivals, there should have been continuous knowledge as to the correct order of the parshas. So how did it come about that ...
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2answers
154 views

What was the name of Tzipora's mother?

What was the name of Tzipora's mother (Moses's mother-in-law)? There are a lot of wives mentioned in the Torah, but the names of some aren't mentioned even though they are important. So I was curious ...
3
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1answer
86 views

Babylonian Niqqud in Yemen

I just read in Rav Kapach's introduction to his edition of Rav Saadiah Gaon's translation and commentary on Sefer Daniel that his grandfather had a manuscript of Rav Saadiah Gaon's translation which ...
4
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1answer
92 views

How was Chanukah celebrated at the Beis HaMikdash?

In the centuries between the Maccabean Revolt and the destruction of the Bayis Sheni, how was Chanukah commemorated at the Beis HaMikdash (other than the addition of prayers like Al Hanisim)? Since ...