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

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What did the Second Beis Hamikdash look like before Herod renovated it?

As penance, Herod rebuilt and remodeled the second Beis Hamikdash (See Bava Basra 4a). Most of the models of the Beis Hamikdash are of this rebuilding. What did the original one look like?
3
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1answer
41 views

Under whose rule was the second Beis Hamikdash destroyed?

Rashi in Sota (41a) says אגריפס המלך. מלך ישראל היה מזרעו של הורדוס והוא שנחרב בהמ"ק בימיו The Beis Hamikdash was destroyed in the days of Aggripas. I thought that by the time of the ...
5
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1answer
111 views

Were there any Sadducees on the Sanhedrin?

Various Jewish sources indicate the presence of Sadducees among the priesthood, including the position of Kohen Gadol. However, are there any Jewish sources that discuss Sadducees on the Great ...
8
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1answer
102 views

Who broke the parshiyot into aliyot and how?

The Torah readings on Shabbat are broken into 7 aliyot. I know that there are rules for the minimum number of pesukim for each aliyah but I am wondering who set up the exact placement of the aliyah ...
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0answers
18 views

What kind of publicity was required for Smicha?

There's a story in Sanhedrin 14a: שפעם אחת גזרה מלכות הרשעה גזירה על ישראל שכל הסומך יהרג וכל הנסמך יהרג ועיר שסומכין בה תיחרב ותחומין שסומכין בהן יעקרו מה עשה יהודה בן בבא הלך וישב לו בין שני ...
3
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1answer
53 views

How did the water climb so high?

The Gemara in Sota 34 says וכיון שניטבלו רגלי כהנים במים חזרו המים לאחוריהם שנאמר וכבוא נושאי הארון עד הירדן וגו' ויעמדו המים היורדים מלמעלה קמו נד אחד וכמה גובהן של מים שנים עשר מיל על שנים עשר ...
2
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1answer
36 views

Who authored the topic - division headings in the Shulchan Aruch?

In every Shulchan Aruch I have seen, there are headings identifying the topic of each upcoming series of sections. For example, between sections 88 and 89, there is a heading which labels the next ...
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36 views

Were there particular reasons to vow the value of a person?

Vayikra 27 covers when a man vows the "valuation" (עֶרְכְּךָ) of a person. The values are based on age and are different for men and women (50 shekels for a man between 20 and 60, for example). A ...
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gedolim on “The Jazz Singer”

The film The Jazz Singer is about a Jewish boy who goes off the derech and portrays him positively. What was the contemporary (1927) rabbinic response to the film and did cantor Yosselle Rosenblatt ...
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2answers
202 views

Moses Mendelssohn, permitted to quote him?

Is it permitted to quote Moses Mendelssohn, the father of the Jewish Enlightenment, as a source or reference? Is he considered in jewish lore a heretic? from wikipedia page linked above: In the ...
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0answers
48 views

Who were the Therapeutae?

I recently found a Wikipedia page about a supposed sect of Jews in first century Alexandria called the Therapeutae. According to various pages, they lived as monks, isolating themselves and studying ...
2
votes
1answer
48 views

Is there any tradition in Rabbinical sources regarding the conquering of Jerusalem by Pompey?

In Josephus and other sources, around 120 years before the destruction of the Second Temple, Pompey, a Roman leader, conquered Jerusalem and exiled Aristobulus the 2nd, the son of King Yannai and ...
3
votes
1answer
42 views

What is the history of writing on the Kotel?

Some photos of the Kotel (the western wall of the Temple) show large, black lettering, such as: http://www.jewishvirtuallibrary.org/jsource/History/wallpics.html I have seen other drawings or photos ...
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2answers
42 views

Was biblical Shmita observed during the time of the second temple?

Was biblical shmita observed during the second beit hamikdash? Is there a source for this?
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0answers
76 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 ...
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2answers
103 views

Book/s about apostasy throughout Jewish history

I am looking for book/s on the subject of apostasy throughout Jewish history. I haven't been able to find anything that focuses on this subject. I would appreciate any pointers What I have in mind ...
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0answers
25 views

Explain why certain titles are given when naming sages

In the Mishnah, Talmud and beyond, there appears to be a trend related to how great sages are called. Examples: Just their first name such as Hillel and Shamai Name and father's name such as Shimon ...
2
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1answer
58 views

Tracing the Tradition of HaRaM"A (Moshe Isserles)

In tracing the tradition of HaRav Shimshon Rafa'el Hirsch, I arrived at the famed RaM"A (Rav Moshe Isserles) with help from the beloved MY community. As Rabbi Lawrence Kelemen mentions having done in ...
4
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1answer
46 views

Tracing the Tradition of HaRav Shimshon Rafa'el Hirsch

I'm not sure if this is the proper forum for such an investigation; but, I'll pose the question and find out. I'm trying to trace the tradition received by HaRav Shimshon Rafa'el Hirsch through the ...
4
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2answers
240 views

Who made a pilgrimage to Jerusalem on the three Regalim?

When the Temple stood in Jerusalem, and "all of Israel" were required to make a pilgrimage on the three regalim, who actually make the pilgrimage? I suppose a single city could not house all the Jews. ...
2
votes
1answer
63 views

Source for the Usage of “Kabbalah”

What are the earliest sources that refer to Jewish mysticism in particular as "kabblah". (Preferably the answer should include an indication that the word was associated with this in particular, ...
2
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1answer
59 views

Does the name Rami (רמי‎) have a meaning based in Judaism? If so, what is it?

Does the name Rami (רמי‎), as used by figures in the Talmud such as Rami bar Papa and Rami bar Chama, have a meaning based in Judaism? If so, what is it? If רמ means high or exalted, does רמי mean my ...
4
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1answer
71 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. ...
2
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1answer
42 views

Who & When composed the prayer said prior to calling the Kohain to the Torah?

In this question and answer Why are there different intro. prayers for calling the Kohen aliyah on Shabbat vs. weekday? there seems to be a question remaining as to when the prayers of ותגלה ותראה ...
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1answer
81 views

The luxury of murex trunculus indigo

The Tekhelet Institute acknowledges that murex trunculus indigo is molecularly equivalent to plant-based indigo that was available in the ancient world for far cheaper (kala ilan). They reason that ...
3
votes
1answer
55 views

Rambam's statement about a blessing from the Ri Migash

The Artscroll Rishonim history book, in the section about the Rambam, records a "tradition" that the Rambam, as a young child, received a blessing from the Ri Migash, and that he (the Rambam) later ...
2
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1answer
37 views

Tracing your Jewish roots [closed]

How do you find out about family Jewish history if you only have a Jewish grandfathers name and place of birth but no date of birth?
3
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0answers
15 views

Noted instances of Kares and Ariri

Are there any written recordings in any branch of Torah where we find a comment proving someone actually died from Kares/Ariri? Now, of course being a heavenly decree it would be hard to know for ...
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0answers
48 views

Historicity of Chazal

What do traditional sources (particularly Rishonim and their predecessors) say about the historical accuracy of Chazal's statements?
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51 views

How did our forefathers bake the dough they took out of Egypt? Would it qualify as matzo now?

Shmos 12 (39) says: “They baked the dough that they had taken out of Egypt as unleavened cakes, for it had not leavened, for they were driven out of Egypt, and they could not tarry, and also, ...
0
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1answer
71 views

Successfull Forgeries

Which forgeries have successfully fooled significant sectors of Jews before being revealed as forgeries. I.e. works falsely attributed to someone besides the real author. I can think of the Besamim ...
2
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1answer
63 views

Authenticity of Maggid Mesharim

The title says it all: what do various sources say regarding the authenticity of the Meggid Mesharim; a book supposedly containing angelic revelations to R. Joseph Karo. Did R. Karo really write it? ...
3
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0answers
37 views

Timeline of Egypt to Sinai

Does anyone know of a source with an account of what happened each day of the journey from Yetzias Mitzrayim to Har Sinai?
1
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1answer
60 views

When is Avraham's birthday?

I saw in a popular book a suggestion that Avraham was born on Rosh Chodesh Tevet. Does anyone have any backing sources for this?
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2answers
100 views

When was the one time the Jewish people did not fast on Yom Kippur?

A student of mine asked me this question based on an application he was filling out. I am assuming there is a historical or halachik answer to this question. "When was the one time the Jewish people ...
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0answers
35 views

How would the Shekinah Glory be described in contemporary english?

Was the Shekinah really a cloud? I know it shaded the people, but did it produce rain? Is it thought of as a cloud because that was the only word to describe what the people saw? The two passages ...
3
votes
2answers
439 views

Kashrut with very costy salt?

Currently the cost of the salt (for human consumption) is practically negligible, mostly around $1/kg. But it wasn't always so. There were centuries as salt mining and selling was a governmental ...
2
votes
1answer
94 views

Historical documentation that the Rambam was supported by his brother

I have heard quoted many times that the Rambam wrote his Mishneh Torah while he was being supported entirely by his brother. It was only after his brother died at sea that the Rambam, needing to ...
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0answers
49 views

When did the custom of silver candlesticks for Shabbat start?

I heard that it is a custom to give a bride candlesticks. Is this true? when did this start? Who has the obligation to do this? and more info on the subject with sources please. Is this true that it ...
2
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1answer
56 views

Seeking scholarly siddur with sources

Is there a well-sourced, scholarly siddur/work on the siddur/website that discusses the origins of the various prayers? Where can I find it?
22
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1answer
2k views

Did Jews in Arab countries ever rely on Islamic calls to prayer?

It just occurred to me that Jews in Arab/Islamic countries would most likely have heard the adhan call the populace to prayer five times a day. Upon looking at an Islamic time-table and doing some ...
5
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2answers
206 views

When was the Meiri discovered?

According to Wikipedia, the Meiri was rediscovered in modern times. I assume that means in the 20th century or so. However, Hebrewbooks has a copy of the Meiri from 1795. I don't know if that was the ...
7
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2answers
944 views

What should our response be to ancient scripts that mirror the Torah?

There are quite a number of ancient documents that have been found that (supposedly) predate the Torah, and yet they share many lines practically verbatim. If the Torah is truly divine, how could this ...
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0answers
37 views

What happened to the Mixed Multitude?

When the people of Israel left Egypt they did not leave alone. They left with a mixed multitude of many people (Exodus 12:38). What happened to the mixed multitude in the desert and, specifically, ...
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44 views

Why are “Chiddushei” seforim rarely cited in the Nosi Keilim?

I noticed that when quoting Rishonim, Beis Yosef/Nosei Keilim tend to focus on Poskim (Rif (and main commentary)/Rosh/Rambam, Mordechai, Teruma, Rabbeinu Yerucham, etc.) and responsa. Very rarely do ...
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2answers
95 views

Were/are there any gedolim that do not wear a hat of some kind?

It seems like almost major rebbeim/poskim do/did ear some sort of additional head covering (black hat, streimel, cap, etc) for davening. If the practice is that universal among gedolim, that might ...
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0answers
36 views

Why are most machine matzas rectangular, not square?

Your average machine matza is almost square, but if you look carefully has one dimension longer than the other. How did this come about, and why?
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1answer
64 views

Resurrection of the dead - when did this concept started?

From an historical point of view, when did Israelites begin to believe in the resurrection of the dead? In Klausner's book (p. 47) he states the following: "(...) in the time of Hosea the people ...
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4answers
84 views

What did “נ ג ה ש” stand for before the Hanukkah miracle?

A well known reason we play dreidel on Hanukkah is this: Before the miracle of Hanukkah, when those who controlled the land severely restricted Torah study, Jewish children would gather to study Torah ...
4
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1answer
59 views

When did the custom start to fast Tannis Esther on 13th Addar?

This question is not a duplicate of Tannis Esther reason because it is not a question of the reason just about the time. In Megilat Taanit it is mentioned that people should not fast on the day ...