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

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10
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3answers
472 views

Disparity between male and female pronunciation of Cholam

In many Yeshivish communities in the US, the male segment of the population vocalizes the cholam as "oi," while their female counterparts vocalize it as a long "o". How did this come about? Does the ...
4
votes
2answers
222 views

Why can an Eruv be made in cities nowadays?

Some Facts: An eruv cannot be made in a reshus harabim. Many eruvin are made in cities nowadays. Cities are much bigger now than they were thousands of years ago. Yet it seems that in those ...
4
votes
1answer
180 views

Aleinu L'Shabeach - Nusach HaTefila

The words "Sheheim Mishtachavim Li-Hevel Voryk Umispallelim El Eil Lo-Yoshiya" - Was this originally part of Aleinu and then removed, or was it added later to Aleinu? Why was this done?
2
votes
1answer
174 views

Ben Petura - The Nazarene?

The Gemara in Bava Metzia 62a talks about two people in the desert and who gets the water first. I heard that the character Ben Petura is the Nazarene; can anyone confirm or deny this with a source? ...
7
votes
3answers
177 views

failed sale of chametz

Are there any recorded (recorded, perhaps, in responsa) instances of a failed sale of chametz (e.g., the gentile refused to buy the stuff and another couldn't be found, or the rabbi forgot to do it), ...
3
votes
1answer
83 views

Who composed Ka Keili?

Who composed Ka Keili? What is the earliest source for this song?
5
votes
1answer
94 views

Using The Washington Haggadah

Yesterday, Harvard University Press released a haggadah which is a reproduction of a manuscript written in 1478 and held by the Library of Congress. It can be purchased on Amazon. If I bought this, ...
3
votes
3answers
127 views

why isn't moshe considered a “forefather”

if moshe led us out of egypt, into israel, and is a great man why isn't he considered a forefather.
10
votes
3answers
340 views

When/how was the controversy regarding stainless-steel blades for shechitah resolved?

My understanding is that the use of stainless-steel blades for shechita (kosher slaughter) knives was introduced by the early Hassidic movement and initially opposed by the non-Hassidic leaders. ...
4
votes
4answers
640 views

Matrilineal Descent

I have heard that matrilineal descent (i.e. having Judaism passed down through the mother) comes from the Roman period when women were raped by Roman soldiers and the babies were then said to be ...
8
votes
2answers
492 views

Which 20th-century Rosh Yeshiva studied under the mysterious Monsieur Chouchani?

Monsieur Chouchani was a mysterious figure who travelled around post-World War II and taught several great Jewish thinkers, including Emmanuel Levinas z"l and [yibadel l'chayim] Elie Wiesel. ...
4
votes
1answer
620 views

What's the earliest source/discussion on green beans being “kitniyot” (prohibited legumes) on Passover?

My understanding is that most Ashkenazic communities today don't eat green beans on Passover, treating them as kitniyot (a bunch of legumes for which the custom arose to avoid on Passover). What's the ...
14
votes
4answers
362 views

When did kosher bakeries, restaurants, etc. start requiring supervision?

If my neighbor Shmerel keeps kosher and otherwise appears to be observant to the best of my knowledge, then I'd be allowed to eat in his house (assuming I'm invited), eid echad ne'eman b'issurin, his ...
6
votes
5answers
189 views

Cryptography in Judaism

Are there any known uses of cryptography (or similar) in Jewish History?
6
votes
2answers
170 views

Shakespeare in Classic Jewish Sources

Does anyone know of any references to Shakespeare, translations of his works, or anything related to Shakespeare in classic Rabbinic sources?
10
votes
2answers
282 views

What rabbinic/Judaic scholar has the lowest Erdős number? [closed]

From Wikipedia: The Erdős number describes the "collaborative distance" between a person and mathematician Paul Erdős, as measured by authorship of mathematical papers. ... Due to the very high ...
3
votes
1answer
188 views

First Jerusalem Eruv

When did Jerusalem first get an eruv for carrying on Shabbos? I've heard that Rav Moshe Feinstein pointed out that it didn't have one in Talmudic times. So when did they get one?
4
votes
1answer
203 views

What is the earliest source that mentions Gematria?

What is the earliest source that mentions Gematria?
3
votes
1answer
92 views

How big was a traditional hamentash?

When shopping these days, it appears that a "normal hamentash" is about 2 inches or more per side, and "mini hamentashen" are about 1" per side. Is it just me, or did it used to be that the 1" ones ...
5
votes
2answers
135 views

Which Shtetlach in pre war Europe had an Eruv?

Were there any Shtetlach in pre war Europe that had an Eruv? Which ones?
5
votes
1answer
125 views

Timing of the Commandment of Gid Hanashe

The Torah mentions, after the story of Yaakov getting injured in Parshas Vayishlach, that we do not eat the Gid Hanashe for this reason. The Meforshim seem to concur that this mitzvah was included in ...
5
votes
6answers
2k views

Are Europeans Edomites?

I had always thought that Europeans descended from Yafet, not Shem, and certainly not Shem, Avraham and Yitzhak. I am aware that it was common in the past to equate Rome with Edom, but I always ...
10
votes
2answers
268 views

Does our literature discuss invalidating a conversion because the convert would not put his/her lot with the Jewish people?

When a person is interested in converting, there are really two questions they are asked: Are you prepared to accept the theology and observance of Judaism? Are you prepared to accept your identity ...
5
votes
1answer
512 views

Yerushalmi Versus Bavli

What are the differences between the two Talmuds? or are there differences? Why did the two Talmuds develop separately or did they? Why do we Poskin like the Bavli or do we? Is it true that the ...
8
votes
1answer
177 views

Teffilin and women

Rashi's daughters are popularly described as having worn Teffilin, but apparently there is no such source, just a popular urban legend in Jewish circles. Are there any women described in Rabbinic ...
11
votes
2answers
582 views

Origins of איל משולש and Vilna Ga'on's bathroom math

There is a well-known fact that the Vilna Ga'on studied math while in the bathroom since Torah was out of the question in an unclean place. It is also somewhat well-known that he produced the material ...
3
votes
2answers
161 views

Motivation for disallowing Conversions

What was The Syrians communities Rabbis motivation For disallowing conversions and when did it happen and did any other Sephardi communities join in this decision later on?
3
votes
1answer
193 views

Intermarriage among Middle eastern Jews right before 1948

I was wondering does anyone know where I can find out the Intermarriage rate among Middle eastern Jews right before 1948 particularly amongst the Iraqis and the Syrians?
6
votes
2answers
175 views

Jewish Community in China Around WW2

I was recently at a lecture given by Professor Xu Xin of Nanjing University in China. The topic of the lecture was "The Jewish Diaspora in Modern China". Professor Xin covered the brief but ...
2
votes
3answers
140 views

Tannis Esther reason

Why do we fast on Tannis Esther? In memory of what historical occurrence?
2
votes
1answer
87 views

When was the first Mikva built in the USA?

When was the first Mikva built in the USA?
9
votes
3answers
306 views

Non-Lubavitch views of the Maggid of Mezrich's relationship with R' Shneur Zalman of Liadi?

As far as I know, all chasiduses agree that the Maggid of Mezrich was the primary student of the Baal Shem Tov. But I was listening to an online shiur about Chabad (Lubavitch) history, which conveyed ...
10
votes
4answers
251 views

Why did Esther make two parties; why not just one?

What was the purpose of the two parties that Esther made for Haman and Achashverosh (Esther 5:4–8 and chapter 7), if one could have done the job? In other words, what happened that she needed a ...
6
votes
1answer
202 views

Sefer Besamim Rosh

Who wrote the Sefer Besamim Rosh?
8
votes
3answers
246 views

Meforshim Nick"names

It has become common practice to refer to most meforshim by acronyms of their name (eg Rashi, Rosh, etc.). When and why did this practice start, and is it proper?
5
votes
1answer
324 views

Did Rabbis Moshe Feinstein and Shlomo Zalman Auerbach ever meet in person? How many times?

Rav Moshe was in America, Rav Shlomo Zalman in Israel. Did they ever meet? Where and when? Do we have a photo of both of them together? (I know Rav Shlomo Zalman was asked to speak at Rav Moshe's ...
3
votes
1answer
77 views

Napoleon Beis Din [closed]

Can somone provide some background for this like who was on it and what the Beis Din addressed and what was Napoleons motivation for it and what was the Jewish response?
4
votes
1answer
126 views

What happened to the Aseres HaShevatim?

What happened to the Aseres HaShevatim? Where are they now? Are they in 10 different locations? Do they still know they are Jewish?
5
votes
3answers
671 views

Reb Moshe Feinstein in the New York Times

Reb Moshe Feinstein was once interviewed by the New York Times where he answered questions like how does Klal Yisroel know who is a Gadol? Does anyone know when it was, and does anyone know where I ...
2
votes
4answers
150 views

When and What was the first Hebrew Sefer published?

When and What was the first Hebrew Sefer that was mass published?
1
vote
2answers
68 views

When was the Shulchan Aruch HaArizal first published?

On HebrewBooks.org they have this edition. Is there any previous edition and when? מקום דפוס ווילנא שנת דפוס תרמא Pub. Place Vilna Pub. Date 1881 Pages דפים 95
1
vote
2answers
147 views

yushkas bris aniversary [closed]

Is it true that new years is the aniversary of yushka's bris
6
votes
3answers
164 views

Biography on Rav Hirsch

Anyone know of any good (i.e. non-hagiographical) biographies on Rav Samson Rafael Hirsch zt"l?
7
votes
2answers
276 views

Why is Hebrew Called “Jewish” in the Bible?

We see that in most of the Bible, the Jews are called "בני ישראל/Israelites"; only in later books are they called "יהודים/Jews" (e.g. Esther 2:5, Zechariah 8:23), after the loss of the 10 tribes. ...
4
votes
2answers
141 views

Who was the first ordained rabbi to live in the USA?

Who was the first ordained rabbi to live in the USA? What was his position?
8
votes
1answer
353 views

Whose semicha (ordination) was the last one signed/granted by Rabbi Joseph Dov Soloveichik? By Rabbi Moshe Feinstein?

Whose semicha (ordination) was the last one signed/granted by Rabbi Joseph Dov Soloveichik? What about by Rabbi Moshe Feinstein? (The answer may be "the yeshiva ABC class of 1981" or whatever.)
4
votes
1answer
49 views

Tu B'Shvat Signifgance

What is the significance of Tu B'Shvat? How was it celebrated through history, and was it celebrated through history? What are the Halachic torah sources for Celebrating it? Why the recent ...
4
votes
2answers
136 views

Gezeira of Rabbeinu Gershom History

Has the original text of the Gazeira of Rabbeinu Gershom been lost. If so when? Who are the earliest sources stating such?
16
votes
4answers
623 views

Gezeira of Rabbeinu Gershom text

Does anyone know where I can find the actual text of the Gezeira of Rabbeinu Gershom? It keeps popping up in my learning, but only as being referenced, I would like to read that actual text.
14
votes
2answers
313 views

What does “the Talmud” mean in the Talmud?

The G'mara Bavli says in Shabas 63: אמר רב כהנא, "כד הוינא בר תמני סרי שנין, והוה גמירנא ליה לכוליה תלמודא, ולא הוה ידענא דאין מקרא יוצא מידי פשוטו..." Rav Kahana said, "When I was 18 years ...