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

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5
votes
1answer
92 views

Who initially populated Chanoch City?

The Torah tells us (Genesis 4:17) that Kayin built a city and named it after his son, Chanoch. If Chanoch was only of the third generation of humans, how was the total human population at the time ...
5
votes
2answers
150 views

What food product was the Birkei Yosef discussing when he said Bishul Akum didn't apply?

If my non-Jewish neighbor cooks some rice and brings it to my house, I'm not allowed to eat it because of Bishul Akum (even if I know his ingredients and equipment are 100% vegan and grape-free). Too ...
16
votes
6answers
423 views

G'dolim or Rabbis Owning Pets

Are there any g'dolim (or rabbis of major influence) - past or present - who are known to have owned pets/kept animals for non-agricultural purposes?
5
votes
1answer
105 views

If the “ten martyrs” didn't happen together, did the punishment-for-Joseph story happen? When?

It's commonly believed that the "ten martyrs" didn't all live in the same time period, and the description of them as a group is conceptual, not historical. Now the story opens with a Roman ruler ...
4
votes
1answer
321 views

Which Raban Shimon ben Gamliel was it who was martyred?

The Ten Martyrs liturgy describes Rabbi Yishmael the High Priest and Raban [=nasi or "chief rabbi"] Shimon ben Gamliel as killed by the Romans at the same time. Rabbi Yishmael served as cohen gadol ...
7
votes
0answers
99 views

Identifying Ba'alei Tosafos [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: Who is the voice of Tosafoth? How much do we know about which specific people wrote which comments of Tosafos?
3
votes
6answers
345 views

Yeshivas that have closed

Recently there was a blog regarding the Shlomo Kluger Yeshiva on the Lower East Side. My father was a student at Yeshiva Eitz Chaim in Boro Park in the the early 40s. Over the years many Yeshivas or ...
10
votes
3answers
410 views

How Kabbalistically accurate is the golem-making procedure described in “Niflaos Maharal”?

There's been plenty of discussion about the historic authenticity of "Niflaos Maharal", a book that appeared in the early 1900s describing how the Maharal made a Golem to defend the Jews against blood ...
4
votes
2answers
581 views

Is Muslim prayer rooted in Jewish prayer? [closed]

Is there any evidence that the practices required by Muslim prayer spring from similar practices in Jewish prayer? E.g. happening 5 times daily, involving bowing
3
votes
1answer
77 views

Margaliyos family tree

Many famous rabbanim have had the last name מרגליות. A couple that come to mind are ר' ראובן מרגליות and ר' אפרים מרגליות. Are they related? Where could I find genealogical information on such people? ...
5
votes
1answer
228 views

Can a 9 year old do Yibbum?

Back then was a 9 year old and 1 day boy allowed to do yebam to his dead brothers wife?
3
votes
1answer
207 views

Me'or Einayim-The Maharal

What was the reason that the Me'or Einayim by Azariah deRossi's was considered problematic and what is its Historical development and signifigance of this book Basicly what was all the fuss about?
0
votes
3answers
235 views

Sherlock Holmes & the Maharal of Prague [closed]

What is the connection between the Maharal and SHerlock Holmes?
4
votes
2answers
1k views

Chazon Ish neurosurgery diagram

There is a well-known story about the Chazon Ish, where someone who was scheduled to undergo a neurosurgical procedure came to him for advice, and the Chazon Ish drew a diagram for the surgeon ...
22
votes
6answers
517 views

Where does the concept of Gilgulim (reincarnations) in Judaism come from?

What is the source of Gilgulim in Judaism? Are there people who disagree with its existence? Who was the first to mention it? What I am asking essentialy is what is the historical development of ...
15
votes
11answers
1k views

What are the oldest Jewish songs (tune plus words) that are still popular today?

When I say "song", I mean the combination of tune and words; and yes I'm probably thinking Ashkenazically here. It seems like any European old-timer I've met knows the "good old fashioned" tune for ...
10
votes
1answer
256 views

(How) was Tu B'Av observed as a matchmaking/singles-meeting event through history?

I know the Talmud describes how the fifteenth day of the month of Av (Tu b'Av) was a day of ... I'd say "matchmaking", but I think "marriage-minded-singles-meeting" is more like it: אמר רבן שמעון ...
40
votes
7answers
759 views

Did any Achronim comment on the American Revolutionary or Civil Wars?

I've heard that for instance, in the 1800s, the American rabbis in the South were pro-slavery, and the American rabbis in the North opposed to it. But what were the views towards America of the ...
2
votes
2answers
129 views

What are Israel's oldest known cultivated plants?

I was thinking about this question, this news, and the general fact that plants can live for a very, very long time. What are the oldest known cultivated plants in Israel? Are there, say, olive or ...
9
votes
2answers
177 views

Yearning for Moshiach while the Temples stood

Did we (the Jewish people) yearn for the complete Redemption (with the Techias HaMasim, etc) like we do today, at the time the either Temple was standing? It can't be that we just assumed "This is ...
4
votes
2answers
170 views

Did the Jews in the Midbar know the entire Torah?

The G'mara in Y'vamos (ד) and B'rachos (כא) records a dispute over whether laws can be deduced from the fact of two p'sukim appearing adjacent to one another in the Torah. The Mahara"tz Chayos ...
7
votes
2answers
190 views

The Split Between Sefardim and Ashkenazim

How did this split happen historically and halachically before Shulchan Aruch, and why is not like having two Torahs? Where is the source for the split?
4
votes
2answers
327 views

What's the “ORegon 7-1222” on R' Moshe Feinstein's letterhead? [closed]

The English part of of R' Moshe Feinstein's letterhead reads as follows: RABBI MOSES FEINSTEIN 455 F.D.R. DRIVE New York, N.Y. 10002 __ ORegon 7-1222 See for instance this letter, this ...
5
votes
3answers
110 views

17 of Tammuz occurrences

What happened on the 17 of Tammuz?
-1
votes
1answer
118 views

Which sefer did Pinchas Finish writing? [closed]

Which sefer did Pinchas Finish writing?
3
votes
3answers
278 views

Modern nations and Umos Haolam

Where can I find a discussion about the roots of modern nations, in the Umos Haolam mentioned in the Torah and Chazal?
3
votes
3answers
216 views

What are the oldest known Jewish graves/tombs?

I was thinking about old Jewish graves. Certainly there's Ma'aras HaMachpeila in Chevron (was that continuously identified by Jews, or did our identification rely on Arabs' identification) and the ...
5
votes
2answers
89 views

Yiddish city name from the 19th c

There is a locale referenced in a few places in stories or other materials relating to R' Y'chi'el Tz'vi Margaliyos called טאקאלא, on which extremely little information seems to be available online. ...
3
votes
1answer
246 views

Who wrote the 1950s-era super-patriotic Prayer for the United States of America?

In the "Tikun Meir" siddur from about 50 years ago, there's a very unique prayer for the United States of America. Something to the effect of: Humble were its beginnings, but by Your kindness, ...
5
votes
3answers
472 views

Understanding Shabsai Tzvi

Who was Shabsai Tzvi and why was he considered evil?
3
votes
5answers
406 views

Shabbos Zmiros author

Who wrote most of the songs we sing on shabbos?
6
votes
3answers
314 views

Will marriages continue when mashiach comes?

If you are married to a girl and mashaich comes, wil you be married to her in the world to come or you start all over?!?
4
votes
1answer
79 views

was paroh the same paroh during the 210 years

Was Paroh at the start the same as the one when it says "there arose a new king" (Exodus 1: 8)? How many parohs were there during the 210 years.
10
votes
7answers
320 views

Why was Moshe buried alone?

Why did Hashem bury Moshe in an unknown place, and did not do so with other great Tzadikim like Avraham, Yitchak and Yaakov?
5
votes
5answers
297 views

Why is learning Torah today harder than 1000 years ago?

Why did Hashem make it harder for this generation to learn Torah, rather than making it equal for every generation? We have all these distractions like tv or games.
5
votes
4answers
324 views

What's the origin of the name “Jew”?

Why are we called "the Jews"? Did Hashem pick out this name for us? What does the word "Jew" mean?
4
votes
2answers
107 views

The Inquisition [closed]

What was the reason of the Inquisition, who started it, and did it do what it was supposed to do?
10
votes
3answers
1k views

Author of Nishmat kol chai

Who is the author of the prayer "Nishmat kol chai" which is said on Shabbat, Yom Tov, and during the great Hallel at the Seder?
6
votes
5answers
533 views

Why Daniel is not Among the Prophets?

If Daniel was one of the Prophets, I do not understand why he is not counted among the Prophets. Why is his book among the Ketuvim and not Neviim?
10
votes
2answers
283 views

What's in the new bit of Jerusalem Talmud?

I just read a news story about a newly discovered sentence-long fragment of the Jerusalem Talmud that apparently resolves a previously unintelligible section of Tractate Bikkurim. Does anyone know ...
5
votes
4answers
649 views

Did Rav Moshe Feinstein pronounce his last name “Feinstain” or “Feinsteen”?

And, as a follow-up, does having the answer to this question dictate how we should say it?
4
votes
8answers
755 views

Anyone know anything about Shlomo Kluger Yeshiva?

A friend of mine said his great-grandfather taught at a yeshiva in New York called Mesivta/Yeshiva Shlomo (Solomon) Kluger. I've heard of Rabbi Shlomo Kluger, and assume this institution was named in ...
11
votes
2answers
221 views

Were the people of Chelm really unintelligent?

There are many stories that are told over about the people who lived in Chelm. They all have the theme of: the people in Chelm were fairly unintelligent. Where did this come from? Is it true? It ...
18
votes
9answers
1k views

Archeological proof of Exodus?

Is there empirical proof that the exodus from Egypt and related happenings (like Har Sinai etc) did in fact occur (i.e: Archeological proof)? I believe in the Torah, but how would you prove to someone ...
7
votes
1answer
217 views

What went down in 1666 before Shabtai Tz'vi's apostasy?

It seems agreed upon that one or more representatives from Lvov traveled to either investigate, visit or out Shabtai Tzvi in 1666 when he was still claiming to be the mashi'ach. Immediately following ...
4
votes
3answers
141 views

When did the practice of lighting flames for Chanuka begin?

It seems clear from the G'mara that the institution of Chanuka as a holiday began the year immediately following the seminal story - with praising of God and commemorating miracles, but there is no ...