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

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5
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1answer
132 views

Where did Rash"i's commentary leave off when he died?

Where did Rash"i's commentary leave off when died? Did he finish it? What was he working on?
17
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4answers
1k views

What is the original halachic source for a woman covering her collarbones out of modesty (tznius)?

Many contemporary instructions on women's modesty (tznius) say that necklines have to be high enough to cover the collarbones. I can certainly accept that if this is the communal standard, it should ...
5
votes
3answers
375 views

Which Yochanan Kohen Godol is in Al Hanissim?

In Al Hanissim we mention a Yochanan Kohen Gadol. Since there were several kohanim gedolim named Yochanan which one is this, historically?
3
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2answers
2k views

How many Maccabees were there and what were their names?

How many Maccabees were there and what were their names?
5
votes
2answers
102 views

At what point was it recommended to have a separate kosher certifier (mashgiach) for local Jewish businesses?

If I understand correctly, you can generally walk into an observant Jew's house (upon invitation) and if he says the food is kosher, you assume the food is kosher. Now if the same fellow has a kosher ...
3
votes
6answers
610 views

Hebrew Pronunciation of the Conservative Movement

Why does the Conservative Movement pronounce Hebrew in a quasi-Sephardic pronunciation, even though their engagement in Wissenschaft Des Judentums would have led them to embrace the Yemenite ...
5
votes
3answers
204 views

Esav & Yishma'el today

Historically, how did Esav come to be associated with Rome/Christianity? How did Yishma'el come to be associated with Arabs/Islam?
7
votes
2answers
270 views

History of Capital Punishment

When is the most recent documented occurrence in Jewish history of a beit din carrying out the death penalty? Or if historical documentation is lacking, when is the most recent time in Jewish history ...
2
votes
2answers
71 views

Research Project on How the Revival of the Hebrew Language Led to Jewish Nationalism [closed]

Can someone help me with finding sources (ie, things to read) about my research topic of "How the Revival of the Hebrew Language Led to Jewish Nationalism"
2
votes
2answers
217 views

What is the Morph-Phonological Split in Hebrew that makes it so Unique? [closed]

Can some one explain this to me? In a mixed language par excellence, large and monolithic blocks of material are imported wholesale from each of the ancestral languages. Thus, while the verbal ...
5
votes
2answers
155 views

Ibn Ezra/Rashbam Biography

Does any one know of any good biographies of Rashbam and/or Ibn Ezra?
5
votes
1answer
72 views

Location of Sheba

Where is the Biblical Sheba (famous for its queen) located today?
4
votes
1answer
113 views

Spain and curse

Was there a Curse placed on Jews returning to Spain after the Spanish Inquisition if so who stated it and general background information would be appreciated?
3
votes
2answers
225 views

What was the earliest use of the Rambam's language in Shmita V'Yovel in support of kollel study?

Here's the Rambam, waxing poetic at the end of Laws of Shmita and Yovel (and his entire volume of Zeraim): ולא שבט לוי בלבד, אלא כל איש ואיש מכל באי העולם אשר נדבה רוחו אותו והבינו מדעו להיבדל ...
3
votes
3answers
330 views

Moshe Rabeinu's Yarzheit

It is common knowledge that Moshe Rabeinu was Niftar on 7 Adar. Was it a plain year with 1 Adar or a leap year with 2 Adars? If it was a leap year on what Adar was he Niftar?
9
votes
4answers
616 views

“Veadar” as the name of the extra month in leap years?

In older books and other publications that describe the Jewish calendar, it's quite common to see the extra leap month referred to as "Veadar." (One example is here.) But I have yet to hear that ...
9
votes
1answer
131 views

Noach Burial Place

Where was Noach buried? (or, do we know?)
11
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3answers
373 views

Would halacha permit bombing Auschwitz?

I know there's a lot of talk about whether Allied forces during World War II could have / should have taken military action directly against the Holocaust. I'm not opening that can of worms here. ...
1
vote
1answer
108 views

Lot's Daughters

Why did Lot's daughters have relations with their father?
5
votes
2answers
66 views

Primacy of Rash"i

How did Rash"i's commentary on the Torah become the primary (phrasing intentionally vague) commentary among the hundreds of others that have been written?
3
votes
1answer
202 views

What do we know about the Yemenites adding (deleting?) Maimonides from their prayers in the 1100s?

I've always heard that the Yemenite Jews of the late 1100s were so grateful for the theological support they were given by Maimonides' writings (Rambam's Igeret Teiman), that where their kaddish ...
2
votes
3answers
603 views

Agudath Israel Convention

Where can I find information on the annual Agudath Israel (of America?) convention that happens around Thanksgiving time? I have been hearing references to this convention since I was young, but ...
4
votes
5answers
358 views

What was the first product to receive Kosher certification?

What was the first product to receive Kosher certification?
2
votes
5answers
265 views

What's the oldest continuously-existing, still-open kosher restaurant?

What's the oldest continuously-existing, still-open kosher restaurant?
5
votes
3answers
421 views

Seeking old Jewish recipes [closed]

What are some really old recipes that Jews are known to have used (actual recipes that say how to make the dish, not just names or descriptions of what was eaten like צלי קדר)? I'm seeking ...
5
votes
2answers
112 views

Does the rebbetzin (rabbi's wife) have a special seat in the ezras nashim (women's side of the synagogue)?

Usually the rabbi gets a special seat. I'd seen the Pnei Yehoshua's contract in Berlin 200+ years ago specify a special seat for his wife as well, but is anyone aware of shuls today that do that?
5
votes
1answer
94 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
162 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
464 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
114 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
362 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
370 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 ...
11
votes
3answers
462 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
767 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
78 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
240 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
225 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
240 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 ...
26
votes
6answers
789 views

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

What is the source of Gilgulim (reincarnations) in Judaism? Are there people who disagree with its existence? Who was the first to mention it? What I am asking essentially is what is the historical ...
17
votes
13answers
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 ...
11
votes
1answer
279 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 ...
41
votes
7answers
859 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
132 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
190 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
178 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
203 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
333 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
131 views

17 of Tammuz occurrences

What happened on the 17 of Tammuz?