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

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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 ...
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1answer
103 views

Why is the Kitzur so much more popular than the Chayey Adam?

The Chayey Adam was considered to be the "popular kitzur Shulchan Aruch" for almost a century before the "Kitzur Shulchan Aruch" was printed. Why did people stop learning the Chayey Adam and switch to ...
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1answer
37 views

History of 16 Teveis

**Looking for answers as to what happened in Jewish history on this date. It can include both positive and negative occurrences. It can also include birthdays or Yarzheits of well known personalities ...
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1answer
42 views

History of 13 Teveis

**Looking for answers as to what happened in Jewish history on this date. It can include both positive and negative occurrences. It can also include birthdays or Yarzheits of well known personalities ...
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3answers
59 views

History of 6 Teveis

**Looking for answers as to what happened in Jewish history on this date. It can include both positive and negative occurrences. It can also include birthdays or Yarzheits of well known personalities ...
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0answers
40 views

Is there a historical, cultural, traditional, or scriptural explanation for the prevalence of Jews in the comedy business? [duplicate]

If you took the general demographic data for the U.S. and compared it to the demographics of professional comics and comedians in the U.S., I think you'd find that Jews are disproportionately ...
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0answers
13 views

Are there any Jewish records of Ananus ben Ananus aside from Josephus?

In Josephus' Antiquities of the Jews, he records an incident that led to the removal from office of the high priest of the Temple. According to this account, the Roman proconsul of Judaea, Porcius ...
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0answers
26 views

Using oil lamps on Shabbas in old times

In the olden times, before electricity, did religious Jews have lamps that could hold large amounts of oil so that they could use light on Shabbas, similar to how we use Shabbas lamps and have lights ...
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0answers
6 views

Is there any support within the scholarly community for Cyrus Gordon's “Common Background of Greek and Hebrew Civilizations”? [migrated]

In "The Common Background of Greek and Hebrew Civilizations" (1965), scholar Cyrus Gordon argued for a common cultural origin for the Greek and Hebrew peoples. Specifically, he argued that both ...
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1answer
87 views

Can anybody read from the torah or prophets in a synagogue?

I am trying to understand the context of a passage from the Christian gospels. Luke 4:16 says that Jesus went into the synagogue and started reading from the book of Isaiah. At that time could ...
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0answers
29 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 ...
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0answers
40 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 ...
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0answers
37 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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0answers
42 views

Where in the Talmud is it said that the Berber tribes' conversions were not done according to the Halakha?

H. Zafrani, a French specialist on the Berber Jewish tribes, says that the Talmud explains that these tribes' conversions were not made according to the Halakha. I wonder where in the Talmud such a ...
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0answers
42 views

Akeidah and Ketoret

The earliest siddur I own (London, 5569 [18808-09]) does not include Ketoret or Akeidah, despite purporting to follow the customs of the "German and Polish" communities [emphasis mine]. Since most of ...
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0answers
95 views

Are Chazal more reliable than other Contemporary Sources (or Modern Historians)?

Are Chazal (and traditional sources) considered preferable or more reliable than external (contemporaneous) or academic sources for non Jewish Tradition issues? For example, this question requests ...
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0answers
57 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
58 views

Greeks' gas lamps

I once heard that there is a source that says the Greeks invented gas lamps or some sort of street lights which enabled the Jews to roam the streets at night and not be with their families. The plan ...
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0answers
48 views

Who first described the grammatical distinction of vav ha-hipukh v. vav ha-chibur in Tanakh?

To be more specific, who first wrote that a vav ha-chibur connects words or clauses together, but the vav ha-hipukh causes a "perfect" verb to become "imperfect" (for lack of better terms), and ...
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0answers
39 views

Do we know of any niggunim that date back to the Beit Hamikdash? [duplicate]

I have heard that some niggunim date back to the times of the Beit Hamikdash and I cant remember which ones! What I do remember is that they used (what we would call) a 4/4 time signature and ...
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1answer
39 views

History of 7 Teveis

**Looking for answers as to what happened in Jewish history on this date. It can include both positive and negative occurrences. It can also include birthdays or Yarzheits of well known personalities ...
0
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3answers
242 views

Sherlock Holmes & the Maharal of Prague [closed]

What is the connection between the Maharal and SHerlock Holmes?
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1answer
149 views

Earliest documentation of kissing

What are the earliest sources you know of that mention kissing (be it romantic, familial, kissing mezuzos/tefillin/torah etc.)? There are obvious tznius issues when it comes to people kissing other ...
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1answer
129 views

Which sefer did Pinchas Finish writing? [closed]

Which sefer did Pinchas Finish writing?
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1answer
213 views

What are the evidence of red/reed sea crossing?

Are there any credible historical evidences behind red/reed sea crossing? Besides, of course, the Torah.
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1answer
85 views

What's the earliest “acknowledgement” of Heliocentrism in Judaism? [closed]

The English Wikipedia says that Heliocentrism was "official" in Judaism only by the 20th century: In later periods there were no explicit attacks on heliocentrism, although some Rabbis were not ...
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1answer
111 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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1answer
61 views

Maskilim and Jüdischkeit

I often hear that the maskilim of the 18th and 19th centuries were, without exception, secularists and religious reformers. Is this true or were some/most of them actually religious individuals who ...
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2answers
82 views

Rabbis giving conflicting opinions?

Are there any examples in the history of Rabbis giving conflicting opinions on the same issue
-2
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1answer
89 views

Self Fulfilling Prophecy

Have there been any incidences of individuals or groups that have purposely triggered events, self fulfilling prophecy if you will, as a result of their belief that Moshiach has arrived? For example, ...
-3
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3answers
220 views

Demolishing Idolatry sneakily?

As an extension to this question which makes it obligatory to demolish idols, is it equally virtuous to demolish places of idolatry sneakily as we see examples from the story of Abraham? As people ...
-3
votes
1answer
155 views

Founders of Jewish movements [closed]

The Baal Shem Tov was the founder of the Hasidic Movement, Rabbi Israel Salanter was the founder of the Musar Movement, and Theodor Herzl was the founder of the Zionist Movement. What are other ...
-4
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1answer
471 views

Does Judaism believe that Moshe (Moses) is the last Prophet?

Does Judaism believe that Moshe (Moses) is the last Prophet? Is this suggested in the Torah? If he was not the last prophet, but the Torah seems to suggest it, what does that mean?
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5answers
121 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 ...
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2answers
111 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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2answers
212 views

Was Intermarriage Permissible at the time of Tanakh?

There are many examples of 'Jewish' characters in Tanach (even post Matan Torah) who marry non-Jews (who are not described in Tanakh as converts), and their actions appear to be accepted. This makes ...
-5
votes
3answers
1k views

When did the switch to matrilineal descent occur?

Does anyone know when the switch the matrilineal descent took place? I've seen other information about the potential impetus, but when did it become so? Was there even a switch?
-5
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1answer
160 views

Is there really evidence that the Rabbis changed the day's beginning from sunrise to sunset? [closed]

The writing of the two Rabbis quoted below state that the Rabbis changed the start of the day from sunrise to sunset. Rabbi Drazin wrote that "we know for certain that the day began in the Temple at ...
-5
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1answer
133 views

Which nation in this prophecy of Haggai will shake nations and will be given peace(שָׁלוֹם) [closed]

The following verse in the Torah prophesizes about a nation which will be given "peace" and coming of a praised being: and I will shake all nations, and the choicest(חֶמְדַּת ) things of all ...
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2answers
122 views

What are the behaviors which will cause the covenant between Bnei Yisrael and God to be broken? [closed]

What are the abominations that Bnei Yisrael should desist from, which would cause it to break the covenant of God. And has the covenant been broken in the past?
-6
votes
1answer
73 views

What are the ancestors of Israelites? [closed]

In the wiki I was not able to find who were the predecessors of Israelites. According to http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Israelites Israelites do not have any ancestors. Is it possible? My ...
-8
votes
2answers
4k views

Why do the Philistines have many Giants?

Were the Philistine giants bigger than the Israelites? Were giants common among the Israelites' neighbors? Did they have better nutrition? (Just curious.) Were the Israelites typically smaller in ...