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

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Hand gesture origin for “David Melech Yisrael” song

What is the origin of the gestures for the song whose text is "David melech yisrael, chai chai v'kayam"? (An example would be https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cWItJ0TF2fw.)
4
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0answers
42 views

History of Talmudic Censorship

I'm looking for literature on the history of talmudic censorship. I would prefer the material be in English, but Hebrew is also OK. Related post: Talmudic Censorship
2
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0answers
31 views

Who were the original users of Ktav Ashuri?

It is generally stated that ktav ashuri started to be used during the exile, adopted from Babylonian sources. Who exactly was using this alphabet? Do we have archeological examples of these letters ...
2
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3answers
622 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 ...
6
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0answers
71 views

Did Rambam have Rashi's works?

While the Rambam lived a century after Rashi, I cannot recall ever seeing or hearing the Rambam cite or mention Rashi or any of his works. Is there any evidence that Rambam had access to Rashi's ...
2
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2answers
565 views

How was Tevilas Ezra effective in limiting conjugal relations?

Many go to mikve (perform ritual immersion) every morning. One reason for this is voluntary continuation of a cancelled decree, Tevilas Ezra, meant to limit conjugal relations by requiring immersion ...
2
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0answers
25 views

Al pi halacha, are descendents from Marranos considered Jewish? [duplicate]

What level of proof would be needed for a person whose ancestors lived in Mexico and who claims to be a descendant of the Marranos to be considered Jewish for the sake of marriage? Or are all such ...
3
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2answers
52 views

Were the 8th and 9th of Teves once fasts?

In slichos this morning I noticed a mention of the 8th and 9th of Teves also being fasts. Were these three days ever fasts all at once or were these fasts independently observed and replaced each time ...
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3answers
83 views

Where was Herod's temple built?

The Scripture says that the Second Temple was built on the foundation of Solomon's Temple, but was Herod's Temple built in the same place or was it built next to it? (Do we have any records that say ...
3
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3answers
98 views

Where was the Kodesh haKodoshim?

I have always been under the impression that the mosque on the Har HaBayis is on the location of the Kosdesh HaKodoshim. Is that accurate?
6
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0answers
164 views

What was the anti-CRC ruling?

I understand that, circa 1980, a religious authority for Lubavitch hasidim ruled that foods certified as kosher by the Satmar His'achadus Harabanim (CRC) not be eaten. What form did this ruling ...
7
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1answer
88 views

Origins of “Shalom Rav”

Someone asked me recently if I knew where the origins of the Bracha of Shalom Rav (instead of Sim Shalom at Mincha and Ma'ariv) are from. As far as I knew the Nusach is not found in the Gemara nor the ...
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33 views

Mesada/masada, are there any torah sources confirming or denying Josephus' version

This documentary seems to give good points to doubt the masada story. Are there any talmudic or later sources regarding this if yes what are they Related. Masada - heroic martyrdom or immoral ...
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3answers
362 views

Are there any female kabbalists?

Are there currently or have there been historically orthodox female kabbalists? If not is this a quirk of history or is there a specific reason?
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1answer
30 views

Evolution of Simchas Torah Night reading

I was in a situation this year, where I was the Torah Reader for the Simchas Torah Day, but wasn't sure if they wanted me for the evening. It's a long walk for me. Anyway I was looking at what is read ...
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0answers
18 views

How do we know that word of the torah has been kept the same over generations? [duplicate]

Can we guarantee this text has not been significantly altered in any way? What is the evidence which supports its preservation?
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1answer
48 views

Why do we light Chanukah candles in the shul?

Talmud Shabbat (I think it's around p. 21a) says that the mitzvah of lighting candles is in one's home. I did not see any mention, there, of a requirement to light in the shul. So, a few questions: ...
5
votes
1answer
188 views

requirement for Chabad shluchim to be married?

I heard that Chabad instituted a requirement for shluchim to be married because Zalman Schachter-Shalomi went off the derech. Is this historically accurate, and are Chabad shluchim required to be ...
4
votes
1answer
92 views

When and how were trop melodies first written down?

We know that the trop (cantillation) marks were added to our written Tanakh text by the ba'alei hamesorim (Masorites) around the 8-10th century CE. They were recording an oral tradition that, I ...
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0answers
34 views

Why was Judah/Yehuda the tribe that endured?

My basic question is: Are there any reasons or hints in the Torah that explain or hint (bedieved) that Judah/Yehudah would be the tribe that was not lost? Yes, I know that parts of Benjamin survived ...
2
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5answers
774 views

Were there any other religions before Judaism that their followers should convert to Judaism?

You could imagine that with the advent of a new religion, any followers of the last religion would be required to convert to the new religion. Which followers of which religion converted to Judaism, ...
6
votes
1answer
87 views

How far must one be able to trace one's Jewish lineage?

I have heard some talk to the effect that as long as an American Jew can trace his/her maternal lineage back to prewar Europe, he/she can be assumed to be Jewish. Is this true? I assume there must ...
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0answers
35 views

what were taxes like during Solomon's time? (According to Judaism)

I know there was terumah (10%) which went to kohanim and maaser ani (9% every other year to poor) + maaser sheni, which isn't exactly a tax but you had to spend it in Jerusalem. Where did non-Temple ...
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0answers
13 views

Is nechoshet copper, brass or bronze [duplicate]

In the bible the word נחושת means what? I saw a few translations: copper, brass, bronze. What is the definition of the word
5
votes
1answer
207 views

I would like to see an actual Vilna Shas

I would like to see the pages of an actual Vilna Shas. I know there are many many reprints out there in bookstores, my bookshelf, and websites like http://www.e-daf.com, but that's not what I want. I ...
4
votes
1answer
57 views

Why are Mordechai and Esther buried in Hamedan, considering it is distant from Shushan?

According to Google Maps, Hamedan is about 470 KM from Shush, the Biblical town of Shushan. If Mordechai and Esther lived in Shushan (where Esther served as Queen), why were they buried so far away ...
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5answers
841 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?
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0answers
61 views

What is the significance of 7-month births?

I have noticed that there are a number of significant figures in Jewish history who were born at 7 months. To name a few: Yitzchok Avinu (Rosh Hashana 11a) Reuvein, Shimon, and Levi (Rabbeinu ...
11
votes
1answer
149 views

Did shadchanim suggest the shidduch?

Today, the role of the Shadchan is, depending on your community, to suggest to the prospective match that they meet, to introduce them, to arrange their meetings, and/or to advocate / be the ...
5
votes
3answers
143 views

Great People Not Mentioned in the Torah

It has been said that the Torah is not a history book and her words are succinct. In addition to the "obvious" people and stories/events discussed in scripture, there are many others mentioned if only ...
3
votes
2answers
310 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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1answer
96 views

The Three Jewish Tribes That Lived In Medina At The Time Of Mohammad

Is there any mention at all in the Talmud that backs the claim in the Quran that there were three Jewish tribes that lived in Medina at the time of Mohammad?
3
votes
1answer
32 views

Writing down Torah she'beal peh for personal use before the Tannaic period

Before the ruling was given that allowed the oral component of the Torah to be written down, what exactly was permitted and what was not permitted? More specifically, I would like to know if an ...
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4answers
2k 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 ...
12
votes
2answers
290 views

Was a sefer torah ever actually written in Greek?

This answer to a different question states that the only other language a sefer torah can be written in and be kosher is Greek. (Rambam, Hilchot Sefer Torah 1:19 says that this Greek no longer exists ...
4
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1answer
83 views

Blue Stripes on Tallis

I've read that tallit stripes were originally blue and at some point morphed to black. What I'm wondering is if anyone knows any oldsters who can attest to actually seeing this in the frum velt in ...
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0answers
15 views

When did it become common to engrave tombstones?

I'm going to "link" this question to something in this week's parsha (Torah reading): Genesis 35:20: וַיַּצֵּ֧ב יַעֲקֹ֛ב מַצֵּבָ֖ה עַל־קְבֻרָתָ֑הּ הִ֛וא מַצֶּ֥בֶת קְבֻֽרַת־רָחֵ֖ל עַד־הַיּֽוֹם׃ ...
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2answers
101 views

Are there books and / or online sources that discuss how the Talmud was compiled?

There are a few aspects of the Talmud that I'm curious about: Someone compiled it. My history knowledge is poor. I understand that Rabbi Yehuda compiled the Mishna. I'm not sure who compiled the ...
3
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0answers
64 views

When and why did Torah-reading “aliyot” begin?

I was able to locate only one reference discussing how public Torah reading was done (i.e. - who read it): Originally the Torah was read in public once every 7 years during Hakhel Mishneh Torah, ...
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2answers
76 views

How did a marriage officially commence among Hebrew people 2000 years ago?

About 2 thousand years ago how was a new marriage registered among Hebrew people? Was it registered at all? How did a man and a woman officially become married? Was it just a kind of public ...
15
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2answers
2k views

Origin of the term Yoshke?

I have often heard Jews refer to Jesus as "Yoshke". Is the origin of that appellation based on halachic issues regarding mentioning names of foreign deities, or some other Jewish law or custom? When ...
10
votes
1answer
217 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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votes
2answers
186 views

How can we say women can't receive s'micha when they already have?

The topic of s'micha is a touchy subject in general due to the fact that the s'micha we have now is a rather diminished form in comparison to the s'micha of the Bible or Talmud. The institution of ...
6
votes
1answer
141 views

How old is the tradition of the Genizah?

You'll have to excuse my ignorance and if I word something slightly awkwardly, but I did wonder how old is the tradition of burying the Genizot, or alternatively, if that is unknown, what is the ...
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votes
6answers
809 views

The value of the daily study of Chitas (Chumash, Tehilim, Tanya)?

What's the value of learning "Chitas" compared to any other daily Torah study? Side question: If it's so important, why was it introduced only recently?
2
votes
1answer
75 views

Not All Te'amim Signs Musical?

Those of you may remember i had previously asked a question regarding a French Musicologist who had notated the Egyptian te'amim in 1798 One of the striking things i learned from that notation is that ...
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2answers
121 views

Listing acts of patriotism towards a host nation

In the UK, united synagogues recite a prayer for the royal family including a blessing for "all her advisors and councillers" that they may grant us peace, etc. Many synagogues also display British ...
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2answers
119 views

What dates were the Talmuds and Midrashes written?

Can we prove what dates in history these texts were written? Also, do we know exactly when the various Rabbis of these texts lived? What are those dates? Are there disputes about this? Further, ...
3
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0answers
104 views

Were flour tortillas invented by the Jews of New Spain?

I was reading the Wikipedia entry for tortilla. It says, The wheat flour tortilla was an innovation by exiled Spanish Jews who did not consider corn meal to be kosher, using wheat brought from ...
10
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2answers
248 views

Did the Rosh (Rabbeinu Asher) describe the culture clash moving from medieval Germany to Spain?

Rabbi Asher (the "Rosh") moved from medieval Germany to Spain. I know he describes some different halachic practices that were done in Spain (e.g. linen tzitzis); but does he describe the difference ...