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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2answers
615 views

What's the source for naming children after Alexander the Great?

I know many Jews whose actual bris-given name is Alexander, and this has been a popular name even among great tzaddikim of the past (such as R. Alexander Ziskind). I've heard a legend (mentioned on ...
2
votes
1answer
108 views

Why Choose Talmud Bavli For The Daily Study

As we know it is a big custom to learn a daf of Talmud Bavli a day (Dafyomi). My question is why did they choose to pick Talmud Bavli. There are so many other Subjects that could actually affect ...
2
votes
3answers
107 views

Mitzvah to study/know history?

I heard someone once mention that chazal tell us that it is a mitzvah to review, know, or study secular history. Is that true?
3
votes
0answers
83 views

How did the mesorah for techeles get lost?

It seems odd that something like the tradition for techeles could have been lost. It seems unlikely that Jews just stopped using techeles at some point and then immediately forgot. Are there no ...
2
votes
2answers
57 views

Book on Biblical Archeology

I'm looking to increase my knowledge of biblical archeology. As an orthodox jew, I'd prefer a book which takes a more traditional view with regards to the historicity of tanach. Any suggestions?
1
vote
1answer
96 views

Churban Bayis Sheini Not on Tisha B'Av?

I recently heard that the destruction of the 2nd Temple was not actually on Tisha B'av, the date of the destruction of the 1st Temple, but that it was pretty close, so the rabbis had it commemorated ...
2
votes
0answers
49 views

What is known about the Sage מונבז?

מונבז is mentioned in Shabbos 68b. I know there were two Kings of this name. What is known about the Sage of this name?
5
votes
2answers
95 views

Was Bar Kochba a King?

The Rambam (Hilchot Melachim 11:8) says the following: ואם יעמוד מלך מבית דויד הוגה בתורה ועוסק במצוות כדויד אביו, כפי תורה שבכתב ושבעל פה, ויכוף כל ישראל לילך בה ולחזק בדקה, ויילחם מלחמות ה'--הרי ...
12
votes
2answers
1k views

How does orthodox Judaism view the Dead Sea Scrolls?

I'm trying to understand how orthodox Jews view the dead sea scrolls. Are they considered authentic representations of Judaism? If there are textual variants between our current tanach texts and the ...
4
votes
1answer
169 views

How did the Tammuz die?

In reference to the verse in Yechezkel (18:4) which states "and the women sat, weeping over the Tammuz" - many commentaries try to explain who the Tammuz was. Amongst the opinions brought, and perhaps ...
1
vote
2answers
102 views

Are there any late-Achronim who wrote like a Rishon (or early-Acharon)?

When the Rishonim wrote, they weighed every word they used, considered the meaning and inferences of all possibilities and decided on what best reflects their position as a whole. This is how we treat ...
-5
votes
2answers
137 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 ...
-2
votes
1answer
79 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, ...
5
votes
1answer
107 views

When did the type of kippah worn become 'defining'?

Nowadays there is a mix of kippah styles within cities/communities/countries which can define which 'sect' you belong to and may even carry a political message. Was there a point in history where the ...
0
votes
0answers
48 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 ...
2
votes
1answer
116 views

How did Paro know that “…that they may serve Me” meant sacrifices and not some other form of service?

During the confrontation with Paro Moshe repeats God's demand several times: let my people go that they may serve Me -- שַׁלַּח עַמִּי וְיַעַבְדֻנִי . During the plague of frogs Paro makes this offer ...
1
vote
0answers
51 views

Who was the most benevolent ruler of Jews? [closed]

Of all the non-Jewish potentates who have ruled over Jewish people, who was the most benevolent relative to his power and his era? Explain why?
13
votes
2answers
133 views

How long did Chava (Eve) live?

The Torah tells us that Adam HaRishon lived for 930 years. Is there a source that tells us for how long Chava (Eve) lived? I have been unable to find any source that discusses how old Chava was when ...
0
votes
0answers
18 views

Why are the laws of Tumah and Taharah not observed? When did this start? [duplicate]

I've often heard an explanation as to why we don't need to be aware of tumah and taharah is that it no longer applies. The reason for this (as I've heard) is that since we don't know who is and isn't ...
7
votes
2answers
81 views

How is the story of the Torah being given told in the Torah itself?

I'm sure this question has been asked before since it very obvious and I've heard it before. Nonetheless I've never heard a good answer and an internet search brought up nothing. The question is, how ...
7
votes
1answer
232 views

What was the language spoken by Jews in Israel in 16th century

Did the Jewish inhabitants of Safed and Jerusalem (contemporaries of Rav Yosef Karo and the Ari) speak Hebrew when they learned Torah or did they speak Arabic, Ladino or some other language? I saw a ...
1
vote
2answers
137 views

Cairo Geniza Controversy

What are the arguments against using manuscripts from the Cairo Geniza? Are there any Seforim / articles that discuss this debate?
2
votes
0answers
66 views

What was the name of Sarah's mother?

Seder Hadoros mentions Avraham's mother, how old Nachor was when Sarah was born, and even a Peshat that Lot was her brother, though no mention of Sarah's mother's name. Any other sources that mention ...
3
votes
1answer
118 views

To what extent would a 17th-century observant Jew purposefully violate Halacha to save lives?

I’m writing an alternate-history story set in the 1630s and this topic touches on one of the plot points. My character is attempting to avert the various massacres of the 17th–20th centuries by ...
4
votes
2answers
109 views

Historical evidence that blue snail dye was produced in ancient times

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tyrian_purple and http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Iles_Purpuraires show that blue dye was produced from the murex in ancient times in these locations. But on Ptil Tekhelet's ...
1
vote
1answer
91 views

What is Ezra's Immersion / טבילת עזרא

What is Ezra's Immersion / טבילת עזרא and: Why was it canceled? How was it canceled?
3
votes
1answer
62 views

Has the minhag regarding weddings during the Omer changed recently?

My father in law was a musician. He explained that other than Lag Ba'Omer and beginning 3 days before Shavuot, there were no weddings at all during the Omer. Even though, there are two versions of the ...
3
votes
1answer
220 views

Are there any historical Bibles entirely written on parchment?

In Hilchot Sifrei Torah, Ramba"m mentions that it is permissible to write an entire Tana"ch on one continuous parchment scroll. Between the end of Devarim and the beginning of Yehoshua, one needs 4 ...
2
votes
1answer
135 views

Sabbateanism and Rav Yonasan Eibshitz

Is there any real substantial evidence that Rav Yonasan Eibshitz was a Sabbatean? On what basis did Rav Yaakov Emden hound him?
3
votes
0answers
67 views

Why did they stop packing the gizard, neck and liver inside the chicken cavity?

Why did they stop packing the gizard, neck and liver inside the chicken cavity? I think this practice stopped about 25 years ago. When I was a novice cook, I didn't know that I had to first take out ...
3
votes
2answers
86 views

Pirates and Torah

In the 16th and 17th centuries European nations granted "letters of marque" licensing pirates to attack rival nation's ships. The major powers at the time were England, Portugal, Spain, and France ...
3
votes
1answer
74 views

Why Was the Idol of Micha Tolerated?

This answer brings sources that suggest that the Idol of Micha was present in the tribe of Dan even in the desert. This is also implied by Targum Pseudo Jonathan when Amalek attacks in Exodus, (second ...
5
votes
1answer
82 views

History of the two versions of the Ritva

I recall from my time in Yeshiva that the version of the Chiddushei HaRitva in use in the 19th century was clearly not the original (as proved from quotations in the Shita Mikubetzes), and that the ...
4
votes
1answer
102 views

How common was polygamy in Biblical times?

How prevalent was polygamy among Jews in Biblical times? I can only think of five Jews in Tanach who had multiple wives: Avraham, Yaakov, Elkanah, David, and Shlomo (although I probably missed a ...
3
votes
0answers
48 views

Where and when did the numerical time units (hours) originate? [duplicate]

The Torah states no numerical divisions for the day. The closest numeric we find is that there are 7 days in the week, and that the start of the "day" begins with "erev" (and there are debates on when ...
2
votes
0answers
51 views

Communities who follow the Rambam.

At one point, many sefardic communities followed the Mishneh Torah. As time went on, it seems that the sefardim accepted the Beit Yosef. Besides Yemenities, were there any communities who until ...
2
votes
2answers
90 views

Are There Any Good Sources for How “Ancient” (Pre-Talmudic) Prayer Was Done?

While reading this answer to another question about the development of the Siddur (here, look specifically at the question about "Modern Laws Vs. Shulcan Aruch"), I came upon this question. Here is ...
3
votes
4answers
418 views

What's the Closest Thing to a Systematic Theology in Judaism? [closed]

Many religions have authors who pen "systematic theologies," books that present the religions in a systematic manner from point A to Z. There are ups and downs with this approach, especially since it ...
1
vote
1answer
86 views

Where do the names of the sedras come from and do they have meaning?

I would like to know where the names for the sedras come from (who named a certain sedra Balak, Emor etc.) and if there is any meaning associated with the naming (as the Lubavitcher Rebbi seems to ...
2
votes
1answer
165 views

How did the different groups within Judaism develop?

How have the various groups and movements (like chassidism, Modern Orthodox, Conservative, etc) within Judaism evolved? For example I'm looking for the following except starting with Judaism and with ...
2
votes
1answer
76 views

What do we know about Bar Kochba?

Among the failed potential Messiah's was Bar Kochba who was backed by Rabbi Akiva. What do we know about him? Was he a disciple of Beit Hillel or Beit Shamai or someone else for example?
7
votes
3answers
220 views

Did the Men of the Great Assembly Canonize Tanach?

Many Jewish websites, (Aish, Jewish History, Ou), state that the the Men of the Great Assembly finalized the contents of Tanach in the early Second Temple Period. No source is brought to support this ...
6
votes
4answers
172 views

What is the Difference Between Prophets and Writings?

In the Tanakh, the Jewish Biblical Canon, there are three categories of works: the Torah of Moses, and what are know as the 'Prophets' and 'Writings'. This categorization is outlined and mentioned in ...
2
votes
2answers
93 views

What is the religious significance of the existence of many denominations and sects?

For much of the past 2000 years, when most of contemporary Halacha was being formulated, there was only a single denomination\sect of Judaism. (Leaving aside Ashkenzi vs Sephardi, which is mostly a ...
3
votes
1answer
95 views

Rabbinical suppport for reducing noise at weddings

There is a verse in Devarim (Deut) - Don't recall exact location that says "Watch your lives very carefully". From here we learn that we must do what we can to preserve our health. So, I'm wondering ...
2
votes
2answers
86 views

Hammurabi in Jewish sources

The Hammurabi code is one of the oldest preserved codes of law dating back to 1772 BCE. This is roughly the time after the flood (-2105BCE), the tower of Bavel (1765BCE) and the Patriarchs. Although ...
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votes
1answer
69 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 ...
9
votes
2answers
71 views

“Terach, father of Avraham and of Nachor”—what about Haran?

As quoted in the Hagadah, Yehoshua 24:2 reminds the Jewish people that, “Your ancestors lived across the river: Terach, father of Avraham and of Nachor; and they served strange gods.” God then reminds ...
4
votes
2answers
147 views

What is the Anshei Knesset HaGedolah?

I've heard many things about this "Great Assembly," mostly about how they established davening (prayers). However, there appears to be a lack of specific information about this institution. So: ...
1
vote
0answers
38 views

Chazals intention behind bedikat hametz

Nowdays, it seems to be standard for jewish family's to begin cleaning their houses days before Pesach. By the time bedikat hametz arrives, the houses are usually hametz free. From reading Talmud ...