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

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4
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The word 'Halakhah'

When and under what circumstances did the word "halakhah" (also spelled "halacha", "halachah" or, in Hebrew, הלכה) come to mean Jewish law?
2
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0answers
62 views

How old is the Earth?

There are few versions of the age of the Earth Wikipedia Article but they seem to be mostly (all?) from christian interpretations. Are there estimations from the Tanakh, with Jewish interpretations? ...
2
votes
2answers
97 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 ...
5
votes
2answers
71 views

What are the major regions relevant to Ashkenazi minhagim?

Motivating this question are the instructions in the ArtScroll Siddur for the two versions of kel erekh apayim, said on weekdays before taking out the sefer torah: one is identified as “נוסח אשכנז, ...
6
votes
1answer
56 views

Selichot origins

In what year (CE) did saying selichot in Elul begin? In what year were they made a standard addition to prayer books? Looking for an academic answer, not the yeshivahish one. And did Sephardim start ...
4
votes
1answer
112 views

On what social issues were the rabbis ahead of their times?

On what social issues were the rabbis (Chazal and rishonim) ahead of their times? That is, which social/political matters subject to wide agreement today were shared by Chazal before these views ...
11
votes
7answers
2k views

How are Spartans the son of Abraham?

I was reading the Book of Maccabbees (I and II) over shabbat and in it there is a letter written to Sparta to ask for peace, goodwill and friendship. In the reply letter back from Sparta, they affirm ...
9
votes
5answers
203 views

Is beauty that is described in the Torah objective beauty?

Perceptions of beauty have changed throughout time. For example, in the times of the Talmud, R' Yochanan, who was described as being fat (Berachos 13b), is also described in the Talmud as being ...
6
votes
2answers
381 views

Does the Date of Sukkot Correspond to Any Particular Event?

As far as I can tell every single Jewish Holiday celebrates a particular event that happened on the date we celebrate it. Namely: Rosh Hashanah - (Tishrei 1) Creation of Man Yom Kippur - (Tishrei ...
8
votes
4answers
879 views

Why use Babylonian calendar instead of our own?

Why did the Hebrews not create their own calendar system instead of copying the pagan Babylonians'? I find it interesting that they use a pagan calendar which often honours pagan gods. Why is this ...
8
votes
4answers
174 views

Copies of Aleppo Codex

From what I understand, the loss of the Torah portion of Keter Aram Soba (the Aleppo Codex) in 1948 is heavily lamented because it was the oldest preserved and probably most accurate text of Torah. ...
4
votes
1answer
72 views

The history behind the composition and inclusion of V'lo N'tato

I'm curious about the composition and inclusion in the shabbat shacharit of the paragraph beginning ולא נתתו (v'lo n'tato). I understand the talmudic basis for the underlying idea, and how it fits in ...
5
votes
1answer
240 views

Where does the tune for birkat hamazon come from?

It's hard to describe who's tune this is and I can only refer to it as the 'commonly used' or 'popular' tune for birkat hamazon. I seems like it is compiled of many unrelated tunes. At times there are ...
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votes
2answers
145 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
148 views

Did 1 million Ethiopians really attack Israel?

2 Chronicles 14:8: And Zerah the Cushite came out against them with an army of a thousand thousand, and three hundred chariots, and he came as far as Mareshah. How could the Ethiopians have an ...
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votes
1answer
29 views

What is the meaning of surnames that number-related? [closed]

I deal a lot with names, whether given names or family names, especially as I collect genealogical information. So recently I'm puzzled about some Germanic-Jewish names that are related to numbers. ...
4
votes
1answer
271 views

When was the last time the “Leap Year” postponement rule was used to delay the date of Rosh Hashannah?

This site explains that there are 4 rules that would cause Rosh Hashannah to be postponed 1 or 2 days after the date of Molad Tishrei. You can view all 4 rules on the web site, but rule 4 states: ...
2
votes
2answers
81 views

What year was the first Shemita?

When was the first Shemita year? I want to compare with our years from 1800 til now.
2
votes
3answers
215 views

the dress of the followers of Harav Kook

Harav Kook was basically a litai, and dressed like one and even had a shtreimel. Today his followers and talmidim from his yeshiva don't even use any kind of suit (long or short) or hat and even make ...
6
votes
0answers
45 views

Is history Torah?

Does studying Jewish history count as Torah? For example, could one study it on Tish'a B'av or in an unclean place or before saying Birkas HaTorah? It seems clear that the stories included in the ...
5
votes
6answers
2k views

Are Europeans Edomites?

I had always thought that Europeans descended from Yafet, not Shem, and certainly not Shem, Avraham and Yitzhak. I am aware that it was common in the past to equate Rome with Edom, but I always ...
2
votes
2answers
454 views

Did Moshe have a son with Ethiopian Queen prior to Exodus

According to Josephus, Moshe was a great military leader who lead in battle for Egypt when Egypt and Ethiopia was at war and Moshe married the Ethiopian Queen and had a child with her who became the ...
1
vote
1answer
98 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 ...
4
votes
1answer
200 views

A source for the claim that the Satmar Ruv (R' Yoel Teitelbaum) said to VP Hubert Humphrey “Sell weapons to Israel!”

There is a commonly quoted anecdote that when Vice President Hubert Humphrey came to the Satmar Rav for votes in 1968 and asked him what he could do for him the Satmar Rav replied "Sell weapons to ...
3
votes
3answers
276 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?
7
votes
2answers
78 views

Why were there 8 kings of Edom?

Is there any symbolism or other explanation as to why there were specifically eight kings of Edom who ruled before any king in Yisrael did, like it says in Bereshis 36 (31-39)?
11
votes
1answer
467 views

What was the topic debated in the series of Satmar/Lubavitch talks?

I'd heard there was a point in the late twentieth century when the Lubavitcher Rebbe (R' Menachem Mendel Schneurson) would give an address, which would be relayed to the Satmar Rebbe (R' Yoel ...
3
votes
0answers
69 views

Chida's statement about shabbat violators

I heard Rabbi Yitzhack Yosef Shelita (Rishon LeTzion and son of Maran HaRav Ovadia Yosef, Z"L) who says that the Chida writes that in all the places that he was never saw a Sephardic Jew that wasn't ...
2
votes
1answer
88 views

When did walking from Ner Israel yeshiva to Baltimore no longer require Eruv Techumin?

From what I'm told, several decades ago one who wanted to walk from Ner Israel yeshiva on Mt. Wilson Lane in Pikesville, MD to the greater Baltimore community (e.g. Rabbi Heinemann's shul, the Agudah, ...
0
votes
1answer
83 views

What Jewish leaders/rabbis/prophets were active in years 3350-3360?

What Jewish leaders/rabbis/prophets were active in years 3350-3360 (in Jewish calendar years)? and died around 3360...
2
votes
2answers
322 views

Did circumcision exist before Abraham?

I heard it claimed recently that Circumcision was an act that was already practiced before God came to Abraham. The claim mentions that God took it and made it a token of His covenant with his people, ...
17
votes
2answers
486 views

Jews under Charlemagne

Jews under Charlemagne in the 8th century and the Carolingian emperors were accredited food providers in addition to providing wine for Christian mass. I am looking for halachic responses to these ...
7
votes
2answers
120 views

What happened to the stones with the Torah inscribed in seventy languages?

Deuteronomy 27:8 as explained by Rashi says that the Torah was written in seventy languages on stones. What happened to the stones? These would have been big stones. Are there any hints as to where ...
0
votes
1answer
62 views

Did a synod in Poland in 1631 decree the censorship of some parts of the Talmud?

Related with this question about some parts censored in the Talmud, I read in a website the following story: ... In 1631, a Jewish synod in Poland ordered the offending passages to be expunged, ...
4
votes
0answers
93 views

Holidays south of the equator

When Jews first started establishing communities south of the equator, they must have noticed that the holidays fell completely at the wrong times of the year. (For example, Pesach, referred to as hag ...
1
vote
1answer
45 views

Who were the 'mixed multitude' that went up with the children of Israel in Ex 12:38?

Who were the 'mixed multitude also went up with' the children of Israel in Exodus 12:38? Were they part of Israel? What does Judaism, Jewish tradition say about this mixed multitude?
9
votes
1answer
102 views

How old is the chanukiyah?

Another question asks about the differentiation between the words "chanukiyah" and "menorah" when referring to the special 8-branched (+1) candelabra for Chanukah. An answer there suggests: All ...
5
votes
0answers
166 views

Source for not referring to Chanuka lights as a “menora”

Following up on this question about the use of the words "menora" or "chanukiya" to refer to Chanuka lights: I find it interesting that the use of "chanukiya," popularized in 1897 through a secular ...
2
votes
2answers
266 views

Who was the wife of Levi (according to Sefer HaYashar)?

What was the name of Levi's wife? I am specifically looking for the answer which is given in Sefer HaYashar, but I can't seem to find it. Does anyone know who Sefer HaYashar says the wife of Levi is? ...
10
votes
2answers
178 views

“m'nora” on Chanuka

My kid came home from school one day insisting that the thing we light on Chanuka is not a m'nora but a chanukiya. I replied that that's the word most Israelis use now but that m'nora is a perfectly ...
10
votes
5answers
3k views

Have Jews believed that Ezra was the son of God?

In reading the Qur'an, I noticed this passage: Qur'an 9:30 The Jews say, "Ezra is the son of Allah "; and the Christians say, "The Messiah is the son of Allah ." That is their statement from their ...
5
votes
7answers
2k views

Which surnames are exclusively Kohanim's and why?

It is well known that is a person has a certain surname (last name) they are more likely to be a Kohen. Examples: Cohen - for obvious reasons Kahn Katz - stands for "Kohen Tzedek" What are some ...
2
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3answers
231 views

Commercial kosher slaughter

Kosher slaughter today is mainly carried out in large factory settings, with each shochet slaughtering hundreds or even thousands of animals every day. The required inspections of organs is also ...
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votes
1answer
117 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 ...
0
votes
0answers
30 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 ...
3
votes
1answer
48 views

Product Recommendation: History of Semicha

I'm looking to learn about the history of semicha. I've read a few articles online, but I'm really looking for something more in depth - a book preferably, or at least a long journal article. Must be ...
3
votes
2answers
86 views

Do the Jews know the location of the omer of manna?

Do the Jews know the location of the omer of manna? Is there a story? Is it lost? It sure would be helpful in proving God to Atheists. Then Moses said, “This is the thing which the LORD has ...
3
votes
1answer
57 views

The Maharal and his influence on Jewish philosophy

In the Wiki article on the Maharal there is a quote by Rabbi Yitzchak Adlerstein citing Rabbi Nachman Bulman that the Maharal "prevented the Balkanization of Jewish thought". I understand what he is ...
4
votes
3answers
373 views

When and why did women change to ritually bathing in the Evening?

Do you happen to have any ideas, or any sources, detailing why women first became required to bathe in the evening as in current practise, as opposed to the recorded biblical requirement to wash ...
3
votes
1answer
66 views

Chassidus Tschitschkov (Czyczkow/y)

I asked here about someone who changed his minhagim and the obligations of his descendants. My great-grandfather's grandfather, was the rebbe of the town of Czyczkow, near Chojnice (Choynitz, ...