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

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3
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2answers
112 views

Does the book of Daniel accurately date the war with Babylon?

According to Wikipedia: The introductory verses tell how, in the third year of the reign of Jehoiakim (606 BCE), Daniel and his friends Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah were among the young Jewish ...
6
votes
2answers
82 views

Why Italia of Yavan?

The gemara in Megila 6b refers to איטליא של יון זה כרך גדול של רומי, which translates literally as: Italy of Greece, this is the great city of Rome. This seems odd insofar as I know, Italy never ...
6
votes
1answer
75 views

Musical Instruments of the Levi'im

Does there appear anywhere in Torah Sheb'al Peh a sufficiently detailed description of the musical instruments played by the Levi'im in the Beit Hamikdash that they could theoretically be ...
3
votes
0answers
82 views

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
46 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
5
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2answers
109 views

Who were the original users of Ktav Ashuri?

According to one opinion found in the Talmud Sanhedrin 22a ktav ashuri was brought up from the first exile, assumedly adopted from Babylonian sources. Who exactly was using this alphabet? Do we have ...
6
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0answers
82 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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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 ...
2
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3answers
102 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
votes
2answers
55 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 ...
2
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1answer
88 views

Differences in Jewish and Non Jewish Verse Delineations in the Torah

Common knowledge is that the Chapter and Verse numbers we currently use is from non-Jewish sources. There are comments that I have seen whereby the non-Jewish chapter numbering does not match with ...
2
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0answers
34 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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1answer
32 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?
0
votes
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: ...
7
votes
1answer
112 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 ...
2
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0answers
42 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 ...
6
votes
1answer
96 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 ...
4
votes
1answer
97 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
38 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 ...
2
votes
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
8
votes
2answers
239 views

How is it that the Talmud can make historical mistakes?

A Rav told me that when it comes to science and nature, the Talmud can say incorrect things (i.e. about animals, cosmology) because they were going by the Greeks and Romans. (Where he gets permission ...
0
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1answer
76 views

Do you have to have a dead relative named Alexander to name your child Alexander?

Piggybacking on this question... I am wondering if there are any names (such as Alexander, or other names for which Jews have a special tradition to name children) that supersede the Ashkenazic ...
4
votes
1answer
67 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 ...
6
votes
2answers
132 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 ...
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vote
1answer
101 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
35 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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0answers
16 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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votes
2answers
82 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 ...
3
votes
0answers
67 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, ...
4
votes
1answer
108 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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votes
2answers
203 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 ...
1
vote
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
373 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 ...
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votes
2answers
161 views

What was “baptism” to the Jews in the time of John the Baptist? [closed]

Did Jews before John the Baptist practice something called "baptism"? If so, what was it and what was its significance? I am looking for a traditional Jewish understanding of this concept in its ...
4
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0answers
50 views

What is the history of the terms Posek and Psak Halacha?

From my searches, the Tanach does not have the term Psak or Posek in it. Many questions here related to questions on psak quote the Rambam, but those sections refer to Horyaot, or Divrei Halacha, or ...
5
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1answer
81 views

Does Jewish tradition hold the book of Jonah to be depicting historical events?

I recently heard some scholars attempt to date Jonah as a later (and hence fictional) work. Is it correct to assume that traditional Judaism considers Jonah to be a historical and accurate account of ...
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0answers
59 views

Who put the parentheses in the Gemara, when, and for what reason(s)?

From time to time there are parentheses in the gemara (e.g., Taanis 17b). Who put the parentheses there, when, and for what reason(s)?
2
votes
1answer
71 views

How widespread was the practice of Judaism in pre-WW2 Europe? [closed]

Leading up to World War 2 (1930s etc.), what percentage of European Jews practiced "Orthodox" Judaism?
1
vote
1answer
34 views

Numbers of Tannaim and Amoraim

How many names of Tannaim do we know? How many names of Ammoraim do we know? (I am asking about the names and not simply asking "how many were there" because I don't know if there were people that ...
3
votes
0answers
32 views

How common was tzaraas?

Tzaraas (discussed in Vayikra 13-14) is a human skin disease that renders its victim impure and subjects him to many laws. In a different form, tzaraas can also affect clothing and houses. It is ...
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votes
2answers
70 views

Was the tribe of Shimon part of the Kingdom of Israel or Judah?

It's clear from Sefer Yehoshua (Perek 19) and elsewhere in Tanach that the tribe of Shimon lived in an area scattered throughout the tribe of Yehudah. However, when the kingdom is divided between ...
3
votes
1answer
107 views

When did shuckling begin?

There was nothing that I could locate in Mishnah Berurah or similar halachic sources that indicates that one should shuckle (sway) during prayers. When did this custom begin, and why? I notice that ...
2
votes
1answer
77 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 ...
3
votes
1answer
79 views

History of decorated Paroches - curtain on the Aron Kodesh

In Praying directly before an aron the question is asked whether it is proper to pray in front of a Paroches that is decorated. I am aware of a few Shuls that do not have any decorations or words on ...
4
votes
2answers
110 views

Other than Avraham has there ever been an organized attempt to draw new converts to Judaism?

We know that in very early Judaism Avraham and Sarah converted people to Judaism We know that if your mother was Jewish you are Jewsish We know that it is possible for a Gentile to convert to ...
4
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0answers
56 views

Historical Division of the Neviim

It is my understanding that the Neviim has two major divisions: the Former Prophets (Nevi'im Rishonim נביאים ראשונים, the narrative books of Joshua, Judges, Samuel and Kings) and the Latter ...
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2answers
1k views

If the lulav and etrog are biblically mandated, how were people in cold climates able to obtain them before modern times?

The use of the 4 species in the lulav and etrog is biblically mandated. Therefore, when Jews left Israel and moved to cold climates such as northern and eastern Europe, they would have needed to ...
4
votes
3answers
90 views

Is there an online resource that gives an “overview” of safrut?

Between Mincha and Ma'ariv on Shmini Atzeret, I'd like to give a short shiur on some interesting facts about how a Torah is written. I'm looking for some fairly easy to understand online resources on ...
2
votes
1answer
114 views

Ibrahim slaugthering his son as per Jewish believes?

Does Jews has a custom or teaching of Qurban/ slaughtering animals as Muslims do to commemorate Prophet Ibrahim's test of slaughtering his son? If so is it on a particular time or month and what this ...