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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68 views

Is there any attestation to the name “יעל” spelled with an Aleph?

Larry Gonick's Cartoon History of the Universe includes the story of Yael killing Sisera. The author renders the name with the common "Y" to "J" substitution as "Jael" and, in an aside, mentions that ...
0
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0answers
48 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 ...
2
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0answers
80 views

Why no 15-minutes-early clause in English rabbis' contracts?

Rabbi Yitzchak Reuven Rubin wrote in 2001: In fact, it wasn't long ago that every rabbi in England was required by contract to "present himself fifteen minutes before the time of Divine worship." ...
4
votes
2answers
249 views

When in history did Purim happen?

When in history did Purim happen? I understand that there are several opinions that this is based on (who אחשורוש was, whether this was before or after the end of the exile), but I've been unable to ...
1
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1answer
115 views

Are there other historical written accounts of Har Sinai besides the Torah? [closed]

Are there any other written historical accounts of the giving of the Torah on Har Sinai besides what we have in the Torah?
2
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0answers
96 views

Why doesn't Rav Saadia Gaon write about wearing tefillin even during prayer?

In the Siddur of Rav Saadia Gaon, he only mentions tephilin once, and even then is only talking about the bracha made when putting it on. No where does he say that when davening, you should be wearing ...
5
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0answers
90 views

Identification of Censored Areas of Talmud

Unfortunately, the Talmud and other writings have been subject to censorship since their completion. These alterations seem still to be present in many modern editions of the Talmud. How ...
8
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3answers
233 views

Talmudic Censorship

Unfortunately, the Talmud and other writings have been subject to censorship since their completion. These alterations seem still to be present in many modern editions of the Talmud. Why aren't these ...
2
votes
1answer
215 views

Why don't we say Rav Sadiaa Gaon's phrase for before and after baths?

In Rav Sadiaa Gaon's siddur, he lists a short tephillah for before and and after baths. Why isn't that said anymore (I'd assume it was said in his time)? The text I'm referring to can be found here: ...
9
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6answers
523 views

Can halacha change based on scientific research?

Shabbat 39a says: "With regard to heating food in the sun itself, everyone agreed that one is permitted to place food in the sun to heat it, as it is certainly neither fire nor a typical form of ...
1
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2answers
281 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 ...
6
votes
1answer
93 views

burying the dead in Jerusholaim - 1948

The Rambam (Beis Habechira 7 14) rules that one may not bury people in the old city of Yerushlaim. What did they do during the siege in 1948 when they couldn't leave the old city? Where did they bury ...
4
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4answers
693 views

Was stoning practiced in 30-32 CE?

In the New Testament (Christian Bible) there is a story where a woman caught in adultery was brought to Jesus and requested to judge according to the Law of Moses. John 8:1-11 (NKJV) Now ...
3
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0answers
61 views

Why are challot traditionally braided?

What is the reason that challot are traditionally braided? When did this tradition begin?
1
vote
1answer
134 views

When did the practice of Exodus 35:2 stop?

Exodus 35:2 JPS ב שֵׁשֶׁת יָמִים, תֵּעָשֶׂה מְלָאכָה, וּבַיּוֹם הַשְּׁבִיעִי יִהְיֶה לָכֶם קֹדֶשׁ שַׁבַּת שַׁבָּתוֹן, לַיהוָה; כָּל-הָעֹשֶׂה בוֹ מְלָאכָה, יוּמָת.‏ Six days shall ...
4
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0answers
42 views

Parshas Zachor before Purim?

Prior to the story of Purim was there a special yearly reading of Parshas Zachor? At which point in history was it instituted to read Parshas Zachor before Purim?
6
votes
2answers
214 views

Examples of Rabbis who had strong disagreements and were amicable

I'm looking for examples of Rabbis who had a serious disagreement and were nevertheless very kind and thoughtful towards each other. The main reason I'm asking for examples is to illustrate what a ...
3
votes
2answers
107 views

How could Yochanan Kohen Gadol abolish the wakers?

The mishnah (Maaser Sheni end of 5:15 and Sotah 48a) lists 5 edicts of Yochanan Kohen Gadol including the abolishing of the "wakers" - the singing by the Levi'im in the Beit HaMikdash of Psalm 44:24 - ...
2
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0answers
65 views

In What year was “Al Pi Kabalah” first quoted for a Halachic ruling?

The phrase "al pi Kabalah" (based on Kabalah) is often used in teshuvot for various minhagim or halachot. When is the first recorded instance of somebody recording the Halacha either "al pi Kabalah" ...
2
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0answers
84 views

When was the modern manuscript for the Torah agreed upon?

(This question is also asked here on history.SE for a different perspective.) Considering that variations have occurred in the Torah's text over time (I think the Gemara may mention events where a ...
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0answers
134 views

Any famous Jews named Muhammad, Mahmud, Mehmet, etc.?

There is a halacha that one may not name a child after an evildoer, a principle known as shem reshaim yirkav taken from Yoma 38b ("ועל בן קמצר וחביריו נאמר ושם רשעים ירקב", cf. Mishlei 10:7). Later ...
2
votes
1answer
104 views

Why do Jewish books use shiny text on the spine?

I have noticed that sefarim (Jewish books) tend to use golden-colored shiny text on the spine and cover. Of course, there are some notable exceptions (e.g. books by Mossad HaRav Kook), but this seems ...
7
votes
1answer
150 views

When was the last Korban Pesach done?

In which year, or decade, was the last Korban Pesach performed by Jews on Har Habayit? So far, my research has found Rabbi Gamliel of Yavneh, and his slave Tevi, which would be around 80-120 CE. But ...
3
votes
2answers
196 views

Didn't Rambam say Aleinu leshabeach?

Siddur Mesorat Moshe is a siddur whose text follows the rulings of the Rambam. I received a copy a couple of weeks ago and am now using it daily. A completely never-seen-before thing is that there's ...
1
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3answers
292 views

Yeshua Sar Ha-Panim

"Yeshua Sar Ha-Panim" is mentioned in some machzorim in the following prayer between the shofar blasts on Rosh Hashanah: יהי רצון מלפניך שתקיעת תשר"ת שאנחנו תוקעין תהא מרוקמת ביריעה על ידי הממונה ...
4
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0answers
67 views

How was the tomb of the matriarchs determined?

Apparently there is a "tomb of the Matriarchs" in Tiberias which is purported to house several nashim tzidkaniot. I'd like to know how it was determined that those women were buried in that place.
4
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0answers
79 views

Why is there seemingly such a disconnect between the Geonim and the Rishonim?

It seems that there was a disconnect or upheaval of some kind between the times of the Geonim and the times of the Rishonim and the hakhamim that these two eras contained. Shittoth regarding tefila, ...
4
votes
1answer
85 views

Variant text of דרור יקרא

The text of the Shabbat zemer דרור יקרא has a line based on Isaiah 63:1-3 (מי זה בא מאדום חמוץ בגדים מבצרה וכו') which usually reads: דרוך פורה בתוך בצרה, וגם בבל אשר גברה However, I also have ...
5
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2answers
181 views

Why is there a dispute as to which tefillin are the correct ones?

Since the mitzvah of tefillin is observed every day except for Shabbos and festivals, there should have been continuous knowledge as to the correct order of the parshas. So how did it come about that ...
6
votes
2answers
165 views

What was the name of Tzipora's mother?

What was the name of Tzipora's mother (Moses's mother-in-law)? There are a lot of wives mentioned in the Torah, but the names of some aren't mentioned even though they are important. So I was curious ...
3
votes
1answer
102 views

Babylonian Niqqud in Yemen

I just read in Rav Kapach's introduction to his edition of Rav Saadiah Gaon's translation and commentary on Sefer Daniel that his grandfather had a manuscript of Rav Saadiah Gaon's translation which ...
4
votes
1answer
95 views

How was Chanukah celebrated at the Beis HaMikdash?

In the centuries between the Maccabean Revolt and the destruction of the Bayis Sheni, how was Chanukah commemorated at the Beis HaMikdash (other than the addition of prayers like Al Hanisim)? Since ...
2
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0answers
45 views

Why did הַר הַזֵּיתִים become a place of burial

I am wondering if there was any particular reason that הַר הַזֵּיתִים was chosen to become a place of burial. Is there?
2
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1answer
53 views

Sefer Nachal Eshkol - Tzidkat HaTzaddik - Rabbi Binyomin Hersh Aurbach

Per Wikipedia there seems to be a conterversy as to whether the Sefer Nachal Eshkol is a forgery. Four Rabanim from Germany wrote Tzidkas HaTzadik to defend Rabbi Auerbach. Four prominent German ...
7
votes
1answer
98 views

Did Depression-era U.S. high-school boys attend Jewish schools?

I'm reading Chaim Potok's The Chosen and have come across (in chapter 1) the claim that, during the Great Depression, in Brooklyn, [e]very Orthodox Jew sent his male [high-school-age] children to ...
9
votes
3answers
235 views

what are the “Mishnah” and “Gemara” referenced in Pirkei Avot 5?

At the end of Pirkei Avot 5, we have a statement (of either Ben Hei Hei or R. Yehuda ben Tema --- I have two siddurim with slightly different texts): He used to say: at five years of age, the ...
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0answers
53 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 ...
4
votes
1answer
104 views

Who was the “Tana Dvei Rabbi Yishmael”?

What are the teachings labeled "Tana Dvei Rabbi Ishmael"? Are they Braisos or Amoraic teachings? On one hand, on Shabbos 26b we find it arguing on Rabbi Shimon ben Elazar (a Tana). On the other ...
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0answers
44 views

What are the circumstances of the fulfillment of Ezekiel's vision of the temple?

Ezekiel (Yechezkel) 40 begins a section about a vision of a temple with priests and sacrifices and feasts. The detailed descriptions of this temple seem to indicate that a literal (as opposed to ...
1
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1answer
66 views

Is there a record of the Frankist talmud disputation?

In 1757 followers of the apostate Jew, Jacob Frank engaged in a disputation with Rabbinic Jews regarding the talmud. I would like to know if there is any record of the contents of that disputation.
3
votes
2answers
179 views

How similar is orthodoxy practiced today to ancient times?

As an orthodox Ashkanazi Jew, I hear all the time that the way we practice is the same as we've been doing it for thousands of years (albeit with influences by the Ba'al Shem Tov, the mussar movement, ...
5
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3answers
632 views

Google says it is the Jewish Year 5774. The wiki says Judaism is 3000 years old. How is this discrepancy reconciled?

Google says it is the Jewish Year 5774. The wiki and other sources say Judaism is 3000 years old and suggest Abraham was born 4000 years ago. Where is the discrepancy? I am perhaps looking for an ...
7
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1answer
140 views

Sources for Jewish Education system today

The western educational system (to the definition of western that includes Japan) today, especially in the United States, but also in other western industrialized countries is an adaptation of the ...
7
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0answers
117 views

How do we determine the nature of the reign of the kings when the numbers don't seem to add up?

In the book of 2 Kings, the kingdoms of Judah and Israel were separate. In Amaziah's (Judah) 15th year, Jeroboam (Israel) began to reign. In Jeroboam's (Israel) 27th year, Azariah (Judah) began to ...
4
votes
1answer
224 views

Was chicken originally considered pareve? If so, when and why was this changed?

I heard that chicken was originally considered pareve in the Bible, because it is a type of fowl (i.e. like fish it is pareve, as it is not 'meat'), and that only later was it changed to be meat ...
3
votes
2answers
231 views

Interpreting the Zohar's Prediction of the year 1840

On the verse in parsha Noach (Genesis 7:11): "In the six-hundredth year in the life of Noah... all wellsprings of the great deep burst open, and the windows of heaven were opened..." The Zohar (part ...
5
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1answer
120 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 ...
3
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0answers
86 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 ...
6
votes
1answer
95 views

How did it happen that the m'chaber came to be called that?

The author of Shulchan Aruch, in his capacity as the author of Shulchan Aruch, is often called "the m'chaber", or "ham'chaber", literally "the composer" or "the author". (Obviously, many authors are ...
4
votes
1answer
171 views

Was Marcus Jastrow an apikores?

During Yeshiva I remember some bochrim made a point of not putting the Jastrow dictionary on top of sefarim, and would often talk about how it does not have kedusha because it was written by an ...