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

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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 ...
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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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62 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)?
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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?
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1answer
35 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 ...
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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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2answers
75 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
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1answer
110 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
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1answer
83 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
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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
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2answers
114 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 Judaism ...
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0answers
58 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 ...
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3answers
95 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
116 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 ...
2
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1answer
122 views

Why did Judaism stop using the Septuagint?

I heard somewhere (I don't remember the details) that the Septuagint ceased to be read in the Jewish community. Why?
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2answers
826 views

Why do Jewish funeral homes tend to be the main supplier of Jewish calendars?

Perhaps, this question is too "trivial". It seems that Jewish funeral homes tend to be the primary "printer" and supplier of Jewish calendars. For decades, many yeshivot as well as shuls get the large ...
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1answer
87 views

What are the Jewish months exactly?

I am aware that the names of the months are derived almost directly from the Babylonian calendar and that the Chumash itself never mentions a month by name and instead refers to it by number. Later on ...
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1answer
28 views

Was the second part of the Tanya (“The Gateway of Unity and Belief”) initially released together with the first part?

Was the second book in the Tanya, Shaar Yichud vEmunah ("The Gateway of Unity and Belief") originally published alongside the first book?
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1answer
48 views

When was the term “Next World” (עולם הבא) first used in Jewish literature

In modern Jewish literature and folklore the "next world" (עולם הבא) is mentioned multiple times. In contrast, it is not mentioned (AFAIK) at all in the Torah. So where/when did this start?
3
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1answer
49 views

What form was the Torah before Sinai

Chazal say the Torah was studied before Sinai. (ex. by Adam and Eve as explained here. Likewise chazal say the Patriarchs studied Torah from Shem ben Noach.) In what form was this pre-Torah? It ...
2
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0answers
87 views

Origins of the Yerushalmi Kaftan

Among Yerushalmi Chareidim, a special dress code seems to have developed which has some features which are unique from standard Eastern Ashkenazi dress. While most Chareidim I have seen wear black ...
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1answer
147 views

Who Exactly Threatened to Excommunicate Ramchal?

Rabbi Moshe Chaim Luzzato, known as Ramchal, was a controversial and prolific Italian philosopher and Mekubal. According to the linked Wikipedia article, after disseminating Kabbalah in Italy, "...
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1answer
87 views

Can a woman be a zadik? [closed]

Can a woman be a zadik? Who of the matriarchs would be considered a zaikai if women can be. Thank you.
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2answers
605 views

What conditions require accepting the Messiah [duplicate]

I have bumped into some christian websites claiming that the Jews are blameworthy for not accepting jesus as the Messiah. According to our tradition what conditions are there (if any) that require ...
6
votes
1answer
72 views

For how many years was Aliya L'Regel kept?

The Torah states that, during Temple times, all Jewish males are to go to Jerusalem to celebrate each festival (i.e. Pesahh, Shavu'ot, Sukkot). G-d promises to protect the land from invaders during ...
2
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0answers
68 views

Is it generally accepted by Jewish scholars that Judaism was at one stage henotheist and/or monolatrist? [duplicate]

It is widely believed, among scholars of the history of Judaism and the Jewish scriptures, that the earliest books of the Tanakh display a gradual shift from a position of henotheism, to a form of ...
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0answers
49 views

Has completing the entire Talmud ever been a tenet of Rabbinical Ordination?

Has there ever been a requirement in any Rabbinical program to finish the entire Talmud, not just select mesechtas + related halachos?
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votes
2answers
153 views

Mesorah (Tradition) of Yemenite Jews

Yemenite Jews have a famous, longstanding affinity for Rambam. Before the time of Rambam, which rabbis were the most influential in Yemen? E.g. Rav Saadya Gaon, local rabbis, etc. Please provide ...
5
votes
1answer
188 views

Shofar from ibex horn?

I have the 2015 calendar from the Jewish Historical Museum in Amsterdam, and today I noticed that the September page has a picture of a shofar made from an ibex horn. The calendar dates it to 1850-...
5
votes
1answer
162 views

Was there a scriptural, halachic, rabbinical, or legal reason for Jewish involvement in the Civil Rights Movement?

It is largely forgotten today, but when Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and other Civil Rights leaders put out the call for believers and clergy of all denominations to get involved in the Civil Rights ...
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0answers
47 views

Is there a historical, cultural, traditional, or scriptural explanation for the prevalence of Jews in the comedy business? [duplicate]

If you took the general demographic data for the U.S. and compared it to the demographics of professional comics and comedians in the U.S., I think you'd find that Jews are disproportionately ...
5
votes
2answers
112 views

Is there an online database of early manuscripts of the Tanakh?

As a student of textual and historical criticism of the Christian scriptures, I am interested in seeing the earliest extant copies of the texts. There are a number of sites devoted to providing ...
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votes
4answers
123 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 ...
2
votes
1answer
71 views

What is the modern Jewish attitude towards the Zealots and Sicarii?

One of the leading factions in the Jewish Revolt of 66-70 was the Zealot movement, and its splinter group, the Sicarii. I would imagine that the attitude towards them is somewhat complicated, or at ...
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0answers
41 views

Are there any Jewish records of Ananus ben Ananus aside from Josephus?

In Josephus' Antiquities of the Jews, he records an incident that led to the removal from office of the high priest of the Temple. According to this account, the Roman proconsul of Judaea, Porcius ...
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votes
2answers
175 views

Is there an obligation for men and women to sit separately at a simcha?

Rav Binyamin Kamentzky, whom I recently saw, told me that until about 30 - 25 years ago, it was very common for men and women to sit together at weddings, Bar Mitzvah and other seudei mitzvah run by "...
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0answers
40 views

Using oil lamps on Shabbas in old times

In the olden times, before electricity, did religious Jews have lamps that could hold large amounts of oil so that they could use light on Shabbas, similar to how we use Shabbas lamps and have lights ...
2
votes
1answer
171 views

What was the status of the Pharisees, and their relationship with the Temple authorities in the early first century?

One of the many mistakes made by the authors of the Christian gospels is attributing the state of affairs in their own time to the time they are trying to describe. An example of this error is the ...
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3answers
351 views

How did the Jewish people understand and make sense of the destruction of the Second Temple?

Since I began studying the history of the Christian faith, and the relation between Judaism and Christianity, I have been struck by the idea of the Second Temple's destruction. I simply can't imagine ...
4
votes
1answer
38 views

How was choral liturgical music used in the renaissance?

Salamone Rossi was a 17th-century Italian composer who wrote choral arrangements of several liturgical texts -- piyutim, Tanakh passages, prayers (like hashkiveinu and kedusha), etc. (See the link ...
3
votes
1answer
81 views

Was referring to a Jewish firstborn son as “____ bar [mother's name]” insulting in the first century?

There is a passage in the Christian "gospels" in which Jesus is referred to by his community in an unusual way. The text [Mark 6:3] was originally written in Greek, but the English translation is: ...
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1answer
186 views

How would first century Jews in Judea have reacted to the Jesus Movement's messianic claims?

My understanding is that first century Jews in Judea, Jerusalem, etc, would have known that Jesus could not possibly be the messiah, because the messiah was expected to be triumphant in life, and no ...
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1answer
171 views

When and why did we stop wearing sackcloth?

When and why did we stop wearing sackcloth in times of mourning and other times of distress (e.g., when fasting for rain)? (I presume sackcloth was quite uncomfortable.) Sackcloth is mentioned in ...
5
votes
1answer
117 views

Not approaching the Western Wall

A decade ago, I visited the Western Wall in Jerusalem with Nosson Tzvi Finkel, a widely respected rabbi in Israel. As we approached one of the holiest sites in Judaism, the rabbi halted about 10 yards ...
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1answer
361 views

Is there any tradition of any Jews leaving Mitzrayim before the Exodus

Is there any tradition of Israelites leaving Mitzrayim before the Exodus? Moses fled Egypt on his own. Was this a unique occurrence, or is it safe to assume this was a regular thing? If it ever ...
7
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1answer
133 views

Massacre of Baalei Tosafos

There is a famous story about the Baalei Tosafos using their own blood to write their pirush on the chapter Merubah in Bava Kamma before they were massacred. Is there a source for this?
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3answers
95 views

River flowing from the southern end of the Dead Sea?

A footnote on page 966 of the Artscroll chumash (this week's reading) has a map that includes the dead sea. The map shows a river flowing from the southern tip of the sea. According to a Duke U site: ...
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2answers
185 views

Did manna fall on yontif?

For kiddush on yontif we use two challot. We did not collect manna on Shabbat because of carrying. But carrying is allowed on yontif. Does that mean that manna did not fall on yontif?
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0answers
95 views

Use of speaking “Baruch HaShem” in 1492 Spain

I am writing a play that takes place during the Spanish Inquisition. A Rabbi is walking home from the King's court and his belongings are tossed to the ground by hooligans. A young Spanish girl picks ...