Tagged Questions

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

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6
votes
1answer
85 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
103 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
52 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
93 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
424 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
87 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
168 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
77 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
228 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
5answers
200 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
96 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
97 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
95 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 ...
-6
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
73 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
161 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 ...
-1
votes
1answer
94 views

Where have the old Hashkafah.com forum regulars moved to? [closed]

Some topics are not a good fit for Mi Yodeya. It's sometimes better to post on a Jewish forum or mailing list instead. A few years ago, Hashkafah.com (also known as "H.com") was host to a thriving ...
2
votes
0answers
42 views

Chronological order of parshiyot in Sefer Vayikra

I am trying to figure out when several parshiyos in Vayikra were said by Moshe to bnei yisroel. For example, the parshiyos of Tazria and Metzora - when did Moshe teach them? In במדבר פרק ה Hashem ...
4
votes
2answers
145 views

What is the origin of the song Echad Mi Yodeya?

Who is the author or what is the origin of the song commonly found in the haggadah called Echad Mi Yodeya?
2
votes
0answers
43 views

Earliest use of the word “gematria” to mean the value of words

What's the earliest use of the word "gematria" followed by the use of it to mean the value of the word? I'm aware that in Pirkei Avot the word itself is used, but that is not used in conjunction with ...
2
votes
1answer
121 views

Do the sages ever use the word “Jews” to describe the B'nai Israel before the Assyrian captivity?

This may be more a semantic question than anything else, but I'm wondering what the position is on using the word "Jew" to refer to Israelites before the Assyrian captivity. My impression is that the ...
7
votes
3answers
1k views

Has the Torah been changed over the ages?

It is quite a famous argument from Muslims for authenticity of the Quran that the previous Holy Books (Bible and Torah) sent by God have been corrupted or changed by their followers and that Quran is ...
4
votes
1answer
56 views

Who was ר"מ in Sefer Kol Bo?

Nobody knows for certain who authored Sefer Kol Bo (ספר כל-בו), and various theories exist as to who, and when, it might have been. (For a brief example of such theories, see here). Likely it was in ...
3
votes
0answers
190 views

Did Rashi wear a yarmulke?

Tractate Sofrim (14:14) records two opinions that concern the wearing of a head covering during the Shema: there are those who say that it is not necessary, and there are those who say that it is ...
2
votes
1answer
52 views

When did daily birkas kohanim stop?

The original practice, from what I understand, was that kohanim would bless the congregation every day during the amida of shacharis (and of musaf and n'ila when they were said, and of mincha on a ...
0
votes
1answer
90 views

Why have there been no Hashgachas on DVDs, books, CDs, etc.?

Even many foods that do not require Hashgacha have a Hashgacha. At times, after a book, CD, or DVD hits the market, there is a proclamation banning it. Perhaps, instead, a book, CD, or DVD could have ...
1
vote
1answer
151 views

Is land ownership traditionally considered a status symbol in Judaism?

I'm writing a paper for a Jewish Film class about the the movie The Apprenticeship of Duddy Kravitz, and there is a scene in the beginning where Duddy's Zayda tells him "A man without land is ...
2
votes
0answers
87 views

The Second Temple [closed]

I'm a BT of just over 5 yrs now, struggling but studying hard (50 yrs of 'catch-up'!). I think of myself as a Chassidic Jew. I'm still intrigued, yet in a quandary about the validity of the 2nd ...
4
votes
2answers
416 views

What is the history of Teimani peyos?

How is it that many Teimanim wear long peyos (simanim) similar to many Chasidim, considering that their culture has been mostly isolated from Ashkenazi Europe? Do any historical sources tell us when ...
7
votes
0answers
133 views

Why does almost every community say Lecha Dodi?

The prayer Lecha Dodi was composed in the 16th century which is relatively recent as the general Nusach of prayer was founded between 516 BCE – 70 CE by the Anshei K'neset Hagdolah, and its rare that ...
1
vote
0answers
37 views

Who developed the vowels for the Hebrew language Ezra or the Masoretes? [duplicate]

I've read that Ezra developed pointings to serve as vowels. 200 years later, when the Bible was translated from Hebrew to Greek, all Hebrew manuscripts had the new form of writing. Who developed the ...
5
votes
1answer
83 views

Shechita for chicken

What is the halachic source requiring us to ritually slaughter chicken specifically, and was there ever a time in history that Halachic Jews ate chicken without first performing ritual slaughter?
3
votes
2answers
74 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
votes
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
votes
0answers
83 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." ...
5
votes
2answers
261 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
vote
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
votes
0answers
112 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
votes
0answers
92 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
votes
3answers
236 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
223 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
votes
6answers
532 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
vote
2answers
335 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
94 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
votes
4answers
705 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
votes
0answers
63 views

Why are challot traditionally braided?

What is the reason that challot are traditionally braided? When did this tradition begin?
1
vote
1answer
142 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
votes
0answers
43 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?