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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1answer
71 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
135 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 ...
1
vote
1answer
103 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?
4
votes
1answer
37 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 ...
1
vote
0answers
17 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׃ ...
-1
votes
2answers
94 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
70 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
122 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 ...
-2
votes
2answers
211 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
124 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
679 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 ...
-1
votes
2answers
170 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
votes
0answers
52 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
votes
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 ...
1
vote
0answers
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)?
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
38 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
33 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 ...
9
votes
2answers
81 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
112 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
86 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
80 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
117 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 ...
4
votes
0answers
59 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 ...
13
votes
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
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
118 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
votes
1answer
124 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?
8
votes
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 ...
1
vote
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 ...
1
vote
1answer
29 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?
1
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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
votes
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
votes
0answers
91 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 ...
6
votes
1answer
152 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, "...
0
votes
1answer
99 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.
2
votes
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
73 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
votes
0answers
69 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 ...
5
votes
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?
5
votes
2answers
157 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
200 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
164 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
113 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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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
73 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 ...
2
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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 ...
4
votes
2answers
179 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 ...