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

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8
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2answers
824 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
84 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
27 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
vote
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?
4
votes
0answers
32 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
74 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
137 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
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1answer
75 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
602 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
70 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
67 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
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0answers
45 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
151 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
166 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 ...
5
votes
1answer
155 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 ...
1
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0answers
42 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 ...
4
votes
1answer
77 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 ...
7
votes
4answers
119 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
69 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 ...
1
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0answers
36 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
170 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
39 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
166 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 ...
6
votes
3answers
338 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 ...
2
votes
1answer
78 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: ...
3
votes
1answer
178 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 ...
11
votes
1answer
164 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
114 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 ...
7
votes
1answer
350 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
votes
1answer
124 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?
2
votes
3answers
94 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: ...
7
votes
2answers
180 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?
4
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0answers
93 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 ...
0
votes
1answer
87 views

Kamtza bar Kamtza [closed]

This might be speculation, but during learning yesterday we discussed how would people have known if the cohenim brought the sacrifice with the blemish on its lips? Would Bar-Kamtza have found another ...
4
votes
2answers
219 views

How does Judaism answer the problem of evil? [duplicate]

I would think that after the great amount of suffering the Jews had to suffer in the 20th century a whole lot of them had to review how the deity they believed in could let what was happening to them ...
1
vote
0answers
65 views

Death Penalty for Desecrating God's Name?

In light of some of the recent embarrassing criminal incidents involving visibly religious Jews in the United States, it made me think of something I had read once ( or vaguely remember reading ) that ...
7
votes
2answers
140 views

Tikunei Ha-Zohar: What happened to Tikun 20?

hebrewbooks has a scan of the 1558 Mantuba edition of Tikunei HaZohar. In that edition, Tikun 20 is several pages long. (Starts here, goes for several pages). The only other edition I found on ...
1
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0answers
42 views

History of ḥalāqah/Upsherin (אפשערן/חאלאקה) [duplicate]

What are the earliest sources for these customs? i found mention of the custom amongst Sephardim of Eretz Yisrael in the Kether Shem Tob. But that only mentions it for Eretz Yisrael, and doesn't ...
5
votes
3answers
418 views

An eye for an eye Hammurabi's code [duplicate]

The Hammurabi is supposed to predate the Torah and contains a verse "an eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth". I've done a little reading around the issue, but is there any reference to why there would ...
0
votes
3answers
28 views

Could Kohanim use pottery or only stone kelim?

Someone told me that when the Temple was standing, Kohamim could only use stone kelim because they could not become tomeh. OTOH (are these abbreviations well known here?), on the other hand, it seems ...
2
votes
0answers
77 views

Responses to Dr. Chaim S. Heifetz's timeline of Persian History

Dr. Chaim S. Heifetz has been quoted in a few places as revising the history timeline which if correct would greatly impact Jewish history from the Persian empire and on. See here ...
6
votes
1answer
108 views

Was the fast of Tisha B'av in effect during the second temple era? [duplicate]

As the Beis Hamikdash was rebuilt at that time was the fast of Tisha B'Av in effect during the Second Temple Era?
2
votes
0answers
106 views

Book about Rabbis and Zionism

What is a good book which goes into detail about Rabbis (particularly those living in Israel from 1880-1950) and their personal experience with Zionists and the Palestinians? I am particularly ...
2
votes
1answer
48 views

What is the meaning and history behind the velvet signs decorating Abraham's tomb?

I was recently reading up on Wikipedia regarding the Tomb of the Patriarchs, and was particularly interested in this picture: ...
0
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1answer
52 views

Is there a book or online source that discusses the history of “U.S. / Canadian use” Siddurim?

I am fascinated when I view old and even current Siddurim used in shuls in U.S. It seems that as demographics changed, new Siddurim were designed to cater to this. For example, the 1st English ...
5
votes
0answers
71 views

Were new arrivals stuck at Ellis Island for Shabbos?

If I understand correctly, if your airplane or boat arrived on Shabbos, you're stuck within a ~half-mile radius of the boat or plane until after Shabbos because of techum. (I'd heard some discussion ...
3
votes
1answer
125 views

Accuracy of Torah Text

What evidence do we have regarding the accuracy of the torah text? (five books of Moses) How much if at all has it changed over time.
0
votes
1answer
101 views

Can anybody read from the torah or prophets in a synagogue?

I am trying to understand the context of a passage from the Christian gospels. Luke 4:16 says that Jesus went into the synagogue and started reading from the book of Isaiah. At that time could ...
2
votes
2answers
62 views

What was Rabbi Yehuda Hanassi's role in compiling the Mishnah?

I have always heard that Rabbi Yehuda Hanassi "compiled" the mishna. What were his roles in compiling it in the form that we currently have it? Specifically, did he perform any of these roles: ...