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

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7
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1answer
99 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
250 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 ...
0
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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
107 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 ...
1
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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
vote
1answer
68 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
180 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
806 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
143 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
120 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
270 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
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2answers
243 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
votes
1answer
121 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
votes
0answers
90 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
173 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 ...
3
votes
1answer
91 views

Conservative Kiddush Levanah

The version of Kiddush Levanah printed in the Conservative movement's siddur omits the verse "כשם שאני רוקד כנגדך..." I've heard that this is because the Conservative movement believes that in an age ...
7
votes
1answer
299 views

Origin of Reform/Conservative “scarf” talleisim

I've noticed that Reform and Conservative often use small "scarf" talleisim (here's an image). Where did this practice originate? (Is there any connection to the scarves that some Christian priests ...
2
votes
3answers
188 views

Rishonim/Achronim time period differentiation

When was the end of the Rishonim time period and the start of the achronim time period? Who, what, why, and how did this come about? What caused this abrupt change in deemed mental and halachot ...
4
votes
4answers
373 views

Why are there so few Jews if God promised Abraham his children would number like the stars?

God promises Abraham a number of times that he would father a great nation whose numbers would be like the stars in the sky or the sand on the beach. However today there are less than 14 million ...
4
votes
2answers
202 views

Is “Yarden” a Hebrew name that was used?

Is the name "Yarden" ("Jordan" in English) a name that was ever used as a (Hebrew) name by Orthodox Jews? Is there any evidence of this? The reason this is being asked is for 2 reasons. Someone died ...
5
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0answers
153 views

Order of Masechtos in Seder Moed

According to the standard Shas print (Vilna Bavli), the order of Masechtas is Pesachim-Shekalim-Rosh Hashana-Yoma-Sukka-Beitza. This makes (some) sense as this is the order of holidays. However, the ...
5
votes
2answers
164 views

What happened to Avraham's other sons?

After the Torah's account of Avraham's other sons, Zimran, Jokshan, Medan, Midian, Ishbak and Shuah, being sent to the East with gifts, do we have any tradition about what became of them? Did they ...
1
vote
1answer
82 views

Shemona Esrei - when did it start?

As a follow up to What was the formulation of the Bracha about Yerushalayim in the times of the Temple? - In what time period did we start praying Shemona Esrei? (sources)
5
votes
2answers
109 views

What was the formulation of the Bracha about Yerushalayim in the times of the Temple?

In Shemona Esrei we pray that Hashem should return to Yerushalayim. Obviously while the Jews were in Yerushalayim during the time of the Bais Hamikdash this Bracha had to be different as it would not ...
5
votes
2answers
226 views

Laying Tefillin on Chol HaMoed Prior to the Shulchan Aruch

As a continuation to my question regarding why the Beit Yosef apparently deviated from his normal method of ruling in the case of laying teffilin on Chol HaMoed, I'm curious what the practice was ...
3
votes
1answer
92 views

concept of Breira unknown to the Tana'im?

Breira is the concept that a choice can be made in the future that will retroactively determine the state of something in the the present (assuming I understood and articulated it correctly). There is ...
6
votes
1answer
205 views

When will the period of Acharonim end?

What will mark the end of the period of Acharonim? What in general demarcates rabbinical eras? Are these halachic rules or conventions?
3
votes
0answers
117 views

Are the seventy distinct languages and nations listed?

It's a well known concept that there were 70 nations and 70 original languages. Is there any agreement about which ones they were/are? I found this which lists the nations, but I'm interested in ...
7
votes
3answers
397 views

Why did God do nothing against the Romans that desecrated the Temple?

When good guy made a mistake, like Uzzah trying to fix the ark, God killed him (see II Samuel 6:6). However, Uzzah does not seem that evil. I mean, the ark stumbled and he just tried to help. Then, ...
1
vote
2answers
109 views

Is there proof that we never skipped a day of the week? [duplicate]

Bereshit begins with the first 6 days and the Shabbat. The assumption is then that after that day, Mankind kept track of the day of the week all by themselves until today. Are we sure that no one ...
6
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0answers
55 views

Historical Calendar Records

Are there any records of the Beis Din's decisions regarding the Hebrew Calendar (e.g. to add months, how long the month would be), before Hillel Hakatan established the fixed calendar?
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0answers
53 views

Ibn Ezra vs. Hachamim in Regards to Piyyutim

In Kohelet 5:1 (Al Tibahel), Ibn Ezra has a lengthy, harsh critique of R. Eliezer HaKalir and other Paytanim for their poetry's components (in short: flowery language, the use of ...
3
votes
4answers
465 views

Niddah and Counting 7 Clean Days - What are its Origins?

The following comment is made in the wikipedia entry on Niddah: In the days of the Amoraim, because of possible confusion in determining when menstruation began and ended and hence whether blood ...
4
votes
1answer
119 views

What is the origin of the “sukkah hop”?

I was debating with my brother whether they had sukkah hops in Europe, and failed to find a good answer via Google Books or Scholar. Is it a specifically American institution? What's the first ...
3
votes
1answer
104 views

Altering the Spelling out the Hebrew Year

In 1983-1984, the Hebrew year was 5744. Normally, the year would have been spelled out in Hebrew letters תשמ״ד, but according to my rabbi then, Rabbi Phillip Rabinowitz, zt'l, as pronounced the word ...
3
votes
2answers
254 views

Are there any female kabbalists?

Are there currently or have there been historically orthodox female kabbalists? If not is this a quirk of history or is there a specific reason?
5
votes
1answer
190 views

Rav Yonason Eibeschitz's puzzle

There is a story that the Jews were oppressed and there were harsh decrees and Rav Yonason Eibschitz was challenged by the governor to write "am yisroel chai l'olmei ad" for every Jew who lived in his ...
3
votes
2answers
181 views

Sadducee kohanim gedolim dying on yom kippur

There were a few hundred kohanim gedolim in the second bais hamikdosh many of whom died on 'the job' on yom kippur in the holy of holies. Knowing this, what induced them to become a kohen godol which ...
1
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0answers
113 views

origin of chassidish havarah(pronunciation)

When did people start using the chassidish havarah? If making that change was deliberate, who instituted it? I remember seeing some where that it was started to oppose the maskilim who where medakdek ...
3
votes
1answer
64 views

Students who received Smicha from Rabbi Akiva Eger

I'm seeking a list of Rabbis who received Smicha from R. Akiva Eger, both in Markisch Friedland and later in Posen.
0
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0answers
44 views

Who first described the grammatical distinction of vav ha-hipukh v. vav ha-chibur in Tanakh?

To be more specific, who first wrote that a vav ha-chibur connects words or clauses together, but the vav ha-hipukh causes a "perfect" verb to become "imperfect" (for lack of better terms), and ...
1
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0answers
45 views

Why was Megillas Taanis written?

In general, oral Torah isn't allowed to be written down (Gittin 60b). For all generations until the Amorayim (at least according to Rashi), that Halacha was kept. Yet, according to Rashi, Megillas ...
10
votes
1answer
500 views

Is this the Chofetz Chaim?

What is the story behind this picture being known as the image of the great Rabbi Yisrael Meir Kagan(Chafetz Chaim)? Is it him in fact? Where does it come from? The only true picture (that I am ...
1
vote
1answer
96 views

Vilna Gaon on Sefer Devarim

Where does the Gra mention the idea that Sefer Devarim is split up into parshiot representing the centuries going into the 6000 millennium? There is another idea that Ki Tavo fits into the years of ...
6
votes
3answers
226 views

Why is Shmoneh Esreh referred to as 18 blessings when there are actually 19?

Originally Shmoneh Esreh only had 18 blessings, thus the name "Shemoneh Esreh." However, subsequently a 19th blessing was added of Velamalshinim regarding the heretics. If there are 19 blessings now, ...
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2answers
140 views

Machlokes between Beis Hillel and Beis Shamai

Why did unresolved disputes begin specifically at this time? Why were there no unresolved disputes before?
3
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2answers
264 views

Why do almost all Chabad shuls always use the same tunes for certain parts of davening?

I have noticed that at pretty much every Chabad shul I have ever attended, the same tunes were always used for certain parts of davening on Shabbos. For example, they all use the same tune for ...
9
votes
2answers
234 views

Rabbinic speculations on history

Sometimes in the Rabbinic literature traditions are related about what happened in history, with multiple different opinions. For example, there was a historical development in the script used by ...
8
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2answers
176 views

Was the Reish Galuta considered the presumptive candidate for the Melech haMoshiach?

The Reish Galuta, or Exilarch, was, from the time of Zerubavel until the abolition of the office ca. 1000 C.E. (with interregna), a Jewish political leader descended from malchut beit David. In some ...