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

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5
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0answers
54 views

Were there particular reasons to vow the value of a person?

Vayikra 27 covers when a man vows the "valuation" (עֶרְכְּךָ) of a person. The values are based on age and are different for men and women (50 shekels for a man between 20 and 60, for example). A ...
4
votes
1answer
109 views

gedolim on “The Jazz Singer”

The film The Jazz Singer is about a Jewish boy who goes off the derech and portrays him positively. What was the contemporary (1927) rabbinic response to the film and did cantor Yosselle Rosenblatt ...
3
votes
2answers
377 views

Moses Mendelssohn, permitted to quote him?

Is it permitted to quote Moses Mendelssohn, the father of the Jewish Enlightenment, as a source or reference? Is he considered in jewish lore a heretic? from wikipedia page linked above: In the ...
4
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0answers
84 views

Who were the Therapeutae?

I recently found a Wikipedia page about a supposed sect of Jews in first century Alexandria called the Therapeutae. According to various pages, they lived as monks, isolating themselves and studying ...
2
votes
1answer
55 views

Is there any tradition in Rabbinical sources regarding the conquering of Jerusalem by Pompey?

In Josephus and other sources, around 120 years before the destruction of the Second Temple, Pompey, a Roman leader, conquered Jerusalem and exiled Aristobulus the 2nd, the son of King Yannai and ...
3
votes
1answer
61 views

What is the history of writing on the Kotel?

Some photos of the Kotel (the western wall of the Temple) show large, black lettering, such as: http://www.jewishvirtuallibrary.org/jsource/History/wallpics.html I have seen other drawings or photos ...
2
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4answers
80 views

Was biblical Shmita observed during the time of the second temple?

Was biblical shmita observed during the second beit hamikdash? Is there a source for this?
3
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0answers
109 views

Who came up with this story?

It says in Mekor Baruch (of Rabbi Baruch Epstein) The Rosh Yeshiva of Volozhin, the Netziv, was once sitting down surrounded by several high-caliber students – avrechim versed in Torah, wise, and ...
1
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2answers
135 views

Book/s about apostasy throughout Jewish history

I am looking for book/s on the subject of apostasy throughout Jewish history. I haven't been able to find anything that focuses on this subject. I would appreciate any pointers What I have in mind ...
2
votes
1answer
82 views

Tracing the Tradition of HaRaM"A (Moshe Isserles)

In tracing the tradition of HaRav Shimshon Rafa'el Hirsch, I arrived at the famed RaM"A (Rav Moshe Isserles) with help from the beloved MY community. As Rabbi Lawrence Kelemen mentions having done in ...
4
votes
1answer
61 views

Tracing the Tradition of HaRav Shimshon Rafa'el Hirsch

I'm not sure if this is the proper forum for such an investigation; but, I'll pose the question and find out. I'm trying to trace the tradition received by HaRav Shimshon Rafa'el Hirsch through the ...
4
votes
2answers
257 views

Who made a pilgrimage to Jerusalem on the three Regalim?

When the Temple stood in Jerusalem, and "all of Israel" were required to make a pilgrimage on the three regalim, who actually make the pilgrimage? I suppose a single city could not house all the Jews.
2
votes
2answers
91 views

Source for the Usage of “Kabbalah”

What are the earliest sources that refer to Jewish mysticism in particular as "kabblah". (Preferably the answer should include an indication that the word was associated with this in particular, ...
2
votes
1answer
223 views

Does the name Rami (רמי‎) have a meaning based in Judaism? If so, what is it?

Does the name Rami (רמי‎), as used by figures in the Talmud such as Rami bar Papa and Rami bar Chama, have a meaning based in Judaism? If so, what is it? If רמ means high or exalted, does רמי mean my ...
4
votes
1answer
159 views

The Longest Pesach

There is a famous tape by Rabbi Shmuel Kunda entitled "The longest pesach" about a time when the Noda Beyehuda added on an extra day to Pesach in order to uncover a plot to poison the Jews of Prague. ...
2
votes
1answer
60 views

Who & When composed the prayer said prior to calling the Kohain to the Torah?

In this question and answer Why are there different intro. prayers for calling the Kohen aliyah on Shabbat vs. weekday? there seems to be a question remaining as to when the prayers of ותגלה ותראה ...
1
vote
1answer
120 views

The luxury of murex trunculus indigo

The Tekhelet Institute acknowledges that murex trunculus indigo is molecularly equivalent to plant-based indigo that was available in the ancient world for far cheaper (kala ilan). They reason that ...
3
votes
1answer
82 views

Rambam's statement about a blessing from the Ri Migash

The Artscroll Rishonim history book, in the section about the Rambam, records a "tradition" that the Rambam, as a young child, received a blessing from the Ri Migash, and that he (the Rambam) later ...
2
votes
1answer
47 views

Tracing your Jewish roots [closed]

How do you find out about family Jewish history if you only have a Jewish grandfathers name and place of birth but no date of birth?
3
votes
0answers
20 views

Noted instances of Kares and Ariri

Are there any written recordings in any branch of Torah where we find a comment proving someone actually died from Kares/Ariri? Now, of course being a heavenly decree it would be hard to know for ...
1
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0answers
59 views

Historicity of Chazal

What do traditional sources (particularly Rishonim and their predecessors) say about the historical accuracy of Chazal's statements?
2
votes
0answers
72 views

How did our forefathers bake the dough they took out of Egypt? Would it qualify as matzo now?

Shmos 12 (39) says: “They baked the dough that they had taken out of Egypt as unleavened cakes, for it had not leavened, for they were driven out of Egypt, and they could not tarry, and also, ...
1
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1answer
78 views

Successfull Forgeries

Which forgeries have successfully fooled significant sectors of Jews before being revealed as forgeries. I.e. works falsely attributed to someone besides the real author. I can think of the Besamim ...
2
votes
1answer
195 views

Authenticity of Maggid Mesharim

The title says it all: what do various sources say regarding the authenticity of the Meggid Mesharim; a book supposedly containing angelic revelations to R. Joseph Karo. Did R. Karo really write it? ...
3
votes
0answers
72 views

Timeline of Egypt to Sinai

Does anyone know of a source with an account of what happened each day of the journey from Yetzias Mitzrayim to Har Sinai?
2
votes
1answer
127 views

When is Avraham's birthday?

I saw in a popular book a suggestion that Avraham was born on Rosh Chodesh Tevet. Does anyone have any backing sources for this?
1
vote
2answers
120 views

When was the one time the Jewish people did not fast on Yom Kippur?

A student of mine asked me this question based on an application he was filling out. I am assuming there is a historical or halachik answer to this question. "When was the one time the Jewish people ...
0
votes
0answers
49 views

How would the Shekinah Glory be described in contemporary english?

Was the Shekinah really a cloud? I know it shaded the people, but did it produce rain? Is it thought of as a cloud because that was the only word to describe what the people saw? The two passages ...
3
votes
2answers
455 views

Kashrut with very costy salt?

Currently the cost of the salt (for human consumption) is practically negligible, mostly around $1/kg. But it wasn't always so. There were centuries as salt mining and selling was a governmental ...
2
votes
1answer
106 views

Historical documentation that the Rambam was supported by his brother

I have heard quoted many times that the Rambam wrote his Mishneh Torah while he was being supported entirely by his brother. It was only after his brother died at sea that the Rambam, needing to ...
1
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0answers
62 views

When did the custom of silver candlesticks for Shabbat start?

I heard that it is a custom to give a bride candlesticks. Is this true? when did this start? Who has the obligation to do this? and more info on the subject with sources please. Is this true that it ...
2
votes
1answer
88 views

Seeking scholarly siddur with sources

Is there a well-sourced, scholarly siddur/work on the siddur/website that discusses the origins of the various prayers? Where can I find it?
24
votes
1answer
2k views

Did Jews in Arab countries ever rely on Islamic calls to prayer?

It just occurred to me that Jews in Arab/Islamic countries would most likely have heard the adhan call the populace to prayer five times a day. Upon looking at an Islamic time-table and doing some ...
5
votes
2answers
395 views

When was the Meiri discovered?

According to Wikipedia, the Meiri was rediscovered in modern times. I assume that means in the 20th century or so. However, Hebrewbooks has a copy of the Meiri from 1795. I don't know if that was the ...
8
votes
2answers
1k views

What should our response be to ancient scripts that mirror the Torah?

There are quite a number of ancient documents that have been found that (supposedly) predate the Torah, and yet they share many lines practically verbatim. If the Torah is truly divine, how could this ...
4
votes
0answers
72 views

What happened to the Mixed Multitude?

When the people of Israel left Egypt they did not leave alone. They left with a mixed multitude of many people (Exodus 12:38). What happened to the mixed multitude in the desert and, specifically, ...
4
votes
0answers
69 views

Why are “Chiddushei” seforim rarely cited in the Nosi Keilim?

I noticed that when quoting Rishonim, Beis Yosef/Nosei Keilim tend to focus on Poskim (Rif (and main commentary)/Rosh/Rambam, Mordechai, Teruma, Rabbeinu Yerucham, etc.) and responsa. Very rarely do ...
-4
votes
2answers
151 views

Were/are there any gedolim that do not wear a hat of some kind?

It seems like almost major rebbeim/poskim do/did ear some sort of additional head covering (black hat, streimel, cap, etc) for davening. If the practice is that universal among gedolim, that might ...
0
votes
1answer
92 views

Resurrection of the dead - when did this concept started?

From an historical point of view, when did Israelites begin to believe in the resurrection of the dead? In Klausner's book (p. 47) he states the following: "(...) in the time of Hosea the people ...
-3
votes
5answers
156 views

What did “נ ג ה ש” stand for before the Hanukkah miracle?

A well known reason we play dreidel on Hanukkah is this: Before the miracle of Hanukkah, when those who controlled the land severely restricted Torah study, Jewish children would gather to study Torah ...
4
votes
1answer
76 views

When did the custom start to fast Tannis Esther on 13th Addar?

This question is not a duplicate of Tannis Esther reason because it is not a question of the reason just about the time. In Megilat Taanit it is mentioned that people should not fast on the day ...
-1
votes
1answer
106 views

What's the earliest “acknowledgement” of Heliocentrism in Judaism? [closed]

The English Wikipedia says that Heliocentrism was "official" in Judaism only by the 20th century: In later periods there were no explicit attacks on heliocentrism, although some Rabbis were not ...
8
votes
3answers
582 views

Winged sun symbol on Hezekiah coins/seals

The winged sun is an ancient symbol that originated in Egypt and Assyria. Why is it then that coins (or seals?) from Hezekiah have this symbol from gentile nations? Also Malachi 3:20 shows the ...
7
votes
2answers
92 views

Why did it take 2 days in the city of Shushan?

The reason Purim is celebrated for two days in a "walled city" is that the Megilat Esther says the Jews of the city of Shushan (the capital) needed/took an extra day to fight for their survival. My ...
4
votes
0answers
43 views

Why were the baraitot excluded from the mishnayot?

The Gemara (or Talmud) is full of Tannaitic teachings known as baraitot (or baraita in the singular). Nevertheless, these teachings were not codified in the Shishah Sidre'i Mishnah (Six Orders of The ...
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vote
2answers
157 views

Historic, variant wording for birkat hamazon for women?

The Mishna Berura (halachot birchat hamazon, siman 187) mentions a variant wording of the birkat hamazon that is said by women. Precisely what is this wording and when was it used and when was it ...
2
votes
0answers
13 views

Tractate Shekalim and Daf Yomi [duplicate]

Tractate Shekalim is the only tractate of Yerushalmi included in the Daf Yomi cycle. I assume this is because it was the only lonesome tractate of Seder Moed which did not have Bavli on it, so to ...
2
votes
0answers
43 views

History: Prevalence of Torah study

Historically, when has Torah study throughout the world been most prevalent, and when has Torah suffered relatively limited study and knowledge thereof? Are there any sources that break this down? It ...
4
votes
1answer
94 views

Did Aleppo Jews observe Purim on the 14th (regular) or 15th (Shushan Purim)?

Did the Jews of Aleppo, Syria observe Purim on the 14th or 15th of Adar? Was it believed to be old enough for the latter?
3
votes
1answer
79 views

When did the original names of the months change?

The Haftorah this past week mentions the second month using the name Ziv. The orignal names of the months are discussed here: First-Temple-Era names of the Hebrew months? When did the original names ...