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
145 views

Who dropped Moses from the Hagaddah?

Moses is not mentioned in the Hagaddah (with one minor exception), presumably to show that the exodus happened entirely by G-d's power and to not deify Moses. Presumably, though, the maggid during ...
4
votes
1answer
84 views

How were long-running talmudic discussions actually conducted?

Eiruvin 13b records two years-long disputes between Beit Hillel and Beit Shammai, and surely these are not the only long-running debates. How did that work in practice? Did they really have a single ...
0
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1answer
124 views

Earliest documentation of kissing

What are the earliest sources you know of that mention kissing (be it romantic, familial, kissing mezuzos/tefillin/torah etc.)? There are obvious tznius issues when it comes to people kissing other ...
9
votes
1answer
102 views

What is the source of Yartzeit tablet?

Who invented the Yahrtzeit tablet (panel)? At first glance, this could not have been common before 150 years ago, as there is no room to place candles where the electric lights go. Who invented ...
4
votes
1answer
117 views

Were condemned prisoners drugged prior to execution?

According to this unsubstantiated Wikipedia entry, criminals condemned to death by Beith Din were drugged and rendered senseless prior to being executed. Is this factually correct (either ...
0
votes
2answers
139 views

What are the earliest sources of Oral Law irrespective of Jewish denomination like Kariate Samaritan etc

I read Oral laws were forbidden to be written down by MOses and then due to a threat people started to write it down , Hence curious to know which is the first manuscript on Oral law , most probably ...
5
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0answers
105 views

Are there any ancient Jewish dances?

From what I've seen most (orthodox) Jewish dancing consists of people running or walking in a circle, sometimes with exciting variations such as foot stomping. Are there any records of ancient ...
3
votes
3answers
290 views

Did Chazal know about China and the Chinese? and from which of Noach's sons do they hail?

The silk road from the Far East to Asia probably operated from about 200 B.C.E although it was not a direct trading route but worked in stages; so there was no direct contact from say China to ...
2
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0answers
60 views

What were Bar Kochba's sins?

In his answer to the question Is there any evidence that Rabbi Akiva's students fought with Bar Kochba, Jake cites Y.T. Taanis 4:5 and M.R. Eicha 2:4 as sources for the position that Bar Kochba was ...
5
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0answers
52 views

“Secular” studies in the Rhineland academies of the 11th-13th centuries

This is perhaps a fairly specific question, and I don't know if it belongs here or on the History stack exchange, but I would like to know more about the Rhineland academies that were headed by people ...
22
votes
5answers
1k views

Is there any evidence that Rabbi Akiva's students fought alongside Bar Kochba?

Various sources say that "12,000 pairs" of Rabbi Akiva's students died between Pesach and Shavuos because they did not treat each other with respect. See Genesis Rabba 61:3, Ecclesiastes Rabba 11, ...
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4answers
305 views

Biblical significance of face veil

I read here about certain Jewish sects prescribing face veil. A related question about the rule was asked here, and i was asked to ask a separate question on Biblical history of the same. Was such a ...
2
votes
1answer
308 views

How and exactly when was the Torah canonized and by whom

I had read in the bible that Prophet Moses received the 10 commandments on a tablet and there was also some other revelations which were not nailed on the tablet which constitute the Torah. Hence I ...
5
votes
2answers
393 views

What Jewish References Exist of the Rise of Islam and Muhammad?

The Quran records interactions between Muhammad and Jews, and according to historical accounts, he lived in places with Jewish communities, in addition to conquering some. The earliest Torah source ...
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2answers
69 views

Rabbis giving conflicting opinions?

Are there any examples in the history of Rabbis giving conflicting opinions on the same issue
5
votes
3answers
138 views

What are some of the old commentaries prior to 1 BCE of the Torah?

I believe that there would be commentaries of the Torah older than 1 BCE and that can shed significant light on what the message of God is in terms of its authoritativeness. Israelites have a glorious ...
3
votes
1answer
165 views

How could different pronunciations arise when we are obligated to pronounce the Shema precisely?

If one does not pronounce the Shema correctly, one has not fulfilled their obligation (שולחן ערוך או"ח סימן סב). If so, then how could different pronunciations of the Hebrew words arise? Shouldn't at ...
10
votes
2answers
201 views

How were girls educated during the Talmudic era?

According to the Encyclopedia of Children and Childhood in History and Society's article on Judaism: Owing to the primacy of ritual in traditional Judaism, instruction of children focused on the ...
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votes
1answer
114 views

Which nation in this prophecy of Haggai will shake nations and will be given peace(שָׁלוֹם) [closed]

The following verse in the Torah prophesizes about a nation which will be given "peace" and coming of a praised being: and I will shake all nations, and the choicest(חֶמְדַּת ) things of all ...
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votes
2answers
116 views

What are the behaviors which will cause the covenant between Bnei Yisrael and God to be broken? [closed]

What are the abominations that Bnei Yisrael should desist from, which would cause it to break the covenant of God. And has the covenant been broken in the past?
5
votes
1answer
157 views

“Rabbi, teach me something new”

Throughout the Talmud* there are launch-pad stories of sages being asked by their students and even their peers to teach them something they've never been taught before or else something that was ...
1
vote
1answer
241 views

Toynbee's description of Jews as a “fossil” — what was the Orthodox response?

In the 1950s historian Arnold Toynbee made the argument that Jews and Judaism did not fit into any definition of nation, race, or religion. We were not a nation because we lived for centuries without ...
13
votes
2answers
1k views

Origin of the term Yoshke?

I have often heard Jews refer to Jesus as "Yoshke". Is the origin of that appellation based on halachic issues regarding mentioning names of foreign deities, or some other Jewish law or custom? When ...
14
votes
1answer
225 views

What sources, prior to the 19th century, support or refute the existence of the Council of Jamnia/Yavneh?

Multiple questions on Christianity.SE1 refer to the Council of Jamnia/Yavneh in reference to the canonization of the Bible (Tanakh). Wikipedia states: In 1871 Heinrich Graetz, drawing on Mishnaic ...
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0answers
57 views

What is the status of the “minor tractates”?

There is a collection of "minor tractates" some of which contain material not found in other works of torah sh'baal peh (the oral law). What is the origin of these tractates? Who wrote/compiled them? ...
5
votes
3answers
118 views

Bracha on giving Machatzis HaShekel

In the times of the Beis HaMikdash when the Machatzis HaShekel was given was a bracha recited?
4
votes
1answer
319 views

Historical account of Jewish worship via the graves of saints and Prophets

Are there any examples in the Jewish history of Jewish people falling into worshiping the dead saints and prophets in their tombs ? Also, does building Tomb and concrete structures over the graves ...
3
votes
0answers
151 views

Sitting or Standing for Kaddish - historical divergence between Conservative and Orthodox minhag

At most (maybe even all?) Conservative synagogues, the congregation remains seated during every kaddish (except mourner's kaddish, and then only mourners rise). At Ashkenazic Orthodox synagogues, the ...
-4
votes
3answers
732 views

When did the switch to matrilineal descent occur?

Does anyone know when the switch the matrilineal descent took place? I've seen other information about the potential impetus, but when did it become so? Was there even a switch?
3
votes
3answers
291 views

Why do we venerate previous generations?

In understanding torah sh'baal peh, as well as halacha we generally work under the presumption that earlier generations were correct and/or knew more than later generations. For example many a talmud ...
6
votes
1answer
732 views

Which major gedolim have said Hallel on Yom Haatzmaut and Yom Yerushalayim?

Which major gedolim, especially at the times at which the events occurred, but in general too, have said Hallel for Yom Haatzmaut and Yom Yerushalyim? The definition of a major gadol is, of course, ...
2
votes
1answer
216 views

Breakdown of Yirmiyahu's 70 year prophecy

Can someone supply a good breakdown of Yirmiyahu's 70 year prophecy, and the misinterpretations of the prophecy? This is what I've learned in the past: Yirmiyahu made a prophecy that 70 years after ...
3
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0answers
117 views

Has anyone since Rashbi been considered so regularly involved in Torah study so as to be exempt from prayer?

In SA OC Siman 106 Sif 2, the Machaber says that someone that for whom "Toraso Umanaso" ("his torah is his occupation", ie a person that is constantly engaged in Torah study) like Rebbe Shimon Bar ...
1
vote
1answer
61 views

Was Pinchas born in Egypt?

I'm a little confused about the chronology of the Biblical giants Caleb and Pinchas. Caleb appears to have been part of the Exodus generation, and with Joshua, their defense of the Land of Israel ...
3
votes
1answer
223 views

Haredi clothing

Every time I see videos or photographs of Haredim of sixty-eighty years ago, I notice an abundance of grey suits and hats, with the occasional brown or grey waistcoat. Examples of this include the ...
1
vote
1answer
168 views

Did Joseph ever forgive his brothers? Did they request forgiveness?

After Yosef revealed himself to his brothers, did the brothers ever ask for Yosef's forgiveness for having sold him into slavery? And did Yosef ever formally forgive them? I'm looking for chapter ...
0
votes
3answers
138 views

Are there cases of a one-time (extreme) punishment that rabbis meted for the sake of a community's commitment to Torah?

I have heard about cases (during the period of the late Rishonim) where a Posek or a Beis Din meted out a harsh punishment to an individual for their breach of halacha in order to protect their ...
4
votes
2answers
123 views

What's the Source for Jerusalem and Sepphoris Having Larger Measuring Units?

In Rabbi Pinchas Kehati's introduction to Masekhet Challah, and again in his commentary on Eduyyot 1:2, reference is made to the adjusting of measurements when the Jews "arrived at" Jerusalem, and ...
0
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1answer
93 views

How did the Oral Torah survive the years after Joshua died?

In the Book of Judges 2:10 it says that after the death of Joshua and his generation, "there arose another generation after them, who knew not Hashem nor the deed which He had done for Israel." ...
1
vote
1answer
162 views

Was Shlomo Molcho a great kabbalist or a false messiah?

History records that a Portuguese Marano, Diego Peres (born 1500), after being spurned by Jewish adventurist David Reuveni, circumcised himself, changed his name to Shlomo Molcho, and went on a ...
4
votes
1answer
133 views

Ashkanazim paskening like Rema

Was it always a straightforward presumption ("davar pashut") that in general the Ashkanazim should decide Halachic questions ("pasken") in accordance with the Rema over the Machaber/Beis Yosef (when ...
3
votes
1answer
422 views

Did most Hasidic men wear the shtreimel and kapote in Eastern Europe?

I have heard that the shtreimel and kapote (and variations) were mostly worn only by the Rebbes, while most followers were too poor for a beaver-skin hat; most hassidim wore the ordinary clothes of ...
9
votes
4answers
419 views

Can a convert be a prophet?

I don't think there were any gerim amongst the nevi'im, but would it have been possible?
3
votes
2answers
189 views

When did upsherins become part of standard American Orthodox practice?

According to Rav Wikipedia, the upsherin is a custom that was brought from Muslims to Palestinian Jews to Tzfat Sephardim to Chasidim. Recently, I've noticed mainstream (non-charedi) Orthodox Jews ...
2
votes
1answer
109 views

History of the Mir Yeshiva

Can anybody recommend a good history of the Mir Yeshiva - specifically until the outbreak of World War II, but ideally even inclusive of the war years? Shaul Stampfer has an excellent history of ...
4
votes
2answers
286 views

Has the Ban of Rabbenu Gershom expired?

I have heard that the ban or cherem of Rabbenu Gershom has expired. Is this the case? If so, what are the ramifications visa vi his enactments?
3
votes
1answer
92 views

The “ben neichar” who is banned from eating the Korbon Pesach

Exodus 12:43 says that a "ben neichar" would not be able to eat the Korbon Pesach (the Passover offering) when the Temple is rebuilt, placing this category of persons in the same category as non-Jews. ...
3
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2answers
151 views

How was Devorah appointed a judge?

Although there is already a question on how judges were appointed during the period after the First Temple was built, that question did not cover the period of the Judges, following the time of ...
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3answers
426 views

Were there any other religions before Judaism that their followers should convert to Judaism?

You could imagine that with the advent of a new religion, any followers of the last religion would be required to convert to the new religion. Which followers of which religion converted to Judaism, ...
4
votes
0answers
169 views

Statistics regarding how many people convert yearly

What are the statistics for the last 50-100 years as to how many people convert and become Geirim yearly?