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

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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
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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
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1answer
164 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
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2answers
196 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 ...
-5
votes
1answer
112 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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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
155 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
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1answer
231 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
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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
223 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 ...
5
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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
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3answers
117 views

Bracha on giving Machatzis HaShekel

In the times of the Beis HaMikdash when the Machatzis HaShekel was given was a bracha recited?
4
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1answer
301 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
146 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
673 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
290 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
724 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
212 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
113 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
60 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
220 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
159 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
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3answers
137 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
91 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
158 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
131 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
409 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
414 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
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2answers
187 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
108 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
271 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
91 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
149 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 ...
1
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3answers
419 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
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0answers
167 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?
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1answer
253 views

Does Judaism believe that Moshe (Moses) is the last Prophet?

Does Judaism believe that Moshe (Moses) is the last Prophet? Is this suggested in the Torah? If he was not the last prophet, but the Torah seems to suggest it, what does that mean?
6
votes
1answer
155 views

Source for Dubno Maggid's rebuke of the Vilna Gaon?

In a shiur I heard that the Vilna Gaon begged the Dubno Maggid to give him mussar (rebuke) after repeatedly declining the Maggid responded that It is not so difficult to be a Gaon, cloistered in ...
6
votes
2answers
97 views

Why are Chazal asking if words are spelled with א or ע?

In Shabbos 77a-77b, Chazal ask about the spelling of a series of words, questioning whether the words are spelled with an alef - as in גראינין - or with an ayin - as in גרעינין. Wasn't ayin vocalized ...
11
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2answers
261 views

Is there a chief Rabbi of the United States?

Is there currently or has there ever been historically a chief Rabbi of the United States? If not, why not?
20
votes
16answers
889 views

About what were rabbis ahead of the times?

I have heard claims that experts in the world of Torah were significantly ahead of their counterparts in the world of natural science (or mathematics, or psychology, or…) in that they knew X ...
9
votes
2answers
164 views

Looking for information on the Savoraim

I am looking for more information on the Savoraim such as a list of who they were, what they wrote outside of comments/amendments in the talmud, meaning do they have responsa, ethical or halachik ...
4
votes
1answer
229 views

Do Jews believe the content of Maccabees (I-IV) is true?

This related question touches on the book of Maccabees. I was wondering if Jews believe the content of Maccabees (I-IV) is true, even though it is outside the canon. If any of the Rishonim or ...
2
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0answers
133 views

How did the modern day Beis Hora'ah phenomenon develop?

Here in Eretz Yisrael, we find Batei Hora'ah in many cities - places where a moreh hora'ah sits either during special times or perhaps the whole day or different rabbonim throughout the day answering ...
6
votes
4answers
456 views

Why is the Mesillas Yesharim so popular and accepted?

To overgeneralize, I bet there is a copy of the mesillas yesharim in almost every orthodox home, shul and beis medrash. I'm wondering why this work is so popular and accepted. My wondering is ...
6
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0answers
121 views

Was the Chasam Sofer known for having an interesting way of learning?

I have a lot of experience learning Gemara and find myself oft dealing with the views of the Achronim to understand the Pshat in Rishonim. Unfortunately, I have inside me a slight aversion to the ...
2
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3answers
339 views

What exactly happened on the 25th of Kislev?

What historical event (if any) actually took place on the 25th of Kislev to cause that date to be the commencement of Chanukah?
5
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0answers
160 views

Source for not referring to Chanuka lights as a “menora”

Following up on this question about the use of the words "menora" or "chanukiya" to refer to Chanuka lights: I find it interesting that the use of "chanukiya," popularized in 1897 through a secular ...
2
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1answer
194 views

Celebrating the Hashmonaim as part of Hanukkah

The Hashmonaim are an integral part of the Hanukkah story. BUT after the story of Hanukkah the Hashmonite family did some very terrible things (wars between Jews etc) during their reign. Why do we ...
0
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1answer
346 views

How could a man named Philip in USA have Hebrew name Yehoshua Falk?

My great-uncle from Eastern Europe had given name of Philip in America (came in 1880s), is shown in 1889 directory as Philip plus his surname. His gravestone gives his name as Yehoshua Falk [then ...