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

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2
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1answer
83 views

Antiquarian Safrut

Is there any resource for looking at examples of the old forms of safrut from before the Second World War? I have seen un-sourced photos of strikingly different variations within the Ashkenazi and ...
0
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0answers
9 views

Slavery Reparations [on hold]

Do the major Jewish organizations (ADL, Jewish World Congress, etc.) have an official position on the question of Jewish reparations towards the descendants of slaves in the Americas? The question is ...
2
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4answers
213 views

Saying Rishonim or Achronim were “wrong”

People are very careful (and rightfully so) to say when they don't understand the words of the Achronim or Rishonim to not say they are/were "wrong". But rather to say "I don't understand what he ...
3
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4answers
671 views

Matrilineal Descent

I have heard that matrilineal descent (i.e. having Judaism passed down through the mother) comes from the Roman period when women were raped by Roman soldiers and the babies were then said to be ...
7
votes
1answer
295 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 ...
0
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1answer
31 views

Source for Africans being Caananites?

In Alex's answer to Did any Achronim comment on the American Revolutionary or Civil Wars? he says that a certain Rav was opposed to the Emancipation Proclamation, because it goes against Noach's ...
10
votes
4answers
268 views

What's the origin of having more than one name?

I suppose this is more of a history question: as in when did Jewish people start naming their children with more than one name? But I would also be interested in knowing the circumstances behind it? ...
3
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0answers
25 views

Tefillin Gassot

According to this video, gassot have only been around for about a century. I know for a fact that when my father became bar mitzvah, his grandfather got him tefillin dakkot (his father got new ...
23
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18answers
1k 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 ...
7
votes
3answers
396 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, ...
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1answer
71 views

What does the talmud/rabbinic writing have to say about Yeishu hanotzri (Jesus)?

I Understand that the name Jesus was not uncommon 2000 years ago, and Jewish writings about person of historical interest to the christian church call him "Yeishu hanotzri" = "Jesus the Nazarene". I ...
4
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0answers
30 views

The word 'Halakhah'

When and under what circumstances did the word "halakhah" (also spelled "halacha", "halachah" or, in Hebrew, הלכה) come to mean Jewish law?
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0answers
56 views

How old is the Earth?

There are few versions of the age of the Earth Wikipedia Article but they seem to be mostly (all?) from christian interpretations. Are there estimations from the Tanakh, with Jewish interpretations? ...
2
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1answer
107 views

Why Choose Talmud Bavli For The Daily Study

As we know it is a big custom to learn a daf of Talmud Bavli a day (Dafyomi). My question is why did they choose to pick Talmud Bavli. There are so many other Subjects that could actually affect ...
2
votes
2answers
93 views

What is the religious significance of the existence of many denominations and sects?

For much of the past 2000 years, when most of contemporary Halacha was being formulated, there was only a single denomination\sect of Judaism. (Leaving aside Ashkenzi vs Sephardi, which is mostly a ...
5
votes
2answers
63 views

What are the major regions relevant to Ashkenazi minhagim?

Motivating this question are the instructions in the ArtScroll Siddur for the two versions of kel erekh apayim, said on weekdays before taking out the sefer torah: one is identified as “נוסח אשכנז, ...
6
votes
1answer
56 views

Selichot origins

In what year (CE) did saying selichot in Elul begin? In what year were they made a standard addition to prayer books? Looking for an academic answer, not the yeshivahish one. And did Sephardim start ...
4
votes
1answer
111 views

On what social issues were the rabbis ahead of their times?

On what social issues were the rabbis (Chazal and rishonim) ahead of their times? That is, which social/political matters subject to wide agreement today were shared by Chazal before these views ...
11
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7answers
2k views

How are Spartans the son of Abraham?

I was reading the Book of Maccabbees (I and II) over shabbat and in it there is a letter written to Sparta to ask for peace, goodwill and friendship. In the reply letter back from Sparta, they affirm ...
9
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5answers
194 views

Is beauty that is described in the Torah objective beauty?

Perceptions of beauty have changed throughout time. For example, in the times of the Talmud, R' Yochanan, who was described as being fat (Berachos 13b), is also described in the Talmud as being ...
6
votes
2answers
379 views

Does the Date of Sukkot Correspond to Any Particular Event?

As far as I can tell every single Jewish Holiday celebrates a particular event that happened on the date we celebrate it. Namely: Rosh Hashanah - (Tishrei 1) Creation of Man Yom Kippur - (Tishrei ...
8
votes
4answers
830 views

Why use Babylonian calendar instead of our own?

Why did the Hebrews not create their own calendar system instead of copying the pagan Babylonians'? I find it interesting that they use a pagan calendar which often honours pagan gods. Why is this ...
8
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4answers
168 views

Copies of Aleppo Codex

From what I understand, the loss of the Torah portion of Keter Aram Soba (the Aleppo Codex) in 1948 is heavily lamented because it was the oldest preserved and probably most accurate text of Torah. ...
4
votes
1answer
72 views

The history behind the composition and inclusion of V'lo N'tato

I'm curious about the composition and inclusion in the shabbat shacharit of the paragraph beginning ולא נתתו (v'lo n'tato). I understand the talmudic basis for the underlying idea, and how it fits in ...
5
votes
1answer
227 views

Where does the tune for birkat hamazon come from?

It's hard to describe who's tune this is and I can only refer to it as the 'commonly used' or 'popular' tune for birkat hamazon. I seems like it is compiled of many unrelated tunes. At times there are ...
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2answers
137 views

Was Intermarriage Permissible at the time of Tanakh?

There are many examples of 'Jewish' characters in Tanach (even post Matan Torah) who marry non-Jews (who are not described in Tanakh as converts), and their actions appear to be accepted. This makes ...
2
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1answer
148 views

Did 1 million Ethiopians really attack Israel?

2 Chronicles 14:8: And Zerah the Cushite came out against them with an army of a thousand thousand, and three hundred chariots, and he came as far as Mareshah. How could the Ethiopians have an ...
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votes
1answer
28 views

What is the meaning of surnames that number-related? [closed]

I deal a lot with names, whether given names or family names, especially as I collect genealogical information. So recently I'm puzzled about some Germanic-Jewish names that are related to numbers. ...
4
votes
1answer
261 views

When was the last time the “Leap Year” postponement rule was used to delay the date of Rosh Hashannah?

This site explains that there are 4 rules that would cause Rosh Hashannah to be postponed 1 or 2 days after the date of Molad Tishrei. You can view all 4 rules on the web site, but rule 4 states: ...
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2answers
314 views

How was Tevilas Ezra effective in limiting conjugal relations?

Many go to mikve (perform ritual immersion) every morning. One reason for this is voluntary continuation of a cancelled decree, Tevilas Ezra, meant to limit conjugal relations by requiring immersion ...
2
votes
2answers
70 views

What year was the first Shemita?

When was the first Shemita year? I want to compare with our years from 1800 til now.
2
votes
3answers
214 views

the dress of the followers of Harav Kook

Harav Kook was basically a litai, and dressed like one and even had a shtreimel. Today his followers and talmidim from his yeshiva don't even use any kind of suit (long or short) or hat and even make ...
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2answers
80 views

The disappearance of וסת קבוע and הרגשות

At some point in history, Jewish women used to have very regularly scheduled Monthly cycles, and used to have some sensation that accompanied the onset of menstruation. Both of these play important ...
6
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0answers
43 views

Is history Torah?

Does studying Jewish history count as Torah? For example, could one study it on Tish'a B'av or in an unclean place or before saying Birkas HaTorah? It seems clear that the stories included in the ...
5
votes
6answers
2k views

Are Europeans Edomites?

I had always thought that Europeans descended from Yafet, not Shem, and certainly not Shem, Avraham and Yitzhak. I am aware that it was common in the past to equate Rome with Edom, but I always ...
2
votes
2answers
448 views

Did Moshe have a son with Ethiopian Queen prior to Exodus

According to Josephus, Moshe was a great military leader who lead in battle for Egypt when Egypt and Ethiopia was at war and Moshe married the Ethiopian Queen and had a child with her who became the ...
1
vote
1answer
96 views

Churban Bayis Sheini Not on Tisha B'Av?

I recently heard that the destruction of the 2nd Temple was not actually on Tisha B'av, the date of the destruction of the 1st Temple, but that it was pretty close, so the rabbis had it commemorated ...
3
votes
4answers
463 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
196 views

A source for the claim that the Satmar Ruv (R' Yoel Teitelbaum) said to VP Hubert Humphrey “Sell weapons to Israel!”

There is a commonly quoted anecdote that when Vice President Hubert Humphrey came to the Satmar Rav for votes in 1968 and asked him what he could do for him the Satmar Rav replied "Sell weapons to ...
3
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3answers
270 views

Modern nations and Umos Haolam

Where can I find a discussion about the roots of modern nations, in the Umos Haolam mentioned in the Torah and Chazal?
7
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2answers
78 views

Why were there 8 kings of Edom?

Is there any symbolism or other explanation as to why there were specifically eight kings of Edom who ruled before any king in Yisrael did, like it says in Bereshis 36 (31-39)?
11
votes
1answer
455 views

What was the topic debated in the series of Satmar/Lubavitch talks?

I'd heard there was a point in the late twentieth century when the Lubavitcher Rebbe (R' Menachem Mendel Schneurson) would give an address, which would be relayed to the Satmar Rebbe (R' Yoel ...
3
votes
0answers
64 views

Chida's statement about shabbat violators

I heard Rabbi Yitzhack Yosef Shelita (Rishon LeTzion and son of Maran HaRav Ovadia Yosef, Z"L) who says that the Chida writes that in all the places that he was never saw a Sephardic Jew that wasn't ...
2
votes
1answer
74 views

When did walking from Ner Israel yeshiva to Baltimore no longer require Eruv Techumin?

From what I'm told, several decades ago one who wanted to walk from Ner Israel yeshiva on Mt. Wilson Lane in Pikesville, MD to the greater Baltimore community (e.g. Rabbi Heinemann's shul, the Agudah, ...
0
votes
1answer
79 views

What Jewish leaders/rabbis/prophets were active in years 3350-3360?

What Jewish leaders/rabbis/prophets were active in years 3350-3360 (in Jewish calendar years)? and died around 3360...
2
votes
2answers
307 views

Did circumcision exist before Abraham?

I heard it claimed recently that Circumcision was an act that was already practiced before God came to Abraham. The claim mentions that God took it and made it a token of His covenant with his people, ...
17
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2answers
486 views

Jews under Charlemagne

Jews under Charlemagne in the 8th century and the Carolingian emperors were accredited food providers in addition to providing wine for Christian mass. I am looking for halachic responses to these ...
7
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2answers
118 views

What happened to the stones with the Torah inscribed in seventy languages?

Deuteronomy 27:8 as explained by Rashi says that the Torah was written in seventy languages on stones. What happened to the stones? These would have been big stones. Are there any hints as to where ...
0
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1answer
58 views

Did a synod in Poland in 1631 decree the censorship of some parts of the Talmud?

Related with this question about some parts censored in the Talmud, I read in a website the following story: ... In 1631, a Jewish synod in Poland ordered the offending passages to be expunged, ...
4
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0answers
91 views

Holidays south of the equator

When Jews first started establishing communities south of the equator, they must have noticed that the holidays fell completely at the wrong times of the year. (For example, Pesach, referred to as hag ...