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

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3
votes
1answer
422 views

Has the minhag regarding weddings during the Omer changed recently?

My father in law was a musician. He explained that other than Lag Ba'Omer and beginning 3 days before Shavuot, there were no weddings at all during the Omer. Even though, there are two versions of the ...
17
votes
6answers
2k views

Is there “Torah Inerrancy”?

Is there Torah inerrancy? In other words, does the Torah contain no factual errors: the Noah flood did occur, Garden of Eden did exist, Adam and Eve did live there and were subsequently expelled, etc ...
26
votes
9answers
2k 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, ...
5
votes
1answer
179 views

Shofar from ibex horn?

I have the 2015 calendar from the Jewish Historical Museum in Amsterdam, and today I noticed that the September page has a picture of a shofar made from an ibex horn. The calendar dates it to ...
2
votes
1answer
114 views

Mishna was a book in time of Gemara?

Rabbi Jacob Bar Abba asked Abaye: Is it permitted to a disciple in a district under his Master's jurisdiction to give a ruling that was as authoritative as those contained in the Scroll of ...
17
votes
4answers
352 views

Was Malbim an innovator?

Malbim (Meir Leibush ben Yechiel Michel) wrote a commentary on most of Tanach. In his introduction (to Yeshayahu) he writes the assumptions with which he operates in his commentary: :עמודי התוך ...
2
votes
1answer
72 views

erroneous decisions by beit din for which korbanot must be brought by beit din and the people

In masechet horayot we learn that korbanot must be brought if the beit din makes an erroneous decision that is followed by the people. Do we know of such a mistake that was made by a beit din? If so, ...
0
votes
1answer
71 views

When in time did the Jewish people get sold to Greacans, according to Joel?

Yoel 4 says: 3 And they have cast lots for My people; and have given a boy for an harlot, and sold a girl for wine, and have drunk. and 6 the children also of Judah and the children of ...
1
vote
0answers
39 views

The story of the Minim and Boethusians; trying to fix the festival of Shavuot on Sunday

I've found different sources like the Mishnah, Babylonian Talmud (tractate Rosh HaShanah), Jerusalem Talmud, Tosefta etc., talking about the Minim and the Boethusians who wanted to fix the festival of ...
-2
votes
3answers
214 views

Rav Shach and Lubavitsher Rebbe [closed]

From a purely Torah perspective. What was the disagreement between Rav Shach and the Lubavitcher Rebbe? Like, from a halachic point of view what were their opinions and why? I know they disagreed ...
6
votes
2answers
214 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 ...
8
votes
1answer
107 views

Did Rambam have Rashi's works?

While the Rambam lived a century after Rashi, I cannot recall ever seeing or hearing the Rambam cite or mention Rashi or any of his works. Is there any evidence that Rambam had access to Rashi's ...
2
votes
2answers
189 views

What is the meaning of this painting?

I am in possession of this mysterious painting with Hebrew characters, but I do not know what words mean. I suspect that they may provide a clue to what is being represented in each of the painted ...
9
votes
2answers
267 views

How is it that the Talmud can make historical mistakes?

A Rav told me that when it comes to science and nature, the Talmud can say incorrect things (i.e. about animals, cosmology) because they were going by the Greeks and Romans. (Where he gets permission ...
0
votes
2answers
95 views

Pulling ear when sneeze

Where does it come from that people pull their ear when they sneeze does it have something to do with our forefather Jacob before him no-one became ill just before death? That is, he became ill before ...
4
votes
1answer
86 views

What references, if any, are there to synagogues or non-temple organized worship in the ancient Israel

Synagogue worship appears to be relatively common in the Christian New Testament (although perhaps little is known about what actually went on in the synagogues, I don't know a whole lot of details). ...
3
votes
1answer
60 views

The torah is nothing now compared to that of moshiach? What does this midrash mean?

In koheles Rabba piska 11 ois 8 It says that "The Torah we have now is hevel-nothing compared to the Torah of moshiach". Why is this Torah considered nothing? What is the Torah of moshiach mean?
16
votes
6answers
7k views

Are there any Jewish people alive today who can identify themselves as coming from a particular tribe?

The Christian "New Testament" claims Paul (Saul) was of the tribe of Benjamin. Since Roman times have there been any people who can validly claim they were from a particular tribe? At least at that ...
3
votes
1answer
65 views

Onkelos Commentary

Rashi on the talmud (kidushin 49a) says the aramaic translation/commentary on the torah was given at sinai, forgotten and brought back by Onkelos. Where did Onkelos obtain the correct text?
6
votes
2answers
133 views

What is the significance of 7-month births?

I have noticed that there are a number of significant figures in Jewish history who were born at 7 months. To name a few: Yitzchok Avinu (Rosh Hashana 11a) Reuvein, Shimon, and Levi (Rabbeinu ...
0
votes
2answers
116 views

How to Reconcile if/when the Jewish Day Was to Begin at Sunset?

Question: Are there any historical documents that detail the differences in opinions on when the "Jewish Day" began? (Perhaps between Sadducee and Pharisee/Rabbinic definitions, etc). What the ...
3
votes
1answer
75 views

German and Ethiopian Jews in the time of the Mishna?

According to Negaim 3:1, the laws of negaim only apply to Jews (הכל מטּמאין בנגעים חוץ מגוים), but according to Negaim 2:1 they apply to people from Germany (גרמני) and Ethiopia (or Numibia, etc; ...
1
vote
0answers
43 views

When did the Jewish people knead the dough that they took out of Egypt?

The Jewish people took dough out of Egypt with them. See Shemos 12 (39) which says “They baked the dough that they had taken out of Egypt as unleavened cakes, for it had not leavened, for they ...
8
votes
2answers
400 views

Chad Gadya: The price of a kid goat

Was the fair market value of a kid goat really two zuzim? This piyyut is of course allegorical, but, if the value given is highly inaccurate, is the discrepancy in value symbolic beyond the symbolism ...
1
vote
0answers
26 views

What subjects did talmud censoring involve and how far back does it go?

I'm aware of censoring of the name Yeshu, in the soncino printing of the talmud where they replaced it with "sinners of israel" in Gittin 57a. I'm interested what other subjects or names were ...
0
votes
0answers
26 views

The life of Jochebed

What, if anything, does the rabbinical literature say happened to Jochebed, the mother of Moses, after she put Moses in the basket on the river?
4
votes
2answers
86 views

Under whose rule was the second Beis Hamikdash destroyed?

Rashi in Sota (41a) says אגריפס המלך. מלך ישראל היה מזרעו של הורדוס והוא שנחרב בהמ"ק בימיו The Beis Hamikdash was destroyed in the days of Aggripas. I thought that by the time of the ...
12
votes
0answers
72 views

What kind of seder did a non-oleh l'regel have during the time of the Bais Hamikdash (and for that matter, the entire 40 years in the desert)?

Our haggadah did not always exist - it appears to be primarily from the time of the Mishna. Before then, there was a Korban Pesach and specific procedures for organizing family and/or friends to eat ...
2
votes
1answer
75 views

Rav Moshe's Psak on Fertility Treatments

I recently read an interview with Rav Dovid Feinstein and he referenced a two year period of Rav Moshe's life that were troubling due to backlash he received following a controversial psak regarding ...
1
vote
0answers
27 views

What happened to the Mugmar?

In Brochos Perek 6, Mishna 6 the Mugmar is mentioned in the context of who makes the Brocha for it. Commentaries explain that it is some sort of incense that was smelled after a meal. It would ...
4
votes
0answers
50 views

Timeline of the 10 plagues in exodus?

Do we have a chronological timeline (with years) of the 10 plagues? I'm trying to recreate a full timeline of the הגדה של פסח for the upcoming holiday, going from the arrival of Jacob and his family ...
7
votes
5answers
696 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
682 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, ...
5
votes
2answers
111 views

Who were the original users of Ktav Ashuri?

According to one opinion found in the Talmud Sanhedrin 22a ktav ashuri was brought up from the first exile, assumedly adopted from Babylonian sources. Who exactly was using this alphabet? Do we have ...
12
votes
2answers
303 views

How and when did fedoras arise as acceptable headwear?

Today I learned that the fedora was originally a woman's hat, invented/popularized for women in the late 19th century and only migrating into menswear after 1924 when Prince Edward of England started ...
22
votes
3answers
770 views

Providing wine for Christian ceremonial purposes: in the 8th century, what did the rabbis write?

Under Charlemagne in the 8th century and the Carolingian emperors, Jews were official importers of exotic foods from the Holy Land;[1] they also provided wine for Christian mass. At the time, what ...
2
votes
3answers
212 views

When and why did the custom that a Nidda hides from the public that she is a Nidda start

I understand that in the past it was not hidden from the public that a Nidda was a Nidda, as they wore special clothing. As we see the רע"ב's explanation in the Mishna in Kethubot 7:6 ...
2
votes
5answers
109 views

Can Chazal be wrong?

I understand that a later ruling can't contradict an earlier one, but does that mean that Chazal are infallible, the way Catholics believe the Pope is infallible? And if so, where's the line? Who was ...
2
votes
0answers
31 views

Why do we refer to Chazal as a monolithic group?

In discussions of Torah, halacha, etc., people often say, "According to Chazal..." as though all the thousands of rabbis of an 800-year period spoke with one voice. But you almost never hear people ...
4
votes
3answers
94 views

Is there an online resource that gives an “overview” of safrut?

Between Mincha and Ma'ariv on Shmini Atzeret, I'd like to give a short shiur on some interesting facts about how a Torah is written. I'm looking for some fairly easy to understand online resources on ...
1
vote
1answer
54 views

Rambam Epistle to Yemen identification

In Rambam's Epistle, he mentions three groups that challenged the Jewish people by coming up with a new religion. He mentions Jesus first and Islam (who he refers to as the Madman) last. However, he ...
6
votes
1answer
153 views

What sources did people use to support Shabbtai Tsvi's messianism after he died?

I can understand the appeal of a messiah in 1600s Eastern Europe. I can understand that we want a messiah and we're willing to accept one, whether it be Bar Kochva or Shabbtai Tsvi. But on what ...
7
votes
2answers
90 views

When did Jews adopt the custom of saying “Baruch Hashem”?

When did Jews adopt the custom of saying "Baruch Hashem"? The only people who said B"H in the Chumash were non-Jews: Noah, Malkitzedek, Avimelech, Eliezer, Lavan, and Yitro!
2
votes
1answer
121 views

Why did Judaism stop using the Septuagint?

I heard somewhere (I don't remember the details) that the Septuagint ceased to be read in the Jewish community. Why?
1
vote
1answer
63 views

Why was the ramchal banned, and how did he become so widely accepted later?

When ramchal was in Italy he was put in cherem for his writing and eventually left to live in Israel. Why did this happen and what changed about the perception of him?
5
votes
3answers
198 views

Why were there no Jewish philosophy tracts until the Rasag?

Jews had their first bump into philosophy when Alexander the Great conquered Israel (in the early Tanaic period). Since then, we lived under the Greeks and Romans for a few hundred years. Both of ...
0
votes
2answers
87 views

Is the number 6 considered evil in Judaism?

I have heard from some sources that the number six is/can be construed as an evil number in Judaism, and as such, it should be avoided. Is there truth to this? If so, what is the reasoning behind ...
9
votes
4answers
819 views

Where does “probeh” come from?

Every time recently that I've heard of an Orthodox congregation conducting a search for a rabbi, the stage at which the rabbi visits the community for a Shabbat and auditions for the position is ...
4
votes
0answers
140 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 ...
2
votes
0answers
163 views

What is the date ending the 700 years mentioned in these midrashim?

Based on this answer I was able to have some extra fun reading over Shabbat. First, I would like to say, that I was amazed as to how much of the material I was allready familiar with, mostly from ...