The different traditions passed down through the generations.

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List of Halachot LiMosheh MiSinai

Is there a comprehensive list of things in the Talmud that are "halachot limosheh misinai"- laws that were passed down from Moshe through the generations? An example of such is tefilin needing to be ...
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3answers
2k views

Has the Torah been changed over the ages?

It is quite a famous argument from Muslims for authenticity of the Quran that the previous Holy Books (Bible and Torah) sent by God have been corrupted or changed by their followers and that Quran is ...
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1answer
209 views

Soft Matzah for Ashkenazim

The Rama in 460:4 writes that one should make thin matzos and the Mishna Brurah 16 writes it should be thin. Rav Nebontzol (in his notes on the Mishna Brurah) points out the Be'er Heitiv 8 which ...
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1answer
57 views

What is the correct vocalization for Megillas Ester 3:6

What is the correct pronunciation for the third word of Megillas Ester 3:6, "‎ויבז בעיניו לשלח יד במרדכי לבדו…‏‎"? Is it with a Patach under the ח or without it? I have seen many ...
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0answers
106 views

When was the modern manuscript for the Torah agreed upon?

(This question is also asked here on history.SE for a different perspective.) Considering that variations have occurred in the Torah's text over time (I think the Gemara may mention events where a ...
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1answer
99 views

Authenticity of Nach

Is it the general belief that Nach is unchanged since it was written? That the transmission of Nach is as reliable as that of Torah? What types of methods are in place to ensure its accuracy and ...
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2answers
115 views

Isaiah 8:11: “kaf” or “bet”?

It seems that two versions of Isaiah 8:11 exist. One has "כחזקת היד" -- this is the version in the Aleppo (shown above) and Leningrad codices: ...
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4answers
344 views

Rishonim/Achronim time period differentiation

When was the end of the Rishonim time period and the start of the achronim time period? Who, what, why, and how did this come about? What caused this abrupt change in deemed mental and halachot ...
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1answer
230 views

Why does the Mishna misquote the Tanakh?

In a number of instances, the Mishna provides quotes from Tanakh that differ from the versions of Tanakh that we have today. So, for example, Sotah 6:4 (31b). There, the mishna quotes Deuteronomy ...
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109 views

Siddur for Skolyer Chasidim

Is there a specific siddur for the minhag of the Skolyer Chasidim (Chasidim of Ukrainian town of Skole)?
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2answers
270 views

Rabbinic speculations on history

Sometimes in the Rabbinic literature traditions are related about what happened in history, with multiple different opinions. For example, there was a historical development in the script used by ...
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2answers
118 views

How do we get Parshot and Sefarim within the Chumash?

Aside from the numbered chapters introduced by Christianity, what is the source for dividing the Torah into parshot (weekly Torah reading) and the 5 volumes (Bereishit, Shemot, Vayikra, Bamidbar and ...
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2answers
738 views

What is the source for the tradition that the philtrum is formed by an angel before birth?

Physiological context: The philtrum is the dip or groove in the middle of the upper lip below the nose (link). It is a feature of most mammals, thought to draw water from the mouth to the nose to keep ...
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1answer
81 views

Teacher and tradition of R' Judah ben Meir HaKohen

Who was the teacher of R' Judah ben Meir HaKohen, and from which chain of tradition does he derive? I ask because I cannot find much information about him online, other than many references to his ...
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1answer
263 views

Chain of tradition for stories/parables told by Rashi

I've already asked one question about where Rashi got a particularly troubling interpretation of an obscure reference in the Gemara, telling a very detailed and gruesome story about R' Meir and his ...
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1answer
150 views

How do I know if a midrash is accepted?

I have found many different types of midrashic works. Some are, as far as I can tell, accepted as being authoritative. Meaning they were written (compiled?) by the sages in roughly the talmudic era. ...
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1answer
167 views

Source for Rav Avraham Yosef's ruling on Ba'alei Teshuva

A friend mentioned, and I read the same here, that Rav Avraham Yosef and/or Rav Ovadiah Yosef ruled that Ba'alei Teshuva in Israel (with no direct masoret of their own) should adopt the Sepharadi ...
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1answer
385 views

Is there a tradition to pronounce kamatz katan as “a”?

There are many ways of pronouncing Hebrew in prayers and when reading the Tora. Most of these are tradition-based: one pronounces it the same way his parent or teacher did, or a close approximation. ...
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1answer
92 views

Updating of holy books

I am curious if such thing is possible, e.g. if some new evidence is found (archeological or other scientific or other). So the next generation will have more accurate interpretation, because we all ...
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1answer
59 views

What are the ways our Balei Mesorah suggest to engage children in the Seder?

What do our Baalei Mesorah suggest we do to engage the children in the Seder night? Furthermore, how effective do you think those methods would be with children of today?
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0answers
99 views

How did the knowledge of the pronunciation of the Divine Name get lost?

I have heard that there are, in theory, 22 different ways to pronounce the Divine four-letter Name (Yud Key Vav Key) of Hashem and that the one correct way to say the Name has been lost. How did that ...
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1answer
112 views

the Laws of Noah--how are the nations to know them

If the laws of Noah are the laws for the nations and they are handed down by Jewish oral tradition, how are the nations to know them?
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83 views

Dagesh for adornment

On Sh'mos 2:3 and 15:17, Minchas Shay notes that הַצְּפִינוֹ and מִקְּדָשׁ have a dagesh in their respective second letters "for adornment (tif'eres)". Is this aural or visual adornment? How/Why is ...
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1answer
163 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." ...
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4answers
1k views

What ancient sources discuss the meaning of Psalm 22?

Many Christians believe Psalm 22 refers to Jesus of Nazareth. How have Jews historically understood Psalm 22 and interpreted it?
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7answers
815 views

Is one a heretic if he does not believe in Kabbalah?

Is one a heretic if he does not believe in Kabbalah? Not necessarily that the Rashbi authored the Zohar, but in the general tenets of kabbalah including but not limited to: tzimtzum, sefirot, ...
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76 views

Probing Minhag Avoseinu

As discussed in this question and the comments there, we know, based on Beitza 4b, that there is some halachically binding concept of minhag avoseinu b'yadeinu (the custom of our forbears is in our ...
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2answers
222 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 ...
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1answer
82 views

What is the genealogy of Judah ben Bava?

Is Judah ben Bava, noted for continuing the tradition of ordination, the son of Bava ben Buta, the Rabbi who was spared by Herod?
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4answers
385 views

Kashrus status of turkeys

From what I have heard there were those that did not eat turkey (such as Rabbi Yaakov Kamenetzky Zatzal) due to a question whether we have a Mesorah as to the Kashrus of this bird. I know that many ...
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0answers
127 views

Shin on Tefilin - changed in Belz?

I recently heard that in Belz they changed the Shin on the Tefilin Shel Rosh due to an old pair that was found that the Rebbi believed to be the true Mesorah. Is this true? How does the new Shin ...
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1answer
287 views

Was the Hebrew Alphabet also given with the Tablets and Law?

My research for my answer to Which alphabet were the original Torah scrolls in? gave me an idea--Since the Early Alphabetic alphabet is also called Sinaitic, and the timing seems about right, maybe ...
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6answers
720 views

Why don't we just follow the shittah of Moshe Rabeinu?

My question can apply to virtually all mitzvos where there is a disagreement in the standard way to fulfill them. If one reads the hakdama (introduction) to the Rambam's peirush mishnayos (commentary ...
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0answers
63 views

Who were the pre-Lekh Likha righteous men?

BS"D In Hilkhoth Avodhah Zarah RaMBaM lists the central figures in the transmission of ethical monotheism, and I was wondering if there were any other figures in our mesora not mentioned. Since the ...
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2answers
188 views

Why is precedent set by individual rabbis, not courts?

The headline on this obituary for R' Eliyashiv ("A One Man Supreme Court") got me thinking - why do we invest so much power in precedents set by individual rabbis, as great as they may be, but not in ...
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1answer
308 views

Can an Ashkenazi write a Sephardi Torah?

If an Ashkenazi Sofer writes a Sefer Torah in the Sephardi or Yemenite tradition: a) has he fulfilled his obligation of writing a Sefer Torah (thanks, Double AA!), and b) since a Sefer Torah must be ...
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2answers
269 views

May an Ashkenazi wear Yemenite Tzitzith?

Many Ashkenazim now wear Tzitzith with Techeleth tied in the tradition of the RaMBa"M. However, my understanding is that Ashkenazim minimally require a double-knot at the base of the tassle in order ...
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1answer
204 views

Qumran - Proof or Genizah for Errors?

The comment and the ensuing thread quoted at the bottom of this question make me wonder what, exactly, was buried at Qumran. Were the items buried there actually used at some point and later placed ...
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1answer
158 views

Mesorah exchange between communities

Based on this thread What exactly prevents Ashkenazim from accepting Mesorah from other communities on things that we have not done in our own community? Taking an extreme reverse example, can ...
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2answers
323 views

Why aren't Yemenites an ed echad on locusts?

I've heard that the reason we (most of us) don't eat the locusts enumerated as kosher in the Torah is that we cannot identify them. That is, we don't know what type of locust is referred to by the ...
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1answer
144 views

Rational approaches to superstitious ideas

Can one assume that there is a perfectly rational approach to superstitious ideas? May one go out of one's way to come up with rational approaches if these ideas bother him? My thinking is, ...
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1answer
471 views

Gigantic Tiger Fish - Is it Kosher?

Is this fish Kosher? It apparently has both fins and scales. Is there any problem with its having teeth, or its not having been discovered until now (and therefore being outside of our Mesorah)?
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2answers
598 views

What is the Real Alter Rebbe Ksav?

There is a tradition that the Alter Rebbe (R' Shneur Zalman of Liadi) innovated a new Ksav (not the one in the Shulchan Aruch Harav) and taught it to sofrim who passed it on from teacher to student. ...
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1answer
417 views

Where can I find a list of differences between the Aleppo Codex and Ashkenazi texts?

Does anyone know of a list of textual differences for all of tanach or at least the chumash between the Aleppo Codex (Keter Aram Soba/Tzova) and the more common text? I already have such a list for ...
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1answer
169 views

With which Torah can one fulfill the obligation of Parshas Zachor?

There is an argument between texts if the word "Petzua Daka" (Devarim 23:2) should be with an Alef or a Heih. Can someone fulfill his obligation to read Zachor (and normal Torah reading) with a Torah ...
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4answers
387 views

What is the source for Pardes?

What is the source for expounding the torah according to remez, derush and sod (along with 'pshat' the group can be referred to by the acronym PaRDeS)? These forms of hermeneutics are not found in ...
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4answers
412 views

General understanding of Kri and Ktiv

A number of questions regarding the 'kri and ktiv' What is the source (talmudic or otherwise) for this concept? Why is it necessary; meaning why could we not adduce whatever concept is being taught ...
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2answers
290 views

What is “emunas chachomim”?

My daughter came home from school with a textbook response for what "emunas chachomim" is. I disagreed strongly with what was written in the book, so I'm not even going to say what they said. ...
10
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1answer
176 views

Accent mark in וישבע לו

In many Chumashim, the word וישבע in Parshas Chayei Sara (24:9) contains both a munach and a meseg (meteg). One example: I do not understand what the meseg is doing there under the beis. Typically ...
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422 views

How to reconcile the possibility that Rashi had a slightly different text of the Torah

In the Parshah of Chayei Sara, in Bereishis 25:6, there is a Posuk that refers to הפילגשים - "the concubines". Rashi expounds that since the word is missing a Yud, it must be a reference to the fact ...