The different traditions passed down through the generations.

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21
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2answers
1k 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 ...
18
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5answers
494 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 ...
18
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4answers
629 views

The Origins of the Zohar - Why is it accepted as being true?

I've read arguments and counter arguments for the origins of the Zohar and I'm perplexed. I personally accept the truths in kabbalah and chassidut, but I didn't realize how the Zohar sort of just "...
15
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4answers
493 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 ...
15
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2answers
368 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 ...
12
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5answers
413 views

The authenticity of rabbinic literature

I am studying the history of various branches of Judaism. I understand the position of rabbinic Judaism that parts of the laws were oral and not written. But this alone would not justify the ...
12
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8answers
1k 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, ...
12
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2answers
313 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. Rather,...
12
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1answer
493 views

Eldad HaDani's Lasting Influence - Is there any?

Eldad HaDani is (apparently) considered today to have been a fraud. According to this Wikipedia article, he was a traveler who told stories of his place of origin, which he claimed was a sovereign ...
11
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4answers
426 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 ...
11
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2answers
445 views

Is it possible for mesorah to be discovered?

Suppose there was a previously unknown collection of midrash or sayings or halachah or commentary that was discovered in an archaeological excavation and is hundreds or thousands of years old. ...
11
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1answer
294 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 ...
11
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3answers
310 views

Halachic authority of books

To what extent do books on Halachah have authority? I was taught that the Gemara was "closed" and may no longer be challenged in terms of its Halachic authority. To what extent is this authority ...
10
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4answers
508 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 ...
10
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1answer
185 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 ...
10
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2answers
195 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 ...
10
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2answers
284 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 ...
9
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1answer
334 views

Is one allowed to become a Talmid HaRambam?

There is a movement of people (including several MiYodeya users I've seen) who believe in following the teachings of the Rambam exclusively, basing their practical halachot off the Mishneh Torah, ...
9
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4answers
112 views

Why can't we distribute mitzvah obligations around the community?

How do we know from the Torah that it would not be sufficient just to have some people doing davening, others doing negel vasser, others doing tzitzit, others doing chachnosas kallah, others doing ...
9
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2answers
295 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 ...
9
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5answers
444 views

What is the source that forbids indecent dress by women?

I have been hardpressed finding a source for something that would seem to be such a well known Halacha. I (and most other too probably) have been brought up with the belief that it is forbidden for a ...
9
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1answer
280 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 ...
8
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7answers
3k 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 ...
8
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1answer
260 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 19:...
8
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1answer
87 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?
8
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2answers
129 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: http://www.studylight.org/desk/?sr=1&old_q=...
8
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1answer
179 views

what is the source for the artscroll sidur?

what is the mesorah for the artscoll ashkenaz siddur? Is this the same nusach ashkenaz that was used in previous generations?
8
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1answer
352 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 ...
8
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1answer
176 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 ...
7
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5answers
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?
7
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2answers
134 views

What is the basis that allows Rabbis to create laws?

I understand that the Torah gives instructions to obey Judges for legal cases and questions, but what is the basis that Rabbis have for creating new laws, such as for celebrating Chanukah with a ...
7
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2answers
136 views

Tanach without Christian chapter divisions

Is there a Tanach available that is not divided into Prakim, rather into Pesuchos or Sedorim etc. ? The nonJewish origin of the chapters is shown at Who Divided the Torah Into Weekly Readings, ...
7
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1answer
87 views

Rabbi Akiva and Ketarim

In Menachos the Gemara relates the Moshe asked Hashem about the meaning of the "crowns" on many Hebrew letters as written in the Torah. Hashem then gives the following response: אמר לו, אדם אחד יש ...
6
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6answers
788 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 ...
6
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2answers
157 views

What were Alter Halpern's main issues with Marcus Jastrow's Dictionary?

I have heard that Alter Halpern, a Rabbi in England, published an article or kuntres presenting issues with Marcus Jastrow's Dictionary (for the Talmud, midrash, targum), i.e Sefer HaMilim. What ...
6
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2answers
89 views

I thought Gezeirah Shavah requires Mesorah

In Masecheth Rosh Hashanah (9b), the Gemara uses a Gezeirah Shavah from Tishrei, with the word שנה, to support the Mishnah's ruling that 'Orlah is counted from Tishrei. In response, however, the ...
6
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1answer
74 views

Why no number of p'sukim for P'kude?

Many copies of Chumash list, after each parasha (weekly reading), the number of verses in that parasha. By and large, they omit it for parashas P'kude; why? (And if the answer is that they copy the ...
6
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1answer
82 views

Is there still a mesora on how to write the Torah in Greek?

Do we still have a mesora for the translation of the Torah into Greek, and if so, is this the LXX/Septuagint commonly used by Gentiles? Do we still have a mesorah for any other seforim into Greek?
6
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2answers
213 views

Adopting minhagim not from your mesorah

Is it appropriate to adopt minhagim that have historically not been observed by your community? Examples Ashkenazim pointing to the sefer Torah, usually with the pinky, during hagbah (after Krias ...
6
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0answers
74 views

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 ...
5
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1answer
287 views

Is this chart of the mesorah of Torah available in English?

Does anyone know if this chart of the mesora of Torah is available in English? or if there is anything like it in English?
5
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2answers
449 views

What is the Anshei Knesset HaGedolah?

I've heard many things about this "Great Assembly," mostly about how they established davening (prayers). However, there appears to be a lack of specific information about this institution. So: ...
5
votes
1answer
177 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 ...
5
votes
1answer
564 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 ...
5
votes
1answer
480 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. ...
5
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2answers
153 views

Mesorah (Tradition) of Yemenite Jews

Yemenite Jews have a famous, longstanding affinity for Rambam. Before the time of Rambam, which rabbis were the most influential in Yemen? E.g. Rav Saadya Gaon, local rabbis, etc. Please provide ...
5
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1answer
130 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?
5
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2answers
293 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 ...
5
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2answers
755 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. ...
5
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0answers
157 views

Who were the Nistarim?

It has been documented that there is a group of righteous people called "The Nistarim". I am not referring to the lammed vav tzaddikim of the Gemara (Sanhedrin 97b, Sukkah 45b). Rather, a mystical ...