Torah scholars from 1000-1500, roughly.

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13
votes
1answer
207 views

Did any classic rabbinic sources discuss static electricity?

Not much more to add here, I've just always wondered if static electricity was discussed in any Chazzal or Rishonim. Someone from those times must've gotten a good zap and I'm wondering what they had ...
12
votes
1answer
497 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 ...
12
votes
3answers
295 views

How was the Shaalos Utshuvos Min Hashamayim allowed to do what he did?

The Shut Min Hashamayim was written by a Rishon in the time of Tosfos. He used to ask questions from Shamayim (Heaven) in a Sheilas Chalom (Dream Question) and write the answers down. Many of those ...
10
votes
2answers
261 views

Did the Rosh (Rabbeinu Asher) describe the culture clash moving from medieval Germany to Spain? [closed]

Rabbi Asher (the "Rosh") moved from medieval Germany to Spain. I know he describes some different halachic practices that were done in Spain (e.g. linen tzitzis); but does he describe the difference ...
9
votes
2answers
137 views

Who was the קדוש מרדוש?

Today, in a shiur, I heard someone quote an opinion of the "קדוש מרדוש" (pronounced "Kadosh Meradoosh", I think). The Bet Yosef in E"HE 35 seems to quote the מרדכי who quotes him, so apparently he's a ...
9
votes
2answers
476 views

The size/shape of biblical Israel

Based on this Tosafot in Bava Metzia 28a (D"H Chamisha Asar Yom), Eretz Israel is a square (400 sq. Parsah), and the distance between Jerusalem and the Jordan river is 1/39th the distance between ...
8
votes
5answers
368 views

Do any Rishonim discuss how to approach Rashi's commentary on gemara?

I heard a quote once how carefully a person needs to analyze every drop of ink in Rashi, but I don't remember who said it. Does any Rishon (medieval scholar) ever discuss their approach to Rashi's ...
8
votes
2answers
172 views

Why is 'Rabbenu Tam' called Rabbenu Tam?

Rabbenu Tam's name was יעקב בן מאיר. Why then is he known as Rabbenu Tam?
8
votes
1answer
54 views

Is there a relationship between the Sma“g and the Sma”k?

The works Sefer Mitzvos Gadol and Sefer Mitzvos Katan have very similar names, but I never assumed the connection went far beyond that. Then, I saw a Beis Yosef (Yoreh Deah 194) which, in explanation ...
8
votes
1answer
105 views

What was the ריב"א thinking?

In ריקאנטי number 166 (brought down here, #4), he brings a story about the ריב"א: ושמעתי כי ריב"א חלה חוליו שמת בו וחל יוה"כ באותם הימים וא"ל הרופאים אם לא תאכלו ודאי תמות ואם תאכל שמא לא תחיה ...
8
votes
1answer
118 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 ...
7
votes
1answer
421 views

Sources in Rishonim on the Authenticity of the Zohar

Are there any early contemporary discussions from the time of the revelation of the Zohar among recognized Rishonim about its authenticity? I mention "among recognized Rishonim" because I am aware ...
7
votes
2answers
374 views

Preparing to learn daf yomi Yerushalmi

I am planning to start learning daf yomi Yerushalmi. I have never learned Yerushalmi before Are there websites the provide the text and audio explanation of the daf akin to those that exist for ...
7
votes
3answers
371 views

What was the value of the Rishonim's philosophical inquiries about God and the world?

Many Rishonim used the philosophy of their time or previous times to 'prove' God's existence and/or learn about the nature of the world. 1- Why did they do this? (Is there a mitzvah to use ...
7
votes
1answer
308 views

When will the period of Acharonim end?

What will mark the end of the period of Acharonim? What in general demarcates rabbinical eras? Are these halachic rules or conventions?
6
votes
4answers
298 views

How do Rishonim argue on Drashos Chazal?

There is a known rule that Rishonim cannot argue on the Gemara when it comes to "Halachic" drashos. For example, a Rishon will never give a different answer to a question which the Gemara already ...
6
votes
1answer
178 views

History of the two versions of the Ritva

I recall from my time in Yeshiva that the version of the Chiddushei HaRitva in use in the 19th century was clearly not the original (as proved from quotations in the Shita Mikubetzes), and that the ...
6
votes
1answer
326 views

Did the Sefer Torah written by the Maharam of Rottenberg survive the Holocaust?

There is a famous story of the Maharam copying a Sefer Torah written by Moshe Rabbeinu. Before passing, he threw it in the river by the castle in which he was arrested. This Sefer Torah reached ...
6
votes
1answer
78 views

Identification of Rishon

Tosafos Rebbeinu Peretz (in Pesachim 38a) refers to הר"ר דיילקרויישא מאורליינש. Does anyone know who this is, or at least how his name is pronounced? (It looks like it could be "R' Delacroix of ...
6
votes
1answer
77 views

When the רא״ש refers to “הגאון”, who is he referring to?

A friend posted on Facebook the following question, and I couldn't solve it based on any context, so I thought I'd bring it here. When the רא״ש refers to "הגאון", who is he referring to? Is there ...
6
votes
2answers
128 views

Brevity of the Rishonim

I have heard about Rashi that he measured his words very meticulously and that consequently every word he chose to write in his commentary is important for understanding his view. There are even ...
6
votes
1answer
179 views

Do any Geonim or Rishonim adopt/incorporate teachings from Philo?

Do any early commentators from the geonim or rishonim periods cite any teachings from Philo Judeas by name?
5
votes
1answer
235 views

Did the Terumas haDeshen write a challah recipe?

Reading this article about challah-making, I noticed the following: Using the starter, I tried the Rich Sourdough Barches recipe from Inside the Jewish Bakery, which the authors say is adapted ...
5
votes
2answers
395 views

When was the Meiri discovered?

According to Wikipedia, the Meiri was rediscovered in modern times. I assume that means in the 20th century or so. However, Hebrewbooks has a copy of the Meiri from 1795. I don't know if that was the ...
5
votes
2answers
169 views

Ibn Ezra/Rashbam Biography

Does any one know of any good biographies of Rashbam and/or Ibn Ezra?
5
votes
0answers
45 views

How and why did R. Akiva Eiger try to emulate the Rashba?

I'm attending a bar mitzva celebration recently, and the father of the boy gives a short speech. During his speech he mentions in passing that Rabbi Akiva Eiger (1761–1837, modern-day Austria ...
5
votes
0answers
58 views

Which Rishonim viewed maaseh bereishit as an allegory?

I have often heard that many rishonim were comfortable with the idea that at least the first week of creation could be read allegorically, not literally. What are the specific sources that support ...
5
votes
0answers
68 views

“Secular” studies in the Rhineland academies of the 11th-13th centuries

This is perhaps a fairly specific question, and I don't know if it belongs here or on the History stack exchange, but I would like to know more about the Rhineland academies that were headed by people ...
5
votes
5answers
173 views

Which (if any) Rishonim ascribe to a haskafah of hashgacha pratis over everything?

In contemporary times, HaShem's hashgacha over everything is a common hashkafah, at least in the Litvish/Chassidic communities (see Baal Shem Tov, Aruch HaShulchan, Rav Dessler 'Strive for Truth', ...
4
votes
1answer
383 views

Did R' Moshe de Leon write the Zohar

Although "traditionally" ascribed to Rabbi Shimon bar Yochai zt"l, the Zohar has been beset with controversy about its authorship since it was discovered and published by R' Moshe de Leon. Notably ...
4
votes
1answer
50 views

Identity of “the Greek rabbi” in the Raavad's gloss (Tum'at Met 17:3)

In the Raavad's gloss on Hilkhot Tum'at Met 17:3, he mentions a scholar who (like the Rambam) also erred in his definition of בטח - as found in the Mishna, Ohalot 12:3. Where the Rambam thinks that a ...
4
votes
1answer
122 views

Kalam Cosmological Argument

Wikipedia writes: The Kalām cosmological argument is a variation of the cosmological argument that argues for the existence of a first cause for the universe, and the existence of a god. Its ...
4
votes
1answer
87 views

Rishonim who wrote on Kodshim

Seder Kodshim is composed of largely currently non-applicable laws, relating to sacrifices and the running of the Temple. The Rambam wrote on Kodshim. So did Rashi and the Ba'alei Tosefos. To the ...
4
votes
2answers
65 views

Divine Providence and Mishpatim 21:13

The Rambam, and many other Rishonim believed that divine providence extends to people in accordance with their righteousness. It follows that they believed that many times, G-d lets things happen ...
4
votes
1answer
123 views

God Desires the Heart

The Gemara (Sanhedrin 106b) says that "God desires the heart". A responsum attributed to Maimonides interprets this to mean "knowledge of God, morals and wisdom" (letter to Hasdai Ha-Levi; Maimonides ...
4
votes
0answers
33 views

Are there any running commentaries on grace after meals?

I would like to know if there are any authors from the period of the rishonim or earlier who have compiled a running commentary on birkat hamazon.
4
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0answers
40 views

Looking for material on how to 'use' Rashi in the gemara

Where can I find material like 'klalei Rashi'? I'm looking for things such as what Rashi means when he uses certain words and things like that.
4
votes
0answers
64 views

What does the Ritva hold about טלי קידושיך מעל גבי קרקע?

The case of "טלי גיטיך מעל גבי קרקע" (where the husband told his wife to pick up her גט [divorce document], rather than handing it to her directly) is an invalid divorce (רבא, Gittin 24a). The ...
4
votes
0answers
107 views

Why is there seemingly such a disconnect between the Geonim and the Rishonim?

It seems that there was a disconnect or upheaval of some kind between the times of the Geonim and the times of the Rishonim and the hakhamim that these two eras contained. Shittoth regarding tefila, ...
3
votes
5answers
381 views

Sifrei Mussar/Machshava/Avodah from the Rishonim

I'm looking for a list of some of the Seforim written by Rishonim that are in the category of either Mussar, Machshava, or Avodah (or anything else that fit into these categories.) For this question ...
3
votes
5answers
272 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
votes
1answer
75 views

Where can I find an online copy of ספר החכמה?

In Gittin 10b, many Rishonim (Mordechai [who appears to have been a student of his] and a few more) reference one רבינו יקיר (aka אפרים, as in "הבן יקיר לי אפרים"), in a work called ספר החכמה. I can't ...
3
votes
1answer
41 views

Who is Ranbi in the Shitta Mekubetzet?

Who is the רנב"י quoted by the Shitta Mekubetzet to Nedaarim (8a s.v. אמר רב גידל)? Could it be R. Nissim ben Yaakov Gaon?
3
votes
3answers
97 views

Intrinsic Value of Mitzvot

The question is the following: do mitzvot have intrinsic value, or only extrinsic value. A ramification of this is the following scenario: A person has two ways of performing an act; one of them would ...
3
votes
2answers
190 views

Is the Ramchal's sefer Derech Hashem based on any particular Rishon?

Many books written by (early) Achronim are based on a particular shittah usually sourced in one or more of the Rishonim. This can be true both with regards to actual halachos or lists of mitzvos and ...
3
votes
1answer
144 views

Seeking the book of Rav Moshe Taku

I read in a post on mi yodeya here that this Chacham, Rav Moshe Ben Chasday Mitaku wrote that G-d has a body. I am sure that the text is very interesting and I am curious to understand what he means. ...
3
votes
2answers
78 views

Rambam's Hilchos HaYerushalmi

I am looking for Rambam's Hilchos HaYerushalmi (ed. Lieberman) (or a some other edition if it exists). Is it available for free online?
3
votes
3answers
262 views

Are there any early mentions of the concept of “l'iluy nishmas”?

On his Rationalist Judaism blog, R' Natan Slifkin posed this question: I am very interested to know if there are any early mentions of the phrase "l'iluy nishmas" or the concept thereof. (I am not ...
3
votes
1answer
131 views

Hashgachah pratis according to Rambam/n

Rambam in Moreh Nevuchim 3:18 and Ramban in his commentary to Iyov (do not remember exactly where) as well as on Parashas Vayeiroh (Bereishis 18:19) say that for the majority of humanity, including ...
3
votes
0answers
87 views

Pursuing pluralist purpura

According to most rishonim (and the simplest read of the extant Talmudic texts) the tekhelet string is dyed in its entirety. However, the Rambam maintains that only half the string is dyed such that, ...