Linked Questions

46
votes
27answers
3k 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 (...
24
votes
5answers
2k views

Understanding the story of Rabba and Rav Zeira

The Gemarah (Megillah 7b)describes how Rabba and Rav Zeira celebrated Purim together. While intoxicated Rabba kills (slaughters) Rav Zeira. The next day he resurrects him. The next year Rabba invites ...
19
votes
2answers
2k views

Does Judaism have a concept of holy text literalism?

Apologies if this is an ignorant, foolish or offensive question. I am not Jewish, and am asking to satisfy my curiosity. Some time ago, on a political forum online, I was discussing religious ...
19
votes
3answers
2k views

Is belief in Midrashim optional?

The Ramban in Sefer Havikuach (page 32, the bottom of the first column ) asserts with regard to Midrash: מי שיאמין בו טוב. ומי שלא יאמין בו לא יזיק ‏ Whoever believes in it, good, he who ...
16
votes
7answers
1k views

How did the moon shrink?

The Bavli, Chulin 60:2, says (in my own loose translation): Rabbi Shim'on ben Pazi noted a contradiction: [B'reshis 1:16] says, "God made the two big luminaries" and "the big luminary… and ...
6
votes
5answers
645 views

Mordechai - Religious Leader or Political figure?

I'm looking to gather some more background, context, sources and opinions, regarding Mordechai's religiousness, or lack thereof. This was the topic of a recent comment thread on Was Darius Jewish?,...
10
votes
6answers
325 views

“עם לבן גרתי”? Really? “עם לבן ברתי” maybe

Rashi brings a gematria at the beginning of Parshas Vayishlach: גרתי בגימטריא תרי"ג, כלומר, עם לבן הרשע גרתי, ותרי"ג מצות שמרתי, ולא למדתי ממעשיו הרעים Now, if one takes this literally, it is ...
10
votes
3answers
2k views

What does the angel Gavriel represent?

In trying to come up with an answer to this question, I became aware that the angel Gavriel plays a common role in several aggados and midrashim. Not only in the midrash with Moshe and the burning ...
11
votes
2answers
825 views

Why 1,000 generations of ungiven Torah, not X years?

The Mainz Anonymous reads, in part (in my own translation): He created the Torah 974 generations before the world was created, then twenty-six generations [passed] from the creation of the world ...
5
votes
3answers
947 views

How tall was Adam?

I once read a post on Answering-Islam about the Height of Adam, and it said that the Islamic view of Adam was simple Muhammad copying the Jewish stories/belief's about Adam. As I don't know what ...
7
votes
3answers
302 views

When is it moral to line up and kill thousands of little girls? A question on the Torah's morality

I am bothered by an incident in the Torah that seems morally unacceptable. After the incident with Pinchas, the Torah records that Klal Yisroel were commanded to attack Midian to avenge their attempt ...
7
votes
2answers
528 views

Is Aggadah the same thing as Midrash?

(Inspired by a comment on this question.) What characteristics define Aggadah and Midrash, and how are they related? If the distinction is merely that Aggadah is a more general category of "legend" ...
2
votes
3answers
1k views

The four elements - fire, wind, water and earth

How do we reconcile the torah view of four foundations fire, wind, water, and earth with modern science which demonstrates wind, water, and earth are really not much different. for example, water can ...
4
votes
3answers
298 views

The Manna and non kosher taste

The Gemarah in Yoma 75a explains that the manna imparted all flavors except five flavors. Based on this idea, can one have in mind the taste of pork while eating the manna, or do we say that anything ...
2
votes
2answers
375 views

How does the midrash know that the Jews had to be awakened for the giving of the Torah?

Considering the pretty obvious excitement, written in the Torah itself, that B'nai Yisra'el had about receiving the Torah, it seems contradictory that they would be sleeping on the day the Torah was ...

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