Questions tagged [am-yisrael-jewish-nation]

Questions pertaining to the Jewish nation or 'Am Yisrael' - 'עם ישראל' in Hebrew

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17 votes
3 answers
418 views

Where are the lost tribes?

Are they spread all round the nations? If so, how will they still be Jewish, surely they will have assimilated so many generations later? Or are they spread within the Jewish nation? I learnt in the ...
10 votes
4 answers
275 views

The Necessity of 12 Tribes

Why was it necessary for there to be 12 tribes, with different portions of Israel given to each? The Midrash even states that when the sea split, there were 12 separate paths for each tribe (Pirkei d'...
1 vote
1 answer
136 views

Were there rabbis who supported the patrilineal descent?

Many are accustomed to the fact that in rabbinic Judaism a Jew is one who is born of a Jewish woman. But were there opposite opinions? Poskim of post-Talmudic time are of also interest.
2 votes
2 answers
316 views

Were the prophets and holy people who lived before Judah (Yehudah) also Jews?

The word "Jew" originates from the name of Jacob's son, Judah. The term "Jew" was introduced many generations and decades after him. I wonder whether Adam, Noah, Lot, Abraham and ...
0 votes
1 answer
151 views

Did Judaism have a more ancient name before it became Judaism?

Judaism comes from Judah. Specifically, it comes from the Kingdom of Judah. The names we get from Torah are typically for the people and not for the faith. We were called Hebrews and then we were ...
48 votes
8 answers
6k views

Can a Jew lose their Jewish Status?

Can a Jew lose their status as being a Jew by performing any action (example: performing idolatry, disavowing core beliefs, converting to another religion, etc)? Or once a person is a Jew then they ...
0 votes
1 answer
726 views

Does Reform Judaism recognize children of Jewish father as Jews?

Does Reform Judaism recognize children of Jewish father as Jews (under conditions that father is Jewish both from mothers and fathers side). If so, that person does not have to go through conversion ...
2 votes
1 answer
75 views

Where does "Yeshurun" come from?

Am Yisrael has a number of names in Tanach. "Yaakov" (such as "Beit Yaakov") and "Yisrael" ("Bnei Yisrael") come from the names of Yaakov Avinu. "Yehudim&...
14 votes
2 answers
876 views

Why do we say that Hashem chose us if He offered to the Torah to all the other nations first?

According to Midrash Sifri (Deuteronomy 343), Hashem first went around to all the nations and offered them the Torah before offering it to Bnei Yisroel. So why do we say in Kiddush and Birchas ...
5 votes
1 answer
1k views

Toynbee's description of Jews as a "fossil" -- what was the Orthodox response?

In the 1950s historian Arnold Toynbee made the argument that Jews and Judaism did not fit into any definition of nation, race, or religion. We were not a nation because we lived for centuries without ...
7 votes
3 answers
775 views

Theological Justification for Discrimination against Sephardim?

There have been numerous cases of Ashkenazi Haredi schools in Israel discriminating against Sephardim. I am personally very disturbed by what I consider to be a great chillul Hashem, and I find such ...
2 votes
2 answers
299 views

Are Conservative, Reform and those "off the derech" part of 'amcha'?

There are several commandments that contain the phrase "b'amecha" (or a variation thereof). The gemarah darshans "b'oseh ma'aseh amcha" that those commandments only apply to a Jew ...
11 votes
4 answers
777 views

Difference between Jewish and Zionist?

I was in Israel last summer (Rehovot) visiting a close friend and his wife. In one of our very long conversations with them she said, "I would say I am not Jewish, but I am a Zionist". (...
0 votes
0 answers
65 views

Does a Jew who doesn't care about other Jews' problems become a gentile [duplicate]

Under Jewish law, does a Jew who turns his back on other Jews change in his status in any way? Is he, under any law or any religious context, treated like a non-Jew for any practical intents?
13 votes
3 answers
2k views

Why Do Converts Change Their Names?

Rabbi Avigdor Miller said that it used to be that gerim (converts) and baalei teshuvah (repentants) who had been given non-Jewish names did not change their names when they became part of the Jewish ...
4 votes
1 answer
183 views

Yeshivas that relocated

BS"D Which yeshivot relocated throughout the 20th century due to war, pogroms, etc.? For example, I know that The Mir Yeshiva moved to Shanghai in 1941. Are there any other similar yeshivot? Do ...
-3 votes
3 answers
272 views

Other species in deep space and the Uniqueness of Klal Yisrael

The sheer vastness of space almost mathematically guarantees that there are other species or advanced civilizations in other galaxies or solar systems. How do we reconcile this with the uniqueness of ...
3 votes
5 answers
610 views

Were Adam and Eve Jewish?

Were Adam and Eve Jewish? Why this question, you ask? Well, they kept Shabbat (after all, Adam already had a relationship with Hashem by virtue that he named all the animals, which would have taken ...
10 votes
3 answers
937 views

Is believing that God, Israel, and Torah are one Avodah Zarah?

The Zohar said that God, Israel, and Torah are one. I thought Judaism is strictly monotheistic. When Jesus said, "I and the father is one", he was being a heretic. So how come the Zohar includes even ...
2 votes
0 answers
93 views

Do we have a responsibility to find out whether a person is Jewish?

The Talmud says: כל ישראל ערבים זה בזה – All Jews are responsible for one another. [Shevuot 39a, Sanh. 27b] In order to help other Jews, we must first find out where they are. It is likely that the ...
-1 votes
1 answer
202 views

Which chag also celebrates or renews a brit or similar?

What do our rabbis of blessed memory say about Shavuos, or any chag that celebrates the purposes of that chag as well as at the same time celebrates or renews a previous brit or similar? From shul I ...
2 votes
1 answer
81 views

Why mention healing everyone after the restroom and Jews in the amida?

After we use the restroom, we recite a benediction praising God for our ability to do so. The benediction ends by referring to him as the one "who heals all flesh", viz all people. In the amida ...
2 votes
2 answers
134 views

Did the Jewish people choose G-d, or did G-d choose the Jewish people? Or both?

Did the Jewish people choose G-d, or did G-d choose the Jewish people? Or both?
2 votes
2 answers
241 views

Why was King David Punished for Sending Others to Conduct a Census?

If there is no agency for sin, why was King David punished for sending people out to conduct a (forbidden) census? (Explanation of agency: The Talmud says "ein sheliach l'dvar averia," which means, ...
4 votes
5 answers
3k views

Why are we called 'Jews'? [duplicate]

The term established itself in one way or the other in many different languages as early as the dark age. The question: why is that? I thought it to be somewhat of a misnomer. After all, Yaakov had ...
4 votes
0 answers
73 views

Is "וְרַב יַעֲבֹד צָעִיר" ever fulfilled?

When Yaakov and Eisav are born we are told of their eternal battle. Bereishit (25:23): וַיֹּאמֶר יְהוָה לָהּ, שְׁנֵי גֹיִים בְּבִטְנֵךְ, וּשְׁנֵי לְאֻמִּים, מִמֵּעַיִךְ יִפָּרֵדוּ; וּלְאֹם ...
-8 votes
1 answer
99 views

Invalidating Jews as the Suffering Servant [closed]

I saw this post in which a rabbi explains why Is. 53 cannot be talking about Jesus. The essential line is This tells us that someone who is widely respected BEFORE the arm of the Lord is revealed – ...
6 votes
1 answer
103 views

Was the fact that Moshe broke the Tablets Halachicly stealing from the Jewish people?

Famously when Moshe came down from Sinai the first time and saw the Jews sinning he cast down the tablets of the law given to him by God. My question works on the basic assumption that these tablets ...
3 votes
3 answers
126 views

What halachos flow from there being a Jewish nation and not just a religion?

Rabbi Mordechai Becher at Aish.com says that we are a nation united by our common heritage. So two Jews could see themselves as members of a nation. A more limited definition of the relationship ...
12 votes
3 answers
615 views

Can a convert to Judaism have a Jewish mother?

The Mishna, Bikkurim 1:4, speaks of converts to Judaism who bring their first fruits to the temple, or who pray within a synagogue: אלו מביאין ולא קורין הגר מביא ואינו קורא שאינו יכול לומר אשר נשבע ...
7 votes
3 answers
312 views

Did Israelites who stayed in Egypt become halachically Jewish?

Some sources indicate that not all of the Israelites left Egypt during the Exodus. On the other hand, the initial "conversion" of the Israelites to Judaism occurred at Matan Torah at Mt. Sinai during ...
6 votes
0 answers
285 views

Jewish Status of the Patriarch's Wives?

Judaism is clear on the matrilineal descent. Yet it's not clear to me that the Matriarchs after Sarah were "Jewish" - they were Abraham's relatives, they were not Canaanites as requested by Abraham, ...
-1 votes
1 answer
79 views

What official position did Moses have acc. to Torah?

The Torah speaks of a couple of official public positions, that have extensive Halachic Nafka-Minahs, e.g. Kohen Gadol, Jewish king, a Judge, maybe Nessi Shevet. IIRC Moses wasn't officially any of ...
1 vote
1 answer
103 views

Why was a king necessary in the first place?

When Moshe led the Jewish people, there came a time where he spoke with Hashem and asked for him to relieve his burden. He needed help with the responsibility that had been placed upon him. This led ...
-3 votes
1 answer
97 views

Why do we use the term "Jew" or "Jewish" when referencing people in the Torah/Chumash passages?

Why do we use the term "Jew" or "Jewish" when referencing people in the Torah/Chumash passages? In the Torah (the Chumash), the "children of Israel" are called just that "בני ישראל" or Israelite. ...
22 votes
2 answers
4k views

"Am I Jewish​?"

How can one tell if one needs to convert in order to be Jewish or if one is already Jewish? Would one's or one's ancestors' conversion to another religion or their lack of knowledge about Judaism ...
1 vote
2 answers
3k views

Should a half Jewish man be discouraged from marrying a Jewess?

Is there any source in encouraging a man who identifies as Jewish but isn't so Halachically, to marry a Jewish woman and raise a Jewish family? For instance, a patrilineal Jew although he isn't ...
9 votes
0 answers
285 views

Half Jew half Gentile

I always thought it was a misconception to be "half-Jewish". Usually the speaker means one of their parents are Jewish, making them either fully Jewish or fully Gentile. However, I saw today that the ...
0 votes
2 answers
73 views

Egyptians guarding Israelites

Rabbi Zitron quotes that there are twentyfour different types of ways to protect the jews from escaping. (It may be a bit irritating seeing my questions always quoting from lectures from youtube. I ...
15 votes
3 answers
381 views

Can a yefas toar be Jewish?

I realize that when the torah discusses אשת יפת תואר it specifies כִּי-תֵצֵא לַמִּלְחָמָה, עַל-אֹיְבֶיךָ (Devarim 21:10). When you go out (of the land of Israel) to wage war on your enemies (...
2 votes
0 answers
180 views

How to check if a Ketubah is genuine

Recently I was discussing with a friend the uses of one's parents' ketubah in everyday life. Obviously one of the main uses of a ketubah is proving one's Jewish status in order to join a Jewish ...
1 vote
0 answers
100 views

Is there a Jewish race? [closed]

I've never been comfortable with the term "race" when applied to people, as people are all part of the "human race". But, according to thefreedictionary.com, the word "race&...
1 vote
1 answer
73 views

Why do some textbooks say that there are 10 tribes of Israel?

My current boring, older-than-me textbook says that there are 10 tribes. My much more often updated teacher say that there are 12. And my friend who reads encyclopedias for fun says 13.
7 votes
2 answers
177 views

Is it forbidden to count Jewish people without uttering any words?

Related: Am I allowed to count people? We are not allowed to count Jewish people. But one can count other objects to represent the people and one can also speak the words of a possuk where the ...
2 votes
2 answers
2k views

Matrilineal descent & Zera Israel

Would someone with Jewish heritage from a distant foremother on their maternal grandfather's side be considered Zera Yisrael? In other words, does the person fit the definition of Zera Yisrael since ...
2 votes
0 answers
45 views

How do we give meaning to the phrase "all Israel"?

The Sources frequently tell us that if "all Israel" did this or that, wonderful things would happen. For example, if all Israel observed just one Shabbat properly, the Messiah would come. [Ta’anit Y 1:...
8 votes
1 answer
260 views

Does one have to be Jewish to be a rabbi

In terms of what we call semicha today, does one have to be Jewish to receive or hold it? Is it simply an indicator of learning (like an academic degree) which could be reached by anyone? Knowing ...
-6 votes
2 answers
4k views

When did the switch to matrilineal descent occur?

Does anyone know when the switch the matrilineal descent took place? I've seen other information about the potential impetus, but when did it become so? Was there even a switch?
4 votes
2 answers
384 views

What nationality was Bilam?

In Numbers 22:5, the Torah is unclear as to where Pethor is. If it wants to tell us where Pethor is, then tell us, but one can only figure out where Pethor is if one knows of which people was Bilam. ...
1 vote
2 answers
424 views

Is there any Torah source for the phrase "עם ישראל חי"?

Is there any Torah source for the phrase famous words used in the song "עם ישראל חי"? I don't mean the concept of the perseverance of the Jewish nation etc.. I mean these exact words.