Questions tagged [genealogy]

The study of families and the tracing of their lineages and history.

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19
votes
9answers
18k views

Are there any Jewish people alive today who can identify themselves as coming from a particular tribe?

The Christian "New Testament" claims Paul (Saul) was of the tribe of Benjamin. Since Roman times have there been any people who can validly claim they were from a particular tribe? At least at that ...
15
votes
2answers
337 views

How many sons of Benjamin were there?

Is there any reason why there is such variance in these lists? In Genesis (46:21) lists ten sons. And the sons of Benjamin were Belah, and Becher, and Ashbel, Gera, and Naaman, Ehi, and Rosh, ...
13
votes
3answers
385 views

When/where did the practice of “recycling” names begin?

Perhaps this had never bothered anyone in the past, but for someone like myself who delves into genealogy, the fact that there are family naming patterns is a great boon. Of course, we can go only so ...
13
votes
2answers
2k views

What is a “Sephardic Jew”?

My name is Paul Avila (yea, I know, doesn't sound Jewish at all) I was born in the Azores Portugal and moved to the United States when I was 2. People always ask me if I am Persian. Never ...
12
votes
1answer
17k views

Does a finding of Jewish blood in a DNA test make one Jewish?

I had a DNA test done and the results say that my DNA is group with Sephardic Jews. My last name is Steen and I have always heard that we were of Dutch ancestry and I do genealogy and have not found ...
12
votes
3answers
330 views

Accepting parents' minhagim

Since the Conservative movement tends to take most of its minhagim from the German tradition due to its German roots, most Conservative Jews in America tend to practice the German customs (such as ...
11
votes
2answers
177 views

Why is Moshe's family unnamed at first?

In the second chapter of Shemos, we're introduced to a man who marries a woman, and they have a son who has a sister. After ten verses of narrative about this family, we're finally told the son's ...
11
votes
2answers
846 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 ...
11
votes
1answer
228 views

Maharshal's position about the status of Kohanim today

R Shlomo Luria, in Yam Shel Shelomo Bava Kamma 5:35, discusses the status of property nowadays declared by its owner cherem for Kohanim. He takes a strong position against the validity of modern ...
10
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4answers
374 views

Did Levi see Moshe and Aaron?

Exodus 6:16 states that Levi lived for 137 years. The Targum Yonatan, (ibid) says: ואלין שמהת בנוי דלוי לייחוסיהון גרשון קהת ומררי ושני חיוי דלוי מאה ותלתין ושבע שנין חייא עד דחמא ית משה וית אהרון ...
10
votes
1answer
1k views

What tribe did someone belong to if they didn't have a Jewish father?

I'm asking about the cases of 1) converts with no Jewish lineage, or 2) children born to Jewish mothers and Gentile fathers. How is tribal identification for such a person and his descendants ...
9
votes
2answers
1k views

What historical figures have been identified as 'Amalek?

Adolf Hitler is often said to have been from 'Amalek. I've even heard it said not only figuratively but literally (how one could know that is a mystery to me). What other historical figures are ...
9
votes
1answer
334 views

Extent of matrilineal descent [duplicate]

Am I a Jew if my mother's mother's mother's mother's mother was a Jew? Even if along the line one of my foremothers converted to another faith? I'd just like a better understanding of matrilineal ...
8
votes
0answers
146 views

Could there be a Halachik issue with using a DNA kit such as 23andMe?

Besides learning fun facts about one's DNA and ancestry, there's a lot of good that can come out of using one. For example: people of Ashkenazi Jewish descent can learn if they're predisposed to BRCA1 ...
7
votes
4answers
1k views

Illegitimacy in 18th-19th century Europe

I have been capturing genealogical information (Birth, Marriage, Death, Tombstones) in the Spis Region of Slovakia, which includes Jews who migrated from Galicia, parts of Hungary, or were living in ...
7
votes
2answers
621 views

which kings must Moshiach descend from?

Moshiach must definitionally descend from David, and according to this answer he must also descend from Shlomo. However, Moshiach cannot descend from Yehoaichin because of Yirmiyahu's curse. Are ...
7
votes
3answers
825 views

Is there any precedent to read the first 11 chapters of Genesis as metaphorical?

I believe this will be related to a similar question about a statement by Rabbi Sacks. Rabbi Jeremy Wieder said in a lecture titled Non Literal Interpretation of Scripture in Jewish Tradition (and ...
7
votes
1answer
308 views

Amon and Moav today

The Halacha is that a Jewish woman may not marry a convert of Amon and Moav. Is there any way to know who is a descendant of Amon and Moav today?
7
votes
2answers
85 views

Why so much genealogical detail in Bereshit?

I'm looking for reasons (Pshat, but not only) in giving so much detail in Bereshit regarding the sons of Adam, Kain, and so on. Some of the characters born and die, and have no clear role, at least in ...
7
votes
2answers
938 views

What was so good about Naamah the Ammonite?

In Bava Kamma 38b we are told that one reason God spared Lot was because of the two good birds who would issue from his daughters. Rus from Moav and Naamah from Ammon. Rus is well known, the only ...
6
votes
2answers
4k views

Can you explain the concept of “Yichus”?

Where does the concept of yichus (meaning that the person descends from something akin to "good stock") come from? How is it judged? Note: I am not asking about the halachic concept that a man must ...
6
votes
1answer
208 views

Children of the Exodus (families, names, ages)

I hope my question will not be considered too broad. I am writing young adult fiction taking place during the Exodus (from just before the 10th plague until just after the giving of the second set of ...
6
votes
2answers
674 views

Can any kohanim trace all the way back to Aaron?

Can any kohanim alive today trace their lineage all the way back to the High Priest Aaron? If not, who can go the farthest?
6
votes
1answer
93 views

Who was the son of Rabi Meir's father-in-law?

The gemara in Chulin 6b mentions Rabi Yehoshua ben Zeruz, the son of the father-in-law of Rabi Meir as having given testimony about a certain practice of Rabi Meir. The way the relationship is ...
6
votes
1answer
6k views

Who are the descendants of King David today?

Since the Messiah should come from the line of David, I think it is necessary to know the family line of a person who claims to be the Messiah. Do we still have the descendants of King David today? ...
6
votes
1answer
233 views

Was the Tzemach Tzedek related to the Metzudos Tziyon/Dovid? [closed]

The Tzemach Tzedek (of Lubavitch)'s father's name was Shalom Shachna Altshuler. Is he related to the Metzodos Tziyon?
6
votes
1answer
612 views

Children of Converts and Specific halachos

The Pri Megadim in OC Siman 156 Ashel Avraham Sif-Katan 2 writes that a child that was conceived in kedusha (sanctity) and born in kedusha to a mother and father that had both converted (i.e. these 2 ...
6
votes
0answers
67 views

The application of the dispute about the borders of Babylon

The Talmud (Kiddushin 71b) discusses the differences in the lineage of people from different places in the vicinity of Bavel (Babylon) by analogy of health. Bavel is healthy (has a good lineage), ...
6
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0answers
165 views

Does a Kohen have to be concerned about the surname of a potential mate?

In this question various surnames are explored that are strongly associated with being a Kohein. Some of them are rather unambiguously chosen simply because the chooser wanted to indicate their status....
5
votes
3answers
223 views

Reuben, Simeon, Levi…But what about the other tribes?

Exodus 6:14 - 26 lists the genealogy of the tribes of Reuben, Simeon and Levi. However, after listing the family tree of Levi, the Torah does not continue listing the other tribes - Judah, Joseph, etc....
5
votes
3answers
372 views

Is David The eighth son or the seventh son?

Is David the eighth son or the seventh son? 1samuel 17 v12-14 indicates the youngest of eight. 1 chronicles 2v13-15 indicates the seventh of Jesse.
5
votes
2answers
97 views

Why are the descendants of Ruben and Shimon listed in Va-eira?

In Va-eira when it mentions Moshe and Aaron's lineage (Shemot 6:14) it also lists generational details about Ruben and Shimon. Why are Ruben's and Shimon's lineages listed here?
5
votes
2answers
932 views

Did Noah have grandchildren before the flood?

Did Noah have any grandchildren before the flood? Genesis 10:1 et seq. discuss Noah's grandchildren born after the flood, but doesn't say they were his first grandchildren. If he did have any ...
5
votes
1answer
1k views

Can the descendants of a mamzer ever become full Jews?

Is there any way for the descendants of a mamzer to ever become Jews with full rights, or are they stuck with mamzerus forever? For example, if a man who is a mamzer marries a non-Jew, and then their ...
5
votes
2answers
242 views

Yocheved is the daughter of who?

So Yocheved, as it is known, is the wife of Amram,mother of Moshe Rabbeinu, Aharon HaCohen, and Miriam the prophetess, peace be on them. And Yocheved, like Amram, is from the Tribe of Levi. Amram is ...
5
votes
2answers
640 views

What became of Moshe's sons and their descendants?

After Yisro brings Tzipora and Moshe's sons back to him at Exodus 18:2-5, they are not mentioned by name again in the Torah. Divrei Hayamim (Chronicles I 23:14 et seq.) lists their male descendants ...
5
votes
2answers
868 views

Was the Lubavitcher Rebbe a descendant of Dovid HaMelech?

Some Chabad chassidim believe the late Lubavitcher Rebbe, Rabbi Menachem Mendel Schneerson, was and is the Moshiach. (This is a subject that has been addressed already on this SE.) My question is, a ...
5
votes
0answers
209 views

What tribe are the Bene Israel in India descended from?

What tribe(s) are the Bene Israel of India descended from?
4
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2answers
1k views

Why are children from a gentile wife not considered Jewish with a Jewish father?

Why are children who have a Jewish Father and gentile mother not considered Jewish?
4
votes
2answers
185 views

Are Esau/Edom and Yishmael included among the 70 nations?

We all know that all the people on the earth came actually of 70 nations (even though lots of them became mixed recently). And we all know that every one of these nations has an angel to guard it. ...
4
votes
1answer
171 views

How is a Gentile's membership in a Table of Nations Gentile nation determined?

In Genesis 10 (The Table of Nations), the Gentile nations that came from the descendants of Noah are enumerated "after their generations, in their nations". How is a Gentile's membership in a Gentile ...
4
votes
1answer
160 views

How does Rashi knows that Shimshai safra is Hamman's son?

In Ezra, 4:8, a person called Shimshai is mentioned: רְחוּם בְּעֵל-טְעֵם, וְשִׁמְשַׁי סָפְרָא, כְּתַבוּ אִגְּרָה חֲדָה, עַל-יְרוּשְׁלֶם--לְאַרְתַּחְשַׁשְׂתְּא מַלְכָּא, כְּנֵמָא. translation: ...
4
votes
1answer
481 views

Mormons claim to be from the tribes of Israel (revealed via a “Patriarchal Blessing”), is this offensive to the Jewish community?

It has come to my attention that members of the the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS), or more commonly known as Mormons, receive what is called a patriarchal blessing. This "...
4
votes
0answers
80 views

Who is Rav Tzvi HaLevi?

Below is a ketuba for a bride name Chaya bat Yehuda, and Yehuda's father is shown as Rav Tzvi HaLevy. I know for a fact from people who knew him and from multiple original source documents including ...
4
votes
1answer
120 views

Messiah's tribal pedigree, and the Diaspora

How will the Messiah prove he is from the tribe of Judah if the diaspora has obliterated tribal delineation?
3
votes
3answers
173 views

Was Hagar from Shem, Cham, or Yefes?

Was Hagar from Shem, Cham, or Yefes? If we say she was from Cham, then how can this be understood in light of Avraham's going out of his way to make sure his descendants don't marry into the ...
3
votes
1answer
196 views

Who were Esav's wives?

Bereishit (Genesis) chapter 26 and Genesis 36 state different names for the wives of Esav (Esau). What are the different explanations to this problem? (Biblical Criticism explains this as two ...
3
votes
2answers
212 views

Kohanim and paternal lines

Do you know the explanation why in modern Kohanim there is a paternal line encompassing about 50% of the Kohanim and then many lines encompassing the other 50% 1. Is it possible for a Kohen to be ...
3
votes
2answers
858 views

Surrogate mother

If a fetus has been formed in a mother and then deposited in a surrogate mother, who is considered the mother? In other words, does the mother's 'seed' make her the mother? The story of Yosef and ...
3
votes
1answer
102 views

Was Yael Jewish?

In Shoftim chapters 4 and 5 we learn of a woman named יָעֵל אֵשֶּׁת חֶבֶר הַקֵּינִי, Yael the wife of Chever the Kenite, who kills Sisra. In the song of Devorah, the Midrash (Ruth Rabba 1:8) and ...