Questions tagged [geography]

Questions about places with Jewish connections.

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Implications of Samoa skipping a Friday

This week, the island of Samoa is switching time zones, causing it to skip from Thursday directly to Saturday. Out of simple curiosity, what implications might this have on any Jews on the island? ...
ESultanik's user avatar
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29 votes
2 answers
662 views

How do we determine "population statistics" for population-dependent Halachot?

There appear to be several halachot that are based on "a majority of Israel". For example: Mishnah Berachot 54a: הרואה מקום שנעשו בו נסים לישראל אומר ברוך שעשה נסים לאבותינו במקום הזה IF ...
Alex's user avatar
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21 votes
5 answers
3k views

How to reconcile Biblical Flood story vs science and history?

Genesis spends a good deal of time -- Chapters 6 through 11 -- discussing the "mabul mayim", a flood that killed all humanity outside the ark. Here is what the Torah's text says about the universality ...
Gregory Magarshak's user avatar
21 votes
3 answers
563 views

Why don't islands read the m'gila two days?

Bavli, M'gila 5 amud 2, cites a doubt as to when the m'gila is read in T'verya: on the fourteenth of Adar, as in most places, or on the fifteenth, as in a city walled since the time of Y'hoshua. The ...
msh210's user avatar
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17 votes
2 answers
315 views

Hagalah in Denver?

In high-altitude cities, water boils at a lower temperature than the standard 212 degrees Farenheit. For example, in Denver the boiling point is about 203 degrees. Can one kasher utensils with hagalah ...
Dave's user avatar
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16 votes
5 answers
1k views

Why wasn't the Torah given in Israel?

One might naturally expect that the Jewish people would enter the land and then receive the Torah there. It seems logical to me that the Torah should come from a holy place characterized by the ...
Premundane's user avatar
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15 votes
4 answers
1k views

Commencing Shabbos: Shkiya behind a mountain

It is common practice nowadays for Shuls to publish the zmanim (times) to begin Shabbos (the Sabbath) and other activities. These times, it would seem, are based upon standard calculations of sunrise ...
Yirmeyahu's user avatar
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15 votes
2 answers
283 views

Ritual locations during the times of the Mishkan

There are certain, rituals such as the sending away of the scapegoat on Yom Kippur or the drawing of water on Sukkot which are described in Mishna as relating geographically to the location of the ...
rikitikitembo's user avatar
14 votes
2 answers
2k views

May one walk under the Arch of Titus?

I have heard that it is prohibited (or at least that the custom is not) to walk under the Arch of Titus in Rome. Is this accurate? If so, what is the source? Would it make a difference if a large ...
Seth J's user avatar
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14 votes
2 answers
746 views

When does a day start/end in the far North/South?

As I understand it, a day in the Jewish calendar is from sunset to sunset. How is this handled if you are living so far north or south that you have long periods of daylight or darkness?
Evan's user avatar
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14 votes
2 answers
231 views

Does Shmita apply in Jordan?

Since the East bank of the Jordan River was given to shevet Reuven as an inheritance, was Shmita observed there as well? If so, does shmita still apply there?
alice fine's user avatar
13 votes
5 answers
524 views

Where was Adam created?

The Torah tells us G-d brought Adam into Gan Eden after his creation from earth (Bereishis 2:15). If this is the case where was Adam created?
shmuel's user avatar
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13 votes
4 answers
444 views

Were the people of Chelm really unintelligent? [closed]

There are many stories that are told over about the people who lived in Chelm. They all have the theme of: the people in Chelm were fairly unintelligent. Where did this come from? Is it true? It ...
N123's user avatar
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13 votes
2 answers
547 views

ribis and foreign currency conversion

I am afraid that I have only recently started to study this kind of thing and I completely unlearned compared to most of the contributors here, so I apologize if my question is somewhat ...
circular-ruin's user avatar
13 votes
1 answer
2k views

Four Holy Cities

I have often seen reference to the Four Holy Cities: Jerusalem, Hebron, Safed and Tiberias. What is the earliest source to reference this? Why these four cities? Has there ever been a different count? ...
Double AA's user avatar
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12 votes
2 answers
771 views

Is Gan Eden a physical place?

Is Gan Eden mentioned in Genesis a physical place? Does it exist physically somewhere on the planet or is it some kind of spiritual place or even some kind of analogy?
ray's user avatar
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12 votes
1 answer
366 views

Is all-night Shavu'ot learning as prevelant in the Southern Hemisphere?

In the Northern Hemisphere, Shavu'ot falls in the late Spring or early Summer. As a result, sunrise is relatively early, so learning "all night" and then praying the morning service at the earliest ...
Isaac Moses's user avatar
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12 votes
4 answers
3k views

Walled cities for Purim other than Jerusalem

The holiday of Purim is unique in that some locations celebrate it on different days. The rule is: if the city was walled at the time of Joshua's conquest of the Land of Israel then they celebrate on ...
Double AA's user avatar
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12 votes
2 answers
260 views

Did Shuls in Europe display their countries' flags prior to the holocaust?

Prior to the holocaust, did Shuls in Europe display their countries' respective flags? Do Shuls currently display their countries' flags? When did it start and why?
Gershon Gold's user avatar
12 votes
1 answer
178 views

Facing Yerushalaim during Kaddish

Must one face Yerushlaim (or the Hechal) when reciting Kaddish,the way one should for Amida? This seems to be generally practiced; does it have a source in the Shulchan Aruch or achronim or is it a ...
Baal Shemot Tovot's user avatar
11 votes
10 answers
298 views

Al Hamichyah - Wide land?

In the Brocho after eating grains which are not bread we say: על ארץ חמדה טובה ורחבה Translated very loosely as: On the Land (ISRAEL) that is desirable good and WIDE. Now, anyone with a knowledge ...
simchastorah's user avatar
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11 votes
4 answers
5k views

How precisely oriented towards Jerusalem should we face for praying?

I know we're supposed to face towards Jerusalem when praying/davening. For most of us in the Europe or the Western Hemisphere, we're used to facing "Mizrach", east. How precise should we be? If I'...
Shalom's user avatar
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11 votes
2 answers
8k views

Is the term Cushite used to refer to people of African descent?

While reading the book of Numbers (I am a Christian, I don't know if it is referred to something else in Judaism), I came across the passage (Numbers 12:1-15) where Miriam and Aaron were speaking ...
MDMoore313's user avatar
11 votes
3 answers
681 views

Rivers in Genesis

I will be upfront about it - I am skeptical of our tradition about the Torah being given on Mount Sinai, and suspect that Judaism is a man-made religion. It's not that I don't want Judaism to be true, ...
Gregory Magarshak's user avatar
11 votes
2 answers
939 views

Is there a difference between "p" and "f" when transliterating from English to Hebrew?

When transliterating an English name to Hebrew (e.g. for a Ketubah or Get), is there a way to distinguish between a "p" and "f" sound? E.g. Fine, NY vs Pine, CO. Would both just be spelled (assuming ...
Shalom's user avatar
  • 133k
10 votes
1 answer
219 views

Noach Burial Place

Where was Noach buried? (or, do we know?)
yydl's user avatar
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10 votes
4 answers
15k views

Why blessings on Mt. Gerizim and curses on Mt. Ebal?

Devarim 11:29 says: וְהָיָה, כִּי יְבִיאֲךָ יְהוָה אֱלֹהֶיךָ, אֶל-הָאָרֶץ, אֲשֶׁר-אַתָּה בָא-שָׁמָּה לְרִשְׁתָּהּ--וְנָתַתָּה אֶת-הַבְּרָכָה עַל-הַר גְּרִזִים, וְאֶת-הַקְּלָלָה עַל-הַר עֵיבָל. And it ...
Menachem's user avatar
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10 votes
2 answers
344 views

How did the Sages know that Jerusalem had a wall in the times of Joshua?

The criterion for whether a city celebrates Purim on 14 Adar or Shushan Purim on 15 Adar is whether it was walled in the times of Joshua (about 3300 years ago). (Well, Shushan itself is an exception, ...
Shalom's user avatar
  • 133k
10 votes
3 answers
641 views

Pre-1948, what flags were found in American synagogues?

Certainly throughout the 1970s and 1980s, it was not at all uncommon to see an American synagogue where the Aron Kodesh was flanked by American and Israeli flags. Pre-1948, was there just an American ...
Shalom's user avatar
  • 133k
10 votes
2 answers
309 views

Why does the cave of machpelah have special significance?

Avraham spends considerable money and effort to acquire the cave of machpelah. I think the medrash mentions that Adam and Chava were buried there. My question is, is the cave of machpelah special ...
user avatar
10 votes
3 answers
286 views

Walled from the times of Joshua: Why Joshua?

The Halacha is that those who live in a city that was walled in the times of Yehoshuah reads on a different day (Rambam Hilchos Megillah 1:4-5). The question is why from Yehoshuah (Joshua) when the ...
simchastorah's user avatar
  • 9,049
10 votes
1 answer
898 views

Are there any Synagogues or Rabbis available in Pakistan?

There was once a very thriving Jewish community available in Pakistan. There was a Synagogue in the port city of Karachi as well till 1985. What is the current situation now? What if someone would ...
Maxood's user avatar
  • 903
10 votes
1 answer
466 views

When is "vesain tal umotor" said in Australia?

When is "vesain tal umotor" said in the Southern Hemisphere eg Australia?
Avrohom Yitzchok's user avatar
10 votes
3 answers
298 views

Does learning Torah or doing Mitzvos protect others from enemies?

I know from the gemarah Bava Basra 7b-8a that learning (being a talmid chacham) or doing many mitzvos can protect oneself from enemies (such that when a city is taxed for a wall that was built to ...
Gavriel's user avatar
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10 votes
3 answers
1k 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 ...
Baal Shemot Tovot's user avatar
10 votes
1 answer
296 views

Why is it common for the people in the chumash to name every place they pass?

It seems pretty arbitrary, but in many cases in the Chumash, we find our patriarchs, Moses, etc, name places they pass based on some action that took place there. Is there any additional meaning to ...
Ani Yodea's user avatar
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10 votes
1 answer
555 views

Is Juneau, Alaska -- surrounded by natural barriers -- a natural eruv

I recently visited Juneau, Alaska. It is a small city of 35,000. The city limits are quite large, however – 3,225 square miles – but much of this area is separated from downtown Juneau on Douglas ...
Bruce James's user avatar
9 votes
2 answers
2k views

Sources for the world being round in the Gemara

Can anyone bring me proofs from the Gemara that proves the world was round-and that this was known 2000+ years ago? I have looked around and I can't seem to find any sources which prove this.
user avatar
9 votes
1 answer
633 views

How animals populated different continents after the flood?

What are some understandings as to how animals populated different continents after the flood? Did some species of animals survive the flood? Or are we to understand that the flood only affected the ...
chaimp's user avatar
  • 2,171
9 votes
2 answers
283 views

42 camps and 42 non-refuge Levite cities (Masei)

What is the significance of the numerical correspondence between the 42 camps or waypoints mentioned in the recounting of the forty years of wandering (Bamidbar 33) and the fact that 42 of the 48 ...
Reb.Cabin's user avatar
  • 193
9 votes
1 answer
449 views

Does the Third Temple have to be built on the Temple Mount?

Suppose it is allowed for Jews in the present to build a Third Temple, does that temple have to stand on the Temple Mount? Modern Israel is in many ways (actually most) not similar to the Israelite's ...
Stand with Gaza's user avatar
9 votes
1 answer
656 views

Sheidim after the Baal Shem Tov

According to the Minchas Elazar, the Baal Shem Tov evicted the Sheidim from where humans live. Does that mean that they are still located in the wilderness areas and one must be "choshesh" for them ...
ertert3terte's user avatar
  • 40.5k
8 votes
4 answers
716 views

So where are these mermaids?

According to the answers to Would a mermaid be kosher?, the Gemara and poskim apparently believed that mermaids exist, and would not be kosher. So, if these mermaids and sirens exist, where would ...
Scimonster's user avatar
  • 23.1k
8 votes
4 answers
771 views

Comprehensive map/list of active Orthodox synagogues in the U.S

Does anyone know of a map or list of all the active Orthodox shuls in the U.S.? When I was looking for which residencies to apply to it was my limiting factor and sometimes it was hard to find out ...
Y. Isseroff's user avatar
8 votes
3 answers
515 views

Why Italia of Yavan?

The gemara in Megila 6b refers to איטליא של יון זה כרך גדול של רומי, which translates literally as: Italy of Greece, this is the great city of Rome. This seems odd insofar as I know, Italy never ...
user6591's user avatar
  • 33.6k
8 votes
1 answer
956 views

Shabbat in the arctic

If I were to travel to Barrow, Alaska in the summer, when there is no sunset, when should I light the Shabbat candles? (This is not a hypothetical question; I work remotely for an Alaskan corporation ...
מרדכי בן דניאל's user avatar
8 votes
2 answers
193 views

Shmos 2:15 – Moshe fled from Paroh and dwelt in Midian. Why Midian?

Shmos 2:15 – Moshe fled from Paroh and dwelt in Midian. Why did he choose Midian? The only slightly helpful references I saw said a) (attributed to a Medrash but I do not see it) that he was ...
Avrohom Yitzchok's user avatar
8 votes
1 answer
381 views

Late sunset times and Jewish observance

This question is distinct from other questions which ask how and when to begin Shabbat, etc. when there is no sunset. I am asking about places in which sunset occurs very late during certain times of ...
SAH's user avatar
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8 votes
2 answers
238 views

Why didn't Terach go to the Land of Canaan?

In Genesis 11:31, Terach takes Avraham (then Avram), Sarah (then Sarai), and Lot to the Land of Canaan, i.e. Israel. However, they stopped in Charan, and Terach spent the rest of his life there. Why ...
Ypnypn's user avatar
  • 8,283
8 votes
1 answer
353 views

Is Shushan Purim observed (in theory) in Shush, Iran?

Shushan, Achashveirosh's capital, is identified with the modern Iranian archaeological site of Susa. A city, Shush, has been established nearby. In modern-day Shush, (if any Jews lived there), what ...
Scimonster's user avatar
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