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Questions tagged [historical-figures]

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30
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10answers
4k views

Why don't Jews think Jesus is the messiah?

Christians say that Jesus is the Messiah spoken of in the Old Testament; Jews disagree. Why couldn't Jesus be the Messiah spoken of? Or could he possibly have been?
17
votes
5answers
635 views

Naming after bad people

Why have there been famous(ly righteous) Jewish people named after Yishma'el, who, Chaza"l tell us, was evil and an enemy of Jews? Has anything similar happened with Esav? Korach? Others?
7
votes
1answer
756 views

Did Rashbi Write the Zohar?

In my experience, many religious Jews think that Rabbi Shimon Bar Yochai wrote the book we have today called the Zohar. The Zohar is a Jewish work of mysticism that was published in the 13th century. ...
5
votes
2answers
987 views

How many prophets were there and who were they?

How many prophets are recognized by Judaism, and what were their names? I found a website that claims the number of prophets is 124000. Is this true? Are all of their speeches or writings ...
23
votes
6answers
1k views

Anyone who says these people sinned is mistaken. For real?

The Gemara (Talmud Bavli Shabbos 55b-56b) relates that several Biblical figures who, from the text itself, seemed to have sinned, in reality did not. These statements take the form of "כל האומר פלוני ...
18
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2answers
2k views

Understanding “The Bruriah Incident”

Masecheth 'Avodah Zarah (18b) cryptically mentions "מעשה דברוריה" - "The Beruriah Incident" - as a reason R' Meir fled to Bavel. Rashi (ad loc) explains that R' Meir was teasing his wife (the noted ...
7
votes
2answers
578 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 ...
15
votes
4answers
3k views

Was Darius Jewish?

Darius the Second (the son of Queen Ester and Achashveirosh) was at first glance Jewish, as he was the son of a Jew. On the other hand,the Gemara Rosh Hashana implies that he wasn't Jewish. What was ...
4
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2answers
216 views

Who were members of Beth Shammai?

I know Rav Eliezer was one, but do we know other members of Beth Shammai?
12
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5answers
1k views

What attitudes toward Jesus are acceptable for a Jew?

What attitudes toward Jesus are acceptable for a Jew? I understand that idolatry, or embracing the mainstream Christian perception of Jesus as divine, is absolutely out of the question. Furthermore, ...
2
votes
1answer
452 views

What does the talmud/rabbinic writing have to say about Yeshu ha-Notzri (Jesus)?

I understand that the name Jesus was not uncommon 2000 years ago, and Jewish writings about the person of historical interest to the Christian Church call him "Yeshu ha-Notzri" = "Jesus the Nazarene". ...
8
votes
1answer
674 views

Naming after the Patriarchs/Matriarchs and Biblical heroes

Nowadays it is very common for Jews to name their children after the Patriarchs, Matriarchs, and Biblical heroes. But it doesn't seem (to me) as though this was very common until well into the period ...
6
votes
1answer
2k views

How did the Ten Martyrs actually die?

On Yom Kippur and Tisha B'av we read about the Ten Martyrs who were gathered and killed by Emperor Hadrian to atone for the Sale of Yosef HaTzadik. In addition to the idea that the Ten Martyrs didn't ...
6
votes
1answer
3k views

Is the book of Enoch part of judaism?

The book (or books) of Enoch is a collection of works purportedly made by Enoch, the great grandfather of Noach, before the flood. I read that they are not part of the Tanach, even though it contains ...
6
votes
5answers
634 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?,...
8
votes
2answers
153 views

Did Cain and Hevel have דעת?

Kayin and Hevel were born before Adam and Chava sinned and ate from the Tree of Knowledge. (See Rashi to 4:1.) Did Kayin and Hevel ever receive the understanding that their parents got from the fruit?...
7
votes
2answers
210 views

Changing someone else's name

In parshas Shlach Moshe changes Yehoshua's name. Does this mean his name really changed? IE was he called up to the torah as Yehoshua? Were his kids "ben Yehoshua"? Are there any other examples in ...
6
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1answer
496 views

Was Pharoh's daughter named Basya or Bisya?

Was Pharoh's daughter named Basya or Bisya? Sources please!
6
votes
3answers
538 views

Was Caleb a foreigner (Non-Isralite)?

Was Caleb a foreigner, even though he represented the tribe of Judah (Numbers 13:6) and was one of the first judges of Israel (Judges 1)? In Numbers 32:12 and Joshua 14:14 we read that Caleb is the ...
5
votes
3answers
5k views

When in history did Purim happen?

When in history did Purim happen? I understand that there are several opinions that this is based on (who אחשורוש was, whether this was before or after the end of the exile), but I've been unable to ...
12
votes
1answer
905 views

Did any of the early Rabbis encounter Mohammed?

Mohammed, the prophet of Islam, lived in Saudia Arabia, mainly in Mecca and (later) Medina. He lived from 570-632CE. According to this wikipedia article there were Jews in Saudia Arabia at that time: ...
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 ...
13
votes
3answers
693 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
2answers
434 views

Could someone who has committed a heinous crime convert to Judaism?

Is there any reason that someone who has committed horrible sins in the past (for example, mass murder) could not become a Jew? Assume, of course, that the sinner/criminal is willing to do teshuvah ...
11
votes
2answers
382 views

Who was Yehoshua Bin Nun's father?

Who was Yehoshua Bin Nun's father? Obviously his name was "Nun". Who was he exactly? What do we know about him (and from what sources)?
7
votes
1answer
1k views

What was Avraham Avinu's mother's name?

What was Avraham Avinu's mother's name? Our shul received a paper with questions on Simhat Torah, with this question being one of the harder ones. Is there a midrash on her name?
9
votes
2answers
558 views

How historically accurate is Josephus?

How accurate is the writing of Josephus? Can we rely on any of his writings to establish authentic Jewish practices or in areas of halacha?
8
votes
3answers
802 views

Bimei Matisyahu ben Yochanan Kohen Godol

In "Al Hanisim" we say "Bimei Matisyahu ben Yochanan Kohen Godol", "in the days of Matisyahu the son of Yochanan the Kohen Gadol (=high priest)". Who was the Kohen Godol: Matisyahu or Yochnan?
8
votes
2answers
207 views

What financial arrangement did Rambam have with his jeweler brother?

I was taught in yeshiva that as a young man, Rambam just studied Torah and was supported by his brother, who was a jewel merchant. Then his brother died at sea, so Rambam became a physician. Recently ...
6
votes
2answers
336 views

Did Shlomo Molcho actually declare himself a messiah? [closed]

I know this is widely claimed, but is there a historical source that can confirm that Shlomo Molcho considered himself a messiah (as opposed to merely predicting a keitz and generating a messianic ...
6
votes
2answers
432 views

Was Rav Hai Gaon a kabbalist?

In a recent conversation a friend indicated that Rav Hai Gaon was a well known kabbalist, while another friend pointed to his teshuva [teshuvas ha'geonim 115] to indicate that he was not [and ...
4
votes
1answer
624 views

Did what David do to Batsheba and Uriah technically legal (not sin?)

David is a king. Uriah is fighting for him. As a King David has right to send any of his soldiers to any missions. Presumably that includes suicidal mission. It is possible that Batsheba is not ...
2
votes
1answer
80 views

Known birthdays

In the season of my birthday, I was wondering: Which figures, from Tanach and Sha"s, do we know the exact birthday of? I am aware of Moshe's birthday being identified as the 7th of Adar. Which other ...
2
votes
3answers
135 views

What was Rabbi Yehuda Hanassi's role in compiling the Mishnah?

I have always heard that Rabbi Yehuda Hanassi "compiled" the mishna. What were his roles in compiling it in the form that we currently have it? Specifically, did he perform any of these roles: ...
2
votes
1answer
155 views

Teacher and tradition of R' Judah ben Meir HaKohen

Who was the teacher of R' Judah ben Meir HaKohen, and from which chain of tradition does he derive? I ask because I cannot find much information about him online, other than many references to his ...
0
votes
2answers
89 views

What is the source for R' Meir and R'Elazar Beth Shammai membership?

What is the source for R' Meir and R' Elazar being members of Beth Shammai? Also, what is the source for the Beth Hillel membership of R' Yehuda? I heard from several persons (including one Rabbi) ...
3
votes
2answers
4k views

How many Maccabees were there and what were their names?

How many Maccabees were there and what were their names?
9
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1answer
66k views

How many children did King Solomon have?

King Solomon [1 Kings 11 (4)] “had seven hundred wives, princesses, and three hundred concubines;” How many children did he have? Three. The question is referred to at http://wiki.answers.com/Q/...
5
votes
1answer
137 views

When ended Beth Shammai?

I am looking for a way to recognize members of the Beth Shammai and Beth Hillel when I learn the gemara and mishna. I need to know when the Beth Shammai ended (as well as the Beth Hillel) to find out ...
3
votes
2answers
153 views

Name of Pharaoh that we were enslaved to in Mitzrayim

Do we know what the name of Pharaoh (i.e. king or president) whom we were enslaved to when we were in Mitzrayim was?
3
votes
0answers
119 views

Rambam's relationship with the Rif: a question on the Bartenura

In the Mishna to Chullin 4:6 (s.v. וכן שניטל צומת הגידין), the Bartenura refers to the Rif as having been the Rambam's teacher: "ושיטה זו תפסו רבותי... אבל רמבם ורב אלפס רבו תפסו עיקר הפירוש אחר". In ...
2
votes
2answers
993 views

Did Moshe have a son with Ethiopian Queen prior to Exodus

According to Josephus, Moshe was a great military leader who lead in battle for Egypt when Egypt and Ethiopia was at war and Moshe married the Ethiopian Queen and had a child with her who became the ...
2
votes
1answer
112 views

Problem with Likkutei Maharil

I was listening to a shiur by Rav Asher Weiss on asmachta and he brought three explanations for its purpose: Ritvah - A derabannan that has a source in the torah Tosafos and Rambam - Memorization ...
1
vote
1answer
159 views

Numbers of Tannaim and Amoraim

How many names of Tannaim do we know? How many names of Ammoraim do we know? (I am asking about the names and not simply asking "how many were there" because I don't know if there were people that ...
0
votes
1answer
497 views

Who was Methuselah?

Who was Methuselah? The Torah tells us not much about him. What does the Talmud and the Rabbis say about Methuselah?
14
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4answers
611 views

Does anyone in Tanach ever get divorced?

Does anyone in Tanach ever get divorced? Not merely separated but fully divorced.
9
votes
1answer
384 views

Chazon Ish and Medicine

I have recently studied the Chazon Ish's work Emunah U'Vitachon and in the opening pages, the Chazon Ish displays a vast knowledge of human anatomy. Also, the Chazon Ish successfully mapped out a plan ...
9
votes
1answer
96 views

Do Chazal discuss Mishael and Eltzaphan

Do chazal provide any information on מִישָׁאֵל and אֶלְצָפָן the levite cousins of Aron and Moshe who removed Nadav and Avihu from the mishkan (Vayikra 10:4)? I'm looking for any sources that discuss ...
6
votes
3answers
310 views

Pronunciation of חשמונאי

A friend today told me that the word חשמונאי traditionally pronounced "Chashmonai" should really be pronounced "Chashmunai" with the vav being read as a shuruk vowel instead of a cholom. Is this true?...
6
votes
1answer
416 views

Was Marcus Jastrow an apikores?

During Yeshiva I remember some bochrim made a point of not putting the Jastrow dictionary on top of sefarim, and would often talk about how it does not have kedusha because it was written by an ...