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Questions related to how something was in the past, and how it's developed since then.

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What is the history and origin of the Etz Chayim symbol and the 10 Sefiroth?

This question is related to the question 'what is the origin of the Hebrew language?' since Hebrew is a key part of the Kabbalistic Tree of Life. However, the question of Hebrew language origins seems ...
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Cylindrical Tefillin

The wikipedia page on tefillin shows cylindrical tefillin found in the Cairo geniza, with reference to this image from here: The source from the wikipedia page cites this: Kiell, Norman (1967). The ...
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2answers
124 views

What is the history and purpose behind Teki'ah Gedolah?

I am familiar with the origin and reasoning of the "regular" Tekiah blast that surrounds the shevarim, teru'ah and shevarim-teru'ah sounds. What is the origin of the teki'ah gedolah in terms of its ...
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1answer
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Why the Jerusalem Talmud is not mentioned in the Bavli?

The JT was compiled some 150-200 years before the Bavli (WIKI), so the most of the disputes in the Bavli took place when the JT was already finished. The Rabbis (Tannayim and Amorayim) traveled all ...
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123 views

Could Jesus have been a Rabbi?

Jesus was called a Rabbi during a time in history when being a Rabbi really meant something. He lived during the time of semicha, and his responses are often Rabbinic in nature. And so this begs the ...
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1answer
81 views

History of chattan & kallah classes

A common practice in some segments of today's Jewish world is for brides and grooms to attend "Chattan/kallah classes" where the attendees receive instruction and advice on relationship dynamics and ...
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1answer
72 views

When did Ma'ariv stop becoming 'optional'?

It's a bit of fun Jewish trivia that Ma'ariv was originally 'optional' (see for example here, and Halachic ramifications of its' original optionality here), but at some point became 'accepted' by ...
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When were the current Sidra breaks established? [duplicate]

The Gemara (Megillah 29b) relates that in Eretz Yisrael, they would finish the Torah every three years, while in Bavel, they would do so every year. In practice, it seems universally accepted to ...
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81 views

According to the Rambam, why is Achiya considered Dovid Hamelech's student?

The Rambam writes (in his Introduction to Mishneh Torah): ואחיה השילוני מיוצאי מצרים היה ולוי היה ושמע ממשה והיה קטן בימי משה והוא קיבל מדוד ובית דינו. Achiah of Shiloh was one of those who ...
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43 views

Zohar about the 18-19th century [duplicate]

I saw a quote one time--I believe it was in an Artscroll sefer--from the Zohar about how there would be tremendous spiritual and cultural revelations that would occur around the 18th-19th centuries. (...
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1answer
61 views

Was There a Specific Location that the Babylonian Talmud was Written

The exact (think GPS) location of many biblical sites are known. We know exectly where Abraham bound Issac and suspect that is the same spot where the Holy of Holies was. Some of the ancient sites (or ...
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1answer
424 views

Date of the Akeida?

Are there sources in our tradition which discuss the Hebrew date of Akeidas Yitzchak? The fact that we read the Akeida on Rosh Hashana or, properly, every day suggests to me that the "real" date is ...
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2answers
107 views

Why there's no Mishnah Bavli?

The question might seem odd, I admit, but In the beginning pages of the Bavli Sanhedrin (5a), it states that the power of the ראש גלותא in Babylon was bigger than that of נשיא in the land of Israel in ...
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2answers
145 views

Did the Ramchal have a beard?

It seems to be common knowledge that the Ramchal did not wear a beard (see here for instance). What sources are there, if any, that say the Ramchal, in fact, did not wear a beard?
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1answer
63 views

Who laid the megalithic foundation stones under the wailing wall?

These stones under the Western Wall are of impeccable craftsmanship and required superhuman handling: My thoughts run to: Ezra-Nehemiah Solomon-Hiram Herod Do we know?
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1answer
99 views

Belief before 30 CE, that a prophet other than the Messiah or Elijah would appear?

Was there a Jewish belief prior to 30CE that a prophet other than Elijah would appear along with the Messiah? If so, what evidence is there for it, what were the details of this belief, what ...
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1answer
128 views

Since when was a kippah worn? [duplicate]

Paul, being educated as a Pharisee in Jerusalem by Gamaliel, writes: "Every man who prays or prophesies with his head covered dishonors his head" (1 Cor. 11,4). Also, he find this so natural that he ...
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When were tefillin worn prior to the “standardization” of Tefillat Shacharit? [duplicate]

I'm making a few assumptions in asking my question. If they're incorrect, please comment. Tefillat Shacharit is a substitute for the Shacharit sacrifice that was brought in the Temple. I have also ...
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58 views

poetical works authored by women?

Are there any examples of songs, poems, piyyutim or kinnot from the time of the first temple until the 1700's (c.e.) which were authored by women and were adopted by traditional/orthodox communities. ...
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1answer
84 views

Is Pirkei DeRebbe Eliezer the earliest Torah she'be'al'peh to be written down?

The Radal mentions that Rebbe Eliezer ben Herkinus's talmidim wrote down the Pirkei DeRebbe Eliezer. Would that make it the earliest book of Torah she'be'al'peh to be written?
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1answer
92 views

What is the earliest mention of the Zohar being explicitly cited in Jewish Literature?

What is the earliest mention of the Zohar being explicitly cited in Jewish texts? I've asked some friends but we were unable to determine where it was.
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2answers
70 views

Who were the leaders of the Jewish religion between Ezra and the 1st Zugot?

Who were the leaders of the Jewish religion between Ezra and the 1st Zugot ? Do we have a list for that ?
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1answer
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What kind of tree or bush was the “burning bush” of Moses?

I am looking for the kind of tree/bush for the burning bush of Moses. What are the kinds mentioned by Rabbis? I read before that some Rabbis identified the tree with the Sidr Tree. I need to know ...
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0answers
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Hebrew names and English names [closed]

I have just visited my great grandfather's grave and discovered his Hebrew name was Yehuda Leib, yet in England he was known as Louis Goodman. Is there a connection between the names? He moved to ...
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1answer
57 views

Talmudic Source Mechitzah?

What's the source in the Talmud for the mechitzah? I have yet to run across it. Also as an aside, I've been to a lot of Synagogues from Talmudic times, and I have yet to find any mechitzah type of ...
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1answer
41 views

Source that Tisha B'av is the day of mourning for all tragedies, even if they did not fall out then?

I have heard (in the context of when Jews should mourn for those lost in the Holocaust), that Tish'a B'av is the day on which we mourn all tragedies, even those that did not occur on that day. What ...
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4answers
2k views

What sad/terrible events actually took place on the 9th of Av?

I have heard that Tish'a B'av is a date on which many bad things happened to the Jewish people, and that is why we mourn on that day. What are they? (Sources please...)
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1answer
46 views

How did shomer Yisroel become daily?

How did show Shomer Israel become part of our daily tachnun? Clearly it happened in the 1800's. Prior to that it was just for slichos and Mondays and Thursdays (see magen avraham תרפה;ב....the very ...
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0answers
29 views

When were these fasts observed?

The Tur (Orach Chayim 580), quoting the Bahag (Laws of the Ninth of Av), gives a list of days on which to fast. This list is copied or mentioned by some other rishonim (as quoted in the footnote to ...
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1answer
72 views

How did men used to shave their beards before electric razors? [closed]

Back then I assume the only way to cut a beard was with a straight blade--how did Jewish men shave?
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2answers
53 views

Fourth Kingdom is Aram/Yishmael

Someone pointed out to me the commentary of Ibn Ezra to Daniel 2:39. In that verse Daniel is understood to be describing the ארבע מלכיות or the four kingdoms. I always understood these four kingdoms ...
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1answer
58 views

What is the logic underlying the Mishna's chapter breaks

The Mishna was separated into chapters by R Yehuda HaNasi. I see that at times there is a chapter break in the middle of a topic (today's example: Menachot chapter 1 & 2 - more examples here). It ...
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1answer
39 views

At what stage of Joshua's leadership did he become Judge?

The Seder Olam states that Joshua was a judge over Israel for 28 years. (Seder Olam 12) We know that he succeeded Moses 40 years after leaving Egypt (Joshua 1:1), and that he died at the age of 110. (...
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3answers
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R' Mordochai Benet's re-interment

Wikipedia notes that R' Mordochai Benet, the Mähren Landesrabbiner (Chief Rabbi of Moravia) notes that was temporarily interred in Lichtenberg prior to being re-interred in Nikolsburg, according to ...
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2answers
111 views

Rashi Biographical Details [closed]

On Avodah Zarah 75a (dibur hamtchil "ולא פליגי"), Shabbos 85b ("בנוטה שורה לכאן ושורה לכאן"), Sukkah 40a ("ה"ג עצים דהסקה תנאי היא"), and Makkot 19b ("רישא במעשר שני טמא") there are personal comments ...
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81 views

Bish'vili nivra ha'olam/Anochi afar Papers

Who was the person who would walk around with 2 papers in his pocket, one of which said "bishvili nivra ha'olam" ("the world was created for me") and the other "anochi afar va'eifer" ("I am dirt and ...
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51 views

Women and the egel

The Leviim were rewarded for not participating in the egel (golden calf) by replacing the buchorim (firstborn) as the workers in the mishkan. But the women also did not participate in the calf. What ...
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Whey in butter (Chema't akkum)?

I recently read a responsum from R' Tam (brought in Shaarei Dura 78) where he discusses butter that was mixed with whey. While he permits regular butter from a gentile for consumption he nevertheless ...
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Unknown La'az in Teshuvot Rashi

In the Elfenbein (1943) edition of Teshuvot Rashi, in the teshuvot from Rashi to the rabbis of Auxerre ('סימן ג), Rashi writes "לשון דמות צלם" is "אאמיינדליי" in la'az. Elfenbein writes in his ...
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What once made the Karaite movement popular?

Karaites appeared and became numerous about 1,000 years ago but have since largely disappeared. What is it about Karaite philosophy or practice that made it popular a thousand years ago?
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1answer
50 views

When was the pagination of the Talmud begun and finalized and by whom? [duplicate]

Early editions of the Talmud did not have page numbers. (Early commentators give citations to chapters.) When did page numbering begin and, if today's page numbering differs, when was the page ...
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48 views

How could this ever be true? [duplicate]

I am new here. Infact I got an account here to genuinely find an answer, how could all this be true right at the very beginning? Pardon my mistakes because I am not jewish. Apologies in advance if I ...
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1answer
78 views

Why did the Bavli form of weekly Torah reading become the standard?

My understanding of the Torah reading cycle - In Israel, they originally had a triennial cycle, and in Bavel, they had an annual cycle. At some point, the Bavli (annual) cycle became the standard. (...
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1answer
69 views

When the Mishnayos were compiled, were they compiled into the perakim we have today, or were they just compiled into masechtos?

Many times throughout Shas, it seems as if the Perakim are sliced in completely arbitrary places. To name a few examples: In Maseches Shabbos, the halachos of Tzad, trapping, are discussed in 13:5-14:...
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1answer
110 views

What mitzvos did Adam have in Gan Eden?

Which mitzvos did Adam have before eating from the tree? Posible options: 1 - Not to eat from the tree. 2 - (the above +) to have children. 8 - (the above +) 6 mitvos 9 - (the above +) tzedoko
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2answers
165 views

What is the explanation for the discrepancy between Seder Olam's chronology and that of historical scholarship?

Rabbi Harav Yaakov Medan (etzion.org.il/en/chapter-12b-daniels-prayer-continued) states: 'According to historical scholarship, the second year of the Persian Darius, when the rebuilding of the Second ...
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1answer
130 views

Which Seforim is Rav Chaim of Volozhin speaking of?

In the beginning of Sha'ar Daled of Nefesh HaChaim, Rav Chaim of Volozhin criticises those people who do not engage in classical learning, but instead spend time studying "Sifrei Yirah U'Mussar." ...
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50 views

Why did standing on one's feet become the posture for prayer?

When one reads about people praying to G-d throughout Tanac"h, we rarely discover them standing to pray. Most of the time they are kneeling, prostrating or falling on their faces. We see that when ...
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123 views

Who is Queen Cleopatra in Sanhedrin 90b?

The Gemara in Sanhedrin 90b relates: (Source from Sefaria.org) (Partial Quote) .....שאלה קליאופטרא מלכתא את ר"מ Queen Cleopatra asked Rabbi Meir..... My Question: What Queen Cleopatra was ...
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153 views

Why do Ashkenazi Orthodox Jews Chant With Reform Trope?

From what I've been able to gather the most popular/standard/traditional te'amim melodies were collected, blended, and then published by Abrahim Binder, a reform Jew. Source: http://www.milkenarchive....