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Questions tagged [history]

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

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1 answer
180 views

Who wrote Shir Hashirim, Koheles and Mishlei?

Was it King Shlomo or Chizkiyahu and his colleagues who wrote Shir Hashirim, Koheles and Mishlei? When did Chizkiahu live?
0 votes
1 answer
278 views

?חד גדיא ,הגדה--מי יודע

My question is about the history of the Passover song Chad Gadya. I have long suspected this song was originally conceived as a pastiche of Echad Mi Yodeya--the thematic, musical, and phonetic ...
1 vote
1 answer
125 views

How did anyone study the Talmud before Rashi?

Supposedly, the knowledge was transmitted from teacher to student in each generation and so Rashi learned it all from his teacher and wrote it all down. Was it common for people to be familiar with ...
2 votes
0 answers
49 views

Ausstritsgemeinde - Opposition of Rabbi Hirsch to the "Geminderabbiner"

Rabbi Samson Raphael Hirsch was vehemently opposed to the rabbis who didn't follow him when he passed the Ausstritsgesetz (Secession Bill) which allowed Orthodox Jews to separate from the general ...
3 votes
1 answer
72 views

When did daf yomi start in practice?

Aruch Hashulchan YD 246:17 writes וט"ז סעיף קטן א שכתב בשם הדרישה: הבעלי בתים שלומדים רק איזה שעות ביום טוב, יותר שילמדו ספרי פוסקים ולא גמרא, עיין שם. ובוודאי שעל כל איש לידע דיני "אורח ...
0 votes
0 answers
39 views

Why didn't they make the Cyrus Proclamation into a holiday?

When Cyrus issued his edict allowing the Jewish people to return to Eretz Yisrael this was a momentous occasion marking the end of the exile (for those who chose to return). I am surprised that such ...
4 votes
2 answers
388 views

How many editions of the "Authorised Daily Prayer Book" have there been?

Background: many years ago, while studying in the UK, I bought a pocket-sized, softcover edition of "The Authorised Daily Prayer Book of the United Hebrew Congregations of the Commonwealth"....
8 votes
3 answers
1k views

Were scrolls ever written on both sides?

Every Hebrew scroll I've ever seen has been written on only one side. This makes sense both due to the physical properties of velum (the outer side is smooth and easy to write on; the inner side is ...
3 votes
3 answers
255 views

Jewish Archaeology

I'm looking for a good read which discusses archaeology and the Tanach, Chazal, etc. Could anyone point me to some resources? I would prefer that the book be in English, and have pictures throughout. ...
2 votes
1 answer
139 views

What ultimately happened to the Urim Vetumim?

What ultimately happened to the Urim Vetumim? Will we need it when Moshiach arrives? Was it hidden with the Ark? Will we just make a new one?
7 votes
2 answers
895 views

Earliest Identification of Ishmael as Arabs / Muslims

Both Jewish sources and Muslim sources seem to take for granted that at least some Arabs and/or Muslims are somehow descended from Abraham's son Ishmael (whether biologically or spiritually). See, for ...
11 votes
6 answers
2k views

Why are there so few Jews if God promised Abraham his children would number like the stars?

God promises Abraham a number of times that he would father a great nation whose numbers would be like the stars in the sky or the sand on the beach. However today there are less than 14 million Jews,...
9 votes
3 answers
2k views

Who is the Infamous Little Horn of Daniel 7?

"and behold, there came up among them another horn, a little one, before which three of the first horns were plucked up by the roots. And behold, in this horn were eyes like the eyes of a man, and ...
2 votes
1 answer
117 views

Do scriptures mention the presence of the Egyptians in the Holy Land after Yehoshua's conquer?

Archaeological sources (only an example) mention such presence/influence in the time of the conquer which gradually faded before David's Kingdom. Is it mentioned anywhere in the Nac"h that the ...
14 votes
8 answers
1k views

Did the Men of the Great Assembly Canonize Tanach?

Many Jewish websites, (Aish, Jewish History, Ou), state that the the Men of the Great Assembly finalized the contents of Tanach in the early Second Temple Period. No source is brought to support this ...
-8 votes
3 answers
6k 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?
8 votes
5 answers
2k views

Origin of Reform/Conservative "scarf" talleisim

I've noticed that Reform and Conservative often use small "scarf" talleisim (here's an image). Where did this practice originate? (Is there any connection to the scarves that some Christian priests ...
1 vote
0 answers
78 views

What is the response to the claim that the Zohar is a medieval document rather than an historical Jewish document?

I'm not trying to be offensive with this question. This isn't my claim. I've recently read some criticism around the Zohar from academic sources which claim that the Zohar has no historical ...
1 vote
1 answer
41 views

What were David's reasons for writing Psalms?

BH What were David's reasons for writing the Book of Psalms? Are they in chronological order to the events that happened in his life? Did he write some of the psalms as the event was happening?
16 votes
3 answers
2k views

What happened to the Erev Rav (Mixed Multitude)?

When the people of Israel left Egypt they did not leave alone. They left with a mixed multitude of many people (Exodus 12:38). What happened to the mixed multitude in the desert and, specifically, ...
0 votes
1 answer
96 views

What is the "new altar" in musaf for Rosh Hodesh?

To what does this term refer: "mizbeach hadash b-Zion"? It appears in the musaf amida for Rosh Hodesh.
3 votes
1 answer
196 views

Haftarot for Acharei Mot and Kedoshim

There seems to a lot of confusion and many different customs surrounding the choice of haftarah for Acharei Mot and Kedoshim, especially in Ashkenazi communities, and especially in a year like this ...
1 vote
1 answer
68 views

Who is Achashverosh the Mede found in Daniel 9:1?

In Daniel 9:1, Darius the Mede's father is said to be someone called Achashverosh. This is obviously not to be identified with the Achashverosh in Esther, as many meforshim make clear. Is there any ...
19 votes
2 answers
711 views

Why doesn't Chabad differentiate between Ches and Chaf, and Ayin and Aleph?

The Previous Lubavitcher Rebbe writes that the Shabbos before the great debate in Minsk, the Alter Rebbe served as the chazzan and baal koreh for his minyan. Furthermore, although the Alter Rebbe used ...
13 votes
6 answers
1k views

Can a convert be a prophet?

I don't think there were any gerim amongst the nevi'im, but would it have been possible?
3 votes
2 answers
4k views

Why does Nero convert to Judaism in folio 56a in tractate Gittin in the Babylon Talmud?

In the Gittin tractate, folio 56a (focusing on the destruction of Jerusalem), it briefly mentions Nero: "He [the Emperor] sent against them Nero the Caesar. As he was coming he shot an arrow ...
1 vote
0 answers
55 views

Why do some Kiddush cups have golden dome accents on them?

When shopping for Kiddush cups, I find a lot of them have golden domes on them, such as this one from a popular Judaica store: I am confused by the golden dome accents in the cups artwork. As far as ...
1 vote
1 answer
131 views

Did the early generations do melacha on Chol Ha'moed?

The Gemara in Chagiga says: that the Torah left it up to Chazal to figure out what constitutes as "work" on Chol Ha'moed. "הא לא מסרן הכתוב אלא לחכמים, לומר לך אי זה יום אסור ואי זה ...
2 votes
1 answer
132 views

What is this intro to this rendition of Kah Echsof?

My inability to hear lyrics, and my inabilities in Yiddish require me to ask the fine folk here what exactly is being said in the first words that precede Kah Echsof in this rendition. Could someone ...
0 votes
2 answers
84 views

Story about moving on in life? [closed]

Is there any story about a tragedy or something bad happening, yet someone moved on in life and continued fulfilling their duties? This can be from the Torah, but preferabally a more modern time story!...
23 votes
9 answers
35k views

Has the Torah been changed over the ages?

It is quite a famous argument from Muslims for authenticity of the Quran that the previous Holy Books (Bible and Torah) sent by God have been corrupted or changed by their followers and that Quran is ...
0 votes
3 answers
76 views

Does anybody know of a story of a smart aleck?

Does anyone know of a story from תנ"ך \ גמרא \ or a famous Gadol or even some random Jew - where somebody acted like a smart aleck (אובר חכם) / know-it-all and it really caused them to mess up?
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0 answers
27 views

Who is the Pharaoh of the Exodus? [duplicate]

Which Pharaoh was reigning in Egypt during the Exodus according to our mesorah? Do any traditional Jewish sources discuss his name?
0 votes
1 answer
28 views

Does anybody know of a story about how someone lowered his limitations of his knowledge?

The מזרחי says that one should train himself to admit to the limitations of his knowledge, even when he is certain that he is correct. Does anybody have a story of a Jew / Gadol / from the Torah of ...
11 votes
5 answers
637 views

Examples of Rabbis who had strong disagreements and were amicable

I'm looking for examples of Rabbis who had a serious disagreement and were nevertheless very kind and thoughtful towards each other. The main reason I'm asking for examples is to illustrate what a ...
0 votes
0 answers
27 views

What are the oldest manuscripts of the Nevi'im books and specifically Melakhim?

I am especially interested in the oldest version of Melakhim/Kings, including any fragmentary sources like incomplete manuscripts in the dead sea scrolls.
4 votes
4 answers
483 views

How could different pronunciations arise when we are obligated to pronounce the Shema precisely?

If one does not pronounce the Shema correctly, one has not fulfilled their obligation (שולחן ערוך או"ח סימן סב). If so, then how could different pronunciations of the Hebrew words arise? Shouldn't at ...
7 votes
1 answer
205 views

Which ancient cults would cut out the hearts of live animals and offer them as sacrifices?

Which ancient cults would cut out the hearts of live animals and offer them as sacrifices? The Mishnah (Avodah Zarah 2:3) mentions a concept called עורות לבובין which Maimonides and other commentators ...
2 votes
0 answers
56 views

What else happened in Jewish history on Pesach

I know that many other monumental occasions occurred to happen on Pesach, specifically the first day eg; the birth of Yitzchak, Eisav selling the birthright to Yaakov, parts of the Purim story. Are ...
1 vote
1 answer
124 views

Egyptian slavery: State or Private?

Was the slavery in Egypt only state slavery, or was there also private slavery (as in the USA)?
0 votes
1 answer
71 views

What is a frum maskil?

What is a frum maskil? I have seen people use the term to describe certain people from history. What exactly does this description mean? Was it used by any legitimate historians? And can some examples ...
1 vote
0 answers
63 views

Do we know if the ancient Jews embraced or refused the fourth century BCE observation of Aristotle that the Earth was a globe?

The Catholic Church fought long and hard for a fixed (stationary) earth, with the sky moving around it (a geocentric "universe"). Did it similarly take a long time for the Jews to accept the ...
2 votes
1 answer
246 views

Has anyone compiled a historical book on Esther?

Megillat Esther leaves numerous questions in my mind, that are unexplained in the Megillah. A lot of it is filled in in the Talmud and various Midrashim. But, one has to sift through numerous pages ...
7 votes
1 answer
434 views

Depiction of the Menorah, the *Shulchan* and *Kadosh HaKadoshim* on ancient coins?

On some rare ancient coins of Matityah Antigonus, there are depictions of what seem to be the Menorah and the Shulchan (one obverse die even seems to show the Lechem HaPanim). This coin has an ...
3 votes
1 answer
80 views

What is the origin of the division of the Torah into five books [duplicate]

As we start Sefer Vayikra, my chavruta and I have again looked for and been unable to find a satisfactory answer to the question: “What is the origin of the division of the Torah into five books and ...
33 votes
9 answers
17k views

Why is the Jewish Population so small?

Judaism is one of the oldest religions, but there aren't many Jews compared to Muslims and Christians. What are main reasons behind that?
1 vote
0 answers
167 views

What is the evidence for the Noahide Laws, outside of the Talmud? [closed]

This question may be "closed" but it's not "settled" if you follow the Noahide Laws as taught in Orthodox Judaism. I haven't found any references to the Noahide Laws in non-...
1 vote
2 answers
245 views

Why did the model of Rabbinic Pairs (Zugot) emerge and why was it abolished?

In What was the position of Av Beis Din vs Nassi in Rabbinic Pairs? I asked about the description of the two positions in the Sanhedrin. However, why did this model suddenly emerge after almost 1500 ...
2 votes
1 answer
143 views

Why money is not mentioned in Job's wealth?

Job was famously a rich guy: "his possessions were seven thousand sheep, three thousand camels, five hundred yokes of oxen and five hundred she-asses, and a very large household. That man was ...
1 vote
0 answers
56 views

Halachot on geirut during times of persecution

I’ve often heard that a reason that conversions take years and require nearly full observance prior to the tevilah is that this we do not live in a period of persecution, but the relatively light ...

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