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
1k views

How does a Jewish community recognize a Jewish person they hadn't seen ever before?

Let's say there is a Jewish community where everybody knows each other, for example in a city. Let's say a new Jewish person arrives and manifests their will to get integrated with them. Nobody knows ...
2 votes
0 answers
69 views

Did the Israelites know the future?

The Torah was revealed to Israel at a certain point in time, and recounts many significant events that happened after that point. When the Torah was revealed, did the Israelites know about these ...
38 votes
11 answers
5k views

Is there any evidence that Rabbi Akiva's students fought alongside Bar Kochba?

Various sources say that "12,000 pairs" of Rabbi Akiva's students died between Pesach and Shavuos because they did not treat each other with respect. See Genesis Rabba 61:3, Ecclesiastes Rabba 11, ...
2 votes
0 answers
42 views

If Jews conquer a random new land does it become holy like Eretz Yisrael? How might this relate to kibbush yachid? And does kibbush yachid even count?

If Jews conquered New York City let's say does New York City become holy just like Eretz Yisrael? What if a "Jewish king" declared it as a Jewish state? I'm very curious..
15 votes
3 answers
1k views

Are Samaritans viewed as adherents of Judaism?

In Judaism, particularly from an Orthodox perspective, are Samaritans seen as fellow Jews? Sometimes I see their religion referred to as 'Samaritanism', sometimes as Judaism. Also, is it halachically ...
4 votes
2 answers
180 views

Why are the enemies of the Jewish people called "Amalek"?

Throughout history many enemies have stood up to attack and destroy the Jewish people, (most recently the Crusades, Holocaust etc) and they are colloquially referred to as "Amalek". ...
4 votes
2 answers
743 views

Contradiction in the torah? Please explain this. I have heard many times that a divine book can not contradict [duplicate]

Melachim II (II Kings) - Chapter 8 26Ahaziah was twenty-two years old when he reigned, and one year he reigned in Jerusalem; and his mother's name was Athaliah the daughter of Omri king of Israel. ...
1 vote
3 answers
274 views

Why didn't the Jews of Persia leave after Haman's decree?

After Haman's genocidal edict was sent out to all the people of the Persian kingdom why was there not a mass exodus of Jews to parts of the world not under the dominion of Achashveirosh and his law?
19 votes
5 answers
3k views

Which masechtot don't really have Rashi?

I often hear that the printed "Rashi" commentary in certain masechtot of the Talmud Bavli (first that come to mind are Moed Katan and Nedarim) is not actually written by Rashi. Does anyone have a full ...
15 votes
2 answers
2k views

What happened to the 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, ...
2 votes
0 answers
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רִבּוֹן כָּל הָעוֹלָמִים אֲדוֹן כָּל הַנְּשָׁמוֹת אֲדוֹן הַשָּׁלוֹם - source of this Shabbat prayer

Here is its entry in the open siddur project. The open siddur project demonstrates that the claim that this was composed by Rabbi Joseph of Rashkow, Posen can't be true as it is found in the siddur ...
1 vote
5 answers
820 views

What is the source of hatred perceived by Jews in different parts of the world?

I don't know if this is off topic but a similar question is here at Christianity SE and I thought it would be interesting to ask the corresponding one here. It intrigues me how people from other ...
0 votes
0 answers
48 views

Rosh Chodesh - importance in history?

In the Wikipedia article on Rosh Chodesh it says that historically it had much more importance, why did it change? Do Rabbinic sources or commentators attest to this? Is there evidence during the ...
1 vote
2 answers
123 views

What happened to King Achashverosh?

All the main characters in the story of Purim were either killed, or raised to a level of authority. additionally, it is mentioned in the megillah what happened to them (Vashti was killed, Haman and ...
0 votes
1 answer
227 views

Is there any special mitzvah connected with the upcoming “March for Israel” rally on November 14 at the National Mall in Washington DC?

Upon reflection, the last time there was a potentially world altering convergence of Jews in the United States was for the Freedom Sunday for Soviet Jewry Rally on December 6, 1987. It was estimated ...
9 votes
1 answer
266 views

What is the approximate date of the demarcation between Ashkenazim and Sephardim?

Based on this article it would seem that the transition from a unified people into two groups, Ashkenazim and Sephardim, began in the 9th century and proceeded over time. I would like to know if there ...
0 votes
3 answers
861 views

How to Reconcile if/when the Jewish Day Was to Begin at Sunset?

Question: Are there any historical documents that detail the differences in opinions on when the "Jewish Day" began? (Perhaps between Sadducee and Pharisee/Rabbinic definitions, etc). What the ...
1 vote
0 answers
61 views

Do the Hasideans have a connection to the House of David?

What primary sources have scholars examined to investigate potential genealogical ties between the Hasideans and the house of David or other tribes? Does linguistic analysis of the name "Hasid&...
0 votes
0 answers
49 views

Confused about the layout of this

Joshua 6:12-13 Speaks about the Kohanim, armed men, and rear guard and how they were ordered when they walked with the Aron. Is there a representation of this actually looked, I'm not sure who was in ...
2 votes
1 answer
128 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 ...
2 votes
2 answers
586 views

Seeking copy of Torah in Ktav Ivri (Paleo-Hebrew)

Is there a copy of the Torah in Ktav Ivri (Paleo-Hebrew)? If so, is there a copy online? If not, where might I find it in print?
0 votes
3 answers
329 views

Who built the first Jerusalem wall and when?

Wikipedia says: The city of Jerusalem has been surrounded by walls for its defense since ancient times. In the Middle Bronze Age, a period also known in biblical terms as the era of the Patriarchs, a ...
2 votes
4 answers
282 views

Why were the Bnei Yisrael exiled to Egypt?

I'm not asking why they literally went down (e.g. to look for food). I'm asking, what did they do wrong to deserve it. They were the direct descendants of some of the greatest people in all of history ...
4 votes
1 answer
1k views

Toynbee's description of Jews as a "fossil" -- what was the Orthodox response?

In the 1950s historian Arnold Toynbee made the argument that Jews and Judaism did not fit into any definition of nation, race, or religion. We were not a nation because we lived for centuries without ...
1 vote
1 answer
127 views

Who was/were the leaders during the Asarah Harugei Malchus?

I know that the Asarah Harugei Malchus took place over generations. Nonetheless, who is recognized as being the original antagonist? Who is the one who went to Chazal about the claim about Yosef's ...
2 votes
5 answers
298 views

בָּרוּךְ אֱלֹקֵינוּ שֶׁבְּרָאָֽנוּ לִכְבוֹדוֹ - What is the background of this prayer?

What is the background of this prayer? I'd like to know who composed it, when, if there was any reason that it was composed, and what the intentions of the composer were that we should absorb when ...
1 vote
0 answers
90 views

Slavic People are called K'nan in jewish sources

Why is the slavic languages or people reffered to as Cannanim in Jewish sources? Who is the first to do this? See for instance Minchas Yehuda in Mechokekei Yehuda explaining Rashi on Devarim 3:9 Here. ...
-2 votes
2 answers
212 views

Why do we follow matrilineal descent of Judaism when there's evidence to suggest that it used to be patrilineal? How to resolve the contradiction?

According to the contemporary scholarship, even though modern Orthodox Judaism follows matrilineal descent, there is evidence to suggest that this was a shift that occurred during the second century, ...
3 votes
4 answers
554 views

Modern nations and Umos Haolam

Where can I find a discussion about the roots of modern nations, in the Umos Haolam mentioned in the Torah and Chazal?
2 votes
1 answer
137 views

Sridei Eish changed comment

My rabbi was once reading from a Sridei Eish that discussed dvar Torahs he gave to his kahal in Warsaw on the Parsha every year (which btw where would I find this? I found a Sridei Eish book in my ...
2 votes
2 answers
203 views

Why do we have many teachings from Hillel and Shammai, but very few of earlier zugot?

We venerate our previous generations, and have a principle of yeridat hadorot. Therefore I would imagine that the Torah of Samaya and Avtalyon, for example, would be pure gold for us, and threaded ...
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?
0 votes
1 answer
894 views

Burial traditions and teffilin usage traditions

Was it a Jewish tradition in the First Century to bury a man with donned tefillin? I am asking since I am curious if it was possible that Jesus had donned tefillin before he was crucified, and ...
0 votes
1 answer
80 views

Are there any historical accounts that help give context to the "sinat chinam" at the time of the destruction of the temple?

I would like to know what exactly this sinat chinam looked like. What did they "hate" about each other? I feel like the answer to this would be better if it gave a full picture of the state ...
0 votes
0 answers
57 views

The bracha on Hallel and interruption during the Crusades

The correct bracha on real Hallel (as opposed to Rosh Chodesh and the end of Pesach) is לגמור את ההלל. The Maharam advised people to instead say לקרוא את ההלל because if you say לגמור and then miss a ...
1 vote
1 answer
104 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 ...
3 votes
1 answer
187 views

Eretz Yisrael Esrog (Ordang)

Wikipedia writes, (unsourced) that standard Eretz Yisrael Esrogim are Ordang Esrogim, because virtually all of the Esrogim in Eretz Yisrael were safek murkav (possibly grafted) or produced ...
4 votes
2 answers
1k views

Moses Mendelssohn, permitted to quote him?

Is it permitted to quote Moses Mendelssohn, the father of the Jewish Enlightenment, as a source or reference? Is he considered in jewish lore a heretic? from wikipedia page linked above: In the ...
2 votes
1 answer
129 views

What are the first sources of Tzimtzum

BH What’s the first sources that speak about Tzimtzum? Someone told me that it talks about this in Sefer Yetzirah. If so, where?
8 votes
3 answers
2k views

Seeking Sources on the Russian Decree Regarding Jewish Dress Code

I am currently studying the later version of the Sefer “Daas Moshe VYisroel” and came across an interesting point in Rabbi Binyomin Rabinowitz's approbation letter. It states: "הנה מנהג חבישת פאה ...
1 vote
0 answers
123 views

Who was Adina? (Lavan's wife)

In Sefer Hayashar it says: ויזרע יצחק בארץ ההיא, וימצא בשנה ההיא מאה שערים ויברכו ה׳. ויגדל האיש ויהי לו ובשנת חמישים ושש שנים לחיי יעקב, באו אנשים מחרן ויגידו לרבקה על אודות לבן בן בתואל אחיה. כי ...
8 votes
2 answers
962 views

Idolatrous origin of the name TAMMUZ

The Gemmorah in Jerusalem Rosh Hashana 6a explains the process of adopting the Babylonian names on Months instead of Biblical ones. דא"ר חנינה שמות חדשים עלו בידם מבבל R'Hanina said: the names ...
2 votes
1 answer
195 views

Did the pre-lightbulb era rabbis have light bulbs [duplicate]

I remember hearing a story of how a rabbi had, prior to the discovery of electricity or creation of the light bulb (my memory of this story is vague), access to a light bulb which he used to learn ...
6 votes
3 answers
516 views

How do I know if a midrash is accepted?

I have found many different types of midrashic works. Some are, as far as I can tell, accepted as being authoritative. Meaning they were written (compiled?) by the sages in roughly the Talmudic era. ...
2 votes
1 answer
92 views

Jewish languages

Why haven't Jews had a consistent language throughout history? What was wrong with Lashon Hakodesh (besides for learning the local language)? We adopted Aramaic with a mixture of LHK and local ...
14 votes
7 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 ...
2 votes
0 answers
109 views

When/where/how did weekly "kiddush" become the norm? [duplicate]

At the typical American synagogue -- and most in Europe as well, at this point I think -- it's expected that after the Shabbos morning prayers, there will be "kiddush", but people don't sit ...
1 vote
0 answers
62 views

Evidence for how peyot were 'worn' in ancient times?

Nowadays, peyot are 'worn' by some religious Jews as long extensions on the sides of the head. Often they are stylised into curls/locks. From what I understand, this was popularised by the chassidic ...
2 votes
1 answer
157 views

Menstrual flow of 12 years; any leniencies?

If a woman had a menstrual flow that had not ceased for 12 years, how strictly would the rule of Lev. 15:25-30 be enforced in terms of social separation required for such a woman? Would the law be ...
9 votes
4 answers
491 views

Did any rabbis address the theological possibility/implications of nuclear extinction?

During the Cold War, plenty of people were aware (I think?) that detonating enough nuclear bombs could lead to human extinction. Did any rabbis address whether the belief that Moshiach will come mean ...

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