Questions tagged [history]

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

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How were the “seven good men of the city” appointed?

How were the “seven good men of the city” שבעה טובי העיר appointed? Was there an election and if so who could be candidates?
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For how long was there confusion about the date of a holiday?

The second day of Yom Tov outside of Israel was caused either by the length of time it took messengers to get to far away communities and tell them when the new month was declared or the confusion ...
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Biblical ‘Noah’ & cinematic ‘Noah’

How accurate -or not- is the film ‘Noah’ according to the Jewish traditional version of the events and subjects? (I haven’t seen the film so I can’t offer any analyses.) I’d kindly request that any ...
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Did Amoraim in Bavel study or know of the Talmud Yerushalmi?

The Talmud Yerushalmi was completed while the Amoraim in Bavel were still debating and discussing halachos that would be recorded later on the Talmud Bavli. I'd like to know if we can know or assume ...
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Who organized the Haftarot and when?

If I'm not mistaken, Masechet Megillah mentions a few haftarot, I think, mainly for Yom Tov. I don't recall much mentioned about the weekly Shabbat haftarot. In most Chumashim, I noticed that there ...
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Who originally speculated that the Orchos Tzaddikim's author was a woman?

I recall hearing (as well as saw from this link) that it has been speculated that the author of the Orchos Tzaddikim was a woman. Did someone originally posit this idea, or is it a rumor that has ...
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A dying man designates a disciple to care for his mother — does that carry any legal weight in Judaism?

(I originally asked this question on Christianity.SE, and was redirected here for a better understanding of the Jewish laws and culture.) I’m hoping someone can help me concerning ancient Jewish laws ...
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Origin of the term “pilpul” as a method of Talmudic study

What is the source for referring to the known method of Talmudic study a "pilpul"? When did this usage begin?
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What was so miraculous of the Chanukah war?

In the Canukah "Al Hanisim", it says: "You delivered the mighty into the hands of the weak, the many into the hands of the few, the impure into the hands of the pure, the wicked into the hands of the ...
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At what point does a Jew going against tradition establish a legitimate extension to that tradition?

This question is in reference to tzitzit knots but it can really apply to any Jewish tradition which comes in "flavors" so to speak. Tzitzit are an interesting article because they tend to come in a ...
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Who were the בני ברית מערביים mentioned in the Trumas HaDeshen, and what was their agenda?

The Trumas HaDeshen #88 in chelek 2, seen here discussed going to live in Eretz Yisroel in his times. In his discussion he mentions בני ברית מערביים נחשבים לרשעים גמורים מוסרים מפורסמים והם ...
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When exactly did Rabbi Eliezer ben Hyrcanus die?

In Moed Qatan 27a, a difference of opinion is brought between Rabbi Eliezer and Rabbi Yehoshua as regards the point at which mourners need to overturn their beds. The case is brought of Rabban Gamliel ...
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Looking for info about the issur to marry chassidim

In the early days of the "war" between the misnagdim and the chassidim, some of the leading Rabbis of the misnagdim made some sort of public cherem forbidding marriage to chassidim. Are there any ...
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What is the source for making a “Shabbos Kallah”?

What is the source for making a get-together for a bride and her friends on the Shabbos before the wedding? What is the earliest record of such a minhag in the Jewish community?
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Original Sources of Origin Claims of Hebrew's Pronunciations

I'm interested in finding out where the differences between Sephardic and Ashkenazic pronunciation of Hebrew come from. On wikipedia it says: "Leopold Zunz believed that the Ashkenazi pronunciation ...
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Mesada/masada, are there any torah sources confirming or denying Josephus' version

This documentary seems to give good points to doubt the masada story. Are there any talmudic or later sources regarding this if yes what are they Related. Masada - heroic martyrdom or immoral murder/...
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Book about Rabbis and Zionism

What is a good book which goes into detail about Rabbis (particularly those living in Israel from 1880-1950) and their personal experience with Zionists and the Palestinians? I am particularly ...
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Banei Abir clan of Habbani Yemenite Jewry

There's this video for "ancient tefillin wrapping" that shows a wrapping style utilizing the paleo-hebrew characters. The statement is that this method of wrapping is preserved by the "Banei Abir clan ...
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Why Vilna Sha"s?

If one enters a beit midrash and takes out a masechta of Talmud, one will invariably find that it is typeset following the exact form of the page found in the edition from Vilna. So here are two ...
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Noted instances of Kares and Ariri

Are there any written recordings in any branch of Torah where we find a comment proving someone actually died from Kares/Ariri? Now, of course being a heavenly decree it would be hard to know for ...
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How big is the baalei tshuva movement resulting from the “Art Scroll Revolution”?

Since 1975, Art Scroll Publishing, and its non-profit arm The Mesorah Foundation, have produced Hebrew-English annotated translations of Tanach, the Mishna, the Babylonian Talmud, the Kitzur Shulchan ...
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Does Jacob's Well in present-day Nablus/Shechem have a Jewish tradition associated with it?

There's a well in present-day Shechem (Nablus) called "Jacob's Well." It has an Orthodox Christian church on top of it right now. I was wondering if there is any Jewish tradition that Jacob dug this ...
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Timeline of the frequency of Bedikos

The Talmud states (Mishna, top of Niddah 13a): כל היד המרבה לבדוק בנשים משובחת The more bedikos (checks for menstruation) that a woman does, the better This is brought in the Shulchan Aruch ...
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Chida's statement about shabbat violators

I heard Rabbi Yitzhack Yosef Shelita (Rishon LeTzion and son of Maran HaRav Ovadia Yosef, Z"L) who says that the Chida writes that in all the places that he was never saw a Sephardic Jew that wasn't ...
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Which of the Napoleonic wars had no casualties?

The Chasam Sofer (droshos 8th Tamuz) writes about a war in the year 1809 with no causalities on our side. Can anyone tell us which war this was, and where these details may be recorded?
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Why did they stop packing the gizard, neck and liver inside the chicken cavity?

Why did they stop packing the gizard, neck and liver inside the chicken cavity? I think this practice stopped about 25 years ago. When I was a novice cook, I didn't know that I had to first take out ...
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Earliest use of the word “gematria” to mean the value of words

What's the earliest use of the word "gematria" followed by the use of it to mean the value of the word? I'm aware that in Pirkei Avot the word itself is used, but that is not used in conjunction with ...
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Why was Megillas Taanis written?

In general, oral Torah isn't allowed to be written down (Gittin 60b). For all generations until the Amorayim (at least according to Rashi), that Halacha was kept. Yet, according to Rashi, Megillas ...
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Did Achashverosh rule over the entire Old World?

Megilla 11a says "Three ruled over the world - Achav, Achashverosh and Nebuchadnetzar." It suggests a few other names that weren't on the list and rejects them because they didn't rule over one ...
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The heel of Moshiach?

I have seen quotes from various rabbis, the oldest dating back to the Ari Z"L that state that we are in the ikve d'Moshiach (the heels of the Messiah). Ostensibly that was meant to convey that ...
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How did the modern day Beis Hora'ah phenomenon develop?

Here in Eretz Yisrael, we find Batei Hora'ah in many cities - places where a moreh hora'ah sits either during special times or perhaps the whole day or different rabbonim throughout the day answering ...
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Was Bar Kochva disemboweled?

The gemarah in Gittin, 57a, details a story of "bar d'roma" who performs miraculous feats in defending the Jews before meeting his demise by being disemboweled by a snake (similar to the end of Bar ...
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How old is מדרש ר׳ עקיבא בן יוסף אל אותיות קטנות?

I stumbled on these midrashim, I'm curious as to how old they are...
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What was the first “Siddur” prayer / section?

Outside of Shema and the Amidah, can someone explain the chronology of what sections of the Siddur service as we currently have them were added? E.g. was Psukei Dezimra added first? Blessings before / ...
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Which enemies was Rav Huna running away from?

Yerushalmi, Pesachim 1.1: דאמר רב הונא כד הוינן ערקין באילין בוטיתא דסדרא רבה היו מדליקין עלינו נרות בשעה שהיו כיהים היינו יודעין שהוא יום ובשעה שהיו מבהיקין היינו יודעין שהוא לילה The Talmud ...
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Prayers and blessings in times of the Beis Hamikdosh and earlier?

Were there morning Berachot? Berachot on foods? Did people go to shul every day in the times of the Beis Hamikdosh, or only on Monday and Thursday to hear the Torah reading? (I'm guessing perhaps ...
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“The Torah shall be my profession” or “my faith”?

Following Modeh Ani in the Siddur, some recite a number of sentences (some of which are verses from the Torah): תּורָה צִוָּה לָנוּ משֶׁה מורָשָׁה קְהִלַּת יַעֲקב. שְׁמַע בְּנִי מוּסַר אָבִיךָ ...
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Gaonic correspondence with Kiev

In a lecture here (@ 4:25) the speaker claims that we have responsa from Gaonim sent to Kiev, Ukraine. My hunch is that he is (mistakenly) referring to R. Moshe of Kiev, a contemporary of Rabbeinu ...
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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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Yom Yerushalayim and the seven weeks of sefira

Commentators in many places have discussed the spiritual ascent that is associated with the seven weeks of sefira, from the time an offering of barley (representing animal feed) is brought, right ...
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Do Jewish scholars and/or Rabbis consider myths to be a violation of the second commandment?

Scripture consistently instructs against idols. It is the second of the Ten Commandments: “You shall not make for yourself a carved image, or any likeness of anything that is in heaven above, or ...
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What was a Rabbi Elector in Lithuania?

In doing genealogical research I found records for family members from Lithuania whose profession was listed as "Rabbi Elector". What was this profession? Was it a legitimate part of Judaism, or ...
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Was Kaddish ever said in Hebrew?

The Kaddish that we say is in Aramaic. However the Talmud (Brachos 3a) quotes an excerpt from Kaddish in Hebrew: בשעה שישראל נכנסין לבתי כנסיות ולבתי מדרשות ועונין יהא שמיה* הגדול מבורך (*The ...
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Is the Midrash Chad Shenati available online?

According with this article, Midrash Chad Shenati was discovered in the Cairo Genizah almost a century ago. It is an early medieval midrashic collection most likely of eastern provenance, dating from ...
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How long did King David reign in Jerusalem before he brought the Ark there?

In the book of Samuel 2, Chapter 7 it says: They brought in the Ark of the LORD and set it up in its place inside the tent which David had pitched for it, and David sacrificed burnt offerings and ...
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Is the number of Jews killed during the Babylonian exile according to Gittin literally true?

Since the only authoritative sources of information, in this case, seem to be the Jewish Scriptures, can you help understand them? ... in this valley Nebuzaradan the captain of the guard killed ...
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Final redemption attempt

Elie Wiesel relates in "Souls on Fire" that the Seer of Lublin together with two friends Mendel of Riminov and the Maggid of Kozhenitz "devised a detailed strategy combining their powers to bring ...
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When did the Jewish people knead the dough that they took out of Egypt?

The Jewish people took dough out of Egypt with them. See Shemos 12 (39) which says “They baked the dough that they had taken out of Egypt as unleavened cakes, for it had not leavened, for they ...
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Why do we refer to Chazal as a monolithic group?

In discussions of Torah, halacha, etc., people often say, "According to Chazal..." as though all the thousands of rabbis of an 800-year period spoke with one voice. But you almost never hear people ...
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How was Rosh Chodesh “observed” in Temple times?

Before there was a standardized calendar, and after the date of Rosh Chodesh could no longer be communicated by fires, when the sanctification of the new moon had to be transmitted over distances, was ...