Questions tagged [history]

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

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Moreh Makom or Mar'eh Makom

A Torah source is often referred to as a M"M, which I have heard read as both מורה מקום, Moreh Makom and מראה מקום, Mar'eh Makom, (see here for example) which have similar meanings, and mean something ...
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Online Depictions of the Colorful Second Temple

Are there any artistic depictions, available online, of the multicolored appearance of the Second Temple, based on archaeological finds (see, e.g., here), or, e.g., the depiction of the blue/green and ...
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What was a rabbinic מעיל משי?

In the book מנהגים דק"ק וורמיישא, one of the first simonim notes that the rov and chazzan in Worms should wear a Seidenmantel (He: מעיל משי), which the notes explain was rabbinical garb in those days. ...
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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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107 views

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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218 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....
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Evidence for pre-Greek Jewish currency?

The Torah is full with money statements - such as acquisitions, donations, fines and payments, presenting different names and values for money - such as Shekel, Sela, Kesef, Ksitah and more. But the ...
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Whose side Rachel and Leah were on?

According to Ariz"l and his followers, the sequence of Yaacov's marriages (Rachel first and then Leah) was of a great importance, dealing with the Seider of the Geulah, Moshiachs etc. Lavan planned to ...
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58 views

Spiritual Causes For The Black Death?

From Wiki “The Black Death was one of the most devastating pandemics in human history, resulting in the deaths of an estimated 75 to 200 million people in Eurasia and peaking in Europe in the years ...
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86 views

What was the primary motive for using a chazzan who is musically skilled?

O.C. 53:4 says that one of the requirements for a "proper" shaliach tzibbur (shat"z) is that he have a "pleasant voice". (There are other qualities included.) 53:5 states that if one cannot find all ...
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151 views

Why no manuscripts of Talmud survive in the Arab lands?

http://halakhah.com/talmud/nezikin_h.html: ...Munich manuscript which covers the whole Talmud and dates from the year 1334. Alas, that that is the only complete manuscript of the Talmud in ...
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Kosher New World Animals

When Jews first set foot on new-to-them continents (AKA: North America, South America, and Australia), they would have found many animals that were previously unknown to them. Some of these new ...
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73 views

When Tosfos refer to “Tosfos”, who do they mean?

According to Wikipedia, the Tosfos to Moed Qatan were written by a student to a certain Rabbi Yitzhak. Do we know anything about who he was or where he lived? Specifically, to whom is he referring in ...
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Baal HaTanya making kidush and a kvart of vodka

I was told of a story about the Alter Rebbe in which once he did not have wine and cups during Shabbos day, and so he made kiddush on a quart of vodka. What is the full story? Please give the most ...
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220 views

The Arizal and Shovavim

This week begins the six week period of Shovavim, a time period that the Arizal wrote is an auspicious time to work on oneself, especially in the areas of sexual transgressions. I have two questions: ...
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224 views

How literally are we supposed to read the book of Bereshit/Genesis?

Especially with regard to the family of Abraham. Is there any extra-Biblical historical evidence of a paternal link between the Ishmaelite, Edomite and Keturan tribes and the 12 tribes of Israel? Is ...
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58 views

When was the Beith Hamiqdash hasheni fully completed?

What year was the second Beith Hamiqdash fully completed? Can any one of you answer back with both Hebrew and Secular dates?
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Questioning who is the real Achashverosh

So I am doing very much research and I am trying to find out the REAL Achashverosh, so far, there are several possible rulers of Persia that could be the real Achashverosh Can anyone of you guys ...
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The story of the Minim and Boethusians; trying to fix the festival of Shavuot on Sunday

I've found different sources like the Mishnah, Babylonian Talmud (tractate Rosh HaShanah), Jerusalem Talmud, Tosefta etc., talking about the Minim and the Boethusians who wanted to fix the festival of ...
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What subjects did talmud censoring involve and how far back does it go?

I'm aware of censoring of the name Yeshu, in the soncino printing of the talmud where they replaced it with "sinners of israel" in Gittin 57a. I'm interested what other subjects or names were ...
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86 views

What happened to the Mugmar?

In Brochos Perek 6, Mishna 6 the Mugmar is mentioned in the context of who makes the Brocha for it. Commentaries explain that it is some sort of incense that was smelled after a meal. It would ...
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Pairs of the Ramchal's works

Machon Ofek has published the Ramchal's Mesillas Yesharim (MY) as well as what they call The Mesillas Yesharim- Seder Vikuach which is essentially the same as the commonly known MY but in dialogue ...
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Are there Jewish sources regarding this degradation of the Jews of Prague

Are there Jewish sources regarding this degradation of the Jews of Prague? (Allowing it, protesting it (they should have been killed and not do it)) From https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/...
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When did it become common to engrave tombstones?

I'm going to "link" this question to something in this week's parsha (Torah reading): Genesis 35:20: וַיַּצֵּ֧ב יַעֲקֹ֛ב מַצֵּבָ֖ה עַל־קְבֻרָתָ֑הּ הִ֛וא מַצֶּ֥בֶת קְבֻֽרַת־רָחֵ֖ל עַד־הַיּֽוֹם׃ ...
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Who put the parentheses in the Gemara, when, and for what reason(s)?

From time to time there are parentheses in the gemara (e.g., Taanis 17b). Who put the parentheses there, when, and for what reason(s)?
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Death Penalty for Desecrating God's Name?

In light of some of the recent embarrassing criminal incidents involving visibly religious Jews in the United States, it made me think of something I had read once ( or vaguely remember reading ) that ...
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What kind of publicity was required for Smicha?

There's a story in Sanhedrin 14a: שפעם אחת גזרה מלכות הרשעה גזירה על ישראל שכל הסומך יהרג וכל הנסמך יהרג ועיר שסומכין בה תיחרב ותחומין שסומכין בהן יעקרו מה עשה יהודה בן בבא הלך וישב לו בין שני הרים ...
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Greeks' gas lamps

I once heard that there is a source that says the Greeks invented gas lamps or some sort of street lights which enabled the Jews to roam the streets at night and not be with their families. The plan ...
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139 views

Ibn Ezra vs. Hachamim in Regards to Piyyutim

In Kohelet 5:1 (Al Tibahel), Ibn Ezra has a lengthy, harsh critique of R. Eliezer HaKalir and other Paytanim for their poetry's components (in short: flowery language, the use of allegory/metaphor/...
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177 views

What are the Jewish months exactly?

I am aware that the names of the months are derived almost directly from the Babylonian calendar and that the Chumash itself never mentions a month by name and instead refers to it by number. Later on ...
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49 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 ...
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Torah based on Mesopotamian (and other) sources

A lot of parallels that can be found between the earliest docoments of the Torah/Tenach and the Sumerian/Babylonian/Akkadian religions in Mesopotamia. This lead some to believe that the Torah was ...
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Origin of Chag Hasemikhah

I had thought that having a Chag Hasemikhah for new musmachim was a RIETS/ YU thing, but recently learned that many other Yeshivot also have a Chag Hasemikhah (for example, see: Landers, Chabad, ...
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When did they stop offering the korban during the Roman siege

Sheva asar betammuz commemorates the end of the korban tamid (ערכין י"א ע"ב), but is it during the first temple? When did they stop in the second temple?
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How was Shnayim mikra ve-echad targum done before printing?

The source for Shnayim mikra ve-echad targum is the Gemara in Tractate Berakhot 8a: אמר רב הונא בר יהודה אמר רבי אמי "לעולם ישלים אדם פרשיותיו עם הצבור שנים מקרא ואחד תרגום Rav Huna bar Yehuda says ...
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Searching a text about story of chasididus

Somone knows where can I found this text online for free, the whole text or some parts of it: Samuel C. Heilman, Who Will Lead Us?: The Story of Five Hasidic Dynasties in America. University of ...
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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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Sefer haKabbalah: How long did Jehoshaphat reign?

In the book of Melachim Alef 22:42 it says: Jehoshaphat was thirty and five years old when he began to reign; and he reigned twenty and five years in Jerusalem. Seder Olam (see here) agrees with ...
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427 views

History of Braided Havdalah Candle

What is the history of the braided havdalah candle? Most of the sources I've found speak from an Ashkenazi perspective who usually used candles instead of oil for all lighting purposes. So is it an ...
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154 views

What school of thought did the Jews of Mecca (or Bakkah) follow?

Inspired by Islamic studies, I came to wonder about the Jewish community in Mecca (Bakkah) in the time of Muhammad. What "school of thought" did the Jews of Mecca (or Bakkah) follow that time? Did ...
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58 views

What powers and responsibilities do wives of Jewish kings have in relation to the public?

It is known that a Jewish king has to be male, as quoted by an answer to this question. What halachik powers did the queen (i.e. wife of the king) have within the kingdom? Also, what historical ...
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How would the Shekinah Glory be described in contemporary english?

Was the Shekinah really a cloud? I know it shaded the people, but did it produce rain? Is it thought of as a cloud because that was the only word to describe what the people saw? The two passages ...
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Akeidah and Ketoret

The earliest siddur I own (London, 5569 [18808-09]) does not include Ketoret or Akeidah, despite purporting to follow the customs of the "German and Polish" communities [emphasis mine]. Since most of ...
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151 views

Origin of Mystical Theology

Are there some Kabbalistic concepts that are studied today in Jewish circles that originate from Christianity /Christian theology? Has there been any study of the relationship between the two, and ...
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232 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 ...
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73 views

Dialogue Between Jews And Persians In Jewish Tradition

I always wonder what people refer to when they quote things spoken between the Jews and the Persians. Does ancient Jewish doctrine include instances of dialogue between the Jews and the Persians?
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Self Fulfilling Prophecy

Have there been any incidences of individuals or groups that have purposely triggered events, self fulfilling prophecy if you will, as a result of their belief that Moshiach has arrived? For example, ...
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What is the relationship between Mecca, Saudi Arabia and the Capital city of Mitzrayim?

It surely has not been lost on anyone that in this year, 5779 (2019), for this parsha, parshat Bo, the parsha which mentions the plague of 4 varieties of the single species of locusts which were ...
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Why the Torah says that the surrounding nations were far more numerous than Israel?

"כִּי תֹאמַר בִּלְבָבְךָ רַבִּים הַגּוֹיִם הָאֵלֶּה מִמֶּנִּי אֵיכָה אוּכַל לְהוֹרִישָׁם׃" Should you say to yourselves, “These nations are more numerous than we; how can we dispossess them?” (...
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Why do we use the term “Jew” or “Jewish” when referencing people in the Torah/Chumash passages?

Why do we use the term "Jew" or "Jewish" when referencing people in the Torah/Chumash passages? In the Torah (the Chumash), the "children of Israel" are called just that "בני ישראל" or Israelite. ...