Questions tagged [history]

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

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2
votes
2answers
162 views

Was Pinchas born in Egypt?

I'm a little confused about the chronology of the Biblical giants Caleb and Pinchas. Caleb appears to have been part of the Exodus generation, and with Joshua, their defense of the Land of Israel ...
16
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2answers
462 views

Were there any sages who supported the Zealots during the seige of Jerusalem?

In Gittin 56a-b, we read how the sages warned the Zealots (a.k.a. the Biryonim) to not wage war with the Romans who were holding Jerusalem under seige, but that the Biryonim set fire to the store ...
3
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0answers
103 views

Chronological order of parshiyot in Sefer Vayikra

I am trying to figure out when several parshiyos in Vayikra were said by Moshe to bnei yisroel. For example, the parshiyos of Tazria and Metzora - when did Moshe teach them? In במדבר פרק ה Hashem ...
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2answers
2k views

Historically, were women trained for obligatory wars? Or did they serve some other military function?

Sotah 8:7 says that for obligatory wars all go out to fight, "even a bridegroom from his chamber and a bride from her canopy". Historically, was this in fact our practice? Did women participate in ...
8
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2answers
241 views

What financial arrangement did Rambam have with his jeweler brother?

I was taught in yeshiva that as a young man, Rambam just studied Torah and was supported by his brother, who was a jewel merchant. Then his brother died at sea, so Rambam became a physician. Some ...
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5answers
145 views

Any recommendation for educational Chanukah video?

I am looking for video clips about the Chanukah story that my kids - seven to ten years old - can watch. I thought there would be many, but it's not easy to find any good one. I prefer video in Hebrew,...
5
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2answers
269 views

Why was Judah/Yehuda the tribe that endured?

My basic question is: Are there any reasons or hints in the Torah that explain or hint that Judah/Yehudah would be the tribe that was not lost? Yes, I know that parts of Benjamin survived as well, ...
6
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0answers
52 views

What would the status of the “Book of the Wars of God” be today?

The Torah makes reference to a Book of the Wars of God (Bamidbar 21:10-16). According to most opinions this was an actual written work which has been lost over time. It is not clear (at least to me) ...
2
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0answers
44 views

Where does Flavius Josephus gets his description of historical events about the Patriarchs

Josephus lived in the 1st century and would accurately report the history in that time period. However he does report about the activities of the Patriarchs. These stories are found in the Jewish ...
14
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2answers
247 views

How is the story of the Torah being given told in the Torah itself?

How was the Torah (aka the Five Books of Moses) given if the story of the Torah being given is contained in these books? In other words, the Torah tells the story - close to halfway through it - of ...
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34 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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1answer
43 views

Any suggestions for documentaries/videos related to the stories of the sages?

I was curious if anyone would know of some good video resources related to learning about the various Jewish sages of our history. They can be biographical or they can be related to the philosophies ...
4
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6answers
322 views

Can Chazal be wrong? [duplicate]

I understand that a later ruling can't contradict an earlier one, but does that mean that Chazal are infallible, the way Catholics believe the Pope is infallible? And if so, where's the line? Who was ...
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0answers
70 views

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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2answers
283 views

Where does the custom of the “tossing of the sandal” in Ruth come from? Why/How does it come to symbolize a successful business transaction?

Everybody loves a good Levirate Marriage story. Personally, I prefer the Ruth story over Tamar's (though that's interesting as well). But I have questions regarding the "sandal tossing" custom found ...
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72 views

(How) did the South African rabbinate deal with non-white conversion candidates during apartheid?

As I understand it, during apartheid, the South African government treated the Jews as "white." Did it ever happen that someone in a different racial group expressed interest in converting to Judaism ...
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4answers
203 views

Are there books and / or online sources that discuss how the Talmud was compiled?

There are a few aspects of the Talmud that I'm curious about: Someone compiled it. My history knowledge is poor. I understand that Rabbi Yehuda compiled the Mishna. I'm not sure who compiled the ...
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37 views

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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41 views

Does the Talmud discuss “Solomon's Pools”

I recall visiting Solomon's Pools, located a bit south of Bethlehem, years ago, before it became "Area A". Wikipedia says: The water system based on Solomon's Pools has provided water to ...
6
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1answer
112 views

Gender and “Seeding” - Just Torah-Derived or Common Belief?

Niddah 31a writes (Davidson Edition translation): אמר רבי יצחק אמר רבי אמי אשה מזרעת תחילה יולדת זכר איש מזריע תחילה יולדת נקבה שנאמר (ויקרא יב, ב) אשה כי תזריע וילדה זכר Rabbi Yitzḥak says ...
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32 views

Can a jew own a slave? [duplicate]

If yes, I am interested to know who can be a slave and is there a specific way to enter into this arrangement. If the answer is no, why and how did this come into effect.
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1answer
68 views

What are the 35 cardinal principles enumerated by Jedaiah Penini in the last chapter of his Behinat ha-Dat?

Others, like Crescas and David ben Samuel Estella, spoke of seven fundamental articles, laying stress on free-will. On the other hand, David ben Yom-Tob ibn Bilia, in his "Yesodot ha- Maskil" (...
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22 views

Suppose you hear a commandment how do you know it’s God and not your own mind, or Satan? [duplicate]

Considering God asked Abraham to kill his son, it seems difficult to differentiate the word of God from that of Satan, how is one to know from whom a commandment is given? Is there a way to ...
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38 views

Which of the 9 Parah Adumahs that have existed was from Dama ben Nesina?

Kiddushin 31a teaches us the famous story of Dama ben Nesina, ie a gentile who refused to sell the Chachamim a precious stone for the ephod since doing so would wake up his father. The gemara ...
3
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1answer
119 views

Rem"a on Socrates being Achitophel's disciple

Rama mentions that Achitophel was a teacher of Socrates, as per the Moses Isserles, Torat ha-Olah 1:11): "Socrates was said to have been his disciple" I'm not lucidly fluent in Hebrew, but here's ...
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2answers
176 views

What does the Canonization of Tanach mean?

Following "did-the-men-of-the-great-assembly-canonize-tanach" (please read for all the related sources): To recap: before the canonization there were many man-made books, incl. Meggilot, Nevi'im, ...
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3answers
418 views

When and why did the custom that a Nidda hides from the public that she is a Nidda start

I understand that in the past it was not hidden from the public that a Nidda was a Nidda, as they wore special clothing. As we see the רע"ב's explanation in the Mishna in Kethubot 7:6 ...
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1answer
103 views

Fasting to increase chances of getting prayer answered

It used to be that rabbis made the community fast to increase their chances of getting their prayers answered. This was done particularly if rain was late in coming. (The first thing God promises if ...
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2answers
121 views

Origin of the name TAMMUZ

Tammuz seems to be the name of a deity or connected to idolatry. How is it that it became the name of a Jewish month given the prohibition of וְשֵׁ֨ם אֱלֹהִ֤ים אֲחֵרִים֙ לֹ֣א תַזְכִּ֔ירוּ לֹ֥א ...
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0answers
38 views

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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3answers
135 views

Significance of 3 Teveis in Judaism [closed]

Is the 3nd day of the Month of Teveis significant in Judaism? Looking for answers as to what characteristics (historical, numerological or otherwise) that is commemorated by or significant to Judaism ...
4
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2answers
307 views

Why would the Belzer Rebbe usually shake hands with a towel wrapped around his hand?

Jewish Educational Media publishes a series of videos about the Lubavitcher Rebbe. The series is called Living Torah. Disc 34, Program 135, contains an interview with Rabbi Chatzkel Besser, [about ...
3
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1answer
867 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 ...
3
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5answers
995 views

Why do we count years from the date of Creation?

Why do we count years from the date of Creation? I intend two sub-questions here, of which the second is far more interesting, so please answer it: Whence did this tradition originate? Why do we ...
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0answers
26 views

Was there always a beracha for Shabbat candles? [duplicate]

The wikipedia entry for Shabbat Candles says that: The first record of the complete text of the blessing is from the Siddur of Rav Amram, written by Amram Gaon in the 9th century. He then ...
2
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2answers
107 views

In modern Judaism, do they still make Menorah Stamps for the purpose of Marking Kosher Bread?

I just found this article, and I thought it was cool: https://www.livescience.com/17821-kosher-bread-stamp-discovered.html. The link says that during the Byzantine Era in Horbat Uza, Jewish bakers of ...
2
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1answer
142 views

Is the author of the Shu“t HaRidvaz the same one as the one known to be the rebbe of the Ariza”l?

I've heard that the Ariza"l was a talmid of the Ridvaz. I am wondering if it is the same person who authored the Shu"t HaRidvaz as I find that interesting since he seems to be someone that devoted his ...
2
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1answer
225 views

Is there any mention from our sages of blessed memory of Alexander The Great building a big metal wall in Central Asia to keep Gog and Magog at bay?

Is there anything that our Sages, of blessed memory, say about Alexander the Great building a big metal wall in Central Asia to prevent Gog and Magog from invading the greater part of the world? The ...
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2answers
293 views

Where are the lost tribes?

Are they spread all round the nations? If so, how will they still be Jewish, surely they will have assimilated so many generations later? Or are they spread within the Jewish nation? I learnt in the ...
6
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2answers
441 views

What did people say in Shemoneh Esrei and Kiddush of Shavuos when it didn't fall out on the 6th of Sivan?

During Shemoneh Esrei and Kiddush of Shavuos, we describe the Yom Tov as "this day of the holiday of Shavuos, the time of giving our Torah" (יום חג השבועות הזה זמן מתן תורתינו). Before we had a fixed ...
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4answers
1k 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 ...
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2answers
2k views

Is this the Chofetz Chaim? [closed]

What is the story behind this picture being known as the image of the great Rabbi Yisrael Meir Kagan(Chafetz Chaim)? Is it him in fact? Where does it come from? The only true picture (that I am aware ...
30
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9answers
2k views

Avot keeping Mitzvot

How are we to understand the tradition that the patriarchs kept all of the mitzvot in the Torah (see for example: the last mishna in Kiddushin (4:14), Rashi on Bereshit 32:5, etc.) in light of the ...
5
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1answer
67 views

Ideas for discovering the history of benchers

I'm thinking of making a "bencher museum". I'd like to gather some ideas from our readership for this project. I have a selection of old benchers from the 60's as well as a larger assortment of more ...
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0answers
45 views

Were Jews always Monotheistic? [duplicate]

I was watching a debate where a Mormon claimed to a Christian that early Jews believed that other gods existed besides YHWH, but they only had a covenant with a single god (YHWH). He never got a ...
14
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7answers
11k 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 ...
2
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1answer
274 views

Why is Abraham considered the “Founder of Judaism”?

Why is Abraham called 'the founder of Judaism' given that he didn't write its founding legislation, which is what 'founders' of other religions did (for example, Paul and Muhammed)? What place does ...
2
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0answers
27 views

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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2answers
261 views

One Gemara cites another — evidence of the order in which Shas was compiled?

Gemara Tamid notes (on daf 27b) that a certain Braisa appears in Yoma, in Perek Ba Lo Kohen Gadol. This citation is correct; Artscroll notes (Tamid 27b3 #27) that more specifically the Braisa appears ...
6
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2answers
134 views

Did the Rambam or the Ramban correspond with Tosafists?

The Rambam and the Ramban lived 1 to 2 hundred years after Rashi, so they must have been contemporaries of at least some of the Baalei Tosfos. Is there any record of written correspondence between ...