Questions tagged [history]

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

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11
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1answer
153 views

The beginning of public charity

In the Torah, charity is a private matter. Each person has an obligation to help the poor in various ways, for example, by leaving some wheat on the ground, leaving some fruits on the trees, giving ...
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2answers
491 views

How do we determine the nature of the reign of the kings when the numbers don't seem to add up?

In the book of 2 Kings, the kingdoms of Judah and Israel were separate. In Amaziah's (Judah) 15th year, Jeroboam (Israel) began to reign. In Jeroboam's (Israel) 27th year, Azariah (Judah) began to ...
8
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1answer
249 views

Is fighting in a non-Jewish army against another army with Jews as well permissible?

Let me explain. This is something that actually happened, in World War One; Jews volunteered to fight with the Entente and many Jews volunteered on the Central Powers. Some could have served on the ...
8
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0answers
115 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 ...
8
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2answers
1k 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, ...
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260 views

Was the Chasam Sofer known for having an interesting way of learning?

I have a lot of experience learning Gemara and find myself oft dealing with the views of the Achronim to understand the Pshat in Rishonim. Unfortunately, I have inside me a slight aversion to the ...
8
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1answer
305 views

Would suicide be considered acceptable if it was done to prevent yourself being sacrificed to an idol deity?

This is an oddly specific question but the thought came to me and I wanted to know what your opinions on it would be. Historically speaking, human sacrifice was a regular occurrence in various pagan ...
8
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1answer
146 views

Composed with the desire of our Father in heaven

Both the sefer Ohr Sameach and Meshech Chochmah, written by Rav Meir Simcha of Dvinsk, have on their title page the words חובר ברצון אבינו שבשמים (See http://www.hebrewbooks.org/pdfpager.aspx?req=...
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85 views

poetical works authored by women?

Are there any examples of songs, poems, piyyutim or kinnot from the time of the first temple until the 1700's (c.e.) which were authored by women and were adopted by traditional/orthodox communities. ...
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177 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 ...
7
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0answers
104 views

Who added the sixth chapter of Avot?

The tractate Avot consists of five chapters. At some point, a sixth chapter was "added". This sixth chapter is an adaptation from the eighth (or sixth, depending on edition) chapter of the 'minor' ...
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133 views

Did Dovid hamelech write music?

Do we have any music notes or tunes attributed to him? On the same note, do we have any music or songs attributed to biblical times? If not, why is that? EDIT: do we know any tunes or songs even ...
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170 views

Why are "Chiddushei" seforim rarely cited in the Nosi Keilim?

I noticed that when quoting Rishonim, Beis Yosef/Nosei Keilim tend to focus on Poskim (Rif (and main commentary)/Rosh/Rambam, Mordechai, Teruma, Rabbeinu Yerucham, etc.) and responsa. Very rarely do ...
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186 views

Early descriptions of the Foundation Stone

I am looking for early descriptions of the "Foundation Stone" (אבן שתיה) -- the huge flat rock now enclosed by the "Dome of the Rock," and believed by many Jewish scholars to have been the site of the ...
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222 views

Halachic opinions on tefillin peshutim

I was discussing the subject of tefillin with my father motzei-Shabbat and particular, the battim (leather boxes that contain the parshiyot, or parchment scrolls). We ended up wondering what the mid-...
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255 views

Source for Jewish Chapter breaks in Tanach

I know that the chapter divisions are a Christian invention, and therefore don't exist in very old Jewish sources (Aleppo Codex, Leningrad Codex, dead sea scrolls, etc.). However our divisions don't ...
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303 views

Identification of Censored Areas of Talmud

Unfortunately, the Talmud and other writings have been subject to censorship since their completion. These alterations seem still to be present in many modern editions of the Talmud. How ...
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660 views

The Torah scrolls written by Jewish kings

The Torah commanded Jewish kings to write their own Torah scroll from a master in the possession of the Levites, and to read it every day of their life so that they should not become haughty and so ...
7
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1answer
160 views

Why no halachos in the Babylonian Talmud like in the Jerusalem Talmud?

Most Jewish texts have a easy way to pin down a citation. Some are numbered. For example, Rambam and Y'rushalmi and Tosefta have chapter and halacha. Some of these have different numberings in ...
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63 views

When did idolatry begin, post-flood?

Related. Rambam famously describes how idolatry began in the days of Enosh (Hil. Avodah Zara 1:1-2) and finishes off by writing: "but the Rock of Ages not a man was there to recognize Him or ...
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136 views

Gedolim on Spanish Flu

Did the Gedolim of the time during whcih the Spanish Flu was spreading (and killed anywhere from 17 million to 50 million people) comment on it and provide any halachic guidance on whether to permit ...
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76 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) ...
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116 views

When did a Jew last marry a woman captured in war?

What is the last recorded case of a Jew marrying a woman captured in war, as allowed by the Torah [Deut. 21:10-14]? Anybody more recent than King David, as mentioned in Sanhedrin 21a and Kiddushin ...
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131 views

Can we use archaeology to determine halacha or mesorah?

Can archaeology be used to determine the proper halacha or mesorah in certain cases? For instance, what if we found a Sefer Torah from the times of Moshe Rabbeinu and it differed from our mesorah. ...
6
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0answers
81 views

What kind of flute was used in the temple, according to the mishna?

In Mishna there are several mentions of the use of flute, there were used at the time of the Bet Mikdash, see below a few examples. I am interested to know if we have some knowledge about the type of ...
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108 views

Unknown La'az in Teshuvot Rashi

In the Elfenbein (1943) edition of Teshuvot Rashi, in the teshuvot from Rashi to the rabbis of Auxerre ('סימן ג), Rashi writes "לשון דמות צלם" is "אאמיינדליי" in la'az. Elfenbein writes in his ...
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92 views

How did R' Yaakov Risher arrive at the exact number of responsa that he published?

Volume 1 and 3 of Shvus Yaakov have 182 responsa in each, corresponding to the numerical value of the author's name, Yaakov. Volume 2 has 188 responsa. After responsum 182 of volume 2, the author ...
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215 views

Use of speaking "Baruch HaShem" in 1492 Spain

I am writing a play that takes place during the Spanish Inquisition. A Rabbi is walking home from the King's court and his belongings are tossed to the ground by hooligans. A young Spanish girl picks ...
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192 views

Who came up with this story?

It says in Mekor Baruch (of Rabbi Baruch Epstein) The Rosh Yeshiva of Volozhin, the Netziv, was once sitting down surrounded by several high-caliber students – avrechim versed in Torah, wise, and ...
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385 views

Order of Masechtos in Seder Moed

According to the standard Shas print (Vilna Bavli), the order of Masechtas is Pesachim-Shekalim-Rosh Hashana-Yoma-Sukka-Beitza. This makes (some) sense as this is the order of holidays. However, the ...
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344 views

List of oppressors of the Jewish people

We say in the V'hi She'amda passage of the Pesach Hagaddah that in each and every generation there have been those who rose up against us to destroy us, but Hashem saves us from their designs. Is this ...
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257 views

Source for not referring to Chanuka lights as a "menora"

Following up on this question about the use of the words "menora" or "chanukiya" to refer to Chanuka lights: I find it interesting that the use of "chanukiya," popularized in 1897 through a secular ...
6
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1answer
215 views

How was Chanukah celebrated at the Beis HaMikdash?

In the centuries between the Maccabean Revolt and the destruction of the Bayis Sheni, how was Chanukah commemorated at the Beis HaMikdash (other than the addition of prayers like Al Hanisim)? Since ...
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74 views

Why Syrian Idolatresses okay but Canaanite not?

Why was Abraham, and later Isaac and Rebecca, dead set against their sons, Isaac, Jacob and Esau, respectively, marrying idolatrous Canaanite and Hittite women, but perfectly okay with them marrying ...
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0answers
54 views

How many fled to the Cities of Refuge?

Do we know how many people (accidental murderers) took advantage of the Cities of Refuge (Deuteronomy 4:41-43)? Perhaps the size of the cities would put an upper limit on that number, so do we know ...
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0answers
63 views

What prompted the absent-Sanhedrin-head decree in Rosh Hashana 4:4?

R' Yochanan ben Zakai, in leading the Jewish people during and immediately after the Destruction of the Second Temple, issued many decrees aimed at responding to the new post-Temple reality and ...
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0answers
59 views

Simanim in the Rosh

In the Rosh's work found at the back of most gemaras, his halachos are split up into simanim (sections). I am wondering whether we can make inferences from how the simanim are split up and hence want ...
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0answers
97 views

When did the use of Ba'alei Kri'ah (Torah readers) begin?

I'm asking this question for my friend, "Rabbi Ed" who emailed me this morning... He wants to know when the use of Torah readers (i.e., a designated person who reads the parsha from the Torah) began. ...
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0answers
196 views

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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0answers
292 views

The Mekor Baruch's intructions of making gold from copper

Rav Epstein in his Mekor Baruch 3:19:6 brings a story about him and a maggid. The maggid was looking for a certain sefer which instructs one how to make gold from copper. The Mekor Baruch (who had the ...
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121 views

Historical Division of the Neviim

It is my understanding that the Neviim has two major divisions: the Former Prophets (Nevi'im Rishonim נביאים ראשונים, the narrative books of Joshua, Judges, Samuel and Kings) and the Latter ...
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101 views

Has completing the entire Talmud ever been a tenet of Rabbinical Ordination?

Has there ever been a requirement in any Rabbinical program to finish the entire Talmud, not just select mesechtas + related halachos?
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263 views

Holidays south of the equator

When Jews first started establishing communities south of the equator, they must have noticed that the holidays fell completely at the wrong times of the year. (For example, Pesach, referred to as hag ...
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0answers
140 views

Are there communities that follow the Rambam?

At one point, many Sefardic communities followed the Mishneh Torah. As time went on, it seems that the sefardim accepted the Beit Yosef. Besides for Yemenites, were there any communities that, until ...
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0answers
388 views

Did Rashi wear a yarmulke?

Tractate Sofrim (14:14) records two opinions that concern the wearing of a head covering during the Shema: there are those who say that it is not necessary, and there are those who say that it is ...
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0answers
68 views

Why did הַר הַזֵּיתִים become a place of burial

I am wondering if there was any particular reason that הַר הַזֵּיתִים was chosen to become a place of burial. Is there?
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86 views

Do the current nations also have their own angels like the 70 from in the Torah?

Do the current nations (in 2021) also each have their own angel, like the 70 nations mentioned in the Torah?
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48 views

יר"ה honorific for a king in Mishnah Berurah -- a reference to a specific monarch?

In סימן דש, סקכ"ו the Mishnah Berurah says as follows: במקום שהמלך יר"ה גזר שאין שום אדם... My edition of Mishnah Berurah the acronym is expanded as: "יָרוּם הוֹדוֹ", which I believe means May his ...
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0answers
135 views

History of separating milk and meat dishes

What are the origins of having separate milk and meat dishes? It seems to be a generally accepted practice, and there are many Acharonim that talk about it. Where was the idea first introduced and how ...
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0answers
429 views

Timeline of the 10 plagues in exodus?

Do we have a chronological timeline (with years) of the 10 plagues? I'm trying to recreate a full timeline of the הגדה של פסח for the upcoming holiday, going from the arrival of Jacob and his family ...

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