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Questions tagged [history]

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

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14
votes
4answers
329 views

On what social issues were the rabbis ahead of their times?

On what social issues were the rabbis (Chazal and rishonim) ahead of their times? That is, which social/political matters subject to wide agreement today were shared by Chazal before these views ...
2
votes
1answer
78 views

Can a village / shtetl rabbi require the merchants to close their shops for a funeral?

I'm trying to help a co-worker decipher some history about his great grandfather. He showed me a picture of a poster - notice written in Hebrew that announced the funeral of his great grandfather. In ...
2
votes
2answers
167 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 ...
3
votes
0answers
108 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 ...
13
votes
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
votes
2answers
243 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 ...
5
votes
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
votes
2answers
277 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, ...
5
votes
0answers
59 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
52 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
votes
2answers
249 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 ...
1
vote
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
votes
6answers
333 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 ...
0
votes
0answers
76 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 ...
1
vote
2answers
312 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 ...
8
votes
0answers
78 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 ...
7
votes
4answers
206 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 ...
0
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0answers
40 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, ...
3
votes
0answers
42 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 ...
0
votes
0answers
33 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.
2
votes
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" (...
1
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0answers
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 ...
3
votes
0answers
42 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
votes
1answer
121 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 ...
1
vote
2answers
180 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, ...
8
votes
3answers
425 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 ...
4
votes
1answer
109 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 ...
0
votes
0answers
41 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?
1
vote
3answers
136 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
votes
2answers
319 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
votes
1answer
883 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
votes
5answers
1k 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 ...
1
vote
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
votes
2answers
111 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
votes
1answer
144 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 ...
15
votes
2answers
302 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
votes
2answers
442 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 ...
14
votes
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 ...
20
votes
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
votes
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
votes
1answer
69 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 ...
0
votes
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 ...
2
votes
1answer
277 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
votes
0answers
31 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...
11
votes
2answers
263 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
votes
2answers
141 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 ...
8
votes
4answers
623 views

Source of Ramban's famous debate

Where can one find the 'disputation of Barcelona' between Pablo Cristiani and the Ramban?
7
votes
4answers
1k views

When the Torah was almost lost and one (or several) Rabbis saved it?

I heard several times from numerous sources, that there were times in history (during the 1st and the 2nd Temples) when the Torah (incl. Oral) was almost completely lost and just one Rabbi (or a ...
29
votes
9answers
4k views

Why don't Jews think Jesus is the messiah?

Christians say that Jesus is the Messiah spoken of in the Old Testament; Jews disagree. Why couldn't Jesus be the Messiah spoken of? Or could he possibly have been?
35
votes
10answers
3k 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, ...