Questions tagged [history]

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

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3answers
251 views

Could Jesus have been a Rabbi?

Jesus was called a Rabbi during a time in history when being a Rabbi really meant something. He lived during the time of semicha, and his responses are often Rabbinic in nature. And so this begs the ...
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25 views

Why aren't people named after the rabbis from the Talmud? [duplicate]

Besides a couple names (ex: Akiva, Ashi) you don't really see many people over the course of history who have names that originated from the Talmud- ie "Huna", "Abaye", "Zevid", "Puppa" etc. Why do ...
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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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1answer
381 views

Statistics regarding how many people convert yearly

What are the statistics for the last 50-100 years as to how many people convert and become Geirim yearly?
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1answer
57 views

Sefirah prohibitions

When did the Jews first observe laws of mourning over the death of Rabbi Akiva's students? Did it commence the first year after the death of the students or was it instituted at a later period in ...
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1answer
159 views

What did the Arizal's contemporaries write about him?

Over here, ray posits that the validity of certain schools of Jewish philosophy rests on the Arizal's word. The Arizal was most famous for his teachings in Safed (though he only lived there for two ...
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2answers
142 views

Source for the Usage of “Kabbalah”

What are the earliest sources that refer to Jewish mysticism in particular as "kabblah". (Preferably the answer should include an indication that the word was associated with this in particular, ...
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27answers
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About what were rabbis ahead of the times?

I have heard claims that experts in the world of Torah were significantly ahead of their counterparts in the world of natural science (or mathematics, or psychology, or…) in that they knew X (...
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Who wrote Ikar Siftei Chachamim?

Siftei Chachamim (שפתי חכמים) is a super-commentary on Rashi's commentary on the Torah, written by the 17th-Century CE Polish scholar Shabbethai Bass. It tends to be included in Mikraot Gedolot ...
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Who were the original users of Ktav Ashuri?

According to one opinion found in the Talmud Sanhedrin 22a ktav ashuri was brought up from the first exile, assumedly adopted from Babylonian sources. Who exactly was using this alphabet? Do we have ...
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84 views

Historical sources on Bar Kochba? [closed]

Does anyone know any books or articles I can read to learn more about Bar Kohkba?
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139 views

What are Hebrew manuscripts important to us for, today?

What's the importance of Jewish manuscripts for us, today? Apparently many of these are dispersed in libraries, monasteries, and of course the Vatican, and one wonders whether there's value in ...
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1answer
27 views

Hebrew slaves and Yovel - how does it starts and ends?

The Gemmorah links the Hebrew slavery to the [idea of] Yovel (Gitin 65, Kidushin 69, Erchin 29, Rambam Avadim 1, 10): "אין אמה העבריה נוהגת ולא עבד עברי נוהג אלא בזמן שהיובל נוהג. בין עבד עברי ...
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Rav Moshe Feinstein's opinion on the State of Israel

I was wondering if there is any document which states Rav Moshe's opinion regarding the existence of the state of Israel. Did he consider the state a good thing or bad thing. I ask this because we ...
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1answer
94 views

Chayav Inish - Source of Tune?

What is the origin of this classic melody for the popular Purim song "Chayav Inish Lebasumei"?
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252 views

Sukkah on public property in the Soviet Union for Lubavitchers

The opinion of the Shulchan Aruch Harav is that one isn't allowed to build a Sukkah on public property (because it is considered stolen). In the Soviet Union all property was nationalized and they ...
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94 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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How are pre-creation >4000 BCE human civilization and pre-flood >2300 BCE civilizations that continued reconciled with Judaism?

How does human history fit in with the Torah's timeline? (This is not about why the universe and Earth look so old.) There is extensive evidence of a human population and human civilizations from ...
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491 views

What exactly is the Mussar movement and how does it differ from mainstream Judaism?

I've been hearing the term "Mussar Movement" being used a lot more often as of late and I even saw some advertisements for it on other Jewish forums. I'm speaking to a specific movement, not just the ...
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Paul being sent as a double agent by the Sanhedrin

I think there's a pretty popular conspiracy theory supposedly based on a censored Midrash that Paul was sent by the Sanhedrin to revolutionize Christianity in order to fully differentiate it from ...
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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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Mary Jesus' mother or Mary Magdalene?

The Gemara in Chaggigah (4b) mentions a woman by the name of Miriam Megadla Se'ar: זיל אייתי לי מרים מגדלא שיער נשייא Which means she was a "grower of woman's hair" which is to mean she was a hair ...
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1answer
597 views

Breakdown of Yirmiyahu's 70 year prophecy

Can someone supply a good breakdown of Yirmiyahu's 70 year prophecy, and the misinterpretations of the prophecy? This is what I've learned in the past: Yirmiyahu made a prophecy that 70 years after ...
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429 views

How were girls educated during the Talmudic era?

According to the Encyclopedia of Children and Childhood in History and Society's article on Judaism: Owing to the primacy of ritual in traditional Judaism, instruction of children focused on the ...
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1answer
258 views

Lithuanian minhag for talis katan material

Not an halachic question, but we can read many things about talis katan: wool over cotton, tzitzis out or in, etc. It seems that the Lithuanian minhag was to tuck them in, but what about the material? ...
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1answer
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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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1answer
259 views

Who are the Kutim, and what happened to them?

In the Yerushalmi Pesachim on daf Bet amud Bet, it talks about the "Kutim" and how whenever they keep a mitzvah, they are more exacting/cautious about it than the Jews. Who are these Kutim, why does ...
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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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167 views

How did Chazal attain its continued acceptance?

My question is: How did Chazal attain its authority? More specifically, how did the Pharisees who evolved into Chazal beat out the Sadducees who would later become practically extinct (some say that ...
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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. ...
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1answer
164 views

17 of Tammuz occurrences

What happened on the 17 of Tammuz to inspire the fast observed on that day?
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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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3answers
135 views

Looking for source for history of Temple sacrifices?

Not sure the title has a clear meaning to the good people here -- if it can be edited to read better with respect to this site, please do so! I am reading the Christian Bible and seeing many ...
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3answers
127 views

Are there any non-inspired writings before Philo's time?

I came across some writings of Philo, which I found very interesting, and wondered if there are any Jewish writings either around his time (circa 20 BCE to circa 50 CE) or before. I looked around and ...
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Paro enslaved Yisrael but they kept the good land — was that normal?

When Yisrael come to Mitzrayim Paro gives them "the choice land of Goshen" Bereishis 47,6 which is also called "Raamses" Bereishis 47,11. Later a new king Paro who doesn't recognize Yosef (who saves ...
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681 views

Masada - heroic martyrdom or immoral murder/suicide?

Was the mass coordinated mutual killing at Masada (for lack of a better term) an act of heroic martyrdom or immoral murder and suicide? While it is unknown for certain what exactly transpired, ...
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What were the additional 40 plagues? [duplicate]

There's an argument between Rabbi Akiva and Rabbi Eliezer, how many plagues there actually were in Egypt. R. Akiva says 50 and Rabbi Eliezer says 40. Do we actually know what were the additional ...
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Sefer on Chazal, Geonim and Later Acharonim

I currently own the Artscroll books The Rishonim and The Early Acharonim by Rabbi Goldwurm. They have a few features on Rabbonim of the ages that I really appreciate: Anecdotal information about each ...
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1answer
692 views

Rav Moshe's Psak on Fertility Treatments

I recently read an interview with Rav Dovid Feinstein and he referenced a two year period of Rav Moshe's life that were troubling due to backlash he received following a controversial psak regarding ...
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1answer
38 views

When was Birkat haTorah composed and added to the liturgy?

Do we know when Birkat haTorah was composed and added as an obligatory blessing to be said before learning Torah? Is it just something done by Anshei Knesset haGedolah or do we have any other ...
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2answers
324 views

Under whom did these Rabbis study?

In an effort to trace back Rabbi-to-student transmission of tradition, I've run into some dead ends, and I'm hoping the community can offer some leads. Under whom did the following Rabbis study? ...
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169 views

How observant were Jews throughout most of history?

This question relates to what we know about Jewish observance since the exile. I was curious if we knew for certain how observant most Jews were throughout most of history and if that observance ...
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0answers
60 views

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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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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1answer
102 views

List of which Rishonim wrote on each Masechta?

I would like to know if anyone has made a comprehensive list/chart of which Rishonim wrote on each masechta in shas. Such a list would include details such as: Masechtos where Rashi is not rashi, the ...
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2answers
623 views

Are Samaritans viewed as adherents of Judaism?

In Judaism, particularly from an Orthodox perspective, are Samaritans seen as fellow Jews? Sometimes I see their religion referred to as 'Samaritanism', sometimes as Judaism. Also, is it halachically ...
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1answer
132 views

Writing on the stones of the Western Wall

In a number of old videos of Jerusalem in the 1920's and 1930's, one who is paying attention can discern Hebrew words written on the very stones of the Western Wall. What is the origin of this ...
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2answers
100 views

(How) Did Channukah events and the Makkabim change Judaism?

Besides the obvious celebration of Channukah, How's Judaism is different now because of those events: Did the Makkabim and the Chanukkah event leave any trace in the Jewish Halachic tradition? Were ...
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1answer
1k views

What was the pillar of stone of Seth's children mentioned by Josephus?

According to Josephus (Book 1, Chapter 2, 68-71), the family of Seth, the third son of Adam, was noted for constructing a particularly long-lasting edifice or monument. ...Now this Seth...did ...
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162 views

Did any rabbis address the theological possibility/implications of nuclear extinction?

During the Cold War, plenty of people were aware (I think?) that detonating enough nuclear bombs could lead to human extinction. Did any rabbis address whether the belief that Moshiach will come mean ...