Questions tagged [history]

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

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3
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1answer
340 views

When was the Midrash Tanhuma written?

This article (Hebrew) claims that the Midrash Tanhuma was likely written after the Quran. A response in the talkbacks says that this is incorrect. Neither provide any source. Does anyone know what ...
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0answers
36 views

Why is מועד the only סדר משניות that is singular? [duplicate]

In שבת לא. it brings the names of the 6 sederim of משניות. All of them are plural (זרעים נשים נזיקין קודשים טהרות) apart from מועד that is singular. Does anyone know is this issue is dealt with ...
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2answers
141 views

How do we have s'micha today if the Romans broke the chain?

I heard that Romans broke the smicha chain for one to be a proper rabbi in the old sense, and I heard that rabbis started after the second temple was destroyed. So i'm confused, the two things I ...
3
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0answers
62 views

What was so miraculous of the Chanukah war?

In the Canukah "Al Hanisim", it says: "You delivered the mighty into the hands of the weak, the many into the hands of the few, the impure into the hands of the pure, the wicked into the hands of the ...
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2answers
128 views

Hiding in an attic

There's a few instances I've seen in the gemarra where there were meetings in an attic. Both that come to mind are with Rabbanan Gamliel, although I'm not sure if it occurs with others. One is the ...
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2answers
127 views

Why does the Torah mention the lineage of Yishma'el and Esav?

The first Rash"i in the Torah cites Rav Yitzchak's question as to why the Torah didn't begin with the first mitzvah, because it's assumed that the purpose of the Torah is as a mitzvah guide and not a ...
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45 views

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 ...
2
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1answer
90 views

When were the weekly sidrot (Torah readings) organized?

I understand that originally there was a triennial Torah reading common in Israel and an annual one common in Babylon. Most people now use the annual custom. (Note that the triennial reading that is ...
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1answer
116 views

How to understand the lack of archaeological evidence of Jews in Egypt in the story of Exodus

Over the past few years, attending various Seders on Passover, I have heard some secular people say that there is no archaeological evidence of Jews in Egypt during the bronze age when the story of ...
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3answers
333 views

Was Psalm 29 derived from Canaanite sources?

One question, people say that (Psalm 29) was originally a Canaanite psalm for their storm god Baal-Hadad and there seems to be verses in (Psalm 29) which supports this. Especially with verse 3 which ...
6
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3answers
201 views

Sanhedrin/Makkot - One masechta?

I remember hearing that originally Sanhedrin and Makkot formed one masechta. This is also mentioned by Wikipedia (without citation) [Sanhedrin] originally formed one tractate with Makkot, which ...
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1answer
135 views

Aristotle learning Torah

I have seen from a few places which claim that they have found a letter written from Aristotle to Alexander the great . In the letter Aristotle laments about the fact that he wasted so much time on ...
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2answers
117 views

Jewish Archaeology

I'm looking for a good read which discusses archaeology and the Tanach, Chazal, etc. Could anyone point me to some resources? I would prefer that the book be in English, and have pictures throughout. ...
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57 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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1answer
77 views

The why and how of Chag Ha'Ahava

What's the story/history/reason behind calling the 15th of the month Av 'Chag Ha'Ahava' ? And why, and how was or is this 'Chag Ha'Ahava' celebrated?
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1answer
122 views

Is there any support to the Black Jews theory? [closed]

Is there anything to back up that the Jews were really black? Is there any sources that refute this? I see so many people claiming this.
6
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3answers
244 views

Evidence of 2nd Temple Liturgy @Temple &/or Synagogue

Friends, I have tried & failed to find really firm documented evidence of 2nd temple period Liturgy used either in Temple services or among the Judean or extra-Judean synagogues. What I find ...
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1answer
31 views

R' Alexander bar R' Shlomo, “hevio likvurah”?

There is the following name in "Shemos HaTzaddikim": ר' אלכסנדר בר' שלמה, הביאו לקבורה I don't understand what this means. To my understanding, הביאו לקבורה would be "he went to the grave", but ...
2
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1answer
330 views

What's controversial about Chemdat HaYamim?

This answer from @Oliver mentions The controversial book Hemdat Ha-yamim... What is Chemdat HaYamim, and what is controversial about it? I know this is a very simple question but I wasn't ...
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413 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 ...
1
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1answer
56 views

Can anyone suggest books detailing the lives and philosophies of various sages? [closed]

I'm seeking out books which go into details about the lives and ideas of the various Jewish sages. Obviously, a single book for all is unlikely but any suggestions are welcome.
10
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1answer
592 views

First use of modern names for books of Torah

Today, it is common practice to use Bereshis, Shemos, Vayikra, Bamidbar, Devarim as the names of the five books of the Torah, but this was not always the case. As an example, the Talmud refers to ...
6
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1answer
230 views

Has Paleo Hebrew (Ktav Ivri) Ever Been Found With Crowns?

Has Paleo Hebrew (Ktav Ivri) Ever Been Found With Crowns? Whether we are talking about ancient scrolls, or amulets, or any type of ancient Hebrew writing.
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0answers
83 views

At what point does a Jew going against tradition establish a legitimate extension to that tradition?

This question is in reference to tzitzit knots but it can really apply to any Jewish tradition which comes in "flavors" so to speak. Tzitzit are an interesting article because they tend to come in a ...
3
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2answers
2k views

Why if you drink water directly from a river you'd be considered pagan?

I once heard that one way to determine if a person were a pagan or Jewish was to see how the person drinks from a water reservoir (river/lake etc). If a person would hold the water with their hands ...
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0answers
167 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 ...
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0answers
108 views

Is there a spiritual/symbolic significance as to why the black and white tallis seems to be the standard amongst Orthodox? [duplicate]

The majority of Orthodox Jews I've seen wearing tallit tend to wear this style. I was curious if there was any sort of spiritual/symbolic significance associated with this style. The main reason I ...
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3answers
641 views

Rabbinic Opinions on Smoking, before the 1950's

Prior to the studies which convincingly connected consistent cigarette smoking with a variety of illnesses, including cancer, the frequent use of cigarettes was all too common, including amongst ...
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1answer
151 views

Is there a list of the haftorot for the tri-annual torah reading cycle?

Based on the assumption that when the tri-annual cycle for reading the torah was prevalent there were accompanying haftorot I would like to know if a list exists of what those haftorot were. I ...
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1answer
90 views

How do the Rabbis rationalize Hebrew as being a divine language given from Hashem when we also believe Aramaic to be a sister language?

This is one of those issues that has always bugged me. Hebrew and Aramaic are both languages found within the Torah/Tanakh. If Hebrew is a divine language and given to us from Hashem as his word, why ...
2
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1answer
96 views

What is the source of the Rambam's historical account of idol worship?

Rambam in his code of law under the section of idol worship (1:1-2) delineates the historical process which lead to the existence of idol worship starting with according honor to elements in nature ...
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147 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 ...
8
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2answers
157 views

Origin for making giyur?

A friend of mine asked me from when a Non-Jew was allowed to make giyur (conversion); and on which Biblical verses it was based upon. I guess he wanted to know more about it's origin. So that's why I'...
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1answer
158 views

What is the relation of the Savoraim, Geonim, and Masoretes?

I was taught that in the era immediately after the redaction of the Talmud, the Masoretes made what is now the final determination of which writings constituted the Tanach (for example, the book of ...
3
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1answer
78 views

When did weekly sermons become part of the rabbi's job?

Each year on Shabbat Hagadol (the Shabbat just prior to Pesach), our shul rabbi explains that the reason it is called "Shabbat Hagadol" is that it means "The Shabbat of the Gadol" ("The great one"). ...
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3answers
774 views

Who is the Infamous Little Horn of Daniel 7?

"and behold, there came up among them another horn, a little one, before which three of the first horns were plucked up by the roots. And behold, in this horn were eyes like the eyes of a man, and ...
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2answers
166 views

Do the Jews believe that prophet Jesus is their prophet? [duplicate]

Shalom friends do the Jews believe that prophet Jesus is their prophet do the Jews follow his teachings also what do the Jews think of prophet Jesus. Thank you Shalom.
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1answer
163 views

Do the Jews believe that prophet Muhamned is their prophet? [duplicate]

Shalom friends do the Jews believe that prophet Muhamned is their prophet do the Jews follow his teachings also what do the Jews think of prophet Muhamned. Thank you Shalom.
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0answers
92 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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2answers
205 views

Is there any evidence that Chazal knew what caused eclipses?

Many ancient cultures believed that eclipses are caused by things other than syzygy. The Egyptians had Apophis. The Hindus had Rahu. (The interested reader can see more here.) In light (ha) of the ...
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2answers
193 views

Had an unmarried Jewish woman ever owned a male slave, whom she acquired or asked to become her husband?

Had an unmarried Jewish woman ever owned a male slave, whom she acquired or asked to become her husband? Was there ever any occurrence in the Tanach, Gemara, Mishna, Halacha, Aggadot, Midrashim, etc. ...
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0answers
44 views

Who were the בני ברית מערביים mentioned in the Trumas HaDeshen, and what was their agenda?

The Trumas HaDeshen #88 in chelek 2, seen here discussed going to live in Eretz Yisroel in his times. In his discussion he mentions בני ברית מערביים נחשבים לרשעים גמורים מוסרים מפורסמים והם ...
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1answer
57 views

Does Devarim 11:10 make some indirect reference to the shaduf irrigation system?

The end of the verse in Devarim 11:10 says "...You watered the green garden with your foot." (rough translation.) My brother, an anthropology professor who studied Biblical history, explained to me, ...
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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 ...
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1answer
308 views

When did usage of “Hashem” to refer to G-d gain traction?

It seems as though virtually all seforim (especially those written by Acharonim and earlier) refer to G-d as either Hakodosh Boruch Hu or Ribono Shel Olom, and never as "Hashem." Similarly, I don't ...
8
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2answers
258 views

Jerusalem Uninhabited?

The Nachem prayer for tisha b'av describes he city as השוממה מאין יושב, "desolate without inhabitant." What does this mean? In what way was Jerusalem desolate without inhabitants? Does this have a ...
4
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2answers
164 views

Were the Jews first to institute monogamy (a ban on polygamy)

It seems that Rabbi Menshe Kline claims (here) that Jews were first to institute monogamy.(a ban on polygamy) If I understood incorrectly, What is he really saying? Is he exaggerating(or literal)? ...
3
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1answer
123 views

Problem with Likkutei Maharil

I was listening to a shiur by Rav Asher Weiss on asmachta and he brought three explanations for its purpose: Ritvah - A derabannan that has a source in the torah Tosafos and Rambam - Memorization ...
3
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1answer
67 views

A Tnach Guidebook to Israel?

I'm looking for a guide to Eretz Yisroel of tnach. Most books in this genre are guides to what happened in a particular sefer, I'm looking for one that is set up like a tour book, for example in this ...
1
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1answer
135 views

Was the Shema Changed?

I remember reading a statement that the third paragraph of the Shema was changed to a different paragraph from the Torah that we now use. The reasoning I read was that it was a measure against the ...