Questions tagged [mesorah-tradition]

The different traditions passed down through the generations.

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History of Kabbalah

Has anyone attempted to write a historical sketch of the history of the shalsheles HaKabbalah (which, in this instance, I use to refer to Toras HaSod)? In other words, what was megale to Moshe Rabbenu,...
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Inconsistent sifrei Torah for the required number of aliyos

Different groups (Ashkenazim, Sefaradim, Teimonim) have different traditions for spellings of different words in the Torah. Practically, while each group writes according to their own mesorah, we ...
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Why no Torah or wisdom or knowledge is mentioned presented by G-d to Adam?

IIRC, the passing of the Tora/wisdom/divine knowledge in our tradition didn't start with Moses or even Abraham. Allegedly, the 19 generations of Tzadikim from Adam to Abraham studied/dealt with it ...
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The tradition of a Gezeira Shava

A number of questions and answers (here is one, for example) have pointed out that expounding text by means of a gezeriah shava requires a mesorah, a teaching from one's teacher, and that different ...
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Why was Shlomo haMelekh not a part of the Oral Torah’s transmission?

Reading the Rambam's introduction to his Mishne Torah, I am struck by the fact that he has Achiya haShiloni succeed David in the transmission of the Oral Torah, and not David's son Shlomo. I'm curious ...
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Large Samech in Bemidbar 13:30

A mesorah records that the samekh in Bemidbar 13:30 ויהס כלב is large (see marginal note in Artscroll and elsewhere). Yet none of the printed editions which I have consulted actually conform to this ...
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Source of small/large letters in the torah

Although there are many small and large letters throughout tanach, both the aleppo codex and the Leningrad codex have extremely few of them. Were they later introduced? The different miforshim, ...
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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 ...
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Customs/Habits around having a second child?

Besides the brit milah ceremony, pidyon haben/habat (redemption of the firstborn) or kidush peter rechem (sanctification of the womb's opening) or seder kidushat chaye hamishpacha, (ceremony of ...
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“Vaishakehu” Extra Points over entire word? or some letters?

Shalom! The famous Passuk on which Esav and Jaacov ran, hug, kiss and cry. The Word VAISHAKEHU has points-dots over every leter. Siftei Chakhamim seems to have VAISHAKEHU וישקהו with 5 nekudot, ...
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Why break Hallel in the middle of a parsha?

On Pesach night, following Beis Hillel we break up Hallel between חלמיש למעינו מים and לא לנו. This is in the middle of a parsha, according to the Keter (navigate to Psalms --> From 114_2 to 118_1) ...
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Why did the Savoraim only emend certain parts of the Talmud?

I remember learning that Savoraim added certain parts to the Talmud- ex: the beginning of Kiddushin (2a-3a) & parts of Bava Metzia. (feel free to add additional examples) Any idea why they ...
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If the Dodo bird had a tradition of being kosher & was resurrected, would it be OK to eat again?

Came across an article titled "Could scientists resurrect the dodo bird?" and it made me wonder: suppose there was a mesorah that the Dodo bird was kosher before it went extinct in 1681. If we in ...
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Strange letters according to Sefer haTaggin

My chevrusoh mentioned last week that there is a sefer entitled Sefer haTaggin which discusses all of the strange letters found in Tana"ch. Is there a collection of these letters and their forms (...
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Why the location of Mount Sinai is not traditionally known?

Why don’t we know the exact location of Mount Sinai, after all if millions of people were there, surely they would have handed down the tradition of the location just like Kivrey Avos or Har Hamoriyah ...
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Was there a parasha beginning at Exodus 18:21?

Rashi to Exodus 18:1 says that Yisro was also called Yeser because he added (yasar) a parasha in the Torah: "And you see…" [from 18:21]. We don't have a parasha break before verse 21. Did ...
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Does Jewish law have a separate status for someone whose father is a Jew rather than simply grouping them with non-Jews? [duplicate]

Traditional standards on Judaism are clear about the topic. One is only legally Jewish if they have a matrilineal connection to the community. That being said, I've heard a few people throw around ...
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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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Is there a surviving Jewish translation of the entire Masoretic Text in Greek?

Please don't say "the Septuagint" because I know that this has fallen out of favor among most modern Jews (the only exception being Beta Israel, which I believe still uses it - correct me if I am ...
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Meaning of “נראים דבריהם מדברינו” - accepting scientific theories over Jewish tradition?

Questions about the reconciliation of the Torah and the science are very frequent and popular, but they are nothing new. The sages were asked similar questions by the philosophers of Ancient Greece ...
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How early were maps used to understand Tanach?

In many editions of Tanach I’ve seen there are often maps of the middle eastern area in attempt to explain the places where certain events occurred. (For example, the journeys of יעקב אבינו or stuff ...
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Looking for an interpretation of Shir Hashirim that follows the parsha breaks

Coming off of some tangential discussion in the comments here, I'm looking for an interpretation of Shir Hashirim that follows the parsha breaks. It doesn't have to explicitly address every one, but ...
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Do any of the differences between the various printings of Shas (Mishnah and Gemara) have halachic significance?

I recently watched a video by Rabbi David bar Hayim about the "18 minute matzah fallacy." While I don't think I know nearly enough to weigh into this debate in particular, he brings an odd proof. He ...
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At what point does Moshe relay G-d's commandments to B'nai Yisra'el?

I'm asking this as a general question. We do see in a few places that G-d speaks to Moshe and then, the Torah says something like, "Moshe told this to B'nai Yisra'el". But, in numerous other places (...
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Does anyone say the “extra” pesukim in Yehoshua about the cities from Reuven belong there?

Some versions of Yehoshua, including Sefaria, print two extra pesukim (identical to the ones in Divrei Hayamim) about the cities that Shevet Reuven gave to the Leviyim. The Radak, quoted by the ...
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Who compared “the ox that gores the cow” to “I am Hashem Your G-d”?

I once read a machshava--possibly from chasidus--to the effect that: "'The ox that gores the cow' is as much charged with G-dliness as 'I am H' your G-d.'" I was quite moved by this. What is its ...
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Must one follow Minhagim he reads in books?

If an Ashkenazi reads of a minhag, for example in Mishna Brura which it says Ashkenazim follow (the Rema), must he follow it? Or is it only what a father teaches his children?
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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 ...
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How was brit milah practiced during the First Century?

The Christian New Testament records that both John the Baptist and Jesus were circumcised on the eighth day in accordance with Jewish Law. Luke 1:57-60 English Standard Version (ESV) Now the time ...
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It is same species if offspring can have offspring (source)

I heard that if we do not have a messora on a certain bird but we do have one on a similar species then we can check by checking if their offspring can have offspring What is this idea based on? I ...
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Why did Rabbi Akiva write down Torah She Baal Peh?

In the Rambam's introduction he writes: וחיברו חכמי משנה חיבורין אחרים, לפרש דברי התורה: רבי הושעיה תלמידו של רבנו הקדוש, חיבר ביאור ספר בראשית. ורבי ישמעאל פירש מאלה שמות עד סוף התורה, והוא ...
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Does Halakhah require one to believe in Gilu'i Eliyahu, Gilu'i Maggid, and the like?

I have heard many stories from many independent sources about Rabbis receiving teachings via individual revelation in the form of Gilu'i Eliyahu (i.e. "the appearance of Eliyahu") or Gil'ui Maggid (e....
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Succession of Leadership in the Rambam's Introduction to the Mishnah

In the Introduction to the Mishnah, the Rambam lists the leadership through the years from Moshe to Rav Ashi. Is there a source for each link in this chain, showing that successive leaders were ...
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Community without tzitzith

Are/were there any halachic Jewish communities that do/did not have a daily custom of wearing a garment obligated in tzitzith (e.g. tallith katan/tallith gadol)?
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Practical suggestions for choosing between different nuschaot in the Torah

Unfortunately, it's not hard to find places in the Torah, and even more so in Nach, where we have a doubt about either the trop or the nekudot. (Or, more rarely, letters, but those are generally the ...
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How to deal with uncertainties in the Torah that lead to a change in meaning?

In Vayikra 14:19, there are different versions of the trop, and unlike most of them, this difference causes a change in the meaning of the words: וְכִפֶּ֕ר עַל־הַמִּטַּהֵ֖ר מִטֻּמְאָת֑וֹ (...
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Changes in Halacha [closed]

Is Halacha (specifically Halacha, not minhag) capable of changing, or is it an immutable constant? In other words, is Halacha an inflexible set of rules that never bend to societal needs, scientific ...
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Do Jews accept The Book of the Wars of the Lord (סֵפֶר מִלְחֲמֹת יהוה) as an authentic part of Tanach

Do Jews accept The Book of the Wars of the Lord (סֵפֶר מִלְחֲמֹת יהוה) as an authentic part of Tanach? "From there they set out and camped on the other side of the Arnon, which is in the desert and ...
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Why were different pronunciations allowed in the first place? [duplicate]

The following question might be a duplicate of How could different pronunciations arise when we are obligated to pronounce the Shema precisely? Why did our Rabbonim however many hundreds of years ...
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Torah transmission according to the Rambam

the Rambam in the introduction to Mishne Torah counts 40 generations from Moshe Rabeinu to Rav Ashi (compiler of the talmud) in the transmission of the oral law and lists the names of these sages. ...
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Is there any particular standard recension/variation of the masoretic tradition that scribes use for torah scrolls in shul?

I don't know if i'm entirely correct in this, but I understand that there have in the past been variations in malai and chaser, throughout both the ashkenazi and sephardi world.. And then there was ...
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Are the conventional chapter divisions of any entire books of Tanach originally from Jewish tradition?

In general, the conventional division of the books of Tanach into chapters is not based on Jewish tradition but on Christian invention. However, there are some books of Tanach in which various ...
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Can the Rabbinic council and tradition hold the authority to overrule God's words and scriptures?

How does orthodox Jews see rabbinic disagreements and on what basis do believers determine which school of thought to follow? Does majority decides what is truth, and since even today there exist many ...
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What was in the Holy Incense of the ancient Hebrews of Exodus 30:34–38?

In Exodus 30:34–38, we read the following: 34 And the Lord said to Moses: “Take sweet spices, stacte and onycha and galbanum, and pure frankincense with these sweet spices; there shall be equal ...
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Is there a source in Judaism that uses the word “Mesora” to refer to the masoretic tradition?

I am familiar with the term Mesora to mean not just any tradition but particularly - Oral tradition, in the sense of, the mishna, or traditions or midrashim brought forth in the talmud. I was ...
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Mom And Baby Talk

What do other Jewish moms do with their babies? I have a six month old baby. I want her to learn Torah from the first words she speaks. I don't live around other Jewish people, we've only been ...
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Who was Rav Moshe Margolis's Rav?

I'm currently making a Mesorah chart (I know there are some out there, I just wanted to do it myself). I've gotten all the way back to the Vilna Gaon's Rav, Rav Moshe Margolis, but I can't find any ...
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Why does the Torah write the 3rd person fem. pronoun as הוא? [duplicate]

Other than it being Massoretic, is there a reason as to why, in most cases, (See Avot Derabbi Natan 42:5 for list of exceptions) the Torah chooses to write the word for the fem. 3rd person as הוא ...
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Why do third-person singular female qal verbs lack a gaʿya?

The word הָיְתָ֣ה appears in the model Masoretic codices without a gaʿya on the initial ה in several places (e.g. Isaiah 1:21 in L [facsimile] & A). Likewise, זָכְרָ֥ה lacks a gaʿya (e.g. Nehamiah ...
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Does Rabbinic Literature misunderstand the infinitive absolute?

The infinitive absolute is a conjugation classified generally by a qametz under the first consonant, and a holem or holem - vav by the second. According to the Cambridge Introduction to Biblical ...