Questions tagged [provenance]

Questions about the origins of all things Jewish. Questions on the origins of Jewish customs, ideas, sayings, songs, foods, games, etc., are all fair game for this tag.

Filter by
Sorted by
Tagged with
5 votes
2 answers
134 views

When did Tehillim become the "go to" sefer in times of need?

Having spent some time with my Tanach over the weekend I suddenly realized that Tehillim is a part of Tanach along with every other sefer. I was wondering when did Tehillim become the book that people ...
user avatar
  • 53
3 votes
6 answers
753 views

Do Modern Jews Accept that Judaism started as a Canaanite Cult?

In a university course, I was taught that El and Yahweh were Caananite gods and that Judaism developed from a Canaanite cult devoted to Yahweh: Judaism was developed from a monolatrous Yahwism. When ...
user avatar
-3 votes
1 answer
75 views

Origin and development of the tradition that Torah scrolls are exact to the letter from Moses

The claim that our Torah scrolls are copied exactly to the letter from Sinai or "for thousands of years" is very common and is used frequently by Rabbis and Kiruv organizations to prove ...
user avatar
  • 24.6k
2 votes
0 answers
71 views

Origin of the phrase אור וחושך משמשים בערבוביה

Rashi teaches us that light and darkness were mingled before Creation (Genesis 1:4, Dibur Hamaschil וירא אלהים את האור כי טוב ויבדל): ראהו כי טוב, ואין נאה לו ולחושך שיהיו משתמשין בערבוביא In Hebrew,...
user avatar
0 votes
3 answers
173 views

Religious origin of Yiddish expression

My father used to say "Nem di oygn in di hent," literally "Take your eyes in your hands." This was meant as a warning to be careful. I wonder if there is a religious source for ...
user avatar
0 votes
1 answer
124 views

Why skip wife's name in invitations?

Although there is certainly a wide range of 'customs' regarding this question, why do some Orthodox communities skip the wife's first name in invitations saying: "Mr. and Mrs. [Husband First and ...
user avatar
  • 12.5k
6 votes
1 answer
202 views

Why did the Tos'fos Yom Tov compose his Mi Sheberach?

It is well known that R. Yom Tov Heller, author of the Tos'fos Yom Tov and other works, wrote a prayer to be recited for the benefit of those who don't speak in the synagogue (or: during prayer). I'm ...
user avatar
  • 73.5k
11 votes
1 answer
124 views

Was R' Yishmael aware that his blessing was Hashem's prayer?

Berachos 7a: אָמַר רַבִּי יוֹחָנָן מִשּׁוּם רַבִּי יוֹסֵי: מִנַּיִן שֶׁהַקָּדוֹשׁ בָּרוּךְ הוּא מִתְפַּלֵּל? ... מַאי מְצַלֵּי? אָמַר רַב זוּטְרָא בַּר טוֹבִיָּה, אָמַר רַב: ״יְהִי רָצוֹן ...
user avatar
  • 33.4k
4 votes
0 answers
62 views

Why is the concluding supplication after kidush levana formulated as a personal prayer?

In many Ashkenazi sidurim (e.g. Artscroll and the Sidur Vilna), kidush l'vana concludes with a supplication that the greatness of the moon be restored, and that the Jewish people merit the restoration ...
user avatar
  • 16.3k
3 votes
1 answer
257 views

Minhag of eating jelly doughnuts on chanukah

Many yiden have the custom to eat potato latkes or jelly doughnuts on chanukah. Who started this custom??
user avatar
5 votes
1 answer
132 views

Source for the tradition of buying seats in synagogues

In many synagogues, it is common to buy a seat before the new year's day. The price for a seat often serves also as "membership fee" for membership in the synagogue community. When did this tradition ...
user avatar
2 votes
1 answer
82 views

Whence 'kvatter'?

As part of every ashkenazi brit milah ceremony I have attended, the baby was passed from a woman (the kvatterin) to a man (the kvatter, always her husband?) who then brought the baby in to the ...
user avatar
  • 38.4k
3 votes
0 answers
76 views

Questions about Mi Sheberach L'olim

It is fairly common minhag to recite a blessing for the person receiving an aliyah for the Torah reading. The blessing requests that G-d protect the person from misfortune and troubles and make him ...
user avatar
  • 68.9k
1 vote
1 answer
91 views

Have Jewish scholars evaluated the "Odes of Solomon" as being Jewish or Christian in origin?

I have just learned of the existence of an ancient Syrian text called "The Odes of Solomon". This seems to "round out" the collection of Solomonic literature such as the Proverbs, Qeholeth, Song of ...
user avatar
  • 1,158
7 votes
2 answers
172 views

What is the source for carrying candles down at a wedding?

I know that there are many explanations as to why many Jews have this custom (to commemorate the fire at har sinai, etc.), but where is the original source? Where originally did it come from? I have ...
user avatar
  • 2,628
4 votes
0 answers
86 views

What was the first siddur to contain an aleph-bet chart?

Many siddurim (prayerbooks) published today contain a chart of the Hebrew alphabet towards the beginning (see e.g. page 11 of this pdf). What was the first siddur published to contain an alphabet ...
user avatar
  • 38.4k
2 votes
0 answers
171 views

Origin of a tune to Baruch Kel Elyon

When I was growing up in the 1980s, I heard a tune to "ברוך קל עליון" that I've now reproduced to the best of my recollection, except that I sang it a bit faster than I recall it having been sung. ...
user avatar
  • 73.5k
4 votes
0 answers
82 views

Examples of old tefillin parshiot

I recently opened a pair of parshiot (Beit Yosef, first half of the 20th century) and I'm trying to identify where they were written. I am certain that if they date to around the bar mitzvah of their ...
user avatar
6 votes
0 answers
87 views

Why Skip Kabbalas Shabbos on Yom Tov? [duplicate]

In my experience among all Ashkenaz shuls across America, it seems we skip Kabbalas Shabbos when shabbos falls out on Yom Tov. Where did this come from and why?
user avatar
  • 12.5k
2 votes
0 answers
76 views

How many sets of Urim VeTumim were there?

On one TaNaKH passage, it seems both David (1 Samuel 30) and Shaul (1 Samuel 28) had access to an Urim VeTumim, suggesting there was more than one set of Urim VeTumim. Hence my question: How many ...
user avatar
  • 545
3 votes
1 answer
81 views

When did the use of the substitute word "hashem" start being used? [duplicate]

How ancient is this substitute word? I am not asking for the age of the practice of avoiding the use of the tetragrammaton with Adonai, for example, but specifically the use of this term, hashem.
user avatar
  • 1,158
2 votes
2 answers
381 views

Who composed the text for Tena'im?

In many Ashkenazy weddings, a document called tena'im is drafted and read at the Chatan's Tisch (Chattan's "table" - a separate rom or area where the groom, family members and friends gather prior to ...
user avatar
  • 68.9k
3 votes
2 answers
779 views

Pronouncing "O" (Cholam) as "Oy"?

Typically in the Yeshivish world, the "O" sound is pronounced as "Oy" (i.e. "Moydim Anachnu Loch"). Where does this come from?
user avatar
13 votes
1 answer
205 views

What is the origin of the naming of Shabbat Shira?

Related to this question (about the reason for the name), what is the source or origin of calling the Shabbat on which we read Shirat Hayam Shabbat Shira? We don't call the week on which we read the ...
user avatar
  • 36.6k
3 votes
3 answers
1k views

Not Forgotten Until Name is Forgotten

There is this really thoughtful project, called Stolpersteine of Gunter Demnig, a German artist, to place a cobblestone with an inscribed brass plate in front of houses, where victims of the Holocaust ...
user avatar
  • 7,025
5 votes
1 answer
720 views

Daagah - Minayin?

What is the original source for the words of the popular song: העבר אין, העתיד עדיין, ההווה כהרף עין, דאגה מנין? I have seen it in Peleh Yoetz (under Deagah), who says it in the name of a "Chacham" (...
user avatar
4 votes
1 answer
574 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 ...
user avatar
  • 289
1 vote
1 answer
280 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 ...
user avatar
  • 39.8k
1 vote
1 answer
575 views

How true is Sefer HaYashar?

Inspired by comments on this question: How true is Sefer HaYashar? Note: This is not the Sefer written by Rabbeinu Tam, but rather the "midrash" that goes through in detail the chronology from the ...
user avatar
  • 3,202
6 votes
2 answers
809 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 ...
user avatar
  • 17.7k
11 votes
1 answer
644 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 ...
user avatar
  • 3,626
4 votes
2 answers
170 views

Provenance of Testament of Rabbi Eliezer

There is a work known as Tsavaat Rabbi Eliezer HaGadol, which is purported to be have been authored by the Tanna R. Eliezer. According to R. Menahem Lunzano cited here, the work was actually authored ...
user avatar
  • 34.8k
0 votes
0 answers
112 views

Origins of Musical Slichos

I recently saw a sign in my community advertising in a (Orthodox) Shul for a musical accompanied Slichos (with instruments) on Leil Slichos. When did such a practice originate? Was such a practice ...
user avatar
0 votes
2 answers
105 views

What is the earliest referrence to Hashem as a paternal figure?

It's in the Talmud, many pizmonin and prayers like Avinu Malkenu, and lehavdil, Hashem is called "father" in the new testament very often. But I can't recall Hashem being called father in the Tanach. ...
user avatar
  • 379
7 votes
1 answer
958 views

What is the source for בית נאמן בישראל for newly married couples?

A common wish for couples about to be or just married couples is "May they build a בית נאמן בישראל". My translation (may be off, somewhat) is "An established house among (the people) of Israel." What ...
user avatar
  • 68.9k
19 votes
1 answer
522 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 ...
user avatar
  • 351
6 votes
3 answers
2k views

Don't teach if they won’t follow...?

Is there not a principle that one should not tell another Jew or group of Jews the Halacha if he or she knows for certain that the Jew or the group of Jews will violate it? If there is such a ...
user avatar
  • 333
6 votes
2 answers
618 views

Was the Hasidic gartel influenced by Zoroastrianism?

In this lecture Dr. Secunda postulates a connection between the Zoroastrian Kushti belt and the external belt some (mainly Hasidic) Jews wear during prayer called a gartel. The possible reason for ...
user avatar
0 votes
2 answers
277 views

listening to a cappela during sefira?

A friend of mine told me that there is a problem with listening to a cappela during sefira. A few people mentioned a few places where it talks about it but I don't remember the places. What is the ...
user avatar
  • 287
3 votes
2 answers
110 views

Who put together the Hagadah?

Who put together the Pesach Hagadah and the seder we have today? The Mishneh provides some order, but who put together the Hagadah?
user avatar
  • 6,588
3 votes
3 answers
395 views

Where does this Havdala-oriented prayer come from?

My father found the following apparently-Havdala-oriented prayer on an otherwise-blank page among my mother A"H's papers, handwritten by her. We don't know if it's something she composed or (more ...
user avatar
  • 46.8k
6 votes
1 answer
421 views

Rambam's Commentary on the Torah?

In the Seder HaDoros, published by R' Yechiel Heilprin in 1747, the author describes the life and legacy of many Jewish historical personalities including Rambam. I'm not sure how historically ...
user avatar
  • 4,253
1 vote
2 answers
2k views

Naming Children After Living People

It is a widespread Ashkenazi minhog not to name a child after someone who is living. From where can this custom be sourced? Why is this so? I would assume it is because it has some negative ...
user avatar
  • 17.7k
1 vote
0 answers
293 views

The Arizal and Shovavim

This week begins the six week period of Shovavim, a time period that the Arizal wrote is an auspicious time to work on oneself, especially in the areas of sexual transgressions. I have two questions: ...
user avatar
  • 4,597
3 votes
0 answers
116 views

When did the Ma Nishtana start being called the Four Questions?

In the Mishnah Pesachim 10:4, we are first taught of the obligation to ask the Ma Nishtana question/s at the Pesach Seder. This consists of an opening question: ?מה נשתנה הלילה הזה מכל הלילות/How is ...
user avatar
  • 4,253
4 votes
1 answer
277 views

Maggidim (angelic mentors) in Jewish history. How new is it?

Did the phenomenon of "maggidim" (celestial/angelic mentors) who come to teach a person kabbalistic mysteries and other revelations, but begin with those who studied Lurianic kaballah in the 1500's - ...
user avatar
  • 4,963
1 vote
2 answers
164 views

Origin of Histakel Be'Oraisa Uvara Alma

The term "Histakel Be'Oraisa Uvara Alma" is often invoked when discussing chassidus or metaphysics. Literally translated, it means "[Hashem] gazed in[to] the Torah and created the world." While the ...
user avatar
9 votes
1 answer
415 views

Covering the mirrors in the house of a mourner

When learning the laws of mourning in the Gemara and rishonim I don't recall the requirement to cover up the mirrors in the house of a mourner. But it does seem like a quite prevelalant practice. ...
user avatar
  • 4,963
3 votes
2 answers
1k views

When did masturbation become such a severe prohibition?

Before the kaballah of the Arizal began to filter into Jewish thought, was ho'tza'at zerah le'vatala considered as terrible of a sin as we tend to think today? Was it considered a sin at all?
user avatar
  • 4,963
9 votes
1 answer
220 views

Earliest source for "Zos Chanuka"

What is the earliest source/authority to ascribe special significance to the eighth day of Chanuka?
user avatar
  • 17.2k