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21
votes
2answers
1k views

What is the oldest manuscript of Torah Shebaal Peh?

We don't have (and more's the pity!) R' Yehudah Hanassi's autograph copy of the Mishnah (well, okay, it's a controversial issue whether he actually wrote it or only arranged it orally), or Ravina and ...
20
votes
5answers
2k views

Gezeira of Rabbeinu Gershom text

Does anyone know where I can find the actual text of the Gezeira of Rabbeinu Gershom? It keeps popping up in my learning, but only as being referenced, I would like to read that actual text.
14
votes
7answers
11k views

Has the Torah been changed over the ages?

It is quite a famous argument from Muslims for authenticity of the Quran that the previous Holy Books (Bible and Torah) sent by God have been corrupted or changed by their followers and that Quran is ...
14
votes
4answers
362 views

Who is the voice of Tosafoth?

Tosafoth were the sons-in-law, grandchildren, and students of Rashi (and their students), and "they" wrote a commentary on the Talmud that is often at odds with Rashi's earlier commentary. Sometimes ...
14
votes
3answers
2k views

How does orthodox Judaism view the Dead Sea Scrolls?

I'm trying to understand how orthodox Jews view the dead sea scrolls. Are they considered authentic representations of Judaism? If there are textual variants between our current tanach texts and the ...
13
votes
4answers
6k views

Where can I get the free Hebrew text of the Siddur or Benching?

Where can I get the text of the siddur/prayer book (or at least benching/grace, mincha/afternoon prayer, and/or ma'ariv/evening prayer) in a free computer friendly format? I'd like to be able to make ...
11
votes
1answer
168 views

Did father buy or sell that goat for two zuzim?

In chad gadya, we use the Aramaic root זבן. Now that I think about it, I always recall hearing both דְזָבִין אַבָא בִּתְרֵי זוּזִי and דְּזַבִּין אַבָּא בִּתְרֵי זוּזֵי‬. The obvious difference being ...
11
votes
1answer
188 views

How commonly used are manuscripts in psak?

How Halachically valid are recently discovered manuscripts? For example, if one found the original manuscript of the Rambam and he rules differently than the currently known text, do modern Poskim ...
10
votes
3answers
224 views

Why is future tense used in Esther 3:2?

In Megillas Esther 3:2 we are told: וּמָרְדֳּכַי--לֹא יִכְרַע, וְלֹא יִשְׁתַּחֲוֶה. Why is this sentence in future tense? Why does it not it say לא כרע ולא השתחוה, in the past tense?
10
votes
1answer
213 views

Accent mark in וישבע לו

In many Chumashim, the word וישבע in Parshas Chayei Sara (24:9) contains both a munach and a meseg (meteg). One example: I do not understand what the meseg is doing there under the beis. Typically a ...
10
votes
1answer
201 views

Request document Identification (Ancient Scroll?)

Hi I have a document from Tunsia that I can't identify. Can anyone help me with this?
9
votes
1answer
1k views

Is this a mistake in a Torah scroll or intended decoration?

In the following pictures, is the superscript addition a correction or intended decoration? Are corrections like this kosher?
9
votes
3answers
1k views

Misreading a k'suva

The k'suva text varies slightly depending on whether the bride is a virgin, independent of whether she has been married previously. (For one thing, the amount of money mentioned in it is different; ...
9
votes
2answers
593 views

What are the sources of Jewish law?

What are the sources for the Jewish law or "Halacha"? Is there any priority among these sources? In common practice, when a law is described, is the citation given form the main sources or derived ...
8
votes
3answers
363 views

Divrei torah written by a heretic

What is the status of divrei Torah written by someone who does not believe in the oral Torah? Does it retain any sanctity? Should it be burned or buried?
8
votes
4answers
251 views

Copies of Aleppo Codex

From what I understand, the loss of the Torah portion of Keter Aram Soba (the Aleppo Codex) in 1948 is heavily lamented because it was the oldest preserved and probably most accurate text of Torah. ...
8
votes
1answer
94 views

וְהִתְקִין לוֹ מִמֶּנּוּ בִּנְיַן עֲדֵי עַד Is the translation of מִמֶּנּוּ **His** very self or his very self?

The Koren Sacks siddur translates the 4th of the 7 wedding blessings as: אֲשֶׁר יָצַר אֶת הָאָדָם בְּצַלְמוֹ, בְּצֶלֶם דְּמוּת תַּבְנִיתוֹ, וְהִתְקִין לוֹ מִמֶּנּוּ בִּנְיַן עֲדֵי עַד: who ...
7
votes
3answers
212 views

Gezeira of Rabbeinu Gershom History

Has the original text of the Gazeira of Rabbeinu Gershom been lost. If so when? Who are the earliest sources stating such?
7
votes
2answers
139 views

Why are there 7 inverted letter nuns in Tehillim 107?

In the Masoretic text of Tehillim 107 there are 7 pesukim which contain an inverted letter nun (similar to those in Sefer Bamidbar). In my standard edition Mikraot Gedolot none of the commentaries ...
7
votes
1answer
234 views

What is the precise difference between Kakatuv and Shene'emar and

The davening on the Yamim Nora'im references many verses and the machzor introduces those verses in a variety of ways. A quick glance at the davening for Yom Kippur shows v'ne'emar she'ne'emar ...
7
votes
1answer
210 views

Rashi contradiction in B.M. 95b-96a

The Gemarah in Bava Metziah 95b bring an argument of Amoraim between Abaye and Rava who base their respective opinions on the Tanaim Rav Yoshiya and Rav Yonasan. The Gemara tells how they hold of ...
6
votes
1answer
321 views

Who Exactly Threatened to Excommunicate Ramchal?

Rabbi Moshe Chaim Luzzato, known as Ramchal, was a controversial and prolific Italian philosopher and Mekubal. According to the linked Wikipedia article, after disseminating Kabbalah in Italy, "...
6
votes
1answer
331 views

Where is the text of Friday night Kiddush from?

There is a fairly uniform text for Kiddush Friday night. There are some differences between the Ashkenazi and Sfardi versions, but they are mostly very similar. What is the source for the text? As ...
5
votes
2answers
228 views

Is there an online database of early manuscripts of the Tanakh?

As a student of textual and historical criticism of the Christian scriptures, I am interested in seeing the earliest extant copies of the texts. There are a number of sites devoted to providing ...
5
votes
2answers
144 views

Recommendation for a digital Torah codex for software developers

Could someone recommend a source for a machine-readable Hebrew with English Torah codex that may be used in software development projects? By "machine readable," I mean of a format that may be ...
5
votes
1answer
236 views

How did they learn Torah before everything was taught in its entirety?

Halachos are spread throughout the Torah. Many times the Gemara uses pesukim that are scattered all around to figure out the true application of pesukim. So if, for example, we only had the section ...
5
votes
0answers
51 views

How can the order of Ovinu Malkeinu be explained? Forgiveness comes before repentance

The order of the lines in [Ovinu Malkeinu] is troubling. It starts with a confession אָבִינוּ מַלְכֵּנוּ חָטָאנוּ לְפָנֶיךָ (and אָבִינוּ מַלְכֵּנוּ אֵין לָנוּ מֶלֶךְ אֶלָּא אָתָּה) and follows with ...
4
votes
1answer
2k views

Meaning of the (Hebrew?) abbreviation Ka"H

I saw this on a frum forum: It bothers me when my daughters keep hearing about their (ka"h) appearance,and no one talks about character. I had never seen this abbreviation before. Does anyone ...
4
votes
1answer
226 views

Seforim and Books online

Does anyone know of a website like this that has the text (not PDF) of seforim posted on their website for free?
4
votes
1answer
61 views

What does כסיה mean?

The Gemara in Pesachim 117a brings a disagreement whether כס יה, in the last pasuk of Beshalach, is one word or two. As far as I know all modern Sifrei Torah (Ashkenazi, Sefardi, Teimoni) have two ...
4
votes
1answer
93 views

Did The Rebbe R' Heshel of Krokow have a different version of the Chumash?

In the Sefer Chanukas Hatorah, [written by the Rebbe R' Heshel of Krocow], in Parshas Pinchas (Bamidbar 27:3) it says: בפסוק (במדבר כז:ג) - אבינו מת במדבר והוא לא היה בתוך העדה הנועדים על ה' בעדת ...
4
votes
1answer
109 views

The history behind the composition and inclusion of V'lo N'tato

I'm curious about the composition and inclusion in the shabbat shacharit of the paragraph beginning ולא נתתו (v'lo n'tato). I understand the talmudic basis for the underlying idea, and how it fits in ...
4
votes
1answer
295 views

Qumran - Proof or Genizah for Errors?

The comment and the ensuing thread quoted at the bottom of this question make me wonder what, exactly, was buried at Qumran. Were the items buried there actually used at some point and later placed ...
4
votes
0answers
375 views

Mechon-Mamre Tanach text

Which manuscript of the Masoretic text is used as the basis for the Tana"ch on Mechon-Mamre.org? Is it based on the Leningradensis, the Keter Aram Soba, or another manuscript?
3
votes
2answers
838 views

Gemara text with Nekudos

Does anyone know where to find a Gemara text with nekudot online? I'm having trouble finding one.
3
votes
2answers
151 views

ראש וראשון לכל דבר שבקדושה

The phrase "ראש וראשון לכל דבר שבקדושה" is used quite often in haskamos and introductions to describe people who devote their life to Torah study or supporting Torah study or other important Jewish ...
3
votes
2answers
332 views

What Set Oholiab and Bezalel apart?

In Exodus 31, Gd designates Bezalel son of Uri son of Hur the Judite, Oholiab son of Ahisamach the Danite, and 'all the wise-hearted' to construct the tabernacle. Why are Bezalel and Oholiab ...
3
votes
1answer
114 views

'fixed' wording of the g'mara justified by found mss.?

In the margins of the g'mara are many notations indicating changes that various rabbis (Bach, G'ra, Tzon Kadashim, Shita M'kubetzes, etc.) made in the wording of the g'mara, seemingly to resolve ...
3
votes
1answer
107 views

Picking out the alephs [closed]

How can you quickly pick out all the alephs on a page of Hebrew printed text?
3
votes
1answer
65 views

How does the blessing that concludes Hallel start?

There seem to be two different opening expressions with for the blessing that concludes Hallel: יְהַלְלוּךָ ה' אֱלהֵינוּ על כָּל מַעֲשֶׂיךָ - O L-rd our G-d You shall be praised for all your works ...
3
votes
1answer
69 views

Are we precise in which name of God we use outside of Chumash?

In the chumash, there is a distinction between the use of Elokim (midat hadin, the characteristic of justice/law) and the four letter name (midat harachamim, the attribute of mercy). Rashi on 1:1 ...
3
votes
1answer
112 views

מחויאל and מחייאל Bereshis perek 4:18

Why did the pasuk change מחויאל to מחייאל in Bereshis 4:18? Is there any peirush who discusses this change and it significance?
3
votes
1answer
134 views

Parsing the “Yisbarach…” sentence in kaddish

Kaddish reads (in part): יתברך וישתבח ויתפאר ויתרמם ויתנשא ויתהדר ויתעלה ויתהלל שמה דקודשא בריך הוא לעלא מן כל ברכתא ושירתא תשבחתא ונחמתא דאמירן בעלמא How do we parse this? Here are some ...
3
votes
0answers
83 views

What is a source for this idea in Sefer HaYashar?

The following passage settled with me in an interesting way. Although the statements recorded are themselves quite eye opening, I am unfamiliar with such an idea at large. In that sense was the ...
3
votes
0answers
31 views

Why (what is the origin) are ALL the plagues in Egypt called Makkot?

In the text of Sh'mot, the 10 "plagues" to which the Egyptians were subjected are described/called different things: Blood is called about because the water was hit (makkeh) by Moshe and Aharon (7:17)...
2
votes
2answers
201 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 ...
2
votes
1answer
90 views

Texts of Maharal’s Commentary on Shas

Does anyone happen to know where I can find online the text of the Maharal’s commentary on Shas that’s not copyright?
2
votes
2answers
513 views

Where to download Tanach text in digital format

I want to download Tanach, or at least Chumash, in a word type format. I want to be able copy and paste etc... Any help would be much appreciated. Yasher Kokachem.
2
votes
1answer
84 views

When were the tefillos formulated?

I have been told that before Galus Bavel the only prayer a Jew was required to pray was the Shema. (And I suppose Birkas HaMazon, as well.) When the Jews were exiled to Bavel, the Anshei Knesses ...
2
votes
2answers
65 views

What is the most common way of indicating qere/kethib in the biblical text?

What is the most common way used in Biblical Scripture to indicate Qere and Kethib? Especially for non-Hebrew languages.