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What literally was the mark of Cain?

Here is a sampling of the interpretations offered by the commentators (all taken from commentaries to the verse in question): Rashi God inscribed (part of) His name on Cain's forehead: חקק לו אות ...
Alex's user avatar
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19 votes

What literally was the mark of Cain?

Midrash, Bereishit Rabbah 22:12 וַיָּשֶׂם ה' לְקַיִן אוֹת, רַבִּי יְהוּדָה וְרַבִּי נְחֶמְיָה. רַבִּי יְהוּדָה אָמַר הִזְרִיחַ לוֹ גַּלְגַּל חַמָּה, אָמַר רַבִּי נְחֶמְיָה לְאוֹתוֹ רָשָׁע הָיָה ...
ezra's user avatar
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14 votes
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Is King Saul positively regarded in Judaism?

There are not very many references to Saul in the liturgy. Here is one that portrays him somewhat negatively, in the context of his failure to destroy Amalek (from Yotser for Zachor): זָכוֹר נָגִיד ...
b a's user avatar
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13 votes

Who is the Infamous Little Horn of Daniel 7?

Rashi, a renowned 11th Century commentator on the Bible and Talmud, wrote that this "little horn" in Daniel 7:8 that is "speaking arrogantly" refers to Titus, the one who destroyed the Holy Temple and ...
ezra's user avatar
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13 votes
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Hammurabi in the Book of Genesis

According to the International Standard Bible Encyclopedia (here): In accordance with the suggestion of the late Professor Eb. Schrader, he is almost universally identified with the AMRAPHEL of ...
רבות מחשבות's user avatar
12 votes
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Problem with Likkutei Maharil

Prof. Yedidya Alter Dinri records in his Hakhmei Ashkenaz B'Shilhi Y'mei HaBeynayim (pp. 278-9) as cited by R. Yisrael Peles in Yeshurun (20 p. 890) that many Aharonim held that Likkutei Maharil (aka ...
mevaqesh's user avatar
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11 votes
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What was the ultimate fate of Rabbi Elisha ben Abuyah (Acher)?

The story is brought down in Chagiga 15b: When Acher died, they said, "We cannot judge him to punishment [in Gehinnom], but we cannot enter him into the World to Come. We cannot judge him to ...
Nic's user avatar
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10 votes

Is King Saul positively regarded in Judaism?

Shaul was great beyond the imagination of the people in his Generation (and how much more so ourselves) and cannot be Judged. Yalkut Shimoni Shmuel II 157: שגיון לדוד אשר שר לה' על דברי כוש בן ...
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8 votes
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Ben Drosai - what was his Zechus?

The Yerushalmi in question is in Avodah Zarah 4:4. Prof. Shamma Friedman has written about the historical Ben D'rsai (who based on the Yerushalmi was not a Jew). According to this article, Rashi ...
Ari Kahn's user avatar
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8 votes

Pronunciation of חשמונאי

Josephus transliterates the name as Ἀσαμωναίος. The transliterated form ω corresponds to long o (see Brønno, "Some nominal types in the Septuagint" in Classica et Mediaevalia 3 and Studien über ...
Argon's user avatar
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8 votes

What literally was the mark of Cain?

No answer is complete without the Kabbalistic interpretation Tikkunei Zohar 118,2: הָכָא תָב בִּתְיוּבְתָּא וְאִתְחַרַט, בְּגִין דָּא וַיָּשֶׂם יהו"ה לְקַיִן אוֹת (שם, טו), הָכָא רָמַז אוֹת בְּרִית ...
user15464's user avatar
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8 votes

Were Rivka, Rachel, and Leah monotheists prior to marrying their respective husbands?

Our Sages (Bereishis Rabbah 70:16) tell us that "Leah's eyes were weak" from crying "whilst praying" that she wouldn't have to marry Eisav. In fact, they say that her prayers were ...
Imanonov's user avatar
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7 votes
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Why doesn't Tefilat Geshem have a verse referring to Miriam?

It's important to notice that there IS a verse for Miriam in the Hoshanos that we all said (or mumbled) just a day before Tefillas Geshem, and we must remember that Tefillas Geshem and Hoshanos were ...
aaron's user avatar
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7 votes
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Source of appellation "Shimshon HaGibor"

The phrase 'Shimshon Hagibor' goes back to the 12th century in northern france in the peirush on Genesis 49 17a peirush identified with 'Rabeinu Tam' [Published by Avraham Shoshana 2017]. It appears ...
חנן יבלס's user avatar
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What tribe was Jehu from?

From Menashe. See Pesikta Rabbati 3 ובמלכים ירבעם בן נבט משל אפרים ואחרי כן יהוא בן (מנשה) [נמשי] משבט מנשה
Renato S. Grun's user avatar
7 votes

Gedolim with difficult beginnings

When I was in Ner Israel, I heard the following story several times from HaRav Sheftl Neuberger, which he remembered from his childhood: There was a doctor who lived in Baltimore who had grown up in ...
Y     e     z's user avatar
7 votes
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Sources that Reuven slept with Bilah

Several commentators do explicitly state that Reuven actually did lie with Bilhah. Bechor Shor ונמצא שאבד שתי נשיו רחל שמתה ובלהה ששכב ראובן עמה And it turned out that he lost two of his wives – ...
Alex's user avatar
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7 votes

What made Yochanan go off?

Yochanan didn't leave Judaism; he became a Sadducee, meaning that he left the Pharisees. If we follow Abbaye's opinion that Yannay is Yochanan (Berachot 29a), then the story of how he became a ...
b a's user avatar
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7 votes
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Did Maimonides really refer to Muhammad (the Islamic prophet) as a false prophet and a madman?

Maimonides did call him a madman. See the translation of his Epistle to Yemen here (3rd paragraph) or here on Sefaria (search for "madman"). To summarize the historical background (brought ...
mbloch's user avatar
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7 votes
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Lavan the son of whom?

Ramban in his commentary to that verse offers three explanations: Lavan was referred to by his paternal grandfather Nachor's name because Nachor held a higher status than Lavan's father Bethuel, as ...
Alter Bochur's user avatar
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6 votes
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The acronym יש״ו ימח שמו וזכרו

Jesus' name was Yeshua (יֵשׁוּעַ), which was a biblical name, as another form of Yehoshua. The New Testament (Matthew 1:21) derives the name (correctly) from the root ישע. The Greek version was Iēsous ...
b a's user avatar
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6 votes

Why do we have many teachings from Hillel and Shammai, but very few of earlier zugot?

Because in those days there was very little to no machlokes: בראשונה לא היתה מחלוקת בישראל, אלא על הסמיכה בלבד In the beginning there was no disagreement in Israel, except regarding smicha (...
N.T.'s user avatar
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5 votes

How Could Jezebel, the Worshipper of Baal, be the Mother of Two Kings of Israel?

This is a complicated issue. You should read these two articles 1 2. Some Rishonim say explicitly that Jezebel did not convert, and that was part of Ahab's sin in marrying her (see, for instance, ...
Double AA's user avatar
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5 votes

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

There are a couple of questions here to respond to: Regarding the fate of the tablets, as you cited from Josephus, it "remains in the land of Siriad to this day." To my limited knowledge we don't ...
Oliver's user avatar
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5 votes

Who was Yalta's father?

Toldos Amoraim V'Tanaim brings a view from Sefer Hadoros that Yalta was the daughter of Raba bar Avu'ah "רבה בר אבוה". Although there are those that dismiss this view, they do not offer an alternative ...
Gershon Gold's user avatar
5 votes

Who is the Infamous Little Horn of Daniel 7?

In The Jewish Study Bible (2nd edition, 2014), Lawrence M. Wills asserts that the little horn is Antiochus Epiphanes. Ditto 'Daniel, Book of' in Jewish Encyclopedia (online) by Emil G. Hirsch and ...
Clifford Durousseau's user avatar
5 votes
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Aristotle learning Torah

This article in the Jewish Encyclopedia details Aristotle's place in Jewish legends. The closest evidence connecting Aristotle to Jewish teachings, that the article mentions is that Josephus (Contra ...
mevaqesh's user avatar
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5 votes
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the Alter Rebbe's daughter had a male soul

The comment is found on page 193 from Sefer Yamei Chabad. But looking at the language, it doesn’t appear to be discussing reincarnation (גלגול). It mentions that the Alter Rebbe once said that the ...
Yaacov Deane's user avatar
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5 votes

Known birthdays

According to Qidushin 38a, Moshe Rabbeinu was born (and died) on the seventh of Adar: תניא אידך בשבעה באדר מת משה ובשבעה באדר נולד.‏ מנין שבשבעה באדר מת? שנאמר "וימת שם משה עבד ה'", וכתיב "...
Tamir Evan's user avatar
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5 votes
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The source of the story of GR"A and lashes

1 - The sefer הגאון החסיד מוילנא pg. רל - רלב. brings this story. 2 - According to this sefer, the reason the maskil got lashed by Beis Din, was because he degraded the words of Torah sages. He was ...
פרי זהב's user avatar

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