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64

I used to be a Christian but converted to Orthodox Judaism more than 32 years ago. I have a website called: "A Primer: Why Jews Can't Believe in Jesus" that should more than adequately answer your question (although I actually designed it for Jewish education and not to combat missionaries). But let me just touch on the basics: Not only isn't Jesus the ...


55

You've come to the right place. The Bible explicitly allowed a man to have more than one wife. Exodus 21:10 talks about making sure the first wife still gets the same resources and attention now that she's not the only one. So yes, it was accepted in the times of Kings David and Solomon. Those kings are recorded as having quite a few wives (though ...


38

In short the answer is Yes. Maimonides (also know as the Rambam) codifies 13 principles which are basic to Judaism. These principles are pretty much universally accepted as binding in all Orthodox forms of Judaism. Principle number 8 is, "The belief in the divine origin of the Torah." Principle number 9 is, "The belief in the immutability of the Torah." ...


36

Ralbag (Gersonidies) has the earliest known use of a proof by mathematical induction in his mathematical work Maase Hoshev (1321 CE). Source: Rabinovich, N. L. (1970). Rabbi Levi Ben Gershon and the Origins of Mathematical Induction. Archive for History of Exact Sciences, 6(3), 237-248. Available in JSTOR here. (For comparison, the prevalent thought ...


36

Yes, there is a history of Jewish communities in Arab countries relying on the Muslim call to prayer for their own praying times. For one such example, here is the Ben Ish Hai, (Hacham Yosef Haim) who lived from 1832-1909 in Baghdad, and who refers to the maghrab (an Islamic prayer-time called after sunset) in various places: Ben Ish Hai, Year 1, Vayakhel ...


35

I had never heard of this claim before. It certainly doesn't fit with everything I understand about Judaism. The Wikipedia article on Uzair (Qur'anic Arabic for Ezra, apparently) contains a great deal of interesting information about this claim in the Qur'an, including why it's incompatible with actual Jewish beliefs and some suppositions about how it got ...


33

In Tanach I find the following cases (there may be others I've missed): Moshe's court executing the blasphemer (Lev. 24:23) ...and the Shabbos violator (Num. 15:36) Yehoshua's court executing Achan for taking from the spoils of Jericho (Josh. 7:25) Navos being executed by the court of Jezreel on charges of blasphemy and cursing the king (I Kings 21:13). The ...


33

There are many reasons why Jews have a low population. Depending on your point of view, different reasons will be "more true" than the others. It says in the Torah that the Jewish people, will be as numerous as the stars in the sky and the sands by the sea. However, it also says that we will be a minority amongst the nations. So while we may be uncountable,...


32

There is no way to know for certain. However, there are a few indications that what we have the "correct" day. Firstly, there is the halacha that if you do not know what day it is, you keep Shabbat on the 7th day from the last time you kept shabbat. So even if the calendar did a shift, presumably the Jewish people would have shifted the name of the ...


31

There is a tradition, recorded in various sources, that the prophet Ovadiah was an Edomite convert. This tradition is born of the fact that there is nothing within his short (one chapter) oracle that concerns Judeans or Israelites; the entire thing is an oracle about the Edomites instead. Sources: Sanhedrin 39b; Tanchuma, Tazria 8. See also Rashi and ...


29

All Cohanim and Levi'im are descended from the tribe of Levi. During the time of the temple, a Cohen would have to provide documentary evidence of their ancestry in order to serve in the temple (כהן מיוחס). Since the Babylonian exile, all such documentary evidence has been lost (with the exception of perhaps the Rappaport family). Some interesting genetic ...


26

As David Perlman stated in his answer, Biblical Noah was not Jewish. Depending on how you define Judaism, the first "Jew", or rather, the first person to recognize the G-d that Jews worship as the Creator and Master of the universe, was Abraham. If you are interested in nationality, it goes something like this: Noah and his children were the only survivors ...


26

From a conversation with Eli Faber (A professor of history at John Jay College in New York and author of Jews, Slaves and the Slave Trade: Setting the Record Straight): The only thing I have encountered is a description of how, in Jamaica, the Jewish slave owner gave his slaves all of Saturday (Shabbat) as well as Sunday off. This was very significant ...


25

The oldest written Torah Sheb'al Peh (though not exactly a manuscript) would seem to be the recently-discovered mosaic of the ancient shul in Beit Shaan. The Hebrew Wikipedia article about that shul (which was destroyed 1300 years ago, and existed a few hundred before that) can be found at this link. Here is their image of the mosaic: The text is similar ...


25

We do not determine the date of the Sabbath by looking at the calendar and seeing which day is Saturday (or Friday night). Rather (much like my answer to the Samoa" question) the Sabbath is seven days from the previous Sabbath. We have a living mesorah, tradition, on which day is the Sabbath, which happens to coincide with what it commonly known as Friday ...


25

Based on the Sefer ha-Hassidim there was a belief that the souls of the dead would pray in the synagogue at night when no one was around... based on that it appears that the belief arose in Eastern Europe that placing the key to the synagogue beneath the pillow of the goses would help his soul escape the body as it would be stirred to join up with the other ...


24

I would say the biggest explanation ahead of its time was not by the rabbis, but by the Torah, steadfastly defended by even the most rational rabbis in the face of prevailing secular thought. Up until 1929 (and perhaps even as late as 1949), the leading view in astronomy was that we lived in a steady-state universe with no beginning and no end. People often ...


23

There is no archaeological evidence of the Exodus. When you get down to it, it's surprising how little archaeological proof there is of many things which we're pretty sure happened - we have difficulty identifying some entire nations which are described by sober ancient historians; and there are many monarchs who are known only by a single reference in a ...


23

Different people will argue different positions. But besides the derasha on Devarim 7:4 mentioned in Menachem's answer to this question, a straightforward counter-claim can be made from Ezra 10:2-3 (my emphasis): ב וַיַּעַן שְׁכַנְיָה בֶן-יְחִיאֵל מִבְּנֵי עולם (עֵילָם), וַיֹּאמֶר לְעֶזְרָא--אֲנַחְנוּ מָעַלְנוּ בֵאלֹהֵינוּ, וַנֹּשֶׁב נָשִׁים נָכְרִיּוֹת ...


23

That's a very interesting suggestion, and I'm surprised I've never put two and two together here. After some searching, I've found that a similar suggestion was made by Shlomo Yehuda Rapoport (Shir) in the journal Kerem Chemed (vol. 7, p. 183). He suggests that the Romans chased and killed the students of R' Akiva on the suspicion that they were involved in ...


22

The Tosefta (Sotah 13:4) writes: משמתו נביאים האחרונים חגי זכריה ומלאכי פסקה רוח הקודש מישראל Once the last prophets -- Haggai, Zechariah and Malachi -- died, the prophetic spirit ceased in Israel. Additionally, the Talmud (Bava Batra 14b) writes: וחגי זכריה ומלאכי סוף נביאים הוו Haggai, Zechariah and Malachi were the end of the prophets. These ...


21

The Commentary on the Mishnah came first. In his colophon at the end of it, Rambam writes that he began writing the commentary at age 23, and finished it at age 30, in the year 1479 of the "Era of Documents" (4928 since Creation, 1168 CE). The Mishneh Torah, on the other hand, was written in the 4930s. In the introduction he says that the current year is ...


21

As part of the extensive research behind my RASHI'S DAUGHTERS, no subject intrigued me more than the elusive [and ubiquitous] legend that they wore tefillin. Indeed, when I first started studying Talmud and was introduced to Rashi, I was told that legend held that they were learned and wore tefillin. I actually tracked the earliest mention of this back to ...


21

Well it took me almost a year, but I can now answer my own question. In Person The National Library of Israel has everything (and I mean everything) you could ever want when it comes to Hebrew books. Although they don't allow people to check out their rare books, you can sit in the reading room and read anything in their collection for as long as you like. ...


20

There is no sufficient evidence to prove this concept in one direction or another, and there never will be. I will try explain why. I am not sure where to begin, so I will just do an info dump of points which hopefully will be sufficient, because this is a complicated topic. Monolatrism is a made up word used to try to discredit Judaism and Christianity. ...


20

In Sanhedrin 65b (line 24 and further) Tornosrufus asked same question to R. Akiva. R. Akiva answered that there are three proofs that the day Jew think is Shabbos is a real Shabbos. River Sebation is very fast on other days and on Shabbos it streams slowly. Baal Ov couldn't be applied on Shabbos. Smoke comes out of the grave of Tornosrufus's father each ...


20

Yes, the painting is based on a popular picture of the Chofetz Chaim, which can be seen in The Schwadron Collection of the National Library of Israel (Jerusalem). The archive lists the picture as following: A photo portrait of Rabbi Israel Meir Cohen ("Chafetz Chaim"): printed silver, black and white, 7X12 cm. Portfolio also includes a copy of this ...


20

The epoch for the Jewish calendar is the creation of the world, not the Revelation at Sinai which traditionally occured about 2500 years later and marks the beginning of distinctly Jewish national religious obligations.


19

The references to Rashi, Raavad, and R' Avraham ben haRambam* are explicated in Otzar Yisrael (and from there in the Daat Encyclopedia): Rashi - to Prov. 5:19 cites an explanation of the word תשגה in the name of R' Moshe Hadarshan, who in turn bases it on an expression used by Eldad. In the area of halachah, Rashi (Pardes, Hilchos Treifos) accepts Eldad's ...


19

No. This concept is completely foreign to Judaism. The other religion mentioned derived the concept from paganism, not Judaism.


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