Podcast #128: We chat with Kent C Dodds about why he loves React and discuss what life was like in the dark days before Git. Listen now.
35

From the archaeological evidence it is clear that the Hebrew srcipt being used during the First Temple Period was what's known as the Ivri script (a handy conversion chart can be found here) which is very similar to Phoenician, as opposed to our script nowadays which is called Ashuri script. In terms of what script was used at Mount Sinai, there is a 3 way ...


19

Although many good answers exist here already, I want to provide somewhat of a more comprehensive response (as best as I can) by putting all the answers I know of in one place. There are three overall ways to answer the question "why do we associate Shavuos with Matan Torah if that is not how it is presented in Tanakh?" One can respond either (I) by saying ...


15

Mechilta Drav Yishmael - Yisro - Parsha 5 says that it was not given in Eretz Yisroel in order that the non Jews would not to be able to say that they did not accept it since it was given in the Jewish land. Another reason was to avoid a dispute between the Shevatim. ומפני מה לא ניתנה תורה בארץ ישראל? שלא ליתן פתחון פה לאומות העולם, לומר: לפי שנתנה תורה ...


13

A large percentage of the families who are affiliated with groups with liberal Judaic practices, such as the Conservative and Reform movement, tends to become less affiliated after their children become bar/bat mitzva age. From my understanding, confirmation, although not a Jewish concept per se, seemed to be a great way of keeping the children and families ...


13

Shemos Rabbah (29:4) says: דבר אחר "אָנֹכִי ה' אֱלֹהֶיךָ" רבי אחא ברבי חנינא פתח בו (תהלים נ, ז) שמעה עמי ואדברה (כמ"ש בעשרת הדברות (פסיקתא רבתי, יב) עד) א"ר שמעון בן יוחאי אמר להם הקדוש ברוך הוא לישראל אלוה אני על כל באי עולם אבל לא יחדתי שמי אלא עליכם איני נקרא אלהי עובדי כוכבים ומזלות אלא אלהי ישראל א"ר לוי שני דברים שאלו ישראל מלפני הקדוש ברוך ...


13

The Aztecs were following white eagles, and do not seem to claim any sort of supernatural entity speaking to them. As the question notes, it is also very unclear from the source provided if they believe that Huitzilopochtli spoke to all the people. Marmuda is a human and described as a human. the fact that he is afterward identified as a god does not change ...


12

Rav S.R. Hirsch in the Collected Writings Vol.1 in an article entitled "The Uniqueness of the Torah" writes that the connection between Shavuos and Matan Torah is only stated in the Torah Shebaal Peh in order to teach us that someone who does not accept the Torah Shebaal Peh never has had a Kabolas Hatorah


11

כִּי אֵל רַחוּם יְהוָה אֱלֹהֶיךָ, לֹא יַרְפְּךָ וְלֹא יַשְׁחִיתֶךָ; וְלֹא יִשְׁכַּח אֶת-בְּרִית אֲבֹתֶיךָ, אֲשֶׁר נִשְׁבַּע לָהֶם. (דברים ד:לא)‏ For the LORD thy God is a merciful God; He will not fail thee, neither destroy thee, nor forget the covenant of thy fathers which He swore unto them. (Deuteronomy 4:31)


11

Because it wasn't put to them as a choice, but unilaterally imposed on Noach and his descendants by G-d. Being human carries basic obligations, because humans have abilities animals do not and a corresponding charge that animals do not: basic maintenance of the world (the Jewish understanding of the word often mistranslated to English as "subdue").


11

As the reform movement "loosely" based this ceremony on the practice of another religion, it would in fact be explicitly prohibited as chukos hagoyim to engage in it.


10

As others have mentioned, there are three opinions in the talmud regarding the issue. To summarize (as brought by DoubleAA): Rav zutra / R' Yossi - Torah was given ivri and turned to ashuri in the time of Ezra. Rebbe - given in ashuri, forgotten and used ivri until Ezra fixed it back to ashuri. R' Elazar Hamodai - Torah was always in ashuri. Rabbonim have ...


10

1) Revelation at Har Sinai was necessary to make it mandatory. As Mizrachi explains, the reason Avraham waited, until commanded, to perform circumcision is because there is greater merit in fulfilling a commanded mitzvah than an uncommanded one. 2) See the Rashba's explanation / understanding of this idea, that they were spiritually sophisticated and ...


9

As explained in שו"ת הריב"ש 96 and brought in Shulchan Aruch Harav there is no inherent connection between Shavuos and Mattan Torah. Shavuos doesn't happen on a fixed date, and Mattan Torah wasn't even the same number of days after Pesach as Shavuos. However, since the fixed calendar puts Shavuos on the 6th of Sivan, which is the date of Mattan Torah (...


8

It is clear that angels have jealousy towards humans from Tosfiyos Brachos 3a that says that some say that we say certain prayers in Aramaic in order that the angels should not be jealous of us, and Tosfiyos does not say there is no jealousy, only that we say other prayers in Lashon Kodesh so that can not be the reason. Also Rashi Braishis 1:26 indicates ...


8

Additionally, it was given in the desert (no-man's land) so that no people would be able to claim that they have no share in the Torah. (See English comments in the Stone Chumash; I can't give a more specific reference because I don't have the book on my lap ATM, sorry). edit: Mekhilta De-Rabbi Ishmael (Exodus 19:2).


7

Aside from the other excellent answers listed here, two points: 1) Dayeinu does not mean that it would have been enough for us, as in it being an end in itself, but rather than it would have been sufficient cause for us to give praise to Hashem. See here for further elaboration. Each step in the process was wonderful and deserving of our praise. 2) This ...


7

I'd have to find the source, but one of the answers I remember learning is based on the Talmud (Makkot 23B-24A). There (also brought in this answer), the Talmud tells us that the verse (Devarim 33:4) "תּוֹרָה צִוָּה לָנוּ מֹשֶׁה מוֹרָשָׁה קְהִלַּת יַעֲקֹב", hints to the 611 commandments that were given to us by Moshe. "תּוֹרָה" is the numerical value of ...


7

It seems from the gemara (Hullin 92a bottom line) that they did indeed accept commandments upon themselves. The gemara uses the phrase: שלשים מצות שקבלו עליהם בני נח Thirty commandments which Bnei Noach accepted upon themselves.


7

Rashi on Shemot 10:22 writes regarding the plague of darkness And why did He bring darkness upon them? Because there were wicked people amongst the Israelites of that generation who had no desire to leave Egypt, and these died during the three days of darkness so that the Egyptians might not see their destruction and say, “These, (the Israelites) ...


6

A gentile brother of a Jew (say the Jew is a convert) wouldn't be obligated in yibbum because he was never obligated in Torah. Even if he somehow were, the Jew is no longer his brother, halachically speaking, so yibbum wouldn't apply. (Per @DoubleAA, see Rambam: Issurei Biah 14:11-12 and in English.) And yibbum is a mitzvah that applies to individuals, ...


6

There's a debate in the Talmud (which is in turn subject to more debate by commentaries how to understand it), the two opinions appear to be as follows: The original Torah was given in the script we now know (ktav ashuri). Back then, this script was only used for "sacred matters." Regular (not sacred) Hebrew documents were written in the proto-script (ktav ...


6

Per Rashi he converted. According to the Even Ezra he converted after Matan Torah. The Ramban and Abarbanel say prior to Matan Torah. The Ramban says that he returned home afterwards to convert his family.


6

I asked my Rav this question once. He answered that they would learn theology such as belief in God and the mitzvot Ben Adam Lechavero that are obvious (such as גזל). I guess it would be best comparable to ibn Pequda's Chovot HalLevavot, parts of which he derives from what he calls "sekhel". He also pointed out that they must have had some form of mesorah in ...


6

HaSeder Haruch (vol. 3, Iyunim Behagada pg. 414) collects ten explanations (some of them may overlap answers already posted, but I nonetheless bring the whole list for sake of completeness and because they are well sourced): The Gemora (Shabbos 146a, Avoda Zorah 22b) states that when the Jews stood before Har Sinia "Paskah Zuhamasam Miyisroel" (Machzor ...


6

The March/April 2010 issue of Biblical Archaeology Review had an article By Dr. Orly Goldwasser on the creation and evolution of the Hebrew alphabet. The full article is on her website here. It's pretty detailed - but the main idea of what she writes is that the earliest (around 1800s-1600 BCE) aleph-betic writings were found in the Sinai mines alongside ...


6

Without knowing what this ceremony is I would say that orthodox Judaism is averse to instituting any type of ceremony unless there is a valid, orthodox source that can be seen as a precedent (usually the older the better). If for no other reason than to adopt one ceremony would open the floodgates and dilute any meaning (this is a pet peeve I have with ...


6

I've heard the previous UK Chief Rabbi, Lord Sacks, quote another scholar as saying: "Greek literature is televion; Bible is radio." Generally the Torah has much more emphasis on what's said/heard than what's seen. We have virtually no description of what any Biblical character looked like, unless it occasionally serves to drive the plot ("Joseph was very ...


6

Rabbi Yosef Hayyim of Baghdad in his book Ben Yehoyada (Meg. 7b s.v. Rabba) asserts that there was no need to redo kiddushin (their marriages were not terminated) and goes on to answer the (related) question raised by early authorities whether or not R. Zera (see Meg. 7b) needed to remarry his wife after he was brought back to life. (For the "why not?" see ...


5

BS"D Based on Archaeological and Talmudic sources at least from the time of the giving of the Torah by Moshe(pbuh) to the end of the Babylonian exile writing was done in K'thav Ivri/Paleo-Hebrew script. It thus could be assumed that this was also the case with the actual tablets. Clearest statement about this concept if found in the Bavli : "Mar Zutra or,...


5

Rambam explains this in Hilchos Yesodei Hatorah (1:8,10): Behold, it is explicitly stated in the Torah and [the works of] the prophets that the Holy One, blessed be He, is not [confined to] a body or physical form, as [Deuteronomy 4:39] states: "Because God, your Lord, is the Lord in the heavens above and the earth below," and a body cannot exist ...


Only top voted, non community-wiki answers of a minimum length are eligible