Bach
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Source for the "gra's" calculation of pi
13 votes

According to this (p. 9) the Gra never said this, it was actually proposed by Max Munk and was wrongly attributed to the former, This solution is attributed to Eliyahu the Gaon of Vilna (18th ...

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Looking for a source which was mentioned in a shiur
Accepted answer
12 votes

This is found in Brachot 8a: אמרו ליה לרבי יוחנן איכא סבי בבבל תמה ואמר למען ירבו ימיכם וימי בניכם על האדמה כתיב אבל בחוצה לארץ לא כיון דאמרי ליה מקדמי ומחשכי לבי כנישתא אמר היינו דאהני להו ...

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Was Baal worshiped via child sacrifice?
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8 votes

The prophet Jeremiah (19:5) clearly identifies the baal as one of the gods to which the Caananites offered their children: וּבָנוּ אֶת בָּמוֹת הַבַּעַל לִשְׂרֹף אֶת בְּנֵיהֶם בָּאֵשׁ עֹלוֹת ...

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Minhag of married women shaving during marriage
7 votes

These are vey good questions and I do not have all the answers, but one thing I wish to clarify as this misconception is quite widespread: this custom was not invented by Hassidim. In fact, this ...

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Do you say Shechiyanu on a used tallis you tied new tzitzis onto?
Accepted answer
7 votes

No you don't, you only make shechiyanu on a new Tallit (when you put on the tzitzit), but never on an old one. See Mishna Berura OC 22 sif katan 2, אם עשה ציצית בבגד שהיה לו מכבר אף שלא היה בו ...

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Are we still obligated to do capital punishment for Karet?
7 votes

Excellent question. The answer to your question can be found in Sanhedrin 41a ארבעים שנה קודם חורבן הבית גלתה סנהדרי וישבה לה בחנות ואמר רבי יצחק בר אבודימי לומר שלא דנו דיני קנסות דיני קנסות ...

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In Bamidbar 4:3 they had to be 30 yrs old; in Bamidbar 8:24 they were 25 yrs old; why?
6 votes

The Ibn Ezra (8:24) reconciles these contradictory verses by proposing that the age of twenty five was appropriate only for the work of the tent (עבודת אוהל) whereas thirty was appropriate for ...

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Is it permissible to read works of the apocrypha?
6 votes

The Gemara in Sanhedrin (100b) explains that the Mishna refers to ספרי מינים, and that this is what the Chazal mean by ספרים חיצונים. R Yosef adds that Ben Sira is included in this prohibition, though ...

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Mishnah on looking down while walking in street
5 votes

As a sidenote to Danny's answer, there is an interesting story with R' Tam and his brother Rashbam, recounted by the Mordechai (Additions to Eiruvin end of 1st perek). The Rashbam being ever so modest,...

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Mentioning Yeshu's name?
5 votes

R Meir hakohen (commonly known as the hagahot maimoniyot. rambam AZ chapter 5), clearly permits mentioning his name (The Rama cites him as well YD siman 147). כתב רא"ם שאין אסור אלא שם שניתן לה ...

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What kind of blood did the Nile turn into?
5 votes

The Daat zekeinim and Riva (Shmos 7:18) are of the opinion that it just looked like blood, but it tasted like regular water (still the Egyptians didn't drink from it because it stunk from the dead ...

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Did Rabbi Akiva Go To Africa?
Accepted answer
5 votes

Yes! we definitely find this name in other Rabbinic literature. See Sanhedrin 94a. Yerushalmi Sheviis chapter 6. Yitzchak Meitlis in the appendix to his book Excavating the Bible writes that this ...

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Finding a source for a palindrome attributed to Ibn Ezra
4 votes

The earliest source I was able to find for this particular palindrome is a work by the famous kurdistan author, Shimon Avidani (1881 - 1981), called ma'aseh hadgdolim (parshas toldos no. 13, p. 382). ...

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Paul being sent as a double agent by the Sanhedrin
Accepted answer
4 votes

Shoel U'meishiv has definitely been correct in identifying Rashi as one of the earliest main sources for this Jewish legend. But since he failed to cite Rashi in full I decided to do just that (and ...

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In Parshas Behalosecha why did Bnei Yisrael need to cry for meat?
4 votes

The Israelite's were definitely able to eat their animals (if the blood was sprinkled on the altar the meat was theirs like any shelamim. see chulin 16b). According to the Ramban (11:4) they didn't ...

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When Did Moses Receive the Torah
4 votes

This is an excellent question and there is nothing to be embarrassed of. The traditional approach states that the entire Torah was given to "Moses" at Sinai (Rashi beginning of chapter 25 Vayikra). ...

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Exactly how much of the "Curse of Ham" concept is Jewish Idea
3 votes

The short answer to this is: No, this is not a Jewish concept. As sabbalhillel already pointed out, there was no curse on Ham, but on a very specific nation called Canaan. But i disagree with his ...

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Source of the lost letter shin?
3 votes

I found the source for this kabbalistic tradition in the Magen David of the Radbaz. Basically he's using the kabbalistic concept of שמיטין to explain the anomaly of the shin. The idea in short is, ...

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Was Uriah Jewish?
3 votes

In shut Avraham ben Harambam 25 the author states that Uriah was a Jewish convert from Hittite origin. He adds that the Rambam his father maintained that Uriah was not even a full fledged convert but ...

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What if someone thinks he is a Jew but his ancestor had not orthodox conversion/was gentile?
3 votes

There is a concept in the Talmud called "כל המשפחות בחזקת כשרות הן עומדות" (kidushin 76b opinion of the sages against R Meir). This means that every Jewish family has a kosher Jewish status-quo until ...

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How can Chachomim nullify my recitation of the evening Shema if I read it at a time permitted by the Torah?
3 votes

I believe the R Yona in the beginning of Brachos asks your question, ויש להקשות לרבנן דאמרי דאפי' דיעבד אינו יוצא אלא עד חצות, אם עבר חצות מה יהא דינו. שאם נאמר שלא יקרא כלל קשה, כיון דק"ש ...

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To bend or graft; did the Rashbam made a mistake?
3 votes

I don't think this is a mistake! First of all, the Rashbam mentions "מבריך ומרכיב". So the first word indeed sounds like "ונברכו". Second, even the other word "מרכיב" - according to rashbam - comes ...

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The fall of Yehudah the Maccabee
2 votes

Ramban Bereishis 49:10 וזה היה עונש החשמונאים, שמלכו בבית שני, כי היו חסידי עליון, ואלמלא הם נשתכחו התורה והמצות מישראל, ואף על פי כן נענשו עונש גדול, כי ארבעת בני חשמונאי הזקן החסידים המולכים זה אחר ...

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Why "בְּנֵי עַמּוֹן"?
2 votes

This is an excellent question. Although I don't have the complete answer to your question, I would like to present the archaeological evidence supporting the phrase of "בני עמון" frequently ...

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Cooking nat-bar-nat food in an opposite-type pot
2 votes

Actually the Rama does kinda say that, all that is permitted according to the Rama is "ליתנן בכלי שלהם", which means putting the nat bar nat in the other min's utensil, however this clearly ...

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What was the attitude of Chazal towards abstinence (asceticism, stoicism)?
2 votes

The gemara in Taanis 11a brings a Machloket between two sages on how we should view the Nazir who abstains from wine, ר' אלעזר הקפר ברבי אומר מה תלמוד לומר {במדבר ו-יא} וכפר עליו מאשר חטא על הנפש ...

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In Exodus 3:14 is there a linguistic relationship between the Tetragrammaton and the "to be" and what is that linguistic relationship?
Accepted answer
2 votes

The noun היה/הוה means "to be" (see this), if you add the prefix alef אהיה it means "i will be", if you add instead a yud יהיה it means "he will be". This is the the meaning of the Tetragrammaton ...

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Is one allowed to read books written by Homer such as The Iliad or The Odyssey?
2 votes

The Yerushalmi (sanhedrin 17a) brings the opinion of R Akiva, הקורא בספרים החיצוניים כגון ספרי בן סירא וספרי לענא [אין לו חלק לעולם הבא], אבל ספרי המירס וכל הספרים שנכתבו מכן והילך - הקורא בהן ...

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Foreign gods names without intention?
2 votes

The author of Yereim addresses your issue and permits it, it is brought down by R Meir hakohen (commonly known as the hagahot maimoniyot), Mordechai (AZ 809) and the Rama YD siman 147. The following ...

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Loving an Apikores?
2 votes

The Rambam himself (who mainly defined who is an apikores) addresses this question, וכשנתקלקל לאדם יסוד מאלה היסודות הרי יצא מן הכלל וכפר בעיקר ונקרא צדוקי ואפיקורוס וקוצץ בנטיעות ומצוה לשונאו ...

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