Questions and answers about the Jewish religion, its beliefs, practices, holidays, culture, and people.

80,193 Questions
Tanakh and Talmud
Old Testament

What are the Jewish Holy Books called?

Answer 1


The Jewish holy book is the Tanakh (Jewish Bible), containing the Torah and the prophetic books. The Torah is the most holy book of Judaism. Torah, which means "teaching", is God's revealed instructions to the Jewish People.

The purpose of the rest of the prophets is, simply put, to uphold the Torah.

(It is important to note that while "Torah" is generally used to refer to the Five Books of Moses or Pentateuch, it is sometimes used to refer to the basic texts of Judaism in general. In this sense, "Torah" includes the Torah itself, as well as Midrash, Mishnah, and Talmud, which are the Oral Torah. None of the Books of the Oral Torah are sacred and this will be discussed below in "Additional Non-Holy Supplements".)

Tanakh Composition:

The complete Jewish Bible is composed of 24 books called the Tanakh (תנ״ך). In Hebrew, Tanakh is an acronym of T, N, K which stands for the three parts of the Tanakh:

1. Torah (Teachings) (the T represents the letter 'taf' - ת),

2. Nevi'im (Prophets) (the N represents the letter 'nun' - נ ),

3. K'tuvim (Writings) (the K represents the letter 'chaf-sofit' - ך which can be transliterated as either 'ch' or 'kh' in English).

1) Torah (תורה) also called the "Teachings" or the Pentateuch and is the primary Jewish holy book. It is composed of the 5 Books of Moses (also called the Books of the Law). These books are: Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, and Deuteronomy. Jews believe that the Torah was given by God to Moses (Exodus 24:12), who transmitted it to the people (Deuteronomy 31:24). Traditionally, it is read in front of a congregation three days a week and the scroll containing the Torah is considered holy. The word "Torah" derives from the Hebrew Word "yarah" which means "to aim" or "direct" and Jews believe that the words of the Torah aim and direct a Jew to proper action (orthopraxis) and proper belief (orthodoxos). The word Torah also has the same root as 'morah', meaning teacher.

The Torah laid down the fundamental laws of moral and physical conduct. The Torah begins with a description of the origin of the universe and ends on the word Israel, after the story of the death of Moses, just before the conquest of Canaan by the Israelites.

Traditionally, the document is viewed in two parts: the written and oral Torah. The written Torah is the Five Books of Moses. (Bereshit, "In the beginning," also called Genesis; Shemot, "Names," also called Exodus; Vayikra, "He called," also called Leviticus; Bamidbar, "In the desert," also called Numbers; and Devarim, "Words," also called Deuteronomy). The oral Torah is the discussions and interpretations of those scriptures applied into law and practice over time, collected in Talmud and Mishnah.

1-5: The Torah or Five Books of Moses:

1. (בראשית / Bereshit) - Genesis

2. (שמות / Shemot) - Exodus

3. (ויקרא / Vayikra) - Leviticus

4. (במדבר / Bamidbar) - Numbers

5. (דברים / Devarim) - Deuteronomy

2) Nevi'im (נביאים) which is usually translated as the "Prophets". The Jews see the book of Prophets as the story of their past and the relationship between God and Israel. Jewish tradition (Talmud, Bava Batra 14b) states that the prophetic books were written by the authors whose names they bear: Joshua, Samuel, Isaiah, Jeremiah, Ezekiel, Hosea, Joel, Amos, etc. Judges is credited to Samuel, Kings was written by Jeremiah. The Prophets is comprised of a total of 8 books according to the Jewish count.

6-9: The Nevi'im Rishonim, the Early Prophets:

6. (יהושע / Y'hoshua) - Joshua

7. (שופטים / Shophtim) - Judges

8. (שמואל / Sh'muel) - Samuel (I & II)

9. (מלכים / M'lakhim) - Kings (I & II)

10-13: The Nevi'im Acharonim, the Later Prophets

10. (ישעיה / Y'shayahu) - Isaiah

11. (ירמיה / Yir'mi'yahu) - Jeremiah

12. (יחזקאל / Y'khezqel) - Ezekiel

13. (תרי עשר / Trei Asar), or Minor Prophets (or "The Twelve Prophets") Books and Prophets within the Trei Asar

a. (הושע / Hoshea) - Hosea

b. (יואל / Yo'el) - Joel

c. (עמוס / Amos) - Amos

d. (עובדיה / Ovadyah) - Obadiah

e. (יונה / Yonah) - Jonah

f. (מיכה / Mikhah) - Micah

g. (נחום / Nakhum) - Nahum

h. (חבקוק /Havakuk) - Habakkuk

i. (צפניה / Ts'phanyah) - Zephaniah

j. (חגי / Khagai) - Haggai

k. (זכריה / Z'kharyah) - Zechariah

l. (מלאכי / Mal'akhi) - Malachi

3) Ketuvim (כתובים) which is usually translated as the "Writings" and which composes the remaining History Books: Daniel, Lamentations, and others. Jewish tradition (Talmud, Bava Batra 14b) states that the prophetic books were written by the authors whose names they bear: Daniel, Ezra, Nehemiah, etc. Ruth was written by Samuel, Lamentations was written by Jeremiah, Psalms was set in writing by King David, Chronicles was written by Ezra, Proverbs, Song of Songs and Kohellet (Ecclesiastes) were written by King Solomon, and Esther was written by Mordecai and Esther. Concerning Job, the Talmud states more than one opinion as to when it was written. The Writings consists of 11 books by the Jewish count:

14-16: The "Sifrei Emet"

14. (תהלים / Tehillim) - Psalms

15. (משלי / Mishlei) - Proverbs

16. (איוב / Iyov) - Job

17-21: The "Five Megilot" or "Five Scrolls"

17. (שיר השירים / Shir Hashirim) - Song of Songs

18. (רות / Rut) - Ruth

19. (איכה / Eikhah) - Lamentations

20. (קהלת / Kohelet) - Ecclesiastes

21. (אסתר / Esther) - Esther

22-24: The rest of the Writings:

22. (דניאל / Dani'el) - Daniel

23. (עזרא ונחמיה / Ezra v'Nechemia) - Ezra-Nehemiah

24. (דברי הימים / Divrei Hayamim) - Chronicles (I & II)

Further Discussion on the Tanakh

The Torah is also called "The Five Books of Moses".

The term Torah can refer loosely to the entire Jewish Bible.

There are those who would claim that the canon of the Tanakh was completed after the Second Destruction of the Temple in 70 CE. However, all evidence disproves this claim with the codification being completed no later than the Hasmonean era (140-37 BCE). Tradition places the sealing of the Tanakh around 340 BCE.

The Tanakh is, essentially, what Christians mistakenly call the "Old Testament". They call it that because they think that is has been superseded by the "New Testament". But to Jews the Tanakh can not be superseded by anything.

Additional Non-Holy Supplements

There are other Jewish texts; however, they are not considered prophetic and are not within the above canon.

In addition to Tanakh, there is the Talmud (itself composed of Mishna & Gemara), which are additional writings containing oral laws and interpretations of the Tanakh handed down until about 500 C.E. (when it was sealed and put in writing).

The Mishna and the Talmud are of tremendous importance in Judaism. Some people believe that Jews regard the Talmud as a holy text. While it does contain rich commentaries on the holy texts of the Bible, The Talmud is not often referred to as holy text, but rather an important text.

Other books of major importance include the Shulchan Aruch (Code of Jewish Law), the Mishneh Torah (Maimonides' codex), and the Zohar (a mystical Midrash). There are generally accepted prayer books, mainly 'Sidur' (meaning arrangement) and religious Jews would refer to various writings by Jewish Theologises of the past 2000 years, such as Talmud, Gama'ra, "Shulkhan aruch" etc.

Here is a partial list of additional non-holy Jewish books, in no particular order:

  • Apocrypha: Additional books from the post-Biblical Era which did not make the Biblical Canon, such as Maccabees and Ben Sira.
  • Pirkei Avot: (Sayings of the Fathers) is a compilation of the ethical teachings and maxims of the Rabbis of the Mishnaic period.
  • Midrashim: (Deeper Readings) A collection of stories that explain Torah verses and Jewish concepts.
  • Haggadah: (The Retelling) The prayerbook used on the night of Passover that details the Exodus from Egypt and its religious significance.
  • Moreh Ha-Nevukhim: (Maimonides' Guide to the Perplexed) A discussion of Jewish philosophy.
  • Derekh Hashem: (Way of God) A book on Divine Providence, which explains Jewish philosophy.
  • Ramban al Ha-Torah: (Nahmanides on the Torah) A book detailing Nahmanides' views expounding and commenting on Rabbi Shlomo Yitzhaki's (Rashi's) more famous commentary.
Related Links for further information.

Dissenting Views

Jewish View on Talmud Holiness

The Talmud is a holy book. It is the Oral Torah. While in theory a Torah command supersedes a Rabbinic one, in reality what usually happens is that the earlier text is reinterpreted so that the later one is in agreement with it, rather than the other way around. "Torah le'Moshe miSinai" is a phrase commonly found in the Gemara where no Scriptural source can be found for a Halacha.

In some ways, yes, it is only some Jews who believe that the Talmud is either binding or holy, but those who do not are not considered Orthodox, and Orthodox practices are generally the ones that are most traditional.

The Talmud is holy and is regarded as such by the Jewish community, along with all other works of halacha, hashkafa, and aggada; these are considered to be "sifrei kodesh" and must be regarded with a certain respect under Jewish law (for instance, not sitting down on a surface where such a book is lying), although this is true only up until a certain point, as there is an informal and formal hierarchy (more recent books are generally regarded with less reverence than, say, the Rambam; as are works that are not in Hebrew, with the exception of the Rambam.)

However, the reverence afforded these books is lesser to that afforded a Torah Scroll. While the Talmud is central to understanding Jewish Law and is certainly a treasured book, it is not holy to the same extent or in the same way that the Tanakh and specifically the Torah are.

Answer 2 (Islamic View)

From the Islamic perspective, the Jewish holy book is the Torah. Torah reflects real God words revelation to prophet Moses (peace be upon him). Other books are collections of other human writers and religious leaders texts. The God holy books; that revealed by God; the Creator; are Psalms (revealed by God to Abraham), Torah (revealed by God to Moses), in addition to the Bible that is revealed by God to Jesus and Qur'an; the last God holy book; that is revealed by God to Muhammad (peace be upon them all).

Answer 3

The books considered sacred by the Jewish people are the Tanakh and the Talmud. Even though the Talmud is not considered a holy book, it is (together with the Torah) what most Jews follow, except for the Karaites.
The most important Jewish Holy Book is the Torah.


Where was Judaism founded?

Formed at mount Sinai. It was actually a nationality before it became a religion.


Who founded Judaism?

Unlike Islam and Christiantiy, where you can point to one key figure, Judaism evolved. Jewish and Islamic traditions point to Abraham as the founder of monotheism, but the religion of Abraham would be unlikely to be recognized as specifically Jewish. The patriarchs Isaac and Jacob played a role, and Jacob, also known as Israel, was the father of the 12 tribes, known as the Children of Israel. Jews to this day identify as the Children of Israel, but until the Exodus and the events involving Moses at Mount Sinai, the Children of Israel were not bound by the covenant that is, today, taken as the defining feature of Judaism. So, who among all these do you identify as the founder? Each played a role in the founding.


How many Jews are there and in which countries do they live?

Judaism is practiced wherever Jews live. As of 2018, there are about 14.5 million Jews.

Israel.......... 6,590,000

America....... 5,600,000

France......... 460,000

Canada........ 385,000

United Kingdom 280,000

Argentina.... 190,000

Russia........ 188,000

Australia...... 112,500


Brazil............ 95,000

South Africa.. 70,000

Ukraine......... 63,000

Mexico.......... 53,000

Hungary........ 48,000

Belgium........ 30,000


Holland......... 29,900


Italy.............. 28,000


Chile............. 18,500





Panama, Romania, Austria...10,000 each.

All other countries, combined.... 125,000.


What is a Jewish house of worship called?

There are a number of names for the Jewish houses of prayer. The names are listed here, from most common to least common.

"Synagogue" comes from Greek: Since it was during the Roman Empire that Jews began forming small, communal worship centers, these were identified in the lingua franca of Koine Greek. "Synagogue" is still considered the most specific in English, since "Temple" could refer to a Buddhist place of worship (in which a Jew could not pray on account of the idols). Jews who grew up only speaking English usually use the word "Synagogue."

Beit Knesset (בית כנסת) is the Hebrew name: In Hebrew it is called a Beit Knesset. Synagogues serve as the Jewish Beit Ha-Knesset (House of Assembly), Beit Ha-Midrash (House of Study), and Beit Ha-Tefillah (House of Prayer).

Schul is from Yiddish: People who grew up among Yiddish speakers may call it a Schul. The Orthodox and Chasidim often use this term as well. However, "Schul" is unfamiliar to many Jews who didn't grow up around Yiddish speakers.

Temple is from English: Many Reform Jews call it a "Temple". Many Conservative Jews also called it a Temple. Outside of the United States, the use of the word Temple is far less prevalent among Jews. Temple can also be offensive or confusing since the Jewish synagogue is not to be confused with the Great Temple of Jerusalem.

Sla3 is from Judeo-Arabic: This term has almost become extinct as the Mizrahi Jewish community adopts Hebrew or English as its primary languages, but this word was used quite commonly, especially in Iraq. Ashkenazi Jews would not recognize this word.

2) At Home:

In addition to synagogue-worship, it is possible (though not preferable) to pray privately, or set up a temporary session of prayer in any place which is clean, and fitting for prayers, as long as they are done during the requisite times.

3) Lesser Sanctuary/Mikdash Me'at:

Mikdash Me'at means a "lesser sanctuary" and generically refers to a synagogue or to a Jewish home that is marked by tranquility and holiness.

4) Great Temples in Jerusalem/Beit Mikdash:

In ancient times,the Jews had a Great Temple, called Beit HaMikdash in Hebrew. The Jews worshiped in the Great Temple built by King Solomon (Deuteronomy ch.12; 1 Kings ch.6-8). The most important aspect of Jewish worship revolved, for a long time, around worship at the Temple of Solomon until it was destroyed. This Temple housed the Ark of the Covenant, the tablets inscribed with the Ten Commandments that Moses received on Mount Sinai. The Second Great Temple was destroyed by the Romans in 70 C.E., but the elevated plaza and its retaining walls still stand. Today, Jews pray at the retaining wall to the west of the Temple Mount. This area is called the "Western Wall" or Kotel Ha-Ma'aravi in Hebrew and is the holiest place in Judaism.

5) Tabernacle/Mishkan:

The original Jewish house of worship was the Mishkan, or Tabernacle, a transportable temple used in the wilderness.

General Functions of the Synagogue

The synagogue's primary purpose is communal prayer, but a it's not just a place for worship. For some prayers, the presence of ten adult men called a minyan (or men and women in Liberal Judaism) is required. Even the reading from the Torah scrolls could theoretically be done in a home, but since Judaism emphasizes worshiping as a community, people normally gather together in a synagogue. It is also a place for study, since the study of Torah is equal to all other Mitzvot combined. Reading, learning and understanding of religious texts is very important. Additionally, the synagogue sometimes serves as a place for Jews to assemble and to socialize.

Religious Literature

What is the Christian holy book called?

The sacred text in Christianity is the Bible.

Description of the Holy Bible

The Holy Bible is a collection of 66 little books written by some 40 different people, over a period of 1600 years (2 Peter 1:21) (2 Samuel 23:2) telling the history of mankind, his fall into sin, God's promise of a 'rescuer' , God's dealings with humanity over the centuries, the arrival of that 'rescuer', fulfillment of the Messianic prophecies and mankind's one hope for the future. It is a collection of historical books, poetry, prophecy, and letters. Essentially it is the same as the Jewish Scriptures, with the addition of the New Testament - which relates the story of Jesus and the growth of the church in the years after Jesus' death and resurrection.

The Holy Scriptures that are accepted by Christianity are the 66 books that comprise the Bible. The original scriptures that were penned in Hebrew run from Genesis to Malachi. Then the part of the scriptures that were originally penned in Greek run from Matthew to Revelation.

These individual books are not in chronological order. But the Bible canon as it is, was accepted in the early years right after John wrote his books.

Style of Writing and Relevance to Founding Christianity

The sacred writing of the Catholic Church are contained in the Bible, but unlike other sacred writings, they (well, the New Testament) was written more as preaching, it is not an encyclopedia of Christianity. The Church is based on the Bishops under the successor of St. Peter (read St. Matthew 16:17-19).

Weight of Scripture in Christian Sects

Catholics hold that Scripture forms a part of the Church doctrine, but it holds in conjunction with the Catechism and other Papal Bulls and Creeds. Protestants typically reject any source of decrees or laws outside of the Bible in what is known as Sola Scriptura. Orthodox Christianity affirms the fact that the Bible is the sole rule for all matters of faith. Thus any other influential writings are seen as lesser than and subject to the scrutiny of the Holy Bible.

Importance of the New Testament

The Bible as a whole is of great importance to the Christian believer. The New Testament, in particular.

The books of the Old Testament are also considered scriptural as these tell of the revelation of God throughout history, before the coming of Christ. They also they point to the coming of Christ through prophesy. It tells us of who God is, what God did, what He expected from His people "the Israelites", how he wants to be worshiped and tons of wisdom for each of us as individuals. It is a biography of His people, the things they did wrong and what they did right. The Old Testament is full of the law of God and how the people could not live by His holy law.

The New Testament is the biography of Jesus. It tells us of his birth and his death, burial and resurrection. There is direction in Acts on how to be saved and the epistles tell us how to stay saved. Revelation tells us what to expect when we die from this earth.

For today the New Testament is the place for all new believers to start learning. But once you get your feet wet you need to study more and delve into the wonderful knowledge of the Old Testament so you can be well rounded in the knowledge of God.

Canons of the Bible

Depending upon the version of Christianity you are referring to, there are multiple different versions of the Bible. The basic text is comprised of the Old and New Testaments that are further broken up into collections of books. There are different canons, however. The canon are the books that are in the Bible being that the Bible is really just a larger book containing many smaller books. In the list below, if a book has no parentheticals, this means that it is a part of all Christian Canons. If it does have letters inside the parentheticals, it means that this is a book used by the following traditions:

  • P - Protestant (it is worth noting that because Protestants keep to a reduced canon, there is no "P" below)
  • C - Catholic
  • O - Orthodox
  • S - Syrian Orthodox
  • E - Ethiopian Orthodox

It is worth noting that a book will carry an asterisk if the text has additions in some sects but not others. After this a dash will provide additional content information. Additionally most of the books of the Old Testament that are part of the Catholic or Orthodox Canons but are not part of the Protestant Canons are called the Apocrypha.

The Christian Bible contains the following books:


Pentateuch / Five Books of Moses / Books of the Law

  1. Genesis
  2. Exodus
  3. Leviticus
  4. Numbers
  5. Deuteronomy

Historical Books

  1. Joshua
  2. Judges
  3. Ruth
  4. 1 Samuel
  5. 2 Samuel
  6. 1 Kings
  7. 2 Kings
  8. 1 Chronicles
  9. 2 Chronicles
  10. 1 Esdras (COE)
  11. Ezra - Esdras 2 Additions (COSE)
  12. Nehemiah - Esdras 2 Additions (COSE)
  13. Tobit / Tobias (COSE)
  14. Judith (COSE)
  15. Esther - Additions (COSE)
  16. 1 Maccabees (COS)
  17. 2 Maccabees (COS)
  18. 3 Maccabees (O)
  19. 4 Maccabees (O)
  20. 1 Meqabyan (E) -- Note that while "Meqabyan" is usually called "Maccabees" by Ethiopian Orthodox, the text of the Meqabyan is entirely different from Maccabees.
  21. 2 Meqabyan (E)
  22. 3 Meqabyan (E)

Wisdom Books

  1. Job
  2. Psalms 1-150
  3. Psalm 151 (OS)
  4. Psalms 152-155 (S)
  5. Prayer of Manasseh (O, in E this is part of 2 Chronicles)
  6. Proverbs
  7. Ecclesiates
  8. Song of Songs
  9. Wisdom of Solomon (COS)
  10. Sirach (COSE)


  1. Isaiah
  2. Jeremiah
  3. Lamentations (in COSE this is part of Jeremiah)
  4. Baruch (COS, in E this is part of Jeremiah)
  5. 4 Baruch (S, in E this is part of Jeremiah)
  6. Letter of Jeremiah (OS, in C this is part of Baruch, in E this is part of Jeremiah)
  7. Ezekiel
  8. Daniel - Additions such as "Bel and the Dragon" (COSE)

Minor Prophets

  1. Hosea
  2. Joel
  3. Amos
  4. Obadiah
  5. Jonah
  6. Micah
  7. Nahum
  8. Habakkuk
  9. Zephaniah
  10. Haggai
  11. Zechariah
  12. Malachi
  13. Josippon (E)



  1. Matthew
  2. Mark
  3. Luke
  4. John

Apostolic History

  1. Acts of the Apostles

Pauline Epistles

  1. Romans
  2. 1 Corinthians
  3. 2 Corinthians
  4. Galatians
  5. Ephesians
  6. Philippians
  7. Colossians
  8. 1 Thessalonians
  9. 2 Thessalonians
  10. 1 Timothy
  11. 2 Timothy
  12. Titus
  13. Philemon

General Epistles

  1. Hebrews
  2. James
  3. 1 Peter
  4. 2 Peter
  5. 1 John
  6. 2 John
  7. 3 John
  8. Jude


  1. Revelation

Ethiopian Canon

  1. Ser`atä Seyon (E)
  2. Te'ezaz (E)
  3. Gessew (E)
  4. Abtelis (E)
  5. I Covenant (E)
  6. II Covenant (E)
  7. Ethiopic Clement (E)
  8. Ethiopic Didascalia (E)

Additional Holy Materials

Outside of this, there are a few things that people regard as holy that are specific to parts of the church as a whole. The Catechism of the Catholic church is a book that answers all of the questions of where the church stands on certain issues--this includes anything from speeding to abortion and the death penalty. It is the very essence of the doctrine of the church. Other churches contain similar books like the Lutheran and Episcopalian church. The United Methodist has one called the Discipline. Though these may not be always regarded as holy (some consider them--especially the Catholic church), they are a place that condenses the doctrines of the church to a single book. Some church include a Book of Common Prayer. This is used in Episcopalian, Catholic, Anglican, and others. It is a book that aids in devotion and prayer in one's private meditation as well as cooperate worship.

The Latter Day Saints movement (LDS or Mormons) include the Book of Mormon, Doctrine and Covenants, and the Pearl of Great Price. These four texts are referred to as the Standard Works. The Book of Mormon is believed to be written in about the same time as the Bible but in the Americas, after Jesus was crucified. The other books were written by Mormon prophets.

The Catholics consider writings by the Popes on doctrine as sacred and infallible and have a very high regard for the Catechism of the Church.

The Christian Scientists consider Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures by Mary Baker Eddy as scripture.

In addition to these, some Christian groups accept other books as scriptural. These include other documents such as the Didache, a first century 'handbook' on Christian living, which is held as scriptural by some eastern churches.

Additionally there are many sayings of the Church Fathers, which are extrabiblical, but critical in the development of Christianity. Please see the Related Question below for more on that.

Commentary on the idea of "Christian Holy Books"

The question should be rephrased as "What do followers of Christ call their holy book?" The answer is commonly thought of as the Holy Bible. The common misunderstanding of Christianity is that it is a set of rules or beliefs that need to be followed like other religions. Christianity is about the person of Christ. Everything is centered about Christ. It is either one has Christ and Christ owns him or not at all.

Jesus never claimed to be anyone else than God Himself. He made it so clear that the Jews of his day who understood his claim wanted to stone him to death. Jesus proved his Deity through his miracles, his teachings and his resurrection from the dead. His teachings, his miracles and his resurrection were public knowledge during his time. When the New Testament was written, most if not all of the eye witnesses were still alive and could have refuted the writings of Paul, Peter and the Gospel writers. Even the enemies of Jesus acknowledged the miracles but did not accept Jesus as their long awaited Messiah. Hence, the religious leaders of that time missed their opportunity to place their faith on Jesus who fulfilled every prophesy that were written about him in the Old Testament. For someone to fulfill more than a hundred prophecies to the letter like Jesus did is like looking for a penny in a two-feet deep of dollar coins covering the whole state of Texas!

So you see, even Jesus hated religion. Christianity is about a personal relationship with Jesus, whom Christians believe is alive today!

Islamic faith perspective

Per Islam teachings and per Qur'an holy book, Muslims believe in the Bible (called in Arabic Injil or إنجيل) or Gospel that was revealed by God to Jesus (peace be upon him). Muslims; per Islam teachings; don't believe in the holiness of any other human written sections of the Christian New Testament. Muslims believe also in the Torah as the God revelation book to prophet Moses (peace be upon him) and believe in the Psalms as God revelations to prophet Abraham (peace be upon him).

Qur'an says (meaning English translation):

"And We (Allah or God and same God worshiped in Judaism and Christianity) sent, following in their (Jews) footsteps, Jesus, the son of Mary, confirming that which came before him in the Torah; and We gave him the Gospel (or the Bible), in which was guidance and light and confirming that which preceded it of the Torah as guidance and instruction for the righteous. And let the People of the Gospel judge by what Allah has revealed therein. And whoever does not judge by what Allah has revealed - then it is those who are the defiantly disobedient." (5:46-47).

History of Judaism

What is the Jewish name of God?

Yahway is God's correct Jewish name. God's Jewish name translated into English is Jehovah

Tanakh and Talmud

What do they use in a synagogue to read the Torah?

They use a kosher Torah scroll, (one in which the entire text of the Torah has been

hand-written, using the proper materials and with no known errors), a table upon

which to open the scroll for reading, and a minimum of ten Jewish adult males to

convene a formal service, of whom one is capable and prepared to read the proper

portion for the specific occasion of the reading.


What does Adonai-Jehovah mean?

They are two of God's names in the Hebrew Bible. Adonai means "my Lord" (in the Royal Plural). YHWH means "eternal."

See also:

The correct spelling of God's name


What are the origin and development of Judaism?

Jewish tradition holds that Abraham founded Judaism in the land of Israel (called Canaan at that time) around the year 2000 BCE. No exact date is known.

Answer 2

"Judaism was founded in the promised land of Canaan (also known as Israel)"

Details: The forefather of Judaism - Abraham - was born in Ur in Mesopotamia and was commanded by God to go to the land of Canaan (Genesis 12:1). After doing so, Canaan was promised to his descendants. (ibid 15:7) Abraham's son Isaac was also promised the land of Canaan (ibid 26:3) Isaac's son Jacob was also promised the land of Canaan (ibid 28:13) Jacob's 12 sons went down to Egypt and 400 years later (ibid 15:13), after the Exodus, their descendants were given the detailed laws of Judaism in the Torah, at Mount Sinai. After wandering in the desert for 40 years, they conquered the land of Canaan that was promised to their forefathers Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, and then renamed it the land of Israel.

Answer 3

Abraham discovered the idea of one God in Ur-Kasdim, and God spoke to him, sending him to Canaan (Israel). This was the start of the Jewish people. The Jewish people became a nation at Mount Sinai when God spoke to them and they accepted his teaching, the Torah, which is the basis of Judaism.

Abraham was the father of the Israelites (through Isaac and Jacob), and the Arabs who are considered the descendants of Abraham's first son Ishmael (by Hagar).

Abraham's son Isaac who had two sons Jacob and Edom. Edom became the ancestor of the Edomites. Jacob got his name changed to Israel and became the father of twelve sons and one daughter. One of those sons was Judah who is today the ancestor of most Jews.

Answer 4

Some trace Judaism to the Laws of Moses, others to the rabbinical traditions developed during the Babylonian exile, others to the 19th century developments of Conservative, Orthodox and Reform branches we have today.

History of Judaism
Nazi Concentration Camps

How many Jews were killed in the Holocaust?

Since 1945-46, the most commonly quoted figure for the total number of Jews killed has been an estimate of approximately six million. This figure, first given at the Nuremberg Tribunal, has been broadly confirmed by later research.

The Holocaust commemoration center, the Yad Vashem Holocaust Martyrs' and Heroes' Remembrance Authority in Jerusalem, comments:

There is no precise figure for the number of Jews killed in the Holocaust. The figure commonly used is the six million established by the Nuremberg Tribunal in 1946 and repeated later by Adolf Eichmann, a senior SS official. Most research confirms that the number of victims was between five and six million. Early calculations range from 5.1 million (Professor Raul Hilberg) to 5.95 million (Jacob Leschinsky). More recent research, by Professor Yisrael Gutman and Dr. Robert Rozett in the Encyclopedia of the Holocaust, estimates the Jewish losses at 5.59-5.86 million, and a study headed by Dr. Wolfgang Benz presents a range from 5.29-6.2 million. The main sources for these statistics are comparisons of prewar censuses with postwar censuses and population estimates. Nazi documentation containing partial data on various deportations and murders is also used. We estimate that Yad Vashem currently has somewhat more than four million names of victims that are accessible.

Raul Hilberg, in the third edition of his ground-breaking three-volume work, The Destruction of the European Jews, estimates that 5.1 million Jews died during the Holocaust. This figure includes "over 800,000" who died from "Ghettoization and general privation"; 1,400,000 who were killed in "Open-air shootings"; and "up to 2,900,000" who perished in camps. Hilberg estimates the death toll in Poland at "up to 3,000,000". Hilberg's numbers are generally considered to be a conservative estimate, as they typically include only those deaths for which some records are available, avoiding statistical adjustment. British historian Martin Gilbert used a similar approach in his "Atlas of the Holocaust", but arrived at a number of 5.75 million Jewish victims, since he estimated higher numbers of Jews killed in Russia and other locations.

One of the most authoritative German scholars of the Holocaust, Wolfgang Benz of the Technical University of Berlin, cites between 5.3 and 6.2 million Jews killed in Dimension des Völkermords (1991), while Yisrael Gutman and Robert Rozett estimate between 5.59 and 5.86 million Jewish victims in the Encyclopaedia of the Holocaust (1990).

There were about 9.4 million Jews in the territories controlled directly or indirectly by the Nazis. (Some uncertainty arises from the lack of knowledge about how many Jews there were in the Soviet Union). The 6 million killed in the Holocaust thus represent about 64% of these Jews. Of Poland's 3.3 million Jews, over 90 percent were killed. The same proportion were killed in Latvia and Lithuania, but most of Estonia's Jews were evacuated in time. In Czechoslovakia, Greece, the Netherlands and Yugoslavia, over 70 percent were killed. More than 50 percent were killed in Belgium, Hungary and Romania. It is likely that a similar proportion were killed in Belarus and Ukraine, but these figures are less certain. Countries with notably lower proportions of deaths include Bulgaria, Denmark, France, Italy and Norway. Finally, of the 750,000 Jews in Germany and Austria in 1933, only about a quarter survived. Although many German Jews emigrated before 1939, the majority of these fled to Czechoslovakia, France or the Netherlands, from where they were later deported to their deaths.

The number of people killed at the major extermination camps is estimated as follows:

Auschwitz-Birkenau: 1.4 million; Belzec: 500,000; Chelmno: 152,000; Majdanek: 78,000; Maly Trostinets: 65,000; Sobibór: 250,000; and Treblinka: 870,000.

This gives a total of over 3.3 million; of these, 90% are estimated to have been Jews. These seven camps alone thus accounted for half the total number of Jews killed in the entire Nazi Holocaust. Virtually the entire Jewish population of Poland died in these camps.

In addition to those who died in the above extermination camps, at least half a million Jews died in other camps, including the major concentration camps in Germany. These were not extermination camps, but had large numbers of Jewish prisoners at various times, particularly in the last year of the war as the Nazis withdrew from Poland. About a million people died in these camps, and although the proportion of Jews is not known with certainty, it was estimated to be at least 50 percent. Another 800,000 to 1 million Jews were killed by the Einsatzgruppen in the occupied Soviet territories (an approximate figure, since the Einsatzgruppen killings were frequently undocumented). Many more died through execution or of disease and malnutrition in the ghettos of Poland, Belarus, Ukraine, Lithuania, Latvia and Hungary before they could be deported.

Adolf Hitler

Why did Adolf Hitler and the Nazis hate the Jews?

Why did hitler hate the Jews


What are the origins of Judaism?

The tradition of the Jewish people, and the Torah Sages and Talmud, is that Abraham founded Judaism. He lived 3800 years ago. This tradition is implicit in many passages in the prophets (e.g. Isaiah 41:8) and the Talmud (e.g. Yoma 28b) and is borne out by a reading of Genesis.
God calls himself "the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob" eighteen times in the Torah, and that is how we address Him every day in the Shemoneh Esrei prayer.
Abraham discovered the idea of one God in Ur-Kasdim, and God spoke to him, sending him to Canaan (Israel). This was the start of the Jewish people. The Jewish people became a nation at Mount Sinai when God spoke to them and they accepted his teaching or Torah, which is the basis of Judaism.

Abraham was the father of all the races that are considered Hebrews, this includes the Arabs who are considered the descendants of Abraham's first son Ishmael (by Hagar). Abraham had a son (by Sarah) called Isaac who had two sons Jacob and Edom. Edom became the ancestor of the Edomites. Jacob got his name change to Israel and became the father of twelve sons and one daughter. One of those sons was Judah who became the ancestor of the Jews after the other Tribes went lost in exile.
Additional Perspective: The forefather of Judaism - Abraham - was born in Ur in Mesopotamia and was commanded by G-d to go to the land of Canaan (Genesis 12:1). After doing so, Canaan was promised to his descendants. (ibid 15:7)

Abraham's son Isaac was also promised the land of Canaan (ibid 26:3).

Isaac's son Jacob was also promised the land of Canaan (ibid 28:13)

Jacob's 12 sons went down to Egypt and - 400 years later(ibid 15:13) - after the Exodus their descendants - 600,000 men with their wives and children - were given the detailed laws of Judaism - the Torah - at Mount Sinai.

After wandering in the desert for 40 years, they conquered the land of Canaan that was promised to their forefathers - Abraham, Isaac and Jacob - and then renamed it the land of Israel. And, Still More: Many regard the founder of Judaism to be Abraham because of the widespread belief that Abraham, as a boy, was the first to realise that the idols of his people had no power and was therefore the first to believe in just one God. However, this is not supported by the biblical account. In fact, the Bible never explicitly credits Abraham with monotheistic beliefs. Bruce Feiler (Abraham) says that probably less than one per cent of the stories told about Abraham appear in the Bible.
Others may regard the true founder of Judaism to be Moses, who is traditionally considered to have lived around 1400 BCE, because he is often credited with writing the Torah, the first five books of the Bible.
However, many scholars regard the stories of Abraham and Moses as creations of the first millennium BCE. They point out that the Bible also tells us that the people of Israel (the northern kingdom) were, throughout its history, polytheistic in their religious beliefs. Even in the south, in Judah, the people worshipped many gods until at least the time of King Hezekia (729-686 BCE), who made the first real attempt, in historic times, to impose a monotheistic religion. Judaism is largely defined by the Hebrew Bible, and we now know that much of the Bible was written by the 'Deuteronomist' during the reign of King Josiah ( about 640-609 BCE). The biblical analyses have been confirmed by archaeological evidence. On this evidence, Judaism originated in the kingdom of Judah, located west of the Dead Sea, during the seventh century BCE.

Jewish tradition: the tradition of the Sages and the Talmud, has always been that Abraham founded Judaism. This is implicit in many passages in the prophets (e.g. Isaiah 41:8) and throughout the Talmud (e.g. Yoma 28b) and is clearly borne out by a reading of Genesis.
God calls himself "the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob" no fewer than eighteen times in the Torah, and that is how we address Him in the Shemoneh Esrei prayer. Since the time of Abraham, the Israelites have always worshiped the One God. Abraham worshiped "the Lord God of Heaven and Earth" (Genesis 14:22 and 24:3) and complained about the Philistines' lack of fear of God (Genesis 20:11). Jacob confiscated the idolatrous images taken from Shechem (Genesis 35:2) and got rid of them (Genesis 35:4); and refrained from invoking the gods of Nahor (Genesis 31:53). Rachel pilfered Laban's statue-images (Genesis 31:19) in order to prevent him from idolatry (Rashi commentary, ibid.). Joseph placed his hope in the God of the Forefathers (Genesis 50:24). Moses characterized the Golden Calf as "a great sin" (Exodus 32:21, 30) and punished the worshipers (Exodus ch.32). During the rest of his lifetime and that of Joshua (Judges 2:7), no incidents of Jewish idolatry were reported.
Shortly before he died, Moses warned the people that he suspected that they would eventually succumb to the lure of the idols (Deuteronomy 29:17). Joshua gave a similar warning (Joshua ch. 24).
These warnings came true. Many of the Israelites went astray after the foreign gods (Judges 2:11). However, the Jews never invented their own idol. It was always the baneful influence of other peoples. And there were times when the entire Jewish nation repented (Judges 2:1-4) and prayed to God (Judges 3:9, 3:15, 6:6, 10:10).
Idolatry was never universal among the Jews. The tradition of the One God was handed down in every generation, whether by the few or the many; and it is those who handed down the tradition whose beliefs we Jews continue today. Deborah ascribed victory to God (Judges 4:14), Gideon tore down the idolatrous altar (Judges 6:25-27);Samson prayed to God (Judges 16:28), as did Hannah (1 Samuel 1:11) and Samuel (ibid. 12:18); Eli blessed in the name of God (1 Samuel 2:20), Saul built an altar to God (1 Samuel 14:35); Jonathan ascribed victory to God (1 Samuel 14:12), as did David (1 Samuel 17:46); and Solomon built the Temple for God (1 Kings 8:20). A number of the kings "did what was right in God's eyes": Asa (1 Kings 15:11), Yehoshaphat (1 Kings 22:43), Yehoash (2 Kings 12:3), Amatziah (2 Kings 14:3), Azariah (2 Kings 15:3), Yotam (2 Kings 15:34), Hizkiah (2 Kings 18:3), and Josiah (2 Kings 22:2).
And, of course, the Prophets, who spoke in the name of God and warned against idolatry: Isaiah, Jeremiah, Ezekiel, Hosea and so on.
The sages of the Talmud, who ridiculed idolatry (Megillah 25b), were simply continuing in the tradition of the Prophets whose verses are quoted in that context (ibid.).

Islamic Answer

  • Judaism religion was originated by God (the one and only one God). It should be emphasized that all God religions had been founded by God not by any human or prophet. The prophets are assigned by God to deliver His message to their people. They don't found a religion on their own. Prophet Abraham (peace be upon him) refused worshiping idols and believed that God; the one and only one God; is the only Creator and the sole God to be worshiped. Accordingly he had full submission to God as the one and only one God with no partner and no companion and no equivalence. Then God revealed the Torah to Moses (peace be upon him). This, according to dating of the text by Orthodox rabbis, the revelation of Torah to prophet Moses (peace be upon him) had occurred in 1312 BCE; another date given for this event is 1280 BCE. This revelation occured while prophet Moses on the mountain in Sinai in Egypt. This marked the start of the religion of Judaism. Refer to links below.
  • This means that Judaism per Torah God revelation (in around year 1300 BC) to prophet Moses (peace be upon him) was founded in Sinai (Egypt) and moved afterwards to other places.

How is woman as widow viewed in Judaism Christianity Islam?

Jesus had woman disciples! Two had the name of Mary, same as his mom. Jesus taught for them not to be married, so it would not interfer with their marriage. So widows were and still are fine!


Do Jews believe in Jinn?

No, Jews do not believe in the existence of Jinn. Jinn are an Islamic concept.

World War 2
Germany in WW2
Adolf Hitler

Can you explain simply why the Nazis hated the Jews?

Putting it as simply as possible:

  • The Nazis thought that the German Jews were 'alien', 'un-German' and a 'corrupting influence' on Germany and that they were encouraging immorality.
  • The Nazis believed that the Jews were Communists (and that Communism was a specifically Jewish ideology).
  • There were strange conspiracy theories that claimed that the Jews were trying to achieve 'world domination'.
  • The Nazis said that the Jews were enemies of Germany, and that Jews and Germans were locked in a struggle to the death. (This was another of those conspiracy theories that many Nazis took seriously).
  • The Nazis believed that the Jews had made Germany lose World War 1.
  • The Nazis subscribed to racialist theories that claimed that the Jews were inferior to others.
  • However, Nazi propaganda also portrayed them as very clever indeed, very dangerous and close to achieving world domination: the two don't even begin to fit.
  • With the start of World War 2 in September 1939 Hitler became obsessed with the idea that 'the Jews' had started the war.
  • Earlier, 'religious' hostility to Judaism had often demonized the Jews and painted them as sinister and evil.
  • Because some Jews were affluent and influential, they represented political positions in opposition to Hitler, and were targeted like others he saw as rivals.

All this was much more important than stories about what a Jew might or might not have done to Hitler in his childhood. There is no firm evidence that Hitler was anti-Jewish before about 1916. Beware of naive explanations.

For fuller answers click on the related questions below.

Tanakh and Talmud
Persian Empire

How long was Esther Queen of Persia?

The Book of Esther places Esther during the reign of Xerxes, who was king of Persia from 486 to 465 BCE. However, scholars say there are good reasons to believe that the story is fictional and that there never was a Queen Esther of Persia. There is no historical record of either Vashti or Esther, and Queen Amestris is accepted by historians as Xerxes' only wife for the first several years of his reign.

  • Answer 2
According to Jewish tradition, Esther was queen for about 11 years.

(The Book of Esther makes it clear that this was not in the early part of Xerxes's reign.) *************** Esther was the heroine and central figure in the Biblical book of Esther. She was crowned about 60 years after the destruction of the First Temple, and ten years before the Second Temple was built. The Jews were in the Babylonian exile. A few of them, such as Nehemiah, Mordecai and Daniel, rose to positions of prominence under the Babylonian kings.

The last of the Prophets of the Tanakh (Hebrew Bible) were still living.

King Cyrus had recently made his famous proclamation (2 Chronicles 36:22-23) allowing the Jews to resettle Judea (Israel), and some had gone up with Zerubavel, but the enemies of the Jews had then slandered them (Ezra ch.4), causing the Babylonian king to put a stop to the rebuilding and resettlement of Judea. This last event was around the same time that Esther became Queen.

According to tradition, the book of Esther was written in the mid-4th century BCE, and was made part of the canon which was sealed a couple of decades after.

The name of Mordecai is the Judaised pronunciation of Marduka, which is attested in the Persepolis Texts as the name of officials in the Persian court during the period of Xerxes I. One of these officials was the biblical Mordecai.

The grave of Mordecai and Esther still stands in Hamadan; and the Jews of Iran, to this day, are referred to as "the children of Esther."


How reliable is the Hebrew record?

"Although critics contended that the Hebrew Bible is unhistorical and untrustworthy, time and time again, the archaeological record supports places, times, and events mentioned in Scripture. We now have archaeological information about a number of patriarchal towns mention in Scripture, including Bethel, Shechem, Jerusalem, Mamre, Gerar, Beer-sheba, and Dothan" (Professor John Arthur Thompson, The Bible and Archaeology). The personal names Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob are names of the time and area mentioned in the Bible (ibid).

"One city after another, one civilization after another, one culture after another, whose memories were enshrined only in the Bible, have been restored to their proper places in ancient history by the studies of archaeologists" (Prof. Gleason Archer, A Survey of Old Testament Introduction).

No parchment, scroll, or inscription has ever been found that would support the Bible-critics' JEPD (different sources) hypothesis, which remains a set of postulates. And those ancient writers who mention, describe, summarize or translate the Torah (Josephus, Samaritans, Targum, Septuagint etc.), describe it in its complete form.

Archaeological finds, such as the Ugarit documents and those of Nuzu, Mari, Susa, Ebla, and Tel el-Amarna, have repeatedly caused the critics to retract specific claims. The entire social milieu portrayed in the Torah, once criticized as anachronistic, has been shown to be historically accurate, including customs of marriage, adoption, contracts, inheritance, purchases, utensils, modes of travel, people's names and titles, etc. Professor Gleason Archer states: "In case after case where historical inaccuracy was alleged as proof of late and spurious authorship of the biblical documents, the Hebrew record has been vindicated by the results of excavations, and the condemnatory judgment of the Documentary theorists have been proved to be without foundation."

Religion & Spirituality

What are the Judeo-Christian ideals?

Love God with your entire being, and love your fellow human beings. This sums it up.

Kosher Food

Is haddock kosher?

Haddock is a kosher species of fish.


What are some similarities between Judaism Christianity and Islam?

In Matthew 5:17-20 Rabbi Jesus states that he was Not here to start a new religion; but to fix the Jewish one. Also requiring us to Keep Obeying All of the 613 Commandments that God gave to Moses! In Acts the Christians met in the Jewish Synagogs on the Sabbath in the evenings. It was outside of Israel that people met in homes and other places.

The very disobeying the Bible religion of Catholic was not started until 304/5 AD.

Kosher Food

Are anchovies kosher?

All fish are kosher except for those that do not have both fins and scales, such as lampreys.

Whales and dolphins - which are of course mammals and not fish - are treif (not kosher); as are molluscs and crustaceans such as mussels, whelks, prawns and lobsters.

So yes, anchovies are a kosher species of fish.

History of Judaism
Historical Figures

What are some important Jewish historical names dates and events?

All of the dates and information provided below are based on the Jewish Torah, Talmud and oral tradition. Note that many hundreds of names and dates have been omitted for the sake of brevity. Early Era:

  • Terah, Abraham's father was born, 1882 BCE.
Era of the Patriarchs:
  • Avraham, founder of Jewish belief, born 1812 BCE (= "Before the Common Era"). Abraham founded the tradition of monotheism, which is the belief in One God.
  • Yitzchak (Isaac), second of the Avot (Patriarchs), born 1712 BCE.
  • Yaakov (Jacob), third of the three Patriarchs, born 1652 BCE.
Era of the sojourn in Egypt:
  • Yosef (Joseph), born 1563 BCE, became Viceroy of Egypt.
  • The sojourn in Egypt was 1522-1312 BCE. The enslavement in Egypt began in 1428 BCE.
Era of Moses and Joshua:
  • Moshe (Moses) was born in 1392 BCE. He played a key role in the Exodus, and brought down the Two Stone Tablets from God.
  • The forty years in the Wilderness were 1312-1272 BCE.
  • The Israelites crossed the Jordan into Canaan, 1272 BCE. Yehoshua (Joshua, died 1244 BCE), leader after Moses, led the conquest of Canaan. His period of leadership was 1272-1244 BCE.
Era of the Judges: The era of the Judges was 1244-879 BCE. Here are some of the prominent Judges:
  • Devorah became leader in 1107 BCE. She was a female Torah-sage and Judge who led a miraculous victory over a Canaanite king (Judges ch.4-5).
  • Gideon became Judge in 1067 BCE. He led a miraculous victory over the Midianites (Judges ch.6-8).
  • Yiphtach (Jephthah) became leader in 982 BCE. He led a miraculous victory over the Ammonites (Judges ch.11).
  • Shimshon (Samson) became leader in 951 BCE. This Judge had unequaled strength and subdued the Philistines for many years (Judges ch.13-15).
  • Shmuel (Samuel) became leader in 890 BCE. He marked the transition from Judges to Kings.
  • The Mishkan (Tabernacle) at Shiloh is overrun by the Philistines, 888 BCE.
Era of the Kings: The era of the Kings lasted until the destruction of the First Temple in 422 BCE.

Here are some of the prominent kings, prophets and events:

  • Shaul (Saul), died 876 BCE, was first of the Kings. 1 Samuel ch.8-31.
  • King David reigned 40 years, from 876 BCE.
  • The building of the First Temple commenced in 832 BCE, by King Solomon, who reigned 40 years. See 1 Kings ch.6-8. The First Temple stood for 410 years.
  • Yerav'am (Jeroboam) took power in 796 BCE. He split the Ten Tribes (the Northern Kingdom of Israel) away from the Southern Kingdom of Judah and Benjamin (1 Kings ch.12).
  • Eliyahu (Elijah), 8th century BCE, famous prophet. See 1 Kings ch.17 until 2 Kings ch.2.
  • Yeshayahu (Isaiah), best-known of the Prophets, began his prophecies in 619 BCE.
  • Exile of the Ten Tribes by the Assyrians to points presently unknown, in 555 BCE.
  • Yirmiyahu (Jeremiah) began his prophecies in 463 BCE. Warned about the impending Destruction.
  • Yechezkel (Ezekiel) prophesied, 429 BCE.
Era of the Babylonian Exile (422-352 BCE):
  • Destruction of the First Temple, in 422 BCE.
  • Daniel interpreted Nebuchadnezzar's dream in 422 BCE.
  • Zerubavel led the Jewish return to Israel (Judea) in 371 BCE, after King Cyrus of Persia permitted it. 18 years later, another wave of Jews returned with Ezra, while Nehemiah oversaw the rebuilding of Jerusalem's walls.
  • The events of Purim (Scroll of Esther) were in 355 BCE.
  • Mordecai institutes the annual Purim celebration, 354 BCE.
Second Temple Era (352 BCE-68 CE):
  • Building of the Second Temple, 352 BCE. The Second Temple stood for 420 years. Soon after its construction, prophecy ceased.
  • Anshei Knesset HaGedolah - The Men of the Great Assembly. This Sanhedrin (high court of sages) sealed the canon of the Tanakh (Hebrew Bible).
  • Shimon HaTzadik died in 273 BCE. One of the early sages.
  • Writing of the Septuagint, in 246 BCE.
  • The revolt of Mattityahu the Chashmona'i (Hasmonean), against the Syrian-Greeks, in 168 BCE.
  • The miracle of Hanukkah, 165 BCE.
  • Sh'lomit (Queen Salome) ruled 73-64 BCE. A brief period of peace in the turbulent Second Temple era.
  • The Romans gained control of Judea in 61 BCE.
  • Hillel, died 8 BCE. A beloved sage, famous for his humility.
  • Agrippa I (grandson of Herod) ruled, 21 CE (= "Common Era"). A rare instance of a benign Roman ruler. Not to be confused with the wicked Agrippa II, who began ruling 35 years later.
  • Christianity started spreading around this time, but not among the Jews.
  • Destruction of the Second Temple, 68 CE.
  • Fall of Masada, 73 CE.
Era of the Mishna and Talmud-sages:
  • Rabbi Yochanan ben Zakkai, died 74 CE, gained the favor of Vespasian and managed to rescue a number of leading Torah-sages and brought them to the yeshiva (Torah-academy) in Yavneh.
  • Betar fell, and Bar Kochba's revolt ended in tragedy, 133 CE.
  • Rabbi Akiva, died 134 CE, was a leading Torah-sage throughout the Roman upheavals.
  • Rabbi Judah Hanassi, died 188 CE, completed the collation of the Mishna (Oral Law), based on ancient tradition.
  • Rav (Rabbi Abba Aricha) left Israel and settled in Babylonia, from 219 CE. Founded the yeshiva (Torah academy) of Sura. Died 247 CE.
  • Rabbi Yochanan was the leading Talmudic authority, from 254 CE. Collated the Jerusalem Talmud.
  • Rabbi Yehudah was the leading Talmudic authority, from 298 CE. Disciple of Rav.
  • Abayei and Rava were the leading Talmudic authorities, from 325 CE. These two participated in the collation of the Babylonian Talmud.
  • Rav (Rabbi) Ashi was the leading Talmudic authority, from 392 CE.
  • End of the collation of the Talmud, 475 CE. It was put in writing 25 years later.
Era of the Geonim (Torah-leaders in Babylonia):
  • The yeshiva of Pumbeditha was reopened (after Persian persecutions), 589 CE. Era of the Geonim begins.
  • The yeshiva of Sura was reopened, 609 CE.
  • Rabbi Yitzchak was the last Gaon (sage) of Neharde'a (Firuz-Shabur). 636 CE.
  • Rabbi Achai Gaon left Bavel (Iraq) for Israel, 755 CE.
  • The Halakhot Gedolot, an early codex of halakha (Torah laws), was written at this time. 759 CE.
  • Rabbi Amram (who put the Siddur [prayerbook] in writing), became Gaon (Torah-leader) of Sura in 858 CE.
  • Rabbi Saadya (882-942) was appointed Gaon of Sura, from 928 CE. He led opposition against the breakaway Karaites.
  • Four sages were taken hostage and ransomed at around this time, 955 CE. This event contributed to the spread of Torah-learning to lands other than Babylonia.
  • Rabbi Sherira (906-1006) became Gaon of Pumbedita, from 968 CE.
  • Rabbi Hai Gaon (939-1038), last of the leading Babylonian Torah sages.
European Jewry:
  • Rabbi Gershom Me'or HaGolah (c.960-1040) was the sage who decreed against Jewish polygamy.
  • Rabbi Isaac Al-Fasi (1013-1103) was the author of a major compendium of Halakha.
  • Rashi (Rabbi Shelomo Yitzchaki, 1040-1105), author of the greatest of the Talmud commentaries.
  • First Crusade, 1096. First recorded blood libel, 1144.
  • Rabbenu Tam (Rabbi Yaakov Tam, 1100-1170), a leading Talmudist. He was a grandson of Rashi.
  • The Rambam (Maimonides), 1135-1204, author of several major works in halakha and Jewish thought.
  • A massive burning of the Talmud by anti-Semites took place in Paris, 1242.
  • The Inquisition began to use torture, 1252.
  • The Ramban (Nachmanides), 1194-1270, author of a leading commentary on the Torah.
  • All Jews were expelled from England, 1290.
  • The Maharam (Rabbi Meir) of Rothenburg (1215-1293), last of the Tosafists (early Talmud-commentators).
  • The Ralbag (Rabbi Levi ben Gershom), 1288-1344, author of a commentary on the Bible.
  • Rabbi Nissim (1320-1376), and other Torah-scholars in Spain, were imprisoned. 1367.
  • The expulsion of Jews from France, 1394.
  • Rabbi Yosef Albo (1380-1444) was in a forced debate with Christians, 1413.
  • The invention of printing, 1440s.
  • Rabbi Ovadya Bertinura (1445-1515), Rabbi in Yerushalayim (Jerusalem) from 1488, author of the leading commentary on the Mishna.
  • Jews expelled from Spain and Sicily, 1492.
  • Rabbi Yitzchak Abarbanel (1437-1508), Rabbi in Naples from 1493. Author of a book on Jewish thought.
  • All Jews were expelled from Portugal, 1496.
  • The Turks (Ottoman Empire) conquered the land of Israel, 1516.
  • Rabbi Joseph Caro (1488-1575) published the Shulchan Arukh, a leading text of Jewish law, in 1566.
Later Rabbis and events:
  • Rabbi Isaac Luria (1534-1572), was a leading kabbalist.
  • The Maharal (Rabbi Loewe), 1512-1609, Rabbi in Prague from 1573. Maker of the legendary Golem.
  • Rabbi Shmuel Eidels (1555-1631), Rabbi in Lublin from 1614, author of a leading Talmud commentary.
  • Rabbi Yoel Sirkes (1561-1640), author of a major commentary on the Shulchan Arukh.
  • Rabbi Shabsei Cohen (1621-1662) and Rabbi David Halevi (1586-1667) publish leading commentaries on the Shulchan Arukh in 1646.
  • Chmielnicki massacres, 1648-9.
  • Rabbi Moshe Chaim Luzzatto (1707-1746), author of a famous text on piety.
  • Rabbi Israel Ba'al Shem Tov (1700-1760), founder of modern Hassidism.
  • The Pale of Jewish Settlement was established in Russia, 1791.
  • The Vilna Gaon (Rabbi Eliyahu of Vilna, 1720-1797), famous Talmudist.
  • Rabbi Chaim Yosef David Azulai (1724-1806), sage and biliographer.
  • Rabbi Nachman of Breslov (1772-1810), charismatic pietist and Hassidic leader.
  • Rabbi Yisrael Salanter (1810-1883), founder of the modern Mussar movement.
  • Rabbi Meir Malbim (1809-1879), opponent of the secularists (Haskalah), authored a major commentary on the Tanakh (Hebrew Bible).
  • Rabbi Israel Meir Kohen (Chafetz Chaim), 1838-1933, beloved pietist and Talmudist.
  • Wave of Russian pogroms begins, 1881.
  • Rabbi Shlomo Ganzfried (1804-1886), author of the Kitzur Shulchan Aruch.
  • Rabbi Abraham Karelitz (Chazon Ish), 1878-1953, leading Torah sage in Israel from 1933.
  • Germany started World War II, and mass killing of 6 million Jews, 1939.
Hebrew to English

What does Baruch Adonai mean?

Blessed is God.

Religion & Spirituality

How do you get around kosher net?

If you are a child and your parents signed up for their service, you're out of luck. If you're the person who signed up for the service, contact their technical support for assistance.

The Bible
Old Testament

How many Israelites reached the promised land with Joshua?

The mature men were about 600,000 (Exodus 12:37), plus the 23,000 Levites (Numbers 3:39). To this must be added the converts (Exodus 12:38), and the women and children. Based on the ratio of firstborn to younger children (Numbers ch.3), it can be seen that the children were numerous. Estimates for the total number are usually given at two million or more.

Who survived the entire time in the wilderness?

All of the Levites survived, as did all of the women and children. Plus Joshua and Calev.
The Levites survived: Talmud, Bava Bathra 121.

The women survived: Rashi commentary, Numbers 26:64.

The children survived: because the decree of dying in the wilderness applied only to men aged twenty and over (Rashi, Numbers 14:29).

See also:

The Exodus

Timeline of Jewish history

Archaeology and the Hebrew Bible


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