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22
votes
2answers
2k views

Abbreviations before/after names

What are the more common abbreviations one might see printed before or after a person's name, and what do they mean? Please include honorifics (R'=Rabbi) as well as memorial - or prayerful - suffixes ...
14
votes
1answer
548 views

What does this pointing hand symbol mean?

I've seen in the Shulchan Aruch the hand symbol ( ☜ ) appearing quite a few times. What does it do? Does it reference to mforshim on the side?
13
votes
1answer
465 views

What is the oldest manuscript of Torah Shebaal Peh?

We don't have (and more's the pity!) R' Yehudah Hanassi's autograph copy of the Mishnah (well, okay, it's a controversial issue whether he actually wrote it or only arranged it orally), or Ravina and ...
13
votes
2answers
220 views

Can a book with ancient text really be copyright?

Pick up your local chumash, siddur or gemara. Open it to the front page. There it is, the dreaded ©. But to me that seems quite odd. Can the text of the actual davening or talmud really be ...
13
votes
2answers
1k views

Citation format for G'mara

If one is citing a g'mara in a scholarly article, what is the proper publication information to use, including title, etc.? I can't seem to find reliable examples in either English or Hebrew. This ...
13
votes
1answer
339 views

How does Orthodox Judaism view the Book of Jubillees

How is the Book of Jubilees regarded by Orthodox Jewry (I'm not asking if we believe it existed, but if we hold any of the information in it to be accurate). Is it ever quoted by any of the ...
11
votes
4answers
394 views

Why was Torah sheBal Peh not allowed to be Written?

The Gemara states that it is forbidden to write down the Oral Torah [1]: דרש רבי יהודה בר נחמני מתורגמניה דרבי שמעון בן לקיש, כתיב: +שמות ל"ד+ כתוב לך את הדברים האלה, וכתיב: +שמות ל"ד+ כי ...
11
votes
11answers
2k views

Where can I buy inexpensive seforim online?

Where can I buy seforim online for inexpensive prices? I mean real seforim.....not digital ones. I'm willing to buy seforim either new or second-hand.
11
votes
2answers
588 views

Origins of איל משולש and Vilna Ga'on's bathroom math

There is a well-known fact that the Vilna Ga'on studied math while in the bathroom since Torah was out of the question in an unclean place. It is also somewhat well-known that he produced the material ...
10
votes
3answers
405 views

How Kabbalistically accurate is the golem-making procedure described in “Niflaos Maharal”?

There's been plenty of discussion about the historic authenticity of "Niflaos Maharal", a book that appeared in the early 1900s describing how the Maharal made a Golem to defend the Jews against blood ...
10
votes
2answers
296 views

Reading secular books on shabbat?

Which prominent halakhic authorities permit (or forbid) the reading of secular books, magazines, and newspapers from Friday evening until Saturday nightfall? Why? Is it uvda dechol? What if it is ...
10
votes
2answers
283 views

What rabbinic/Judaic scholar has the lowest Erdős number? [closed]

From Wikipedia: The Erdős number describes the "collaborative distance" between a person and mathematician Paul Erdős, as measured by authorship of mathematical papers. ... Due to the very high ...
9
votes
2answers
212 views

Pronunciation guide by a Gerer Rebbe?

I heard from a friend years ago that one of the Rebbes from Gur (the S'fas Emes) wrote a book describing the proper pronunciation of Hebrew letters and words. I am not able to find any trace of such a ...
8
votes
1answer
169 views

Marcus Jastrow Dictionary Copyright

Is the dictionary that he wrote still in copyright, or has it entered the public domain? If not, who owns the rights to it?
8
votes
5answers
305 views

Learning History on Shabbos

Is there a Halachic problem to read and or learn the topic of History on Shabbos for enjoyment purposes? and why?
8
votes
5answers
913 views

Good books for non-Jews who are interested in understanding Judaism, especially branches of Orthodox judaism

I have found that the first thing to do when you want to learn something about a subject, is to start with the idea that you know absolutely nothing. I understand, for example, that Judaism has ...
8
votes
1answer
126 views

Why were the prophecies of Eliyahu and Elisha not written as separate books?

The prophets during the second half of the First Temple era have their prophecies and actions recorded in books of Tanach named for them (or, as in the case of Trei Asar, in sections of a book). This ...
8
votes
2answers
299 views

How historically accurate is Josephus?

How accurate is the writing of Josephus? Can we rely on any of his writings to establish authentic Jewish practices or in areas of halacha?
7
votes
2answers
309 views

Fulltext search across sources: Gemara, Zohars, Rishonim and Aharonim

I know about Hebrewbooks.org for searching for sources in books, but the problem is you have to get to let's say every Masechta to look for a phrase. Is there a program (doesn't have to be free) that ...
7
votes
1answer
450 views

What is the font with points in the middle of the letters called? [closed]

What is this [type of] font called - the kind that makes it look like every leg of every letter is a snake that swallowed a block? Where can I download such a font?
7
votes
4answers
106 views

Can anyone help me find resources for the content and organization of a shul library?

Our shul library has been neglected for many, many years, and b'h' we are finally cleaning and organizing it. I am used to using a library, not organizing it! So I wonder if anyone can give me some ...
7
votes
2answers
84 views

“Hagahos MaimoniYOS”?

Is the correct title for the work abbreviated "ה"מ" "Hagahos Maimoni" or "Hagahos Maimoniyos"?
7
votes
1answer
114 views

Which came first the Mishnah Torah or the Pirush HaMishnayos

Which sefer did the Ramabm author first, was it his Mishnah Torah (Yad HaChazaka) or his commentary to Mishnayos?
7
votes
2answers
443 views

Is there a good children's parsha book that's focused on pshat, not midrash?

Is there a good children's parsha book that's focused on pshat, not midrash? Something like a Little Midrash Says, but based on just the psukim (simple verses), not all the medrish?
7
votes
1answer
88 views

What is the Book of Genealogies?

The g'mara on Pesachim 62b says (Soncino translation): Rami the son of Rab Judah said: Since the day that the Book of Genealogies was hidden, the strength of the Sages has been impaired and the ...
6
votes
2answers
170 views

Shakespeare in Classic Jewish Sources

Does anyone know of any references to Shakespeare, translations of his works, or anything related to Shakespeare in classic Rabbinic sources?
6
votes
2answers
171 views

What was the font of the first printed edition of Rash"i's commentary?

In what font was the first printed edition of Rash"i's commentary on the Torah printed? Was it some "standard" Hebrew block print or something more like the type face so eponymously associated with ...
6
votes
3answers
171 views

Reading books about Avodah Zarah

Is it permissible to read books about Avodah Zarah? Is it permissible to read Greek mythology for informational purposes, seeing as it's not particularly tempting to anyone nowadays? Is it ...
6
votes
3answers
164 views

Biography on Rav Hirsch

Anyone know of any good (i.e. non-hagiographical) biographies on Rav Samson Rafael Hirsch zt"l?
6
votes
2answers
84 views

Are there any books which specifically deal with the laws of an Aguna? Preferably in English?

I know where it is written in the Torah that a man needs to write a document for his wife in order to divorce her, but I want to know if there is a thoroughly explained book written on the topic of ...
6
votes
2answers
149 views

The original Mesilas Yesharim

Mesilas Yesharim is a digest version of a previous work by the Ramchal. This work is an ongoing conversation between a wise man and a pious man (Thank you chanoch for the correction). I don't recall ...
6
votes
2answers
137 views

Why is Chulin in Kodshim

Why is the Gemara (Talmud) Chulin which talks about Ritual slaughter of animals not having to do with sacrifices in the Beis Hamikdash (temple) in the SEDER (order) of Kodshim which is talks about ...
6
votes
6answers
168 views

Beginning a comprehensive study of Moreh N'vuchim

A friend of mine would like to begin learning Moreh N'vuchim seriously and is unsure of exactly where/with what to start. What is the best version out there of the book itself? Are there any ...
6
votes
1answer
140 views

Torah Learning Time Calculator

I am looking for something that will take the sefer I want to learn, and the amount of time/days I want to complete it in and tell me the average amount I need to learn a day. It doesn't have to be ...
6
votes
2answers
177 views

Is using a book with letters stamped on the sides melacha (erasing) if the book wasn't closed in the first place?

A comment on this question points to the following from OU: Likewise, when words are stamped on the edge of a book (as is the case with most library books), these letters are separated when the ...
6
votes
1answer
102 views

Less disgraceful placement of a sefer kodesh?

Suppose I find myself in a public building, in need of a restroom, with a chumash in my hand that is too large to fit in a pocket. Outside the restroom, in a painted cinderblock hallway, there is no ...
6
votes
2answers
165 views

How to pronounce the name of the sefer “Bnei Yso(s)cher”

How does one pronounce the name of the sefer בני יששכר ? I've heard people pronounce both sins -- so it is Ysoscher. (There is also a common custom to pronounce the name יששכר with both sins the ...
5
votes
4answers
232 views

Dealing with anger

What is a good sefer or even book that helps people with a problem with getting angry?
5
votes
2answers
4k views

Mishnah Berurah PDF

Does anybody know where I can get a PDF of the complete Mishnah Berurah?
5
votes
2answers
278 views

What Mikraos Gedolos has the most meforshim?

What sefer (prob Mikraos Gedolos) has the most meforshim in it?
5
votes
1answer
121 views

How old is the tradition of the Genizah?

You'll have to excuse my ignorance and if I word something slightly awkwardly, but I did wonder how old is the tradition of burying the Genizot, or alternatively, if that is unknown, what is the ...
5
votes
3answers
234 views

Is one allowed to fold the corner of a book on Shabbos?

An easy way to keep a bookmark is to fold the upper-right corner of a book (aka Dog ears) Is such an action permitted on Shabbos?
5
votes
3answers
191 views

What are Brochos seforim for Sefardim?

There are many Hilchos Brochos (on food) seforim for Ashkenazim such as Halachos of Brochos, The Laws of B'rachos, etc. What are examples of English Brachos seforim that sefardim could use? (in other ...
5
votes
1answer
85 views

Who was R' Jacob Pidanki?

Every once in a while the Judaica Press English translations (such as this one) will quote R' Jacob Pidanki in their commentary anthology. Who was R' Jacob Pidanki? Where did he live? What ...
5
votes
3answers
144 views

Jewish alternative to a Christian self-help book

I had a bad psychological trauma some time ago and I felt the urgent need to review myself. I found that reading self-help books helped me. I tried to learn Mussar books (Mesillat yesharim, Chafetz ...
5
votes
1answer
122 views

Where are these mysterious OU documents?

I was recently reading a Halachically Speaking article and noticed that in many places in the footnotes, a reference to an OU Document is made. For example: Refer to OU Document A-94 Is this ...
5
votes
2answers
143 views

Ibn Ezra/Rashbam Biography

Does any one know of any good biographies of Rashbam and/or Ibn Ezra?
5
votes
1answer
92 views

Trouble understanding this Kaf HaHaim

My friend asked recently asked me an interesting Hakira in Halacha. Is it better to eat Pat Shahrit Hamosi or Pat Shahrit Mezonot and go to the Mikve (because of a lack of time)? I started looking ...
5
votes
1answer
175 views

Why can people write Torah sheBal Peh nowadays?

This is a follow up to: Why was Torah sheBal Peh not allowed to be Written?. The Gemara in Temurah (14b) states that one may not write Torah sheBal Peh. It then states an exception that was made so ...
5
votes
0answers
136 views

Is it forbidden for a Jew to read the writings of Baruch Spinoza?

The cherem against Spinoza says the following: The Lords of the ma'amad, having long known of the evil opinions and acts of Baruch de Espinoza... We order that no one should communicate with him ...