Questions connected to laws that were instituted by the Rabbis (not Biblical).

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Why make the Kohen burning the Para Aduma rabbinically impure?

The Gemara says that we make the Kohen burning the Para Aduma (the red heifer) impure and then dip him in the Mikva. The reason given is that there is an argument between the Rabbis and the Sadducees ...
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1answer
1k views

Was chicken originally considered pareve? If so, when and why was this changed?

I heard that chicken was originally considered pareve in the Bible, because it is a type of fowl (i.e. like fish it is pareve, as it is not 'meat'), and that only later was it changed to be meat ...
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2answers
198 views

Who Commanded Us, and For What?

Whenever a Jew performs an activity that is mandated by the Torah, s/he recites the blessing that acknowledges God, "אשר קדשנו במצוותיו" (who sanctified us with his commandments), and who commanded us ...
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0answers
329 views

To what extent is homosexuality forbidden among non-Jews?

All homosexual behavior is forbidden among Jews, but some actions are clearly Torah prohibitions (e.g. mishkav zachar), while some might be Rabbinic in nature (e.g. lesbian relations). Are all of ...
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1answer
373 views

Why does the “Dorff teshuva” of the Conservative movement say that homosexual relations are a *rabbinic* prohibition?

In a teshuva issued by the Conservative Movement entitled Rituals and Documents of Marriage and Divorce for Same-Sex Couples by Rabbis Elliot Dorff, Daniel Nevins and Avram Reisner, it is claimed in a ...
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1answer
109 views

Why is there no decree against bathing in Chamei Teverya?

Gemara Shabbos says that originally one was allowed to bathe on Shabbos in pre-heated bath-houses. However, (in short) due to the fact that the bath-house directors would violate Shabbos (by heating ...
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1answer
115 views

Are Kol Ishah and seeing a woman's exposed hair rabbinic prohibitions according to the Shulhan 'Aruch?

According to the Shulhan 'Aruch (Even Ha'Ezer 21:1), it is: ואסור לשמוע קול ערוה או לראות שערה. והמתכוין לאחד מאלו הדברים, מכין אותו מכת מרדות. ואלו הדברים אסורים גם בחייבי לאוין.‏ Forbidden ...
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0answers
78 views

Can “Three D'Rabbanans be 'motzei' ”Two D'Rabbanans"

We know that when there is a case of someone that is obligated to perform a mitzvah m'drabbanan (and in fact there are 2 d'rabbanans together) they can't be "motzei" someone in the mitzvah who only ...
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1answer
169 views

Davar charif cut with meat knife — why not ossur?

The SA in YD Siman 97 Sif 1 (the makor is a braisa in Pesachim Daf 30) says that one should not knead together a dough with milk, lest someone come to eat it together with meat. If one did knead them ...
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1answer
153 views

Sofek d'rabbanan by tevillah of an isha

Normally we say "sofek d'rabbanan l'kulo" and will be lenient in a case of a doubt that is only an issur d'rabbanan. I have heard that there are poskim who say this doesn't apply in the case when ...
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1answer
62 views

Proof from Mishneh that Hilchos Chol HaMoed is M'd'rabbanan

If one looks into the Tur and Beis Yosef at the beginning of Hilchos Chol HaMoed in Simana 630 you will find a big maklokes rishonim if malacha on Chol HaMoed is an issur d'oraisa, d'rabbanan, or ...
2
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0answers
130 views

Who should observe Isru Chag?

I have been trying to understand Isru Chag. While there is a source in tehillim for the words and the gemara derives a notion of extra celebration, there seems to be little about the scope of the day. ...
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2answers
224 views

How did Chazal know they were right about “who is a Jew”?

My question is predicated on the assumption that Jews were created by God as fundamentally different from non-Jews. (I am referring, for example, to the idea that Jews have a special type of soul. And ...
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2answers
76 views

“Lo Plog” in Shas

In a case of a gezera or any other issur that might not apply to a particular person (for whatever reason) we often still say it does because of a "lo plog". In order that we shouldn't make ...
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3answers
345 views

Arguments for Rabbinical Law

My friend does not practice Rabbinical Laws unless he fully agrees with the reasoning. He's totally fine with direct Torah Laws however. I'm running out of arguments to convince him. Any ideas?
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2answers
145 views

Skin of chicken like chicken meat itself?

In terms of dinei baser b'chalav and other nafka minas for if something is considered baser or not what does the status of the skin on top of chicken have (the skin that is cooked together and often ...
8
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1answer
186 views

Has anyone declared a time of oppression regarding the four Temple fasts?

The Sha'ar haTziyun (OC 550 sk 9) speculates if in his day (~1900 CE) there was enough oppression of the Jews to warrant declaring the fasts of 10 Tevet, 17 Tammuz and 3 Tishrei into full fledged ...
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2answers
686 views

Can a gentile break shabbos only on a Rabbinic level?

A non-Jew is forbidden from observing Shabbos. When someone is in the process of converting, we advise them to keep the entire Shabbos besides for doing one forbidden activity. A common practice is to ...
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3answers
539 views

Amira Lakum: say you can't say?

One is not allowed to tell a non-Jew to do a melacha on shabbas, but one can hint and say "it is cold in here", hoping he will realize and shut the air conditioner. Is one allowed to explain to the ...
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2answers
136 views

A fence within a fence

There is a well known dictum that a lot of rabbinic enactments were created to 'create a fence' around the major sin; the idea being that if someone does something that would be Biblically permitted ...
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1answer
126 views

Who established the Shema?

The Gemara in Berachos 12b says "They sought to establish [various passages] in the Shema" and "they establish[ed] the passage of tzitzis in the Shema" (Artscroll trans.) I had thought that the ...
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3answers
318 views

Is it allowed to prepare for maariv after Shabbos during the rabbinic tosefes Shabbos?

The time to daven maariv on Motzoei Shabbos is some period (where I am it’s around 15 minutes) after the stars come out. This period is called tosefes Shabbos. In many shuls, the shaliach tzibbur ...
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1answer
87 views

Making a Berachah on rabbinically prohibited foods

Should one refrain from making a Berachah on rabbinically prohibited foods, or does that rule only apply to biblically prohibited foods?
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2answers
220 views

Why did God give the Rabbis so much power?

The Torah demands that we adhere to the laws implemented by the Rabbis (I think the source is "don't veer from what they tell you to the right or to the left"). This has given the Rabbis far-reaching ...
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1answer
137 views

Why no tfillin on second day of Yom Tov?

The decree of keeping two days of Yom Tov outside of Israel is because Rosh Chodesh used to be determined by Beis Din and its messengers couldn't reach all of exiles in time, thereby requiring people ...
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2answers
67 views

Does a fan or light on Shabbos need a Blech?

Obviously they wouldn't need a "blech" like we think of one, but would they need some sort of physical alteration to remind one not to adjust the knobs/switches on Shabbos? More specifically, to ...
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5answers
410 views

The authenticity of rabbinic literature

I am studying the history of various branches of Judaism. I understand the position of rabbinic Judaism that parts of the laws were oral and not written. But this alone would not justify the ...
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2answers
2k views

What is Maris Ayin?

What is the precise definition of Maris Ayin, and to what cases does it apply? (i.e. what are the parameters for applying it)
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5answers
1k views

Halachic Restrictions not in the Torah, and “shall not add”

How can halachic restrictions that are not in the Torah be reconciled with the Deuteronomy 4:2 passage, which says, "Ye shall not add unto the word which I command you, neither shall ye diminish from ...
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3answers
598 views

Why do we say Pesach seder brachot both nights?

During the Pesach seder, but not during the rest of Pesach, we say b'rachot for the mitzvot of matzah and maror. (I mean the "asher kidshanu b'mitzvotav" b'rachot.) So it seems that we are only ...
15
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3answers
528 views

When do rabbinic enactments apply if the given reason no longer does?

Often we find gezeiros d'rabbanan designed as preventative measures against more serious transgressions. However, if nowadays the reasoning behind the gezeira does not apply, it seems that sometimes ...
11
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4answers
568 views

Clapping on Shabbos

Is one allowed to clap one's hands on Shabbos? Does it matter whether one is clapping to a beat or trying to get someone's attention?
12
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4answers
429 views

Milk After Fowl

If eating milk and chicken is only a rabbinical prohibition, why don't we find that we are more lenient with regards to it. For example, why don't we wait less time between eating chicken and milk? ...
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4answers
186 views

Rabbinic prohibitions among Noachide laws

Are there Rabbinic prohibitions on non-Jews in the context of the 7 Noachide laws? e.g., would they have gezeirot like yichud or negia in order to prevent ariyot?
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1answer
156 views

Two types of preventative enactment?

I believe this is a strictly academic question. Correct me if I'm wrong. Many of the restrictions enacted by the Rabbis (as opposed to those extrapolated from the Torah) were done so in order to ...