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

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26
votes
2answers
678 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 ...
18
votes
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 ...
13
votes
3answers
489 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 ...
13
votes
1answer
331 views

Why don't Rabbinic fasts end by Ben Hashmashot?

There's a doubt in the Gemara when the new day starts, at sunset or at three stars (Ok, and there's Rabbi Yossi's opinion). When it comes to Shabbos (or any other biblical time), we have to be strict ...
12
votes
1answer
1k views

Are there jews not following the rabbinic laws?

Trying to learn about Judaism more I have been reading this StackExchange for the past few months. As a non-Jew using the correct terminology is a bit hard, so please do feel more than free to edit ...
12
votes
4answers
427 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? ...
11
votes
5answers
399 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 ...
11
votes
4answers
537 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?
11
votes
3answers
519 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 ...
11
votes
2answers
1k 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)
10
votes
3answers
509 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 ...
9
votes
2answers
219 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 ...
8
votes
5answers
2k views

Should a non-Orthodox Jew wear tzitzit or not?

It seems obvious to me that in general it’s better to keep more mitzvot rather than fewer, but wearing tzitzit seems like a special case. I’ve asked rabbis in my community about this, but I want to ...
8
votes
1answer
183 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 ...
8
votes
1answer
155 views

Precedent for Forbidding Conversion

The Syrian community has a Takkanah in place which bars conversion. In addition to forbidding conversion under their own auspices, they also "Never accept a convert or a child born of a convert", as ...
8
votes
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 ...
7
votes
1answer
96 views

Pikuach Nefesh and different levels of Halacha

Here's a theoretical: if someone has to save a life and has two equally easy options, both of which violate halacha, one d'oraita and one d'rabbanan. Should he choose the d'oraita or the d'rabbanan?
7
votes
2answers
126 views

What is the basis that allows Rabbis to create laws?

I understand that the Torah gives instructions to obey Judges for legal cases and questions, but what is the basis that Rabbis have for creating new laws, such as for celebrating Chanukah with a ...
6
votes
4answers
185 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?
6
votes
2answers
105 views

Seven Mitzvos D'Rabanan

I heard there are 620 letters in the Aseres Hadibros which corresponds to the 613 Mitzvos of the Torah and 7 Mitzvos D'Rabanan. What are the Seven Mitzvos D'Rabanan - שבע מצוות דרבנן? Is there a easy ...
6
votes
1answer
192 views

Why is Shmita only Rabbinic nowadays?

I was reading up on Heter Iska and it said that Shmita and Shmitat Kesafim are only Rabbinic today. Why do the Biblical laws no longer apply?
6
votes
1answer
154 views

Why are we bound to rabbinic laws?

I know that one of the reasons given for our being limited by miderobonon laws is explained in Masechet Shevuot, 39a which says as follows (lifted from dafyomi.co.il) i. "Asher Yeshno Po ...
6
votes
2answers
66 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 ...
5
votes
1answer
152 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 ...
5
votes
1answer
92 views

Understanding the difference between shevus and gezeirah

I know that, in general, there is a difference in strictness between the two categories of protective measures, but am having difficulty in explaining the difference between the two.
5
votes
1answer
135 views

Rabbinical suppport for reducing noise at weddings

There is a verse in Devarim (Deut) - Don't recall exact location that says "Watch your lives very carefully". From here we learn that we must do what we can to preserve our health. So, I'm wondering ...
5
votes
1answer
123 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 ...
5
votes
1answer
53 views

Medicines v. Spices on Shabbos

Medicines are forbidden on shabbos for the non-critically ill because in the old days, they had to be ground with a pestle beforehand. Must not spices also be ground? How come spices are not also ...
4
votes
4answers
97 views

Biblical versus rabbinic transgressions

Does the distinction between biblical versus rabbinic transgressions have implications or consequences today? In the past, the punishment for them was different I believe.
4
votes
2answers
185 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 ...
4
votes
1answer
958 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 ...
4
votes
3answers
328 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?
4
votes
2answers
74 views

Is it Halachically permissible to use tefillin peshutim if one cannot afford better tefillin?

I would like to buy my first Tefillin. I was raised in a semi-secular household, and thus do not own a pair of my own. However, being a student, I am tight with my money. I understand that there is ...
4
votes
3answers
304 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 ...
4
votes
1answer
131 views

The Abolition of Vidui Ma'aser

Deuteronomy 26:12-15 details a confession that must be recited on the final yontef of Pesach, both on the fourth and on the seventh years of the agricultural cycle, at such a time as there is a temple ...
4
votes
1answer
60 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 ...
4
votes
2answers
134 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 ...
4
votes
0answers
310 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 ...
4
votes
0answers
75 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 ...
3
votes
2answers
182 views

What is the punishment for Patur Aval Issur?

If one does something on Shabbos, say, that is patur aval issur (like an act of destruction) what is the punishment? I know that Beis Din (court) does nothing, but are there any sources for what the ...
3
votes
2answers
213 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 ...
3
votes
2answers
82 views

Are Magna-Tiles allowed on Shabbat?

There is a Rabbinic prohibition on constructing a temporary canopy (ohel arai; see e.g. Shabbath 137b) a tefach or greater with walls that are also a tefach or greater. Considering that this is ...
3
votes
3answers
134 views

Torah Study Of Rabbinic Laws

Does one fulfill the Biblical precept to study Torah while studying Rabbinic precepts? R. Mordechai of Vilna writes that one does not. Are there disputants? Please answer with exact sources or ...
3
votes
1answer
134 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 ...
3
votes
2answers
61 views

Source for Rabbis being able to say not to do a Deoriata

What is the source for Rabbis being able to say that one is not allowed to do a mitzvah deorita? Examples that come to mind are blowing shofar on Rosh Hashana on Shabbat, lulav on Sukkot (at least ...
3
votes
1answer
52 views

Halachic categorization of safek dioraisa…

Is the dictum of safek dioraisa l'chumrah (and its inverse safek d'rabanan l'kulah) a principle from the Torah, or a din d'rabanan? How does this change how we react in these sefeikah situations?
3
votes
1answer
84 views

Rabbinical violations that are punishable by death?

Are there any rabbinical violations that carry the punishment of kareit (or other death penalty)? I'm wondering because of this answer--which suggests that the prohibition on relations with a ...
3
votes
1answer
79 views

Queen Heleni was married to her brother--but I thought she kept all the derabanans

According to Wikipedia, Heleni HaMalkah was married to her brother. Since she was a convert to Judaism, on a Torah level, her familial relationships were severed. However, as far as I know, there is ...
3
votes
0answers
44 views

Is the concept of Safek D'oraisa l'chumra relevant when dealing with a machlokes d'oraisa / d'rabbanan? [duplicate]

There are cases where Rishonim disagree as to whether a particular law is from the Torah or a Rabbinical decree. In such cases, must one be strict due to the possible violation of a Torah prohibition? ...
3
votes
0answers
44 views

Is lighting a new flame on Yom Tov a Biblical or Rabbinic prohibition?

Is lighting a completely new fire on Yom Tov a Biblical or a Rabbinic prohibition? Please cite your sources.