Questions about theoretical issues about psak and general halacha concepts

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How much weight must we give the Council of Sages opinions

As I understand it, there is no hierarchy within Judaism, per se. In fact, following a controversial decision by Rav Elyashev, he mentioned to a friend of mine that his rulings really only apply to ...
2
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1answer
25 views

Writing Responsa in English

I was reading the introduction to Rabbi Yehuda Henkin's book "Responsa on Contemporary Jewish Women's Issues" and he wrote something that I found interesting: Whether Halachic response should be ...
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46 views

Placing Tefillin on the floor

I've been taught since little that one can't place a pair of Tefillins on the floor, and that one must carefully avoid not dropping them. But what is considered being on the floor? For example, can I ...
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90 views

Is there a chazakah (halachic presumption) that an Eruv is down after a blizzard?

I remember, I was once at shul Friday night, and it was just starting to snow and it was predicted to be a huge blizzard. The Rabbi got up and announced that tomorrow people should work under the ...
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1answer
75 views

Can one use an Eruv if the Rabbi who built it says its down?

If a Rav Hamachsheir of an Eruv, the Rabbi who built it and supervises its use, sends out a message that he holds that the Eruv is down because of a particular reason (reason X), and should not be ...
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2answers
58 views

Homeopathic or unscientific medicine on shabbos

On shabbos there is a rabbinic prohibition against doing many medicinal things. Is the whole requirement that he is doing it for medicine and that it looks medicinal, or must it actually be ...
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20 views

How does a chiyuv due to chinuch work? [closed]

We frequently see statements in halacha like "the minor's obligation to do the mitzva is only rabbinically imposed (mid'rabanan), because it's only because of chinuch (=the obligation to educate one's ...
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2answers
41 views

Does the use Rabbi Yishmael's principles retain the de'oraiso character of the original statement?

If we use one of Rabbi Yishmael's 13 principles of interpreting the Torah to learn from a Torah law (de'oraiso), does the inferred law also have the status of a de'oraiso? (Related: Where can I find ...
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1answer
93 views

Under what circumstances can Ashkenazim rely on Sephardic poskim?

Is there any reason an Ashkenazi Jew should not hold by the psak of a Sephardi rov--or vice versa--for decisions relating to general matters (not ostensibly to do with particular minhagim)? If so, ...
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4answers
146 views

Weighing mitzvot/aveirot

I apologize for the somewhat vague question; it was difficult to write. I would welcome any specific editing suggestions. What matters in the calculation of a person's righteousness? Is it: Number ...
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2answers
117 views

If two rabbis tell you opposite things which do you listen to?

If you ask two rabbis the same question and they give you opposite answers (one says mutar the other says assur). Which do you listen to?
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2answers
83 views

If you were born one sect (Ashkenaz) but wanted to become another (Sephardi), do you have to go through conversion?

I encountered a man who found out he was Jewish with Ashkenazi lineage, but for personal reasons converted to Sephardi. Never heard of this before. I remember learning there are several halachot in ...
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2answers
125 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 ...
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1answer
70 views

Hillel's formulation of the Golden Rule

Hillel said, "That which is hateful to you, do not do to your fellow. This is the whole Torah, and the rest is commentary; go and learn it." - Babylonian Talmud, Shabbat 31a This is similar to the ...
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2answers
158 views

Immoral Halacha

In a conversation concerning the normal sensitive halachic issues, e.g. gender roles, homosexuality, etc., I recently heard a rabbi state that they found parts of halacha and the torah unethical and ...
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1answer
107 views

How does one avoid mysticism?

If someone is a strict Rationalist, and does not believe in many forms of Jewish mysticism, how does one go about avoiding it? I ask because kabbalistic mysticism has infiltrated many halakhoth and ...
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99 views

Can someone stop being supported by his father without his father's permission?

From the shulchan aruch (yora deya 240.5 end) אֲבָל חַיָּב לְכַבְּדוֹ בְּגוּפוֹ, אַף עַל פִּי שֶׁמִּתּוֹךְ כָּךְ בָּטֵל מִמְּלַאכְתּוֹ, וְיִצְטָרֵךְ לְחַזֵּר עַל הַפְּתָחִים. וְדַוְקָא דְּאִית ...
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1answer
19 views

Audio Shiurim on Halacha Theory

While there are plenty of websites that are offering audio recordings on "what the halacha is," i haven't found any that help teach you how you as an individual can learn about the halachic process to ...
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2answers
90 views

Arba Misos- 1 Mitzvah or 4?

Tosfos on Makos 2a (Kol Hazomemin) brings a Tosefta which says that if you can't give someone their destined Arba Misos (meaning the one their Aveira warranted), you can give them a different one, ...
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17 views

Status of a functional Male with hidden functional Female internal organs [duplicate]

I've found out this condition where a Male has a certain genetic condition where the primitive female organs, present in every foetus, are not absorbed and develop as "usual". A documented case in the ...
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16 views

Why does the shulchan aruch start with how to conduct one's self in the morning and not the night time? [duplicate]

The mishnah in brachos goes out of it's way to discuss why it stated with the night time shema b/c in the posuk it says when you lay down and when you rise up.. Why then when it comes to practical ...
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1answer
48 views

What is the Jewish religious authority during the galut? [closed]

During the galut (after the second temple, ie our times), what is the Jewish religious authority according to halakha? A Great Assembly of Rabbanim? Something else?
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34 views

Implication of uncertain letters in the Torah

I learned that there are a number of uncertain letters in the written Torah This article lists 12 (counts vary). (1) Bereishit 4:13 "Mineso" (E&T w/o Vav) (2) Bereishit 7:11 "Ma'ayanos ...
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32 views

What prayers are obligatory on a daily basis? What prayers are obligatory on Shabbat? And who decides what's actually obligatory?

When you go through a siddur you see lots of prayers, but never a mention of what's actually obligatory. Having seen the Rambam siddur, it seems like we have a looooot more prayers now, but are they ...
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1answer
34 views

How many types of reshut exist?

I know that there is a public domain (reshut ha-rabbim) and a private domain (reshut ha-yahid), but are there other types of reshuyoth mentioned in the halakhah of carrying on Shabbat?
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1answer
69 views

Observant Jews' view of the mind of God in relation to rules

Is it the view among observant Jews that God in fact cares about all the intricacies of observance? (as opposed, say, to what is in a person's heart and mind).
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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? ...
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149 views

Are there Published Legal Defenses Resolving Objections Against Rabbinic Authority?

Are there Rabbinic "apologetic or polemic works" that focus only on the rational validity, and logical objections raised by other Jews1 -- against: (1.) the Rabbinate's authority in Judaism over other ...
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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.
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Can the shaliah tsibbur intend the hazarah to be his own tashlumin? [duplicate]

If someone was unable for some reason to daven shaharith and is thereby eligible to pray a make-up prayer (tashlumin) at Minhah, but then ends up being asked to be shaliah ssibbur when he gets to ...
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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 ...
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1answer
149 views

Can a woman uncover her hair for the sake of employment?

I am aware of many poseqim who hold that in order to get and hold a job, it is permissible for men to remove their kippoth during the interview and their workday. Can a woman who badly needs ...
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2answers
68 views

logic behind kol kavua k'mechtza al mechtze

there is a principle in halacha regarding doubts that if something is separated from a kavua (fixed place) it is treated as 50/50% chance even if the permitted is the majority. but if it is found in ...
2
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1answer
42 views

Did the Ramban say that mitzvos d'Rabbanan are only obligatory in the Land of Israel?

I've heard (maybe seen also?) that the Ramban (Rav Moshe ben Nachman, Nachmanides) said that Rabbincal Commands are only obligatory while in the Land of Israel. Is this true? (If so) Where is it ...
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4answers
108 views

Why can't we distribute mitzvah obligations around the community?

How do we know from the Torah that it would not be sufficient just to have some people doing davening, others doing negel vasser, others doing tzitzit, others doing chachnosas kallah, others doing ...
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1answer
78 views

Practical עשה דוחה לא תעשה

There are a few examples frequently offered for the rule "עשה דוחה לא תעשה": Someone whose garment has four corners and linen can nonetheless put wool tzitzis on it. This is unlikely nowadays, when ...
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1answer
42 views

Adding Honey to Wine and Rules of Yayin Nesach

There is a responsum of the Rambam that brings down the following custom that was done by the great sages, and done by himself personally. RAMBAM’S RESPONSA, 269 שאלה בדבר השתייה על מיני זמר ...
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1answer
56 views

Which Amoraim can argue on Tannaim?

I'v heard various opinions about which Amoraim can argue with Tannaim, ranging from any, to only Rav (Rabbi Abba). Which Amoras can argue with Tannas?
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1answer
77 views

When the Moshiach establishes the messianic kingdom of Yisroel, will the halacha binding on every Yehud be Sephardi, Ashkenazi or something else?

When the Moshiach establishes the messianic kingdom of Yisroel, what type of halacha will come into force over the nation? Sephardi, Ashkenazi, Mizrachi, psak Rambam, or something else? Or will ...
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2answers
31 views

How to understand the word zakai (exempt)?

Is the word zakai (exempt) (as opposed to hiav, guilty) different from the word mutar (permitted) or the word patur (actually a phrase, patur aval assur, without penalty but prohibited)? If so, how ...
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2answers
78 views

Malbim on “Eilu v Eilu”

I recently came across the following quote of the Malbim on the topic of אלו ואלו דברי אלוקים חיים: רק עד חתימת התלמוד (:מלבי"ם על הש"ס עירובין יג) That seems to be a pretty unique ...
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1answer
128 views

why is flatulence forbidden in tefillin and during prayer

Why is flatulence forbidden in Tefillin and during prayer? Is it because partials of the feces get stuck to the body so now you do not have a clean body? or what?
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0answers
52 views

Losing concentration in the middle of the first blessing of Shemoneh Esrei

First, a little background information: According to halakhah, there are two types of berakhoth: "long" and "short." "Long" *berakhoth" are those that have a pethihah ("opening", i.e. "Barukh Atah ...
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1answer
87 views

How to answer practical questions on the street

I don't know how common this is, but I've occasionally been approached on the street by regular people whom I do not know (who presumably make the assumption that since I wear a kippah, I'm a rabbi) ...
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3answers
235 views

Is one allowed to be Machmir against a psak?

The Halacha follows Rabbi Yehoshua that a Mamzer is only if one marries an Erva that is Chayav Kares. The Halacha follows the opinion that the descendants of a non-Jew living with a Jewess are ...
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3answers
62 views

Can one Shecht with a Wire

Can one ritually slaughter with a wire? Why or why not? The Talmud says that any implement may be used, so according to that a wire would be fine. Are there any technical problems that would ...
6
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1answer
106 views

Is it allowed to tie tzitzit using a cow hitch?

Would it be permitted to attach tzitziyot using a cow hitch (a way of attaching a rope or lead without use of a knot - pictured below), in order to be able to remove them before washing a garment so ...
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4answers
690 views

Is it permissible to cheat at board games?

Board games have absolutely no value - there is nothing won and nothing lost. In such a situation is it permissible according to halakhah to cheat? I am asking, not to find a reason to be deceitful ...
2
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1answer
44 views

What is the rationale behind tashlumin?

I understand that according to Masechet Brachot and the normative halacha, in certain cases, one who unintentionally missed saying a prayer service may "make up" that service by reciting the Shmoneh ...
2
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2answers
96 views

Is rape considered yehareig v'al yaavor?

Since Deut. 22:25-26 equates rape with murder, would a man be required to give up his life rather than commit rape?