Questions about theoretical issues about psak and general halacha concepts

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8
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1answer
1k views

Woman wearing her husband's comfortable clothing

Is there any printed discussion about a woman wearing her husband's comfortable clothing? While there is an Isur for a woman to wear a man's clothing, I've read in several places that this is about a ...
6
votes
2answers
286 views

Which takes precedence - dina d'malchuta or halacha? What about minhag yisrael?

A more practical ramification of Is a ban on government workers wearing religious symbols a gezeirat hamalchut for which one would be obligated to give up his life? If the law of the land (dina d'...
5
votes
1answer
243 views

What determines a Minhag?

How does a Minhag become a Minhag? More specific is it possible to enact new Minhagim in todays generation?
5
votes
1answer
119 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.
4
votes
1answer
107 views

picking and choosing halachic rulings

I have heard many times from Rabbinim and in lectures that to pick and choose rulings is forbidden. I would like a halachic source for this. I can understand that one should be consistent, but if one ...
4
votes
3answers
291 views

The concept of קם ליה בדרבה מיניה

I'm trying to understand this concept. I've Googled around and could't find any straightforward answers. I don't need too many details, just the explanation that's given in the Gemara (I understand ...
4
votes
2answers
196 views

Schrödinger's cat and yibbum

Over Shabbos, the Shalosh Seudos discussion turned to the Monty Hall problem, which confused a lot of people [and which (#Humblebrag) I was able to clear up for them in under 30 seconds ;)]. Then, ...
4
votes
1answer
175 views

Ashkanazim paskening like Rema

Was it always a straightforward presumption ("davar pashut") that in general the Ashkanazim should decide Halachic questions ("pasken") in accordance with the Rema over the Machaber/Beis Yosef (when ...
4
votes
1answer
122 views

Safek De'Oraysa Le'Chumra

The classic example of safek de'oraysa le'chumra is when there is an agreement that a de'oraysa exists but there is a debate as to which cases constitute the de'oraysa. In such a debate we paskin le'...
3
votes
2answers
80 views

Why do we reject Rabbi Chiya's opinion?

The Gemara says (in Yevamos 42b-43a as well as other places) that "וכי רבי לא שנאה ר' חייא מנין לו". In context of Yevamos, it means that if there is an argument in a Mishna and a Stam in a Braisa, we ...
3
votes
1answer
218 views

Must one go according to his/her opinion (leshitato)?

Imagine that a Halakhic Decisor (decider?) maintains a certain Halakhic position or Hashkafic belief. [I am assuming that such thing as a Hashkafic Decisor exists.] Anyway, is it imperative that s/he ...
2
votes
3answers
217 views

Keeping up with “local” standards of modesty and dress - of religious Jews, or of society at large

In dealing with issues relating to Tzeni'uth (modesty) and clothing, a lot depends on "local" standards of dress. For example, the RaMBa"M (here) explains that in places where women do not normally go ...
2
votes
3answers
162 views

What is השמעת קול about?

Apparently, there's a prohibition against making noise on Shabbos. See Shabbos 18a: אבל אין נותנין חטין לתוך הריחים של מים אלא בכדי שיטחנו מבעוד יום מאי טעמא אמר רבה מפני שמשמעת קול But ...
2
votes
1answer
107 views

Can a Rishon argue on a Gaon?

On one hand, I've seen a rule from the Acharonim (I've also seen it in a Shach on Choshen Mishpat also but I can't remember where) that whatever the Gaonim say is "Divrei Kabalah" from the time of the ...
2
votes
2answers
216 views

Basis of Shulchan Aruch's ruling about tefilin on Chol HaMoed

A local Orthodox rabbi told me that while most of the decisions in the Shulchan Aruch were based on taking the majority of the Rambam, Rosh and Rif (all of whom he claimed supported laying tefilin on ...
2
votes
1answer
84 views

Eating new grains on the 17th vs the 18th of Nisan

The Shulhan 'Aruch (OC 489:10) states: אסור לאכול חדש אף בזמן הזה בין לחם בין קלי בין כרמל עד תחלת ליל יח בניסן ובארץ ישראל עד תחלת ליל יז בניסן "It is forbidden to eat new (grains) even ...
-6
votes
2answers
321 views

Is it possible for a Reform Jew to break halacha or violate a mitzva? [closed]

Is it possible for a Reform Jew to violate a mitzva in the Torah or break halacha, like breaking shabbos by doing melacha ('labor')? After all, from what I understand, Reform Jews don't believe in a ...
10
votes
2answers
236 views

Why are most mitzvas impossible to keep?

Nowadays, one can only keep so many Mitzvos (271). That is less than half of the commandments of the Torah. I don't know if there is any statistic regarding how many Psukim discuss currently relevant ...
4
votes
2answers
101 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 ...
3
votes
2answers
193 views

How do you go from the Talmud to Halacha Lemaasah?

What is the process involved for figuring out the halacha of today based on something written in the Talmud? Basically, what does a modern day posek do starting from the Talmud to reach a halacha he ...
13
votes
4answers
307 views

At what point do we reject a minhag?

I was learning the halachos of berachos on things that are ground up, and it seemed pretty clear to me that the blessing on chocolate should be ha'etz. I found discussion in some more contemporary ...
12
votes
3answers
207 views

What if you undo a shabbat melacha?

If you plant a seed shortly before the end of shabbat (zoraya) and then un-bury it after shabbat, or you put an uncooked food into an oven and then take it out within seconds without it having baked (...
12
votes
4answers
371 views

Why does the authorship of the Zohar matter?

I've seen and heard a lot of controversy about the authorship of the Zohar, but it isn't quite clear to me that it matters. The nearest theory I can come up with is that if the Zohar is by Rashbi, ...
11
votes
2answers
209 views

Binding answers for Halachic questions

I recall learning that one is not allowed to "venue shop" by asking a series of rabbis for a practical halachic ruling and following the opinion you like. I was taught that one should ask and be bound ...
8
votes
1answer
362 views

Bitul BeRov - the classic case in real life

In Halachah there's a tremendously powerful concept of Bitul BeRov (nullification among the majority). It goes like this: If you have three identical pieces of meat, and you know for a fact that one ...
7
votes
2answers
139 views

Which mitzvos exempt which mitzvos?

There is a general rule in Halacha that someone occupied with a mitzva isn't obligated to interrupt themselves to do another mitzva. This is known as " עוסק במצוה פטור מן המצוה". My question is, what ...
6
votes
2answers
148 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 ...
6
votes
1answer
87 views

What is considered a picture for not davening in front of it

I heard that you can't daven in front of a picture What does this included? A mogen Dovid? A flag of israel? A lion? What if it is part of the paroiches or Aron kodesh .... Similar Davening in ...
5
votes
0answers
166 views

Why allowed on Yom Tov?

According to the Torah, melacha isn't permitted on Yom Tov days except for what is needed for food. I read that certain laws, like carrying, don't apply on these days because they are loosened for ...
5
votes
1answer
199 views

What is the source of Chazaka?

There are many halachic chazakas. Most of them are halachic assumptions, such as: Keeping things the way they always were - Either financial (Chezkas Marei Kama) or religious (Chezkas Tahara, ...
5
votes
3answers
161 views

Is “pikuach nefesh” on shabbos “hutrah” or “dichuya”?

Whenever two mitzvos come into conflict with each other, and one is given precedence over the other (such as in the case of מילה on Shabbos, or any עשה דוחה לא תעשה), there is usually discussion over ...
4
votes
0answers
77 views

Is the blood of a non-Kosher animal forbidden because of וכל דם לא תאכלו

Inspired by a recent chat discussion related to this question. Does the prohibition of וכל דם לא תאכלו - not eating blood - apply to non-Kosher animals? The Rambam writes: ודבר מפורש בתורה שאינו ...
3
votes
3answers
192 views

Petur (exemption) - Does intent matter?

Does one's intent factor into one's ability to rely upon an exemption in Halachah? For example on Sukkoth, if I have no Sukkah and no intention of building a Sukkah (let's say at work, for one ...
3
votes
2answers
171 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 ...
3
votes
2answers
332 views

How can we use grape juice instead of wine?

There are many rituals for which we use wine. I would think that wine means a fermented grape product, or at least a fermented fruit product. On what basis do so many people use grape juice instead of ...
3
votes
1answer
80 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 ...
2
votes
3answers
516 views

Doesn't the wide use of Sheitels among Orthodox Jewish women prove that hair no longer retains the erotic status that it once had?

In reading scores of halakhic material on the subject of kisui rosh le-nashim throughout the ages, I have found that there are essentially two views as to the nature of the obligation for a woman to ...
2
votes
1answer
188 views

Authenticity of Halacha l'Moshe MiSinai

How do we know that a Halacha which is claimed to have been given to Moshe at Sinai actually was? Especially in cases where it seems to contradict the Written Torah given at Sinai? A Halacha l’...
2
votes
1answer
273 views

Breaking Shabbos to keep future Shabbos(os)?

The reason we allow someone to violate shabbos to save a life is because of the principle "let him void one shabbat so that many future shabbosos will be kept". What are the parameters for this ...
1
vote
2answers
164 views

“Wrong” Berachoth exempting foods

'Al HaMihyah exempts 'Al Ha'Gefen, at least if it was said after eating grain products and grape juice/wine. Is this unique to this case, or is there a broader principle? Can a less specific ...
1
vote
1answer
433 views

I suspect I must do something, but don't want to. Must I check into the halacha?

I'm sometimes in a situation where, if I do nothing, I'll benefit. But I suspect Jewish law may actually require me to take action that will prevent the benefit. I'm not sure if I should ask my ...
1
vote
0answers
154 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 ...
0
votes
1answer
79 views

Commandments on emotions [duplicate]

I can understand if the Torah commands one to wear tefilin or put on a mezuza. But to command a person not to hate anyone, not to covet anything of anyone, not to bear a grudge, love your fellow as ...
-1
votes
3answers
488 views

Should anyone be burned to death?

In Leviticus 20:14, it states that a man who has relations with a woman and also with her mother is a despicable lech, whose punishment is to be burned to death. This is one of two transgressions ...
11
votes
1answer
174 views

Puk Chazi - Go and See

There is a concept from the Gemara referred to as "Puk Chazi", go and see (as I understand). What are the applications and qualifications of this idea? Does "Puk Chazi", i.e. noting what people ...
10
votes
1answer
344 views

Should a Jew who doesn't believe in G-d observe the commandments?

In an earlier question, I asked if it was a commandment to believe in G-d. As with so many areas, there were differing opinions. Some of the respondents claimed that there would be no point in being ...
9
votes
1answer
229 views

What is the hallachic definition of randomness?

A new Shabbat-friendly technology, KosherSwitch, uses randomly timed light pulses to create various safeks, so that flipping the switch does not hallachically count as switching the light on, even in ...
9
votes
1answer
244 views

Why is the Shulchan Aruch definitive?

Why do we (almost all Jews) consider the Shulchan Arukh, not written until the 16th century, to be the final word on halakha? Our halakha is derived from Torah Shebikhtav and She'be'al Peh. SA ...
8
votes
1answer
129 views

Will reading Questions and Answers on Mi Yodeya gain a Jew entrance into Olam Haba?

"One who learns Halachos every day is a Ben Olam Haba" (Babylonian Talmud Niddah 73a) If a Jew reads the halachic questions and answers on this forum everyday, does that guarantee he or she will ...
8
votes
2answers
348 views

Why don't some do yibum today, l'chatchilah?

According to the Mishna (Bechorot 1:7) the reason not to perform yibum nowadays is people don't have intention l'shem mitzva when performing yibum. Firstly I would like to know if there are any other ...