Questions about theoretical issues about psak and general halacha concepts

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8
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159 views

Why was a bat kol able to settle the dispute between Battei Hillel and Shammai?

Eiruvin 13b recounts an argument between Beit Hillel and Beit Shammai. The argument grew very heated until a bat kol intervened and stated the famous line elu v'elu divrei elohim chayim ("These and ...
8
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1answer
168 views

Is a person endangering others always* a Rodef?

Does a person endangering others inherently* have a Din of a Rodef? Related: Is a speeding driver who causes damage exempt from paying due to his status as a Roidef? *Leave aside for purposes of the ...
8
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1answer
329 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 ...
8
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1answer
193 views

In Chabad- Final Halachic Decidor

In the area of Orach Chaim, when there is no established Lubavitch Minhag, i.e. in a case which is not in the Shulchan Aruch Harav (for whatever reason), and is not discussed by any other Lubavitch ...
8
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1answer
122 views

How commonly used are manuscripts in psak?

How Halachically valid are recently discovered manuscripts? For example, if one found the original manuscript of the Rambam and he rules differently than the currently known text, do modern Poskim ...
8
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1answer
119 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 ...
7
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9answers
715 views

Kabala in Halacha

Which of the major authors or codifiers of halacha. . . a) refer directly to or quote from kabala in their legal discussions? b) employ conclusions based only on kabala in their legal argumentation ...
7
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2answers
105 views

What makes something “worthy of being honored”?

When a piece of meat is in a mixture that should nullify it, we don't consider it nullified if it is ראוי להתכבד, or "worthy of being honored", something you would serve to a guest. Is there some kind ...
7
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1answer
247 views

Is there a Statute of Limitations in Jewish Law?

From Wikipedia: A statute of limitations is an enactment in a common law legal system that sets the maximum time after an event that legal proceedings based on that event may be initiated. In ...
7
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2answers
181 views

What is the benefit of humroth (stringencies)?

If we are meant to understand from the Nazir that forbidding things which are really mutar in order to be "extra holy" is really not a positive thing (cf. y.Nedarim 9:1), then of what benefit are ...
7
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2answers
227 views

Darchei Shalom in Halachah

Halachic Literature will, when relevant, promote certain permitted activities with respect to Gentiles because of "Darchei Shalom" (Ways of Peace). Do we ever find situations where activities that ...
7
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1answer
208 views

Zohar vs. Yerushalmi

M"B 25:42 makes it clear that we always follow Gemara over Zohar. And we similarly follow Bavli over Yerushalmi (as is clear from the Hirhurim article quoted in this related discussion). However, do ...
7
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1answer
181 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 ...
7
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3answers
466 views

Was Rambam affected by Islam?

Was Rambam's philosophy affected in any way by Islamic culture or religion? If so, could that influence have influenced his interpretation of halacha? This question is inspired by an ongoing ...
7
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1answer
779 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 ...
7
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1answer
115 views

Is the Haftarah a Minhag?

Is reading the Haftarah a Minhag? I know that the practice was instituted when we couldn't publicly read torah, and then it was kept. Does that make it a Minhag?
7
votes
1answer
220 views

Should separating pull apart Challah rolls be considered a forbidden act of completion?

I have heard many people state that using Challah* rolls that are baked in one unit to be pulled apart might be a problem for making Leḥem** Mishneh on Shabbath. In fact, there are rolls that are sold ...
7
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1answer
113 views

Can there be a Minyan of lepers?

Inspired by this question. Can lepers form a Minyan, or is that an inherent contradiction in the status of a Metzora'?
7
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1answer
172 views

Origin of the nine days

I just learned a gemara (taanit 30a) that seems to pretty clearly state that the mourning for tisha b'av starts the beginning of the week that tisha b'av falls out on, and ends with tisha b'av itself. ...
7
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0answers
76 views

How do you weigh authority in halacha?

Are there any hard and fast rules as to how to assign relative importance of one authority over another in formulating a psak halacha? For example if the Rambam and the Rashba argue over a specific ...
7
votes
2answers
325 views

Maris Ayin when nobody knows you're Jewish

According to this answer, wearing a toupee without a kippa on top may pose a problem of maris ayin. My question is: Suppose the toupee-wearer has no distinctive Jewish features other than wearing a ...
6
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6answers
693 views

Why don't we just follow the shittah of Moshe Rabeinu?

My question can apply to virtually all mitzvos where there is a disagreement in the standard way to fulfill them. If one reads the hakdama (introduction) to the Rambam's peirush mishnayos (commentary ...
6
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1answer
771 views

What if the Kohen Gadol accidentally kills someone?

An ordinary person who accidentally kills someone has to go to an Ir Miklat (city of refuge) until the Kohen Gadol dies. But what if it's the Kohen Gadol himself who accidentally kills? He would ...
6
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2answers
74 views

I thought Gezeirah Shavah requires Mesorah

In Masecheth Rosh Hashanah (9b), the Gemara uses a Gezeirah Shavah from Tishrei, with the word שנה, to support the Mishnah's ruling that 'Orlah is counted from Tishrei. In response, however, the ...
6
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3answers
548 views

Source for the prohibition against Nivul Peh (foul mouth)

What is the source for the prohibition against Nivul Peh (using foul language)? Is it Biblical? Rabbinic? "Asmachta" (based on a principle derived from the Torah but ultimately not considered a ...
6
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2answers
178 views

Are Noahides obligated in the commandment of Yibum?

Regarding the subject of Yibum (Levirate marriage), what is the source, if any, that this is also an obligation on a Noahide? Many of the discussions on this Q&A site concerning Yibum connect to ...
6
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2answers
122 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 ...
6
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1answer
83 views

Does דבר שיש לו מתירין apply to כל דפריש‎?

Often, there's a rule that a forbidden substance (or object) that got mixed with sufficiently much (or many) permitted substance (or objects) is בטל ("nullified" is the usual translation, though I ...
6
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1answer
103 views

Redeeming maaser sheini on paper money

I know that the mishna says that maaser sheini* can only be redeemed on coins and not something else. (See this answer.) However, this was written around 2000 years ago, and the way money works has ...
6
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4answers
158 views

Waiting Between Meat & Dairy According To The Geonim

It seems as though the Geonim - although disparate and diverse in their opinions on many issues - seem to be rather united on the understanding of the Gemara on the subject of waiting after meat ...
6
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3answers
209 views

Why not focus on halacha in elementary education?

From the Mishna B'rura's introduction to the rules of Shabas: …But by what means can we arrive at this level: that one keeps Shabas in all its details? The advice on this is that one urge himself ...
6
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1answer
454 views

When is a Minhag no longer a Minhag?

It can be all too easy for people to underestimate the halachic significance of minhagim (traditions/customs). While there are, as I understand it, a variety of halachic issues/differences of ...
6
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2answers
118 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
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2answers
42 views

Why do different halachic authorities arrive at conflicting rulings?

Rabbi A says strawberries are ha'adama; Rabbi B says that strawberries are Ha'etz. The halachic texts are replete with such differences in "opinion". What's the underlying reason that different ...
6
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2answers
78 views

Is there any point where לשבת יצרה no longer applies?

Yeshaya 45:18 says: כי כה אמר יהוה בורא השמים הוא האלהים יצר הארץ ועשה הוא כוננה לא תהו בראה לשבת יצרה אני יהוה ואין עוד ... it (the world) was not created to be void, to be settled it was ...
6
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3answers
185 views

Why does Jewish law and tradition specify times for saying Shema?

This question is asked at a very basic level, not deeply aware of Judaism or the process of Jewish law. I'm not Jewish so it isn't directly applicable to me, but it helps me to ask a broader question ...
6
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2answers
88 views

Halacha when mashiah has come

We pray for mashiah to come. After mashiah has arrived, are those prayers eliminated or changed? Also, will Halacha itself be changed or eliminated?
6
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1answer
73 views

Aiding what you consider sin but he doesn't

There is an action. Let's call it "hoobling". Some pos'kim say hoobling is permitted and others say it's forbidden. (Note: not "say one should ideally be strict". They say it's forbidden.) Suppose ...
6
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2answers
461 views

Does one sit shiva for someone he killed?

I understand sitting shiva to be an expression of bereavement. If I (hypothetically) was the victim of constant abuse which lasted for years and I ultimately, in an act of self defense, had to kill my ...
6
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1answer
93 views

Was divrei kabalah practiced before the nevi'im?

The Nevi'im sometimes got prophecies and wrote them down in Nevi'im or Kesuvim, and from those prophecies, we learn divrei kabalah. We learn things like oneg, mimtzo cheftzecha, and daber davar on ...
6
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1answer
62 views

Does the “mezakeh” need to know that he's using “zachin,” for it to work?

There's a Talmudic concept known as "זכין לאדם שלא בפניו," that one can acquire something on behalf of another, even if that other person does not know that this is happening, so long as it's a זכות, ...
6
votes
1answer
77 views

What is the halachic definition of a blind person?

According to secular American law a person can be legally blind even if that person is able to see to some small extent. I'd like to know what the halachic definition of blindness is. Is it someone ...
6
votes
2answers
157 views

What is the logical explanation for קם ליה בדרבה מיניה?

HodofHod: In essence, the idea is this: If a person does one act, and with that one act incurs two different kinds of penalties, we only apply the stricter one. So if a person (for example) ...
6
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0answers
101 views

Does halakha count primates as “almost human”?

I have read that the although the halakha requires koah gever (human strength/exertion) for pouring water over hands for n'ttilath yadhayim but it says explicitly in the Mishna that a qof (monkey) may ...
5
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4answers
238 views

Sephardi Halakha

Do Sephardim always follow the words the Mechaber (Maran Yosef Karo) in halakha?
5
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1answer
295 views

What defines an Almana?

I was learning with a Rabbi today and we came across the following question. An Almana, widow, is not allowed to be married to a Kohen Gadol (see Mishna Yevamos 9:2). However, what defines a widow? ...
5
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2answers
74 views

Stam viYesh Halacha k'…?

This question is a followup to these comments When the Shulchan Aruch brings two opinions as to what the halacha in a given situation is, the first is brought without a name, and the second is ...
5
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1answer
112 views

Is the Mitzva of Tzitzit on the Gevra or the Cheftza?

Is the Mitzva of Tzitzit an obligation on the clothing or on the person?
5
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2answers
72 views

Berakhos recited over food - Mitzvah or Matir?

Is it a mitzvah to recite a benediction over a piece of food, or is there a prohibition forbidding one from eating food without reciting a benediction beforehand? I believe that this is a similar ...
5
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1answer
146 views

What are the parameters of kavod ha'brios?

When I was younger I was told that in extenuating circumstances one can rip toilet paper on shabbos (preferably not on the perforations) due to kavod ha'brios. This concept is applied in other places ...