Questions about theoretical issues about psak and general halacha concepts

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Following the Biur Halacha

As far as I know, the most accepted Posek around the entire non-Chassidic Ashkenazi world is the Mishna Berura (and of course the Rama). He wrote the sections to his commentary to the Code of Jewish ...
8
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2answers
222 views

Stipulations based on “correct” halacha vs. “לא בשמים היא”

It is my understanding that halacha is determined by individual p'sak. That is, there is no divine body of halacha which we are trying to determine with poskim issuing their p'sak based on what they ...
8
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1answer
95 views

Is a mishna or a baraysa more authoritative?

Often, an opinion in a baraysa (by which I mean to include tosefta and any other non-mishna text of tanaim's halachic statements) and an opinion in a mishna differ on a matter of law. Is there any ...
8
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2answers
167 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 ...
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1answer
174 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 ...
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4answers
70 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 ...
8
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1answer
339 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
198 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
123 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 ...
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9answers
737 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
109 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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254 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 ...
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2answers
190 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
237 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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3answers
503 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
218 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 ...
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1answer
203 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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1answer
340 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 ...
7
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3answers
196 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 ...
7
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1answer
877 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
117 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
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1answer
227 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 ...
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1answer
115 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'?
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1answer
182 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. ...
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0answers
85 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 ...
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6answers
721 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 ...
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2answers
78 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 ...
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3answers
575 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
296 views

How can all the great rabbis' practices be accepted by Hashem? [duplicate]

This may seem like a child's question, but it's one I never thought to ask as a child, so I never learned the answer. Rabbinic traditions — even within continuous geographical lineages amongst ...
6
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2answers
62 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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2answers
189 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 ...
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2answers
168 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 ...
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1answer
85 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
107 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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3answers
214 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 ...
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1answer
474 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 ...
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2answers
247 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 ...
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2answers
119 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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1answer
85 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 ...
6
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2answers
47 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 ...
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2answers
81 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 ...
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2answers
101 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
83 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 ...
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2answers
488 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 ...
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1answer
94 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 ...
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1answer
63 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, ...
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1answer
84 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
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2answers
161 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) ...
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0answers
105 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 ...
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4answers
241 views

Sephardi Halakha

Do Sephardim always follow the words the Mechaber (Maran Yosef Karo) in halakha?