Questions about theoretical issues about psak and general halacha concepts

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8
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1answer
120 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 ...
7
votes
9answers
662 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
votes
1answer
267 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 ...
7
votes
2answers
100 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
votes
1answer
227 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
votes
2answers
174 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
216 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
votes
1answer
196 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
votes
1answer
164 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
votes
3answers
415 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
votes
1answer
662 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
votes
1answer
107 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
207 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
votes
1answer
170 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
votes
1answer
107 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
votes
1answer
28 views

What primacy to give to learning halacha?

Consider a person who follows all of the halachos (he is aware of) that are involved in daily living. Any free time that he has is devoted to learning Torah. This person, however, is not proficient at ...
7
votes
0answers
68 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
293 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
votes
6answers
644 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
votes
1answer
754 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
votes
2answers
68 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
votes
2answers
148 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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1answer
81 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
votes
1answer
89 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
153 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
votes
1answer
388 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
votes
2answers
114 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
73 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
votes
3answers
173 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
votes
1answer
57 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
votes
2answers
301 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
votes
1answer
90 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
votes
1answer
57 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
67 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
0answers
95 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
votes
4answers
231 views

Sephardi Halakha

Do Sephardim always follow the words the Mechaber (Maran Yosef Karo) in halakha?
5
votes
1answer
284 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
votes
3answers
474 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 ...
5
votes
2answers
476 views

Why are people going back to paskining like the Rambam?

I have heard personally (and seen in chat) people (who are not Teimanim [for whom there is a tradition to rule like the Rambam]) ruling like the Rambam. I have heard that he has the authentic ...
5
votes
2answers
61 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
votes
1answer
109 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
votes
2answers
713 views

If Yom Kippur hypothetically fell on Sunday, would you make havdalah?

I was curious about this hypothetical situation. If Yom Kippur would fall on Sunday, Motzei Shabbat, so immediately when Shabbat ends, Yom Kippur starts. Would there be some sort of separation, בין ...
5
votes
2answers
70 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
votes
1answer
139 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 ...
5
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2answers
187 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 ...
5
votes
3answers
198 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 ...
5
votes
1answer
205 views

Lifnei 'Iver in public policy/business

How far does Lifnei 'Iver extend? Earlier versions of this question led to a good deal of speculation of how an individual should respond to issues of public policy and business that may be contrary ...
5
votes
2answers
137 views

Is there a p'sak when dealing with de'os?

I was wondering if the idea of paskening applies to the de'os area of Torah. As an example there is a machlokes rishonim how to view Chazal's relationship with the science they relied on to pasken ...
5
votes
1answer
204 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
140 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 ...