Questions about theoretical issues about psak and general halacha concepts

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7
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1answer
235 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
123 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?
6
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2answers
88 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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2answers
184 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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1answer
68 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
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1answer
120 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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2answers
119 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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80 views

Is becoming a “Talmid HaRambam” limited to the Rambam?

This answer explains (very nicely) the justification and practice of those who consider themselves followers of the Rambam, as opposed to any other opinion. In the cited responsa of the Beis Yosef, ...
5
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2answers
94 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
157 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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1answer
134 views

What is considered a Safek?

I've been learning all these laws about Sekefot-doubts, but I'm coming up shy on a basic point. What is considered a Safek? Example:if there are 100 pieces of lettuce and I check all of them and only ...
5
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1answer
116 views

Understanding a Fine Point in the Rambam's Laws of Yibbum

In MT, Hilkhot Yibbum veChalitzah 7:11, the Rambam presents the case of three brothers, two of whom are married to two sisters and the third of whom is married to an unrelated woman. In the event that ...
5
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3answers
186 views

Prior to the Men of the Great Assembly (and after Moses, our teacher), could halacha be decided by prophecy?

I think that I remember hearing that during the times of the Men of the Great Assembly, it was decided that prophecy would no longer be used to determine halachic rulings, i.e that before then it was ...
5
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1answer
237 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
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1answer
60 views

Is “al tikri” ever used for a midrash halacha?

In maseches Rosh Hashana 13a–b, the Gemara attempts to prove that certain crops count as having grown in the year in which they achieve one-third of their total growth: מנלן כדתניא רבי יונתן בן ...
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0answers
66 views

Is a psik reisha d'lo nicha or d'lo echpat judged against a communal standard?

If I perform an action on Shabbos which will cause a secondary (forbidden) action, the secondary action is assessed as to whether it is desirable, detrimental or neutral (as per Difference between ...
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1answer
146 views

How does “getting a heter” work?

I have heard of the concept of "getting a heter" to do something that is not ordinarily permitted, but I don't have a good idea of what it means. I am interested in explanations of what this process ...
4
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1answer
67 views

How much weight must we give to 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 ...
4
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2answers
173 views

Why bother with forcing the Get?

According to the discussion here as elaborated in the link, a forced Get as a Halachic matter (the opinion paskened in Shulchan Aruch), is simply that the Chachamim retroactively revoke the Kiddushin. ...
4
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1answer
101 views

Legitimacy of selling חמץ

What are the arguments for and against the now-widespread practice of selling חמץ prior to פסח?
3
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3answers
706 views

Yalkut Yosef or Mishneh Torah for a Sephardic Jew?

My Hebrew is rusty and my knowledge of all the halachot is equally rusty. I want to take on a new project to complete either one of those compilations. For someone coming from a Sephardic heritage, ...
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33 views

Half-Hallel in commemoration of the fallen Egyptians

There seem to be two separate explanations as to why we only say a "half" hallel on the intermediate and final days of Pesach. According to one opinion (as attributed to the Shibolet Haleket here) it ...
3
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1answer
216 views

Why is asking a non-Jew to turn on electric lights considered amira l'nochri?

Given that practically all poskim accept R' Shlomo Zalmen's view that electricity is d'rabbanan over the Chazon ish, I would think that a Jew could simply ask a non-Jew to turn on/off lights on ...
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52 views

Tosefta vs. Toras Cohanim

This past Shabbos someone said over to me a particular sugia they were learning in Taharas and a maklokes Rishonim (an argument between Rishonim, medieval rabbis) in a particular analysis. One Rishon ...
3
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1answer
203 views

If the Oral Torah is Divine, why are there arguments? [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: Why don’t we just follow the shittah of Moshe Rabeinu? If the Oral Torah is Divine, how are there arguments in the Mishnah and Gemara? (I have heard this question asked ...
3
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1answer
102 views

Halachic base of big loss (hefsed merube)

We see in the halacha many times that when we have a dispute if something is permitted or not and we pasken that it is not permitted, the halacha changes when there is a big loss. I understand it ...
3
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1answer
77 views

minhag means law? when in shulchan aruch

When the Ramo writes and "so is the custom (vchain nohagin)" do we understand that to mean that this is his ruling regarding the law or that he is not giving his opinion about the law but is just ...
3
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1answer
323 views

Biur Chametz and hefsek

On the evening of the day before Pesach, we search for Chametz and put aside what we find so that we may destroy it in some way the next morning. Before we start, we make the bracha "al biur chametz" (...
3
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1answer
121 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, ...
3
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1answer
61 views

What do we do with Chazaka's that don't seem to hold?

Inspired by this comment, there are Chazaka's (presumptions) and principles of נאמנות (trustworthiness) in Halacha that no longer hold in our practical experience. One example is עד אחד נאמנן ...
2
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1answer
37 views

Why did the people have to respond twice “It is sanctified” when Sanhedrin declared Rosh Hodesh?

Ramba"m (Maimonedes) Hilchot Kid. Hachodesh 2:8 says: Afterwards - i.e., after [the witnesses'] testimony is substantiated - the head of the court declares, "It has been sanctified." And all the ...
2
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1answer
156 views

Is there a penalty or measure of restitution for geneivas daas?

With the crime of stealing (geneiva), the Torah is very specific about how the theif must pay as a penalty for his crime (e.g. depending on the circumstances, the thief could be liable for double the ...
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2answers
67 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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0answers
53 views

Machlokes Deoraisa vs Muttar - non-Jew vs Jew

If one Rav paskens somemthing is Asur Deoraisa and another Paskens totaly mutar, beshas hadechak is it better to get a non jew to do it or a jew whose rav holds its muttar? For example, if a certain ...
1
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1answer
156 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?
1
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1answer
112 views

Halachos that one should learn

A person wants to be proficient in halacha. 1) Should he learn halachos: a) that pertain to his fellow man? - I.e. Shemiras HaLoshon, Stealing or Ribis etc. b) or to his Creator? (I.e. Shabbos, ...
1
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3answers
771 views

Mah Nafshach - Is hair part of the human body or not?

Inspired by this answer, I'm curious. We hold that hair of a married woman is 'Ervah (ערוה). Yet it is not 'Ervah for an unmarried woman. According to the Gemara in Shabbath (Bab. 95a), braiding the ...
1
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1answer
141 views

Disagreeing with one's rebbe

We all have Rabbeim that we ask questions to. Is one allowed to disagree with his rebbe if he feels that his rebbe's viewpoint is incorrect?
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1answer
91 views

Subjectivity in Halacha

I'm learning the Sugya of pas haba'ah b'kisnin. This seems like an extraordinary area of Halacha, because the beracha on this type of food is entirely subjective, based on what others would be koveah ...
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76 views

Was Gematria taken from other cultures?

The wikipedia entry of gematria starts by stating the following: Gematria [...] is an Assyro-Babylonian-Greek system of code and numerology later adopted into Jewish culture that assigns numerical ...
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35 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 ...