Questions about theoretical issues about psak and general halacha concepts

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6
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97 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
66 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
93 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
166 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
52 views

Losing concentration in the middle of the first blessing of Shemoneh Esrei

First, a little background information: According to halakhah, there are two types of berakhoth: "long" and "short." "Long" *berakhoth" are those that have a pethihah ("opening", i.e. "Barukh Atah ...
6
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109 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 ...
6
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3answers
263 views

How can we just make our chametz ownerless?

I'm trying to understand the "legal fiction" wherein we declare any chometz we have as ownerless like the dust of the earth. Is this halachically acceptable? How can a person declare something in his ...
5
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4answers
146 views

Weighing mitzvot/aveirot

I apologize for the somewhat vague question; it was difficult to write. I would welcome any specific editing suggestions. What matters in the calculation of a person's righteousness? Is it: Number ...
5
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4answers
244 views

Sephardi Halakha

Do Sephardim always follow the words the Mechaber (Maran Yosef Karo) in halakha?
5
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1answer
320 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? ...
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3answers
147 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 ...
5
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2answers
85 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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3answers
164 views

Honoring parental requests that don't benefit the parents

If one's parents ask him to do something that is not beneficial to the parents in any way whatsoever (though not harmful to the parents, the child, or anyone else, either), is he nonetheless obligated ...
5
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2answers
80 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
86 views

How to answer practical questions on the street

I don't know how common this is, but I've occasionally been approached on the street by regular people whom I do not know (who presumably make the assumption that since I wear a kippah, I'm a rabbi) ...
5
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1answer
155 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
121 views

Why do we find specifically “Rambamists” as opposed to any other Posek? [duplicate]

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
158 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
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1answer
251 views

What is the level of “Divrei Kabbalah”?

There are times in the Gemara that laws are derived from Psukim in Nach. They are called "Divrei Kabbalah". What status do they have (are they considered like Torah Laws or like Rabbinic laws). For ...
5
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1answer
232 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 ...
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2answers
68 views

logic behind kol kavua k'mechtza al mechtze

there is a principle in halacha regarding doubts that if something is separated from a kavua (fixed place) it is treated as 50/50% chance even if the permitted is the majority. but if it is found in ...
5
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1answer
79 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
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2answers
85 views

Parameters of “kalus rosh”

What is the definition of kalus rosh? What are the halachos of kalus rosh and where do they apply?
5
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1answer
93 views

What are the opinions that explain why Gemara is authoritative?

Rambam and R' Hai Gaon say that Gemara is authoritative because of minhag, but are there other opinions as to the reason? The one that I'm familiar with (or that I most identify with) is the reason ...
5
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1answer
235 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
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1answer
151 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 ...
5
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2answers
301 views

Kosher switch and Grama according to R. Belsky's letter

Yeshiva World News published a letter from Rabbi Belsky saying that the Kosher Switch accomplishes nothing and is simply a regular melacha. My question is basically the same as this commentor. Is ...
5
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2answers
137 views

Is Jerusalem worth fighting and dying for in the context of Jewish law?

I think I have a good Jewish education but I don't know much Talmud, and so for all of my premises below, I would appreciate if a Talmud scholar would help with any pertinent references. Premise 0) ...
5
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1answer
106 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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1answer
92 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.
5
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1answer
114 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
68 views

What's the source that worldwide acceptance of psak makes it binding forever?

The Rambam writes in the introduction to Mishna Torah נמצא רבינא ורב אשי וחבריהם, סוף גדולי חכמי ישראל המעתיקים תורה שבעל פה, ושגזרו גזירות והתקינו תקנות והנהיגו מנהגות ופשטו גזירותם ותקנותם ...
5
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1answer
148 views

Does nullification mean something no longer exists, or just that it has no Halachic significance?

[For the record, (I believe) I know the answer, but I saw someone post the question, as stated in the subject, on social media, and I am drawing it to its logical conclusion here.] Say, for example, ...
5
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1answer
235 views

Flying on Shabbos

Would I be able to get on a direct flight that leaves Friday afternoon and lands on Motzei Shabbos? How would this be different from getting on a boat before Shabbos and getting off the boat at your ...
5
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2answers
127 views

When can you turn a dispute into a safek?

In this answer, I proposed that since there is a machlokes rishonim on a certain issue, it counts as a safek (doubt), although the Shulchan Aruch rules strictly. DoubleAA commented, saying that he ...
5
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1answer
82 views

What does R' Shimon mean when he “Expounds the reason of a verse”?

There is a known argument In Kiddushin and other places where it says that R' Shimon "expounds [for Halachic purposes] the reason of a verse" (דרש טעמא דקרא). What does this mean? Does it mean that ...
5
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1answer
211 views

What is the source for the current Shiurim that we have?

There are generally two types of Shiurim, the "classic" type (R' Avrohom Chaim Noeh) which says that when we measure an Amah nowadays it is roughly the size of an Amah in the time of the Beis ...
5
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2answers
116 views

If two rabbis tell you opposite things which do you listen to?

If you ask two rabbis the same question and they give you opposite answers (one says mutar the other says assur). Which do you listen to?
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58 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 ...
5
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76 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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0answers
95 views

What defines a “בהמה” (also “חיה”)?

As discussed in *Dag* (דָג) in kashrus halacha, *Tzomeach* (צוֹמֵחַ) in kashrus halacha, and *Of* (עוֹף) in kashrus halacha, there are different rules used to determine the kashrus status of ...
5
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0answers
155 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 ...
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0answers
97 views

Following the stringencies of different opinions

There is a tangential discussion in 'Eruvin, Daf 6b-7a about whether or not we can take the stringencies of two conflicting opinions. The Gemara seems adamant that we cannot, though there are examples ...
5
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1answer
53 views

Medicines v. Spices on Shabbos

Medicines are forbidden on shabbos for the non-critically ill because in the old days, they had to be ground with a pestle beforehand. Must not spices also be ground? How come spices are not also ...
5
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1answer
78 views

Practical עשה דוחה לא תעשה

There are a few examples frequently offered for the rule "עשה דוחה לא תעשה": Someone whose garment has four corners and linen can nonetheless put wool tzitzis on it. This is unlikely nowadays, when ...
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3answers
260 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
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4answers
97 views

Biblical versus rabbinic transgressions

Does the distinction between biblical versus rabbinic transgressions have implications or consequences today? In the past, the punishment for them was different I believe.
4
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2answers
167 views

What does “aerosol” have to do with spitting in the wind, or winnowing?

In this answer over here it is explained, that a "question" comes up with aerosol cans, based on a gemora which asks if spitting in the wind counts as winnowing. Now, the spitting in the wind case ...
4
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3answers
211 views

Can a person decide the Halacha (pasken) for him\herself?

Request for sources: Assuming one does not have semicha, (ordination) but is learned: Can one decide the Halacha for him\herself (after analyzing the issue and investigating the sources), or is one ...
4
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2answers
185 views

Who Commanded Us, and For What?

Whenever a Jew performs an activity that is mandated by the Torah, s/he recites the blessing that acknowledges God, "אשר קדשנו במצוותיו" (who sanctified us with his commandments), and who commanded us ...