Questions about theoretical issues about psak and general halacha concepts

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124 views

Schrödinger's cat and yibbum

Over Shabbos, the Shalosh Seudos discussion turned to the Monty Hall problem, which confused a lot of people [and which (#Humblebrag) I was able to clear up for them in under 30 seconds ;)]. Then, ...
2
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1answer
169 views

Once a Jew, always a Jew?

I keep hearing all these critical remarks from orthodox Jews about what we should and should not do. Then I hear the Rabbi from time to time give a speech where he reiterates "Once a Jew, always a ...
2
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1answer
97 views

How do we treat a י"א in the Shulchan Aruch?

Is there a general principle for how we treat a י"א = יש אומרים (yesh omrim, "some say") cited in the Shulchan Aruch for the purposes of determining halacha? If not, are there examples of two halachos ...
2
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1answer
117 views

What is the source for “the custom of our forefathers is in our hands”?

Where does "minhag avoseinu byadeinu" as a halachik concept, which is commonly cited as the source for keeping two days of yom tov outside of Israel, originate from?
2
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1answer
75 views

Yoreh Yoreh vs. Yadin Yadin

I've heard a lot of people talking about the two different semichahs that one might receive: יורה יורה ("Yoreh Yoreh") and ידין ידין ("Yadin Yadin"). What is the difference between them? [Sourced ...
2
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3answers
58 views

Does a wicked king of legitimate lineage have the full status of a king?

Does a wicked king - let's say he violates the "Big 3" - have any Halachic authority as a king? I am referring specifically to those laws which the king is theoretically entitled to enact, and which ...
2
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1answer
56 views

Appointing women as representatives of the congregation

There is a principle recorded in the Mishna, Rosh haShana 3:8, to the effect that a person can only vicariously exempt others from their responsibilities if he shares the same responsibilities that ...
2
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2answers
293 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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1answer
84 views

Can a Rishon argue on a Gaon?

On one hand, I've seen a rule from the Acharonim (I've also seen it in a Shach on Choshen Mishpat also but I can't remember where) that whatever the Gaonim say is "Divrei Kabalah" from the time of the ...
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1answer
28 views

sefarim on psak halacha

What seforim discuss how psak is formulated and the history behind it? The history of the Mechaber and later achronim as well as the origin of machlokes which, in a way, started an idea of mediating ...
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75 views

Hammurabi in Jewish sources

The Hammurabi code is one of the oldest preserved codes of law dating back to 1772 BCE. This is roughly the time after the flood (-2105BCE), the tower of Bavel (1765BCE) and the Patriarchs. Although ...
2
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1answer
88 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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3answers
155 views

Keeping up with “local” standards of modesty and dress - of religious Jews, or of society at large

In dealing with issues relating to Tzeni'uth (modesty) and clothing, a lot depends on "local" standards of dress. For example, the RaMBa"M (here) explains that in places where women do not normally go ...
2
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1answer
83 views

Does “burning” water fall under the Av Melachah of “bishul” on Shabbos?

If water that falls onto a hot plate on Shabbos immediately "burns" up and evaporates, does this fall under the Av Melachah of bishul? (The pracitical application of this I want to leave aside. ...
2
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1answer
92 views

The power of a seudat mitzvah to obviate minhagei aveilus

The prohibitions which Ashkenazim take on themselves during the nine days seem to spring from post-Talmudic thinking and application of the notion of "reduced joy." For some reason, the particulars ...
2
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1answer
37 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
58 views

Eating new grains on the 17th vs the 18th of Nisan

The Shulhan 'Aruch (OC 489:10) states: אסור לאכול חדש אף בזמן הזה בין לחם בין קלי בין כרמל עד תחלת ליל יח בניסן ובארץ ישראל עד תחלת ליל יז בניסן "It is forbidden to eat new (grains) even ...
2
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1answer
53 views

Limits to sale of חמץ

I'm looking for the outer limits of what is considered a valid sale of חמץ. We do use some tools (Shtar, Halifin) to effect the sale and make sure it's "legitimate". As two example issues of this ...
2
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1answer
55 views

Parameters for brov am?

What are they parameters of brov am hadras melech? is it a requirement or a hiddur? does it apply equally to men, women and children? why does it not seem to apply to zimun (preferable to split into ...
2
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1answer
72 views

דבר לח (liquid) is not a חיבור (connection)?

According to (חוות דעת (צ"ב כ׳, a דבר לח (liquid) is not a חיבור (connection), and, therefore, if there's spilled milk on the ground and a hot meat pot is placed on it, we don't need 60x the volume of ...
2
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1answer
149 views

Ma'ariv is obligatory?

Berachoth (4b) states conclusively that Ma'ariv is compulsory (לאפוקי ממאן דאמר ... רשות; קמ״ל דחובה). But one of the accepted premises when comparing Ma'ariv to other Tefilloth is that Ma'ariv is ...
2
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1answer
78 views

Efshar LeSoḥato Asur - because or even though?

I'm trying to comprehend the concept of "אפשר לסוחטו אסור" (roughly: "if it's possible to extract it - something prohibited from something otherwise permitted - it is prohibited"). As far as I can ...
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1answer
35 views

Is the timing of Mitzvot more intentional or more extentional?

This question is inspired by: Halakhic International Date Line issues I was reading the answers, or actually the source quotations, and realized that the answer to the questions about ...
2
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1answer
132 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 ...
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1answer
91 views

How does one define illness?

Is there a benchmark that one can use when consulting a Rav to discuss the possibility that his observance of certain laws needs to be considered as though he has an illness?
2
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1answer
132 views

Mahloket Rishonim on Techelet and no Shulhan Aruch or Bet Yosef

Mahloket Rishonim how many strings should be used in the Techelet. One string (Raavad) Two strings (Rashi, Tosafot, Rosh and Tur) Half string (Rambam) In a case of an argument like this who would ...
2
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2answers
87 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. ...
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47 views

Do any poskim recommend giving a conditional divorce?

For someone who married without a halachic pre-nuptual agreement, are there any halachic authorities who recommend giving a conditional get (bill of divorce) which stipulates that it would go into ...
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25 views

Codifying in a variant-text based machlokes

The בית חדש in O.C. 168 writes the following: אלא דלהלכה ודאי במידי דתליא בגירסאות אזלינן לחומרא הכי והכי In something which is dependent on variant texts we are stringent in both directions. ...
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37 views

End Time For Sacrificial Offerings

The verse states, in Exodus 12:10, regarding the eating of the Paschal Offering: וְלֹֽא־תוֹתִ֥ירוּ מִמֶּ֖נּוּ עַד־בֹּ֑קֶר וְהַנֹּתָ֥ר מִמֶּ֛נּוּ עַד־בֹּ֖קֶר בָּאֵ֥שׁ תִּשְׂרֹֽפוּ׃ Do not ...
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34 views

Are separate stainless steel and aluminum dishes really required? [duplicate]

I can understand the need for separate cast iron dishes and raw pottery dishes for meat and dairy, but is stainless steel and aluminum really required according to halakha? Pottery (klei heres) is ...
2
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1answer
38 views

Can one use terumah to light a stove?

In Pesachim 23a, the gemara (in the name of Rav Papa) derives from Numbers 18:27 that the prohibition of terumah to non-priests only applies to eating and drinking, but not to other forms of ...
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72 views

How does one 'learn' how to paskin?

When a person goes through smicha (in order to become a Rabbi) they learn (at least) the laws of kashrus. Depending on the program this can include more or less amounts of information (more or less ...
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31 views

Why is it the halocho (law) that persuading others to give is greater than giving?

Chazal say, "Gadol hame’aseh yosair min ha’oseh," "the one causing others to give tzedakah is greater than the person giving the tzedakah" (Bava Basra 9a). The Shulchan Oruch YD 249 (5) brings this ...
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85 views

What are the parameters of 'minhag yisrael'?

I went to a non-Jewish self-catering apartment and I was discussing with my friend whether we can use the utensils or not. Of course, if they are clean and used for cold there are no problems. We ...
2
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0answers
48 views

What if the non-Jew who owns the chametz dies? [duplicate]

What happens if the non-Jew who the chametz was sold to on Pesach dies? If he has a will, then the chametz would be passed on to someone else, and we could try to buy it back from him. However, if ...
2
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0answers
83 views

Who should observe Isru Chag?

I have been trying to understand Isru Chag. While there is a source in tehillim for the words and the gemara derives a notion of extra celebration, there seems to be little about the scope of the day. ...
2
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0answers
128 views

How did the modern day Beis Hora'ah phenomenon develop?

Here in Eretz Yisrael, we find Batei Hora'ah in many cities - places where a moreh hora'ah sits either during special times or perhaps the whole day or different rabbonim throughout the day answering ...
2
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1answer
160 views

Anti-libertarian-ism in Chazal

Most of the halachos of Choshen Mishpat have to do with one person's responsibilities viz-a-viz another person's rights. However, there is at least one halacha of which I am aware where Chazal told ...
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1answer
62 views

Does Rav Sa`adya Gaon hold that t'philin require one b'rakha or two?

I see in the Sidur HaRasa"g that he makes a seemingly strange comment about the b'rakha(oth) of t'philin. He states: התפילין כשמהדקים של היד על היד ושל ראש על הראש צריך לברך אקבמ"ו להניח תפילין ...
2
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1answer
67 views

Why does the Mishna/Gemara so rarely mention the practical Halacha?

The Mishna frequently mentions different opinions. Some opinions are generally rejected Halachicly (Rabbi Elazar, Beis Shammai). Why doesn't the Mishna mention who the Halacha follows (in general). ...
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3answers
270 views

Authenticity and authority of Oral tradition

Is there a methodology used in Judaism to authenticate traditions (that it orginated from person to whom it is attributed) and deem it halacha or a correct position? For example, Muslims have what ...
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3answers
172 views

Doesn't the wide use of Sheitels among Orthodox Jewish women prove that hair no longer retains the erotic status that it once had?

In reading scores of halakhic material on the subject of kisui rosh le-nashim throughout the ages, I have found that there are essentially two views as to the nature of the obligation for a woman to ...
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2answers
235 views

How can we use grape juice instead of wine?

There are many rituals for which we use wine. I would think that wine means a fermented grape product, or at least a fermented fruit product. On what basis do so many people use grape juice instead of ...
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2answers
124 views

Why not dump the ashes of the para aduma into a huge body of water?

The way I understand it one of the reasons we no longer have the ashes of the para aduma to purify people is because they were used up. I'd like to know if it would have been theoretically possible ...
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2answers
254 views

Is failure to observe an impossible law absolved implicitly?

The Jewish Encyclopedia has an article about ceremonial law which says (emphasis mine): The issue between Reform and Orthodoxy hinges chiefly upon the view taken of the ceremonial law; the ...
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3answers
187 views

Saying Rishonim or Achronim were “wrong”

People are very careful (and rightfully so) to say when they don't understand the words of the Achronim or Rishonim to not say they are/were "wrong". But rather to say "I don't understand what he ...
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2answers
227 views

Paskening from Talmud vs. Shulchan Arukh

Sometimes poskim will pasken from the Talmud (gemara) instead of the Shulchan Arukh. However, I thought that we pasken from the Shulchan Arukh and not from the Talmud. What is the proper way for ...
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2answers
187 views

Why aren't we Mahmir (stringent) with just Mikvah when ruling leniently on a technicality in Niddah cases?

I know from experience and some introductory study of the laws of Niddah that rabbis typically try to find leniencies wherever possible in issues of family purity. In many instances, a Posek will rely ...
1
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1answer
72 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 ...