Questions about theoretical issues about psak and general halacha concepts

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142 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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275 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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1answer
429 views

I suspect I must do something, but don't want to. Must I check into the halacha?

I'm sometimes in a situation where, if I do nothing, I'll benefit. But I suspect Jewish law may actually require me to take action that will prevent the benefit. I'm not sure if I should ask my ...
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3answers
696 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 ...
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58 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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115 views

Why doesn't regular handwashing work for prayer and eating bread?

I know that the halakha requires n'ttilath yadhayim before the recitation of sh'ma, before t'phila, and before and after eating bread (cf. Hilkhoth B'rakhoth 6). And I also understand that n'ttilath ...
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1answer
62 views

In how many of the 613 mitzvot are women obligated?

Women are exempt from some of the 613 mitzvot. How many of the 613 mitzvot apply to women? Is there a list (or lists)? Online? (To clarify: Ignore other factors, such as geographic location; include ...
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73 views

Can later scholars make an issue of something that earlier scholars were not concerned about?

I know that this is a potentially broad subject but there seems to be a phenomenon where later generations of scholars (i.e. after the close of the Gemara; the Amoraim) come up with new halakhoth or ...
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107 views

What is the practical purpose of karpas?

I have had discussions with people who insist that karpas must be a small piece of diced vegetable (i.e. smaller than a ke-zayith le-Humrah), dipped in salt water, and nothing more. When I then ask ...
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1answer
88 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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56 views

Which Amoraim can argue on Tannaim?

I'v heard various opinions about which Amoraim can argue with Tannaim, ranging from any, to only Rav (Rabbi Abba). Which Amoras can argue with Tannas?
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1answer
101 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, ...
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2answers
207 views

Basis of Shulchan Aruch's ruling about tefilin on Chol HaMoed

A local Orthodox rabbi told me that while most of the decisions in the Shulchan Aruch were based on taking the majority of the Rambam, Rosh and Rif (all of whom he claimed supported laying tefilin on ...
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1answer
109 views

Allowing the forbidden for the sake of a Mitzvah

There are a few mitzvot which are effected through the use of that which is specifically forbidden. The first two examples are of tzitzit being made from shatnez and the mei sotah being infused with ...
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1answer
128 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?
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1answer
81 views

What are the philosophical implications behind g'zerah shavah?

I am wondering about G'zerah Shavah. It is a rule that I have a hard time accepting, at times. I am wondering what philosophical and theological implications this rule holds. If it is assumed to be a ...
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107 views

Seforim who write “not for Psak”

Whats the point of Sefarim who print Piskie Halacha and then they write not for Lemasshe-whats the point then?
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1answer
65 views

What was the Shita of the Rema

The beit yosef has a very clear Shita. There are 3 important poskim:rosh.,rif,and rambam. He goes after the majority of these Poskim in case of a machloket. When looking into the rema(darkei ...
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136 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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164 views

Hunting in Judaism

Hunting is generally frowned on in Judaism, and hunting for sport is especially frowned on. However, as hunting is not completely assur, I had the following question: how exactly would a Jew hunt? ...
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84 views

Rambam, Maaseh Merchava and Maaseh Bereishis

The Rambam writes in Hilchos Yisodei HaTorah at the end of Chapter 2: ב,טז [יא] דברים אלו שאמרנו בעניין זה בשני פרקים אלו, כמו טיפה מן הים הן ממה שצריך לבאר בעניין זה. וביאור כל העיקרים שבשני ...
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160 views

“Wrong” Berachoth exempting foods

'Al HaMihyah exempts 'Al Ha'Gefen, at least if it was said after eating grain products and grape juice/wine. Is this unique to this case, or is there a broader principle? Can a less specific ...
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19 views

How does a chiyuv due to chinuch work? [closed]

We frequently see statements in halacha like "the minor's obligation to do the mitzva is only rabbinically imposed (mid'rabanan), because it's only because of chinuch (=the obligation to educate one's ...
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16 views

Why does the shulchan aruch start with how to conduct one's self in the morning and not the night time? [duplicate]

The mishnah in brachos goes out of it's way to discuss why it stated with the night time shema b/c in the posuk it says when you lay down and when you rise up.. Why then when it comes to practical ...
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1answer
48 views

What is the Jewish religious authority during the galut? [closed]

During the galut (after the second temple, ie our times), what is the Jewish religious authority according to halakha? A Great Assembly of Rabbanim? Something else?
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34 views

Implication of uncertain letters in the Torah

I learned that there are a number of uncertain letters in the written Torah This article lists 12 (counts vary). (1) Bereishit 4:13 "Mineso" (E&T w/o Vav) (2) Bereishit 7:11 "Ma'ayanos ...
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149 views

Are there Published Legal Defenses Resolving Objections Against Rabbinic Authority?

Are there Rabbinic "apologetic or polemic works" that focus only on the rational validity, and logical objections raised by other Jews1 -- against: (1.) the Rabbinate's authority in Judaism over other ...
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22 views

What happens when food or vessels or a tent become Tumeh? Do they transmite Tumeh to others? [closed]

What are the ramifications of vessels of food that become tumah? What happens if some one eats Tumeh foods or touches a vessel or article of clothing or tent that is tumeh? Do these things transmit ...
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103 views

Understanding how halacha & mitzvot are derived

Since this isn't getting a lot of traction maybe I should approach the question differently. I know that mitzvot can be divided into two basic categories, d'rabbanan and d'oriata. Of the mitzvot ...
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106 views

Netilat yadayim without a keli?

It is known that the Sefer Halakhoth Gedholoth codifies that since only the descendants of Aharon HaKohen were strictly commanded regarding netilath yadhayim with a keli, it is therefore enough for a ...
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22 views

Why does a hefsek make a person not yotzei?

There are situations where my fulfillment of an obligation depends on there being no interruption between the bracha and the action it covers (like between washing and making motzi) and there are ...
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50 views

Why do the laws of kevod seforim apply to physical seforim but not digital?

I may have some trouble asking this question. I understand that the laws of kavod seforim (respecting holy texts; i.e., not bringing a book of Torah into the bathroom) do not apply to tapes, etc. ...
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32 views

“Jewish Philosophy” defined by halacha

I have heard the idea that the halacha (and the boundaries it creates) provide the basic premises with which our worldview and basic (philosophical/conceptual) understanding of the Torah is created. ...
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42 views

Psak halacha from a havah amina in the Gemara

The Gemara will often begin a sugya with an initial understanding (havah aminah) of a mishnah or halacha and as the Gemara continues will change until it reaches the maskanah. Often, the maskana will ...
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23 views

Halachically, is one person ever bound by the intent of another?

In masechet shevuot, 41b, the gemara discusses a case of a loan as follows (h/t dafyomi.co.il) Levi lent Yehudah, and told him 'repay me in front of two witnesses who learn Halachah. Yehudah ...
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58 views

D’oraita Sources for Halacha

We often see that the author of a p'sak maintains that a ruling is d’oraita even in cases when there is no link to any of the 613 mitzvot listed by Rambam, etc. Must every halacha ruled as a d’oraita ...
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55 views

Nature of rabbinic and biblical prohibitions and their subcategories

While learning Mishna, I frequently come across distinctions between different levels of prohibitions, as well as allusions to sub-categories within those prohibitions. So, for example, there are ...
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126 views

What is the Halachic difference if people are kosher or not?

The Ramban derives that people are kosher from the gemara in Kerisos (21a i think) That since the rabbis said that human milk is kosher using concept that anything that comes from kosher animal is ...
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124 views

Extrapolating from individual responsa to form a general psak halacha

R' Tsvi Heber of the Kashruth Council of Canada writes: Is it permitted to order whole fruit[34] or drink water in a non-kosher restaurant? If not, can one enter a non-kosher restaurant to use ...
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37 views

Marit ayin vs. Dan Lechaf zechut [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: “bad impression” vs “Judge your friend favorably” Why does the prohibition of maris ayin apply when there is also a mitzvah of hevei dan es kol ...
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1answer
78 views

Is Warhammer (and similar games) an issue of avoda zara?

Are tabletop wargames, such was Warhammer, Warhammer 40K, and Kings of War an issue of avoda zara? To play the game you first have to purchase miniature figures of different races. Some are human, ...
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1answer
70 views

How does Tum'ah (“Ritual Impurity”) work?

What are the mechanics by which Tum'ah works? How does one detect it, or diagnose someone as Tamei? Certain materials can contract and transfer Tum'ah. Why do these material do so, but others ...
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1answer
75 views

Can one use an Eruv if the Rabbi who built it says its down?

If a Rav Hamachsheir of an Eruv, the Rabbi who built it and supervises its use, sends out a message that he holds that the Eruv is down because of a particular reason (reason X), and should not be ...
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62 views

Can one Shecht with a Wire

Can one ritually slaughter with a wire? Why or why not? The Talmud says that any implement may be used, so according to that a wire would be fine. Are there any technical problems that would ...
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1answer
34 views

How many types of reshut exist?

I know that there is a public domain (reshut ha-rabbim) and a private domain (reshut ha-yahid), but are there other types of reshuyoth mentioned in the halakhah of carrying on Shabbat?
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54 views

Are “Mitzva” and “Halacha” synonyms?

For the longest time, I've always treated them like synonym. Now, thinking back, I think I might actually be wrong. For a moment, I thought that a mitzva only referred to mitzvot d'oreita, but there ...
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1answer
42 views

Adding Honey to Wine and Rules of Yayin Nesach

There is a responsum of the Rambam that brings down the following custom that was done by the great sages, and done by himself personally. RAMBAM’S RESPONSA, 269 שאלה בדבר השתייה על מיני זמר ...
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1answer
71 views

Ein Halakha K'niflag

This article cites a principle in the name of R. Saadya Gaon and Rambam that אין הלכה כנפלג. He cites כתבים לגר"י קאפח, ח"ב עמ' 557. Where can this be found in the writings of the Geonim or Rambam? ...
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1answer
57 views

Do the laws of shmirat ha-lashon and the principle of diyyun le-khaf zekhut protect criminals?

I have heard many times people use the laws of shemirath ha-lashon and the principle of diyyun le-khaf zekhuth almost as an excuse to ignore crimes of theft, molestation, et al among religious people. ...
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19 views

Audio Shiurim on Halacha Theory

While there are plenty of websites that are offering audio recordings on "what the halacha is," i haven't found any that help teach you how you as an individual can learn about the halachic process to ...