Questions about theoretical issues about psak and general halacha concepts

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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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116 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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122 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
60 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
58 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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3answers
57 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
69 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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52 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
66 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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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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35 views

why is Birkat Hamazon said after eating just a small piece of bread?

Berakhot 21a:8-9: Whence is it that Grace after meals is ordained by the Torah? As it is said, "And thou shalt eat and be satisfied and bless the Lord thy God" (Deut. viii. 10). The verse ...
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25 views

What is the logic of the Shushan Purim davening and brachot? [duplicate]

Why is it that on Shushan Purim, when we do not say tachanun, we do not add the Purim paragraph to the amida or to the birchat hamazon? Why do the two not go together?
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33 views

Disputes over Biblical Laws [duplicate]

I would like to compile an extensive list of Biblical laws that are debated by current halachik authorities in the Orthodox community as to whether or not they are Biblical laws, Ribbinic laws, or ...
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39 views

How is it possible to have machlokot in very basic issues of the halacha [duplicate]

The orthodox world view assumes that the whole torah came from the mountain of sinai and is transferred from generation to generation. When there is a machloket this is because either: The ...
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30 views

Does halacha forbid profanity? [duplicate]

This is obviously just for research sake. But what does halacha say about using profanity. Is it forbidden. Can it be used in times of emphasis and where is the line drawn for what is considered ...
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22 views

מראית עין for חומרות within particular sects [duplicate]

מראית עין, in a broad definition, is "avoiding doing something that may raise suspicion that one violated halakha, or that someone may misinterpret, thus causing him to violate halacha". Does this ...
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46 views

CYLOR and Mesorah

Assume that someone has a she'elah, however their local rabbi does not follow their mesorah. How would one approach the issue of a psak? For example, let's say my LOR is a Chabad shaliach and I need ...
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178 views

Nespresso Machine Tevilas Keili alternatives

I recently acquired a new Nespresso coffee machine that will most probably be damaged if immersed. (The warranty will be void if immersed). Are there any alternatives to Tevila? I've heard you can ...
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75 views

Probing Minhag Avoseinu

As discussed in this question and the comments there, we know, based on Beitza 4b, that there is some halachically binding concept of minhag avoseinu b'yadeinu (the custom of our forbears is in our ...
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1answer
30 views

How can an 'Eved own an 'Eved?

Yevamoth 66a discusses certain rules pertaining to ownership and legal rights that can be passed down or up the chain of ownership (eg., whether an 'Eved - slave - owned by the wife of a Kohen may eat ...
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3answers
456 views

Should anyone be burned to death?

In Leviticus 20:14, it states that a man who has relations with a woman and also with her mother is a despicable lech, whose punishment is to be burned to death. This is one of two transgressions ...
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1answer
48 views

Pekuach nefesh by causing mortal injury in a non-rodef

A beam is going to fall on top of two people. When it does so, its weight will be distributed evenly over their two heads, injuring both but not killing either. Had that weight been distributed over ...
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1answer
62 views

Commandments on emotions [duplicate]

I can understand if the Torah commands one to wear tefilin or put on a mezuza. But to command a person not to hate anyone, not to covet anything of anyone, not to bear a grudge, love your fellow as ...
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1answer
49 views

In what sense is Hanukkah “a Yom Tov like other yamim tovim”?

The Machzor Vitry (§234) finds a scriptural source for Hanukkah in Leviticus 24:2. That the stipulation that Israelites should collect pure olive oil for the menorah should follow on from a ...
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1answer
40 views

Differences in psak

Why do we learn Gemara, where each opinion gets equal weight and the strongest opinion wins, and we are thus taught not to be peti, but to only accept a true answer, while today, its enough that one ...
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4answers
236 views

Why does Halacha not follow the simple reading of the Biblical text?

There are many Halachot which appear to contradict explicit Biblical statements. For example, that an "Eye for an Eye" means monetary compensation. Why does Halacha not follow the simple reading of ...
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2answers
131 views

Can there be an early 'Tzes HaChochavim' due to an eclipse?

When the sun is fully eclipsed the sky darkens and the stars appears as if it was night. Obviously, when this happens in the middle of the day, and the process of the moon slowly moving to occlude ...
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3answers
178 views

Would Israel's sibling nation do Yibbum?

If Klal Yisrael would all die, ch"v, then would Edom become obligated in Tora uMitzvot because of Yibbum? (because Jacob's/Israel's brother is Esav, Edom.) Or would chalitzah happen because no other ...
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2answers
288 views

Is it possible for a Reform Jew to break halacha or violate a mitzva? [closed]

Is it possible for a Reform Jew to violate a mitzva in the Torah or break halacha, like breaking shabbos by doing melacha ('labor')? After all, from what I understand, Reform Jews don't believe in a ...