Questions about theoretical issues about psak and general halacha concepts

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9
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1answer
1k views

Why is a woman allowed to get pregnant?

This should be taken as a bit of a light hearted question (but not a Purim Torah by any means, I am looking for a real analysis), inspired by a discussion in chat. Why is a woman allowed to get ...
0
votes
1answer
43 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 ...
12
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3answers
148 views

What if you undo a shabbat melacha?

If you plant a seed shortly before the end of shabbat (zoraya) and then un-bury it after shabbat, or you put an uncooked food into an oven and then take it out within seconds without it having baked ...
3
votes
0answers
72 views

What to do when the Rabbi is on vacation

If a person has one Rabbi to whom they ask all of their questions, and that person is unreachable, for whatever reason, and an urgent, time-sensitive question arises, what should their course of ...
2
votes
2answers
103 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. ...
1
vote
1answer
32 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 ...
1
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1answer
71 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? ...
4
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2answers
51 views

Parameters of “kalus rosh”

What is the definition of kalus rosh? What are the halachos of kalus rosh and where do they apply?
0
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0answers
40 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 ...
1
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0answers
21 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 ...
2
votes
3answers
163 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 ...
8
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2answers
157 views

Are “Halacha To Moses from Sinai” Undisputed?

I was listening to a lecture in my synagogue in which it was mentioned ( correctly or incorrectly - I don't know ) that a הלכה למשה מסיני - Halach to Moses from Sinai is a law that has never been ...
11
votes
4answers
236 views

Why does the authorship of the Zohar matter?

I've seen and heard a lot of controversy about the authorship of the Zohar, but it isn't quite clear to me that it matters. The nearest theory I can come up with is that if the Zohar is by Rashbi, ...
2
votes
1answer
37 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 ...
3
votes
1answer
81 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 ...
5
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2answers
144 views

Why don't some do yibum today, l'chatchilah?

According to the Mishna (Bechorot 1:7) the reason not to perform yibum nowadays is people don't have intention l'shem mitzva when performing yibum. Firstly I would like to know if there are any other ...
27
votes
9answers
2k views

Why is it necessary to ask a Rabbi?

In various places on this site, including the FAQ, we have the following disclaimer: Like Wikipedia, this site makes no guarantee of validity, and does not offer professional (particularly ...
4
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0answers
37 views

Is the blood of a non-Kosher animal forbidden because of וכל דם לא תאכלו

Inspired by a recent chat discussion related to this question. Does the prohibition of וכל דם לא תאכלו - not eating blood - apply to non-Kosher animals? The Rambam writes: ודבר מפורש בתורה שאינו ...
6
votes
0answers
65 views

At what point do we reject a minhag?

I was learning the halachos of berachos on things that are ground up, and it seemed pretty clear to me that the blessing on chocolate should be ha'etz. I found discussion in some more contemporary ...
5
votes
3answers
163 views

Why does Jewish law and tradition specify times for saying Shema?

This question is asked at a very basic level, not deeply aware of Judaism or the process of Jewish law. I'm not Jewish so it isn't directly applicable to me, but it helps me to ask a broader question ...
1
vote
1answer
66 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 ...
4
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0answers
65 views

What constitutes a “Hesped” (eulogy)?

There are certain dates throughout the year when one may not give a "Hesped" (eulogy) because of a certain level of happiness associated with those dates. However, I've attended funerals conducted on ...
5
votes
1answer
276 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? ...
6
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6answers
591 views

Why don't we just follow the shittah of Moshe Rabeinu?

My question can apply to virtually all mitzvos where there is a disagreement in the standard way to fulfill them. If one reads the hakdama (introduction) to the Rambam's peirush mishnayos (commentary ...
3
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2answers
134 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 ...
3
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2answers
105 views

How do you go from the Talmud to Halacha Lemaasah?

What is the process involved for figuring out the halacha of today based on something written in the Talmud? Basically, what does a modern day posek do starting from the Talmud to reach a halacha he ...
2
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3answers
64 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
31 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 ...
2
votes
2answers
125 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, ...
9
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0answers
50 views

How to determine common practice for halachos that are impacted by it

Certain halachic issues are informed or even determined by the social standards of the (non-Jewish) society in which one lives. Examples include what falls under the prohibition of cross-dressing (see ...
1
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3answers
198 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 ...
1
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0answers
34 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 ...
3
votes
2answers
58 views

Can חומרה and קולה ever be interchangeable?

I have heard of the duality of חומרה and קולה. For some people a particular application of halacha is considered a חומרה and to others a קולה. This ideology seems to only apply on an individual basis. ...
16
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4answers
1k views

Why are Shabbat loopholes a good thing?

I'm not Jewish but do know that strict observance of religious laws is important in Judaism. I recently visited one of our suppliers in Israel and the hotel and office block had sabbath elevators. ...
4
votes
2answers
223 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 ...
11
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6answers
519 views

Can halacha change based on scientific research?

Shabbat 39a says: "With regard to heating food in the sun itself, everyone agreed that one is permitted to place food in the sun to heat it, as it is certainly neither fire nor a typical form of ...
2
votes
1answer
161 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 ...
7
votes
2answers
169 views

What is the benefit of humroth (stringencies)?

If we are meant to understand from the Nazir that forbidding things which are really mutar in order to be "extra holy" is really not a positive thing (cf. y.Nedarim 9:1), then of what benefit are ...
3
votes
3answers
166 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 ...
-5
votes
4answers
141 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 ...
4
votes
1answer
131 views

Ashkanazim paskening like Rema

Was it always a straightforward presumption ("davar pashut") that in general the Ashkanazim should decide Halachic questions ("pasken") in accordance with the Rema over the Machaber/Beis Yosef (when ...
1
vote
1answer
70 views

Authenticity of Halacha l'Moshe MiSinai

How do we know that a Halacha which is claimed to have been given to Moshe at Sinai actually was? Especially in cases where it seems to contradict the Written Torah given at Sinai? A Halacha ...
4
votes
2answers
315 views

Picking fruit vs slaughtering on yom tov

We know the concept of ochel nefesh regarding yom tov. And we know that you can do melacha that is directly related to food, (like frying an egg). My question is, why is שחיטה permitted if there's ...
5
votes
1answer
46 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 ...
4
votes
3answers
179 views

Why not focus on halacha in elementary education?

From the Mishna B'rura's introduction to the rules of Shabas: …But by what means can we arrive at this level: that one keeps Shabas in all its details? The advice on this is that one urge himself ...
2
votes
1answer
83 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 ...
5
votes
1answer
146 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 ...
4
votes
1answer
36 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 ...
6
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2answers
62 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 ...
8
votes
2answers
125 views

Why was a bat kol able to settle the dispute between Battei Hillel and Shammai?

Eiruvin 13b recounts an argument between Beit Hillel and Beit Shammai. The argument grew very heated until a bat kol intervened and stated the famous line elu v'elu divrei elohim chayim ("These and ...