Questions about theoretical issues about psak and general halacha concepts

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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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1answer
20 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.
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1answer
35 views

Halachic categorization of safek dioraisa…

Is the dictum of safek dioraisa l'chumrah (and its inverse safek d'rabanan l'kulah) a principle from the Torah, or a din d'rabanan? How does this change how we react in these sefeikah situations?
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1answer
34 views

Safek De'Oraysa Le'Chumra

The classic example of safek de'oraysa le'chumra is when there is an agreement that a de'oraysa exists but there is a debate as to which cases constitute the de'oraysa. In such a debate we paskin ...
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2answers
232 views

How big, and what exactly, is “Kedei Kelipah”?

{Kedei Kelipah is a term used in Kashruth for the amount of something that needs to be removed in order to allow one to treat the remnant as Kosher. (This only applies under certain conditions, which ...
4
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1answer
75 views

Will reading Questions and Answers on Mi Yodeya gain a Jew entrance into Olam Haba?

"One who learns Halachos every day is a Ben Olam Haba" (Babylonian Talmud Niddah 73a) If a Jew reads the halachic questions and answers on this forum everyday, does that guarantee he or she will ...
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25 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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3answers
1k views

Why can't electricity be manipulated on Shabbat?

Why can't we use and change electricity on Shabbat and YomTov? By this I mean why can't we turn on and off lights...? I'v heard Rabbis say that its because you can't complete a circuit on Shabbat, ...
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4answers
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 ...
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1answer
44 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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3answers
152 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 ...
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0answers
73 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 ...
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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. ...
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1answer
33 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
73 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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2answers
53 views

Parameters of “kalus rosh”

What is the definition of kalus rosh? What are the halachos of kalus rosh and where do they apply?
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0answers
41 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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0answers
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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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3answers
173 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 ...
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2answers
161 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 ...
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4answers
241 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, ...
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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 ...
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1answer
84 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 ...
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2answers
152 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 ...
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9answers
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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 ...
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0answers
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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 ...
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0answers
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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
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3answers
164 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 ...
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1answer
67 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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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
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1answer
277 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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6answers
598 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 ...
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2answers
135 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 ...
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2answers
109 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 ...
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3answers
65 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 ...
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1answer
34 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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2answers
126 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, ...
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52 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 ...
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3answers
208 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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0answers
35 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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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. ...
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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. ...
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2answers
224 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 ...
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6answers
523 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 ...
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1answer
163 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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2answers
170 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 ...
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3answers
167 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 ...
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4answers
142 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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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 ...
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1answer
73 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 ...