Questions about theoretical issues about psak and general halacha concepts

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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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2answers
116 views

How to Reconcile if/when the Jewish Day Was to Begin at Sunset?

Question: Are there any historical documents that detail the differences in opinions on when the "Jewish Day" began? (Perhaps between Sadducee and Pharisee/Rabbinic definitions, etc). What the ...
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0answers
19 views

Why do we need dishes designated specifically for Pesah? [closed]

We have certain principles of Bittul BeRov (nullification in a majority), and Bittul BeShishim (nullification in a ratio of 1:60). These principles apply to foods all year, but not to Hametz on ...
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2answers
142 views

Reshus Horabim Today?

The most lenient shita for a reshus horabim i have ever heard of is that 600,000 people must pass on the road EVERY day. Do any roads with daily CAPACITY for 600,000 people exist today? Do any roads ...
1
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2answers
68 views

חזקה מעיקרה vs ספק

I am in the middle of מחלוקת with someone as to, if I originally had a חזקה and now there's a ספק to whether that status is still true, whether I maintain that original status or my status changes to ...
1
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0answers
37 views

Is this an effective means of being tested on Talmud [closed]

I'm in tenth grade and I'm concerned that the way we are tested Talmud in school is not effective. You see, we learn a small sugya of Gemara and then learn through a multitude of Rishonim and ...
4
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2answers
58 views

Reward and punishment for indirect mitzvot and averot

If I create something with a certain purpose, and it's used for another purpose (good or bad), do I have a share in the mitzvot or averot people made with my creation? I'll give three examples to make ...
3
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3answers
685 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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11answers
3k 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 ...
2
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0answers
31 views

Why do we refer to Chazal as a monolithic group?

In discussions of Torah, halacha, etc., people often say, "According to Chazal..." as though all the thousands of rabbis of an 800-year period spoke with one voice. But you almost never hear people ...
4
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3answers
111 views

Which opinion of the Rambam is followed, the Mishneh Torah or the Responsum?

If there is a contradiction between something the Rambam wrote in the Mishneh Torah and his responsum letters, which is considered his final ruling? Is there a general rule or is it a case by case?
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0answers
36 views

Tzitzis put on a borrowed garment that is later acquired. Take them off and reattach them?

From Torah Law, I need only put tzitzis on my own four-cornered garment. From Rabbinic Law, I need to attach tzitzis to a borrowed garment only after 30 consecutive days, see Oruch HaShulchan, O Ch ...
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0answers
31 views

Zaken Mamrei vs. Par He'elem Davar

This past weekend I was reading through the Torah Temimah on Vayikra and a paradox occurred to me. The Zaken Mamre is specifically applied to one who is in a position of authority over a community. ...
8
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1answer
126 views

How do you weigh authority in halacha?

Are there any hard and fast rules as to how to assign relative importance of one authority over another in formulating a psak halacha? For example if the Rambam and the Rashba argue over a specific ...
2
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2answers
52 views

Understanding a qal vechomer in the Mishna

This is a fairly long-handled question, but it boils down to a desire to understand R' Shimon's qal vechomer in the Mishna, Negaim 10:2. Usually, for a qal vechomer to work, there needs to be a ...
1
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0answers
57 views

Suicide to prevent Zombification

This is a serious question which deals with what is now a fictional construct, but one that has ramifications and which has been dealt with (in other situations) by halachic discussion such as this ...
3
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1answer
78 views

Placing Tefillin on the floor

I've been taught since little that one can't place a pair of Tefillins on the floor, and that one must carefully avoid not dropping them. But what is considered being on the floor? For example, can I ...
2
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1answer
77 views

An obligation to intervene?

I was posed a hypothetical question about medical ethics today. I am not looking for a psak as much as for sources on the discussion about halachic responsibility. Case 1: You are personally told by ...
5
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3answers
184 views

Prior to the Men of the Great Assembly (and after Moses, our teacher), could halacha be decided by prophecy?

I think that I remember hearing that during the times of the Men of the Great Assembly, it was decided that prophecy would no longer be used to determine halachic rulings, i.e that before then it was ...
7
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1answer
102 views

When and how was the Shulchan Aruch accepted

After the Shulchan Aruch was put together by the Beis Yosef and then following that with the glosses of the Rema, when did this sefer became "accepted" as the basis for deciding halachic matters in ...
4
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1answer
38 views

Why are there not metalworking avos m'lachos?

We find that the avos m'lachos (classes of forbidden activity on shabas) are based upon the labors associated with the mishkan (tabernacle) in the mishna (e.g. Shabas 11:6) and g'mara (e.g. Shabas ...
3
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1answer
317 views

Biur Chametz and hefsek

On the evening of the day before Pesach, we search for Chametz and put aside what we find so that we may destroy it in some way the next morning. Before we start, we make the bracha "al biur chametz" ...
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0answers
46 views

Same Rabbi (Posek) for husband and wife

Does a husband a wife need to have the same Rabbi (Posek) or can they have their own Rabbi's?
2
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1answer
112 views

When the Messiah comes, will the decisions/laws of Chazal still be in effect?

When the Messiah comes, will the various decisions and laws established by ChaZAL (i.e those after prophecy departed from Israel) still be in effect, or will the return of prophecy nullify the ...
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0answers
50 views

Machlokes Deoraisa vs Muttar - non-Jew vs Jew

If one Rav paskens somemthing is Asur Deoraisa and another Paskens totaly mutar, beshas hadechak is it better to get a non jew to do it or a jew whose rav holds its muttar? For example, if a certain ...
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1answer
77 views

Can a public road include an underground area below it to qualify as a Reshut Harabim?

On Shabbat, one may not carry in a Reshut Harabim. Kitzur Shulchan Aruch 81:2 says that there is an opinion that a road not having at least 600,000 people passing by it daily would not be considered ...
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0answers
75 views

Was Gematria taken from other cultures?

The wikipedia entry of gematria starts by stating the following: Gematria [...] is an Assyro-Babylonian-Greek system of code and numerology later adopted into Jewish culture that assigns numerical ...
3
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2answers
39 views

Relative status of biblical and rabbinic transgressions

In the opening chapter of Sefer Tanya, the rebbe notes that failure to perform a positive biblical commandment is worse than performing a rabbinic transgression. In his words: “Even one who ...
3
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2answers
129 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). ...
13
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4answers
300 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 ...
4
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1answer
64 views

How much weight must we give to the Council of Sages opinions

As I understand it, there is no hierarchy within Judaism, per se. In fact, following a controversial decision by Rav Elyashev, he mentioned to a friend of mine that his rulings really only apply to ...
5
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2answers
314 views

Kosher switch and Grama according to R. Belsky's letter

Yeshiva World News published a letter from Rabbi Belsky saying that the Kosher Switch accomplishes nothing and is simply a regular melacha. My question is basically the same as this commentor. Is ...
4
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0answers
91 views

Is there a chazakah (halachic presumption) that an Eruv is down after a blizzard?

I remember, I was once at shul Friday night, and it was just starting to snow and it was predicted to be a huge blizzard. The Rabbi got up and announced that tomorrow people should work under the ...
2
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1answer
31 views

Writing Responsa in English

I was reading the introduction to Rabbi Yehuda Henkin's book "Responsa on Contemporary Jewish Women's Issues" and he wrote something that I found interesting: Whether Halachic response should be ...
11
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3answers
616 views

Why has the Mishnah Berurah become the Authoritative Halachik Work instead of the Aruch haShulchan?

Hirhurim just had a post about this topic, where he discussed some reasons that people should follow the aruch haShulchan. Yet in many circles, people just follow the Mishna Berura and rarely even ...
2
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1answer
84 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 ...
1
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2answers
64 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 ...
10
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3answers
230 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 ...
4
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2answers
99 views

Can someone stop being supported by his father without his father's permission?

From the shulchan aruch (yora deya 240.5 end) אֲבָל חַיָּב לְכַבְּדוֹ בְּגוּפוֹ, אַף עַל פִּי שֶׁמִּתּוֹךְ כָּךְ בָּטֵל מִמְּלַאכְתּוֹ, וְיִצְטָרֵךְ לְחַזֵּר עַל הַפְּתָחִים. וְדַוְקָא דְּאִית ...
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2answers
44 views

Does the use Rabbi Yishmael's principles retain the de'oraiso character of the original statement?

If we use one of Rabbi Yishmael's 13 principles of interpreting the Torah to learn from a Torah law (de'oraiso), does the inferred law also have the status of a de'oraiso? (Related: Where can I find ...
8
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2answers
193 views

What does it mean that a blind person is “Patur” from mitzvot?

When the Gemarah tells us that a Suma (a blind person) is "Patur" from Mitzvot, does that mean to say that he is completely outside the realm of Mitzvot, and will get no reward for doing them, or does ...
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0answers
22 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 ...
4
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4answers
100 views

Biblical versus rabbinic transgressions

Does the distinction between biblical versus rabbinic transgressions have implications or consequences today? In the past, the punishment for them was different I believe.
3
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1answer
110 views

Under what circumstances can Ashkenazim rely on Sephardic poskim?

Is there any reason an Ashkenazi Jew should not hold by the psak of a Sephardi rov--or vice versa--for decisions relating to general matters (not ostensibly to do with particular minhagim)? If so, ...
5
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4answers
163 views

Weighing mitzvot/aveirot

I apologize for the somewhat vague question; it was difficult to write. I would welcome any specific editing suggestions. What matters in the calculation of a person's righteousness? Is it: Number ...
5
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2answers
122 views

If two rabbis tell you opposite things which do you listen to?

If you ask two rabbis the same question and they give you opposite answers (one says mutar the other says assur). Which do you listen to?
2
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2answers
94 views

If you were born one sect (Ashkenaz) but wanted to become another (Sephardi), do you have to go through conversion?

I encountered a man who found out he was Jewish with Ashkenazi lineage, but for personal reasons converted to Sephardi. Never heard of this before. I remember learning there are several halachot in ...
7
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2answers
129 views

What is the basis that allows Rabbis to create laws?

I understand that the Torah gives instructions to obey Judges for legal cases and questions, but what is the basis that Rabbis have for creating new laws, such as for celebrating Chanukah with a ...
2
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1answer
264 views

Breaking Shabbos to keep future Shabbos(os)?

The reason we allow someone to violate shabbos to save a life is because of the principle "let him void one shabbat so that many future shabbosos will be kept". What are the parameters for this ...
4
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1answer
75 views

Hillel's formulation of the Golden Rule

Hillel said, "That which is hateful to you, do not do to your fellow. This is the whole Torah, and the rest is commentary; go and learn it." - Babylonian Talmud, Shabbat 31a This is similar to the ...