Questions about theoretical issues about psak and general halacha concepts

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Source of the term בכתמים שומעין להקל

In the halachos of Niddah, there is a term which I have come across not infrequently. The term is בכתמים שומעין להקל, which roughly translated means "in [the halachos of blood] stains we listen to ...
4
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2answers
225 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 ...
7
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1answer
28 views

What primacy to give to learning halacha?

Consider a person who follows all of the halachos (he is aware of) that are involved in daily living. Any free time that he has is devoted to learning Torah. This person, however, is not proficient at ...
5
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1answer
50 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
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1answer
51 views

Using Ethiopian oral law to resolve machloket

This question and particularly my comment on the question got me thinking. Assuming those who became the Ethiopian Jews received the oral law exactly the same as the rest of Israel, could we ...
4
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1answer
52 views

Descrating one Shabbat for many

The Talmud states that one may violate the Shabbat to save a life, because it's worth violating one Shabbat to let someone keep many in the future. Does this principle apply in other cases? For ...
4
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1answer
99 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 ...
2
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1answer
39 views

Shin of tefillin mentioned in the Gemara originally a reference to the division of the compartments of the Shel Rosh?

The source for [at least one of] the Shins on the tefillah shel rosh is the Gemara (b.Menahoth 35a): ואמר אביי שי"ן של תפילין הלכה למשה מסיני וצריך שיגיע חריץ למקום התפר רב דימי מנהרדעא אמר כיון ...
2
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1answer
80 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). ...
2
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1answer
167 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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1answer
25 views

What's unique about the book Eglei Tal?

The book Eglei Tal was written by Rabbi Avrohom Bornsztain and deals with the 39 melachos of Shabbos. I was wondering what about this particular book is unique? Why would a person learn this as ...
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1answer
40 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
27 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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1answer
37 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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0answers
69 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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0answers
68 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 ...
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0answers
95 views

Does halakha count primates as “almost human”?

I have read that the although the halakha requires koah gever (human strength/exertion) for pouring water over hands for n'ttilath yadhayim but it says explicitly in the Mishna that a qof (monkey) may ...
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140 views

Why allowed on Yom Tov?

According to the Torah, melacha isn't permitted on Yom Tov days except for what is needed for food. I read that certain laws, like carrying, don't apply on these days because they are loosened for ...
5
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0answers
83 views

Following the stringencies of different opinions

There is a tangential discussion in 'Eruvin, Daf 6b-7a about whether or not we can take the stringencies of two conflicting opinions. The Gemara seems adamant that we cannot, though there are examples ...
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0answers
55 views

What defines a “בהמה” (also “חיה”)?

As discussed in *Dag* (דָג) in kashrus halacha, *Tzomeach* (צוֹמֵחַ) in kashrus halacha, and *Of* (עוֹף) in kashrus halacha, there are different rules used to determine the kashrus status of ...
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0answers
51 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 ...
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0answers
80 views

Pouring honey into a hot beverage

Can pouring honey into a hot beverage, such as tea, create a Kashruth concern? In particular, if you pour honey into hot tea with milk, can you later use the same bottle of honey to add honey to a ...
4
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0answers
76 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 ...
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0answers
65 views

Publisher prohibiting purchaser from sharing

Tradition articles are downloadable from the Tradition Online website, which prohibits further distribution of the materials. On each download page there is the following warning: It is strictly ...
4
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0answers
221 views

Why is wine poured by a non-Jew forbidden?

The S"A 125:1 (YD) states that a non-Jew pouring non-Mevushal wine makes (at least) that wine unfit, but other than citing earlier authorities (maybe, I can't figure that part out) he doesn't give a ...
3
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0answers
77 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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0answers
38 views

Tosefta vs. Toras Cohanim

This past Shabbos someone said over to me a particular sugia they were learning in Taharas and a maklokes Rishonim (an argument between Rishonim, medieval rabbis) in a particular analysis. One Rishon ...
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0answers
99 views

makhloket poskim and hatarat nedarim

Recently, the OU decided to certify quinoa for Pesach. Formerly, the OU held by the view of Rav Yisroel Belsky that quinoa is kitniyot, or at least that Rav Belsky's view created sufficient doubt to ...
3
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0answers
37 views

What is a “time of kingdom's decree”

The gemara in Sanhedrin 74 talks about a time of oppression, during which even for "light mitzvot" one must die. What exactly constitutes such a time? Is it any time when the government makes a ...
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52 views

Do any poskim recommend giving a conditional divorce?

For someone who married without a halachic pre-nuptual agreement, are there any halachic authorities who recommend giving a conditional get (bill of divorce) which stipulates that it would go into ...
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26 views

Codifying in a variant-text based machlokes

The בית חדש in O.C. 168 writes the following: אלא דלהלכה ודאי במידי דתליא בגירסאות אזלינן לחומרא הכי והכי In something which is dependent on variant texts we are stringent in both directions. ...
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0answers
37 views

End Time For Sacrificial Offerings

The verse states, in Exodus 12:10, regarding the eating of the Paschal Offering: וְלֹֽא־תוֹתִ֥ירוּ מִמֶּ֖נּוּ עַד־בֹּ֑קֶר וְהַנֹּתָ֥ר מִמֶּ֛נּוּ עַד־בֹּ֖קֶר בָּאֵ֥שׁ תִּשְׂרֹֽפוּ׃ Do not ...
2
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0answers
68 views

Does Rav Sa`adya Gaon hold that t'philin require one b'rakha or two?

I see in the Sidur HaRasa"g that he makes a seemingly strange comment about the b'rakha(oth) of t'philin. He states: התפילין כשמהדקים של היד על היד ושל ראש על הראש צריך לברך אקבמ"ו להניח תפילין ...
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0answers
78 views

How does one 'learn' how to paskin?

When a person goes through smicha (in order to become a Rabbi) they learn (at least) the laws of kashrus. Depending on the program this can include more or less amounts of information (more or less ...
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0answers
31 views

Why is it the halocho (law) that persuading others to give is greater than giving?

Chazal say, "Gadol hame’aseh yosair min ha’oseh," "the one causing others to give tzedakah is greater than the person giving the tzedakah" (Bava Basra 9a). The Shulchan Oruch YD 249 (5) brings this ...
2
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0answers
101 views

What are the parameters of 'minhag yisrael'?

I went to a non-Jewish self-catering apartment and I was discussing with my friend whether we can use the utensils or not. Of course, if they are clean and used for cold there are no problems. We ...
2
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0answers
87 views

Who should observe Isru Chag?

I have been trying to understand Isru Chag. While there is a source in tehillim for the words and the gemara derives a notion of extra celebration, there seems to be little about the scope of the day. ...
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0answers
135 views

How did the modern day Beis Hora'ah phenomenon develop?

Here in Eretz Yisrael, we find Batei Hora'ah in many cities - places where a moreh hora'ah sits either during special times or perhaps the whole day or different rabbonim throughout the day answering ...
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0answers
21 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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0answers
28 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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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 ...
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42 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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58 views

What makes something a davar charif and is there a canonical list?

This question asks if Beer is a davar charif based on the hops being bitter. I was very surprised at the premise because charif means sharp, not bitter. I also vaguely recall seeing a list of 5 items ...
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0answers
50 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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0answers
95 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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112 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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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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142 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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0answers
65 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 ...