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321 views

Are sex change operations prohibited for non-Jews?

In very specific situations some halachic decisors have permitted sex change operations, such as for infants born with some types of genital anomalies. However, the consensus seems to be that they ...
8
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270 views

Can a garment be assur for men and women because it is both beged ish and beged isha?

I've been wondering about garments like the frilly pink/purple yarmulkas and talleisim used in liberal Judaism. Since yarmulkas and talleisim are probably normally beged ish, and pink/purple frilly ...
7
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212 views

“Siri, sing to me” - Kol Isha?

As i say in this Purim Torah answer, we can't use smartphones because "The vaad found out that Siri's not a guy". (From the song Hang Up the Payphone by A.K.A Pella.) However, that inspired a ...
7
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154 views

Is there a problem with saying “for Pete's sake”?

Is there a halachic issue with invoking the name "Peter," or, as is more commonly used, "oh, for Pete's sake!," which I assume is a reference to Saint Peter. ( Wikipedia agrees with this conjecture, ...
7
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284 views

Do the laws of Negiah depend on sexual orientation?

The Rambam writes (Hilchos Isurei Biah 21:1): כל הבא על ערווה מן העריות דרך אברים, או שחיבק ונישק דרך תאווה ונהנה בקירוב בשר--הרי זה לוקה מן התורה One who comes upon one of the Arayos via ...
7
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147 views

Is Juneau, Alaska — surrounded by natural barriers — a natural eruv

I recently visited Juneau, Alaska. It is a small city of 35,000. The city limits are quite large, however -- 3,225 square miles -- but much of this area is separated from downtown Juneau on Douglas ...
7
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367 views

How obligated is one to say Kaddish for a deceased relative?

People often talk about an obligation -- Chiyuv -- to recite Kaddish at every opportunity for some time after the death of a relative. (Which relatives are obligated and for how long does not seem ...
7
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154 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 ...
7
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145 views

Father being Matir Neder for himself: does it affect the family?

If a father is Matir Neder on a minhag (gebroktz, let's say) for himself for a valid reason, does that include his whole family? Are they now also permitted to eat gebroktz because that is now the ...
7
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118 views

Counting towards a Keriat HaTorah one who accidentally ate

We have Halacha that at least 6 people need to be fasting in order to read the Torah in a fast day. However, let's say there are 10 people and 5 are definitely fasting and one who accidentally ate ...
6
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110 views

What should you do if you are arrested on Shabbat?

If a person is arrested (God forbid) on Shabbat what leniencies, if any, should he be aware of? For instance may he sign paperwork (with a shinuy) or have his fingerprint taken if refusing to do so ...
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52 views

Losing concentration in the middle of the first blessing of Shemoneh Esrei

First, a little background information: According to halakhah, there are two types of berakhoth: "long" and "short." "Long" *berakhoth" are those that have a pethihah ("opening", i.e. "Barukh Atah ...
6
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0answers
61 views

Magazine subscription that doesn't cancel

Many magazines (in the United States, anyway) today find the main profitability is in having higher subscriber numbers to show advertisers and really don't care if the subscriber is paying. The main ...
6
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0answers
96 views

Is it allright to use/wave the Argentinian flag?

The Sun of May in the flag is inspired by an ancient Inca god. It is used by the Argentinian flag and the Uruguayan flag. It is a representation used as a homage to the ancient empire, inspired by ...
6
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0answers
127 views

Downvoting someone you dont know

Onaat devarim is a biblical prohibition to commit verbal abuse (Bava Metzia 58b based on Vayikra 25:17 "וְלֹא תוֹנוּ אִישׁ אֶת עֲמִיתוֹ וְיָרֵאתָ מֵאֱלֹקיךָ כִּי אֲנִי ה' אֱלֹקיכֶם", "one shall not ...
6
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80 views

Is Shushan Purim observed (in theory) in Shush, Iran?

Shushan, Achashveirosh's capital, is identified with the modern Iranian archaeological site of Susa. A city, Shush, has been established nearby. In modern-day Shush, (if any Jews lived there), what ...
6
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49 views

Company matched charitable giving and ma'aser

If my company matches a certain level of charitable giving, can this be included in any way in ma'aser calculations? Does it make a difference if the company matches the donations by giving directly ...
6
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0answers
82 views

Would halachic units be shrunk if a person was (Honey, I Shrunk the Kids-style)?

In the classic move Honey, I Shrunk the Kids and its sequels, people get shrunk down to 1/264th of their normal size. So, a person is around 1/4 of an inch tall. If such a thing were even possible, ...
6
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0answers
89 views

What in a siddur can be changed?

There are many different editions of siddurim with many commonalities but also many differences, see here for discussion on MY. Also different communities use different siddurim to match their ...
6
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0answers
207 views

What is Kishuf (“magic”)?

In order to avoid the prohibited, we must first know what it is. What is the halachic definition of Kishuf ("magic")? While I am mainly interested in sources, Svaras (reasonings) and thoughts are ...
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0answers
76 views

Is one allowed to bid on a house if he knows another Jew has already made an offer?

This question is related to the halachic concept of ani hamehapech b'charara, or tortious interference, which I happened to just come across in studying Mishnah Peah. If one has been looking at a ...
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0answers
42 views

Looking for a particular idea from Reb Yonason Eibshitz

I recall reading a quote from Reb Yonason Eibshitz concerning a judge on a beis din of 23 faced with a strange situation. The defendant seems to the judge to be guilty of murder, but this judge is the ...
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74 views

Is one allowed to kill false witnesses to his own capital crime?

Reuven and Shimon conspire to execute Levi in Beis Din (court) for killing Yehuda by their testimony. Levi asks around and there are no witnesses who will come forward, and a few people told him that ...
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52 views

How much of the standard תורה service is done on שמחת תורה?

I've seen a number of Simchas Tora customs in Ashkenazic practice and/or prescribed by Ashkenazic prayer books. Specifically, I think I've seen both sides of each of the following dichotomies, ...
6
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70 views

Beam for s'chach with wood glue + embedded screws

Let's assume that there is a lechatchila to not use metal object that are mekabel tumah (susceptible to tumah) for something that supports the s'chach ("maamid"), which can be avoided by using ...
6
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0answers
73 views

How far do I have to go to take care of myself?

The mitzvah of V'nishmartem (Devarim 4:15) requires a person to take care of their health (Shulchan Aruch C.M. 427:8, Kitzur Shulchan Aruch 32:1). How far does this go? Do I have to exercise daily? ...
6
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0answers
58 views

Giving to a “mission” collection

In some religions, people accept upon themselves some kind of "mission" to do whatever act to help others. In many cases, it involves collections to send to the poor, or to 3rd world countries. The ...
6
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0answers
156 views

Extended fasting on 10 Av

The Bavli (Taanit 29a) teaches that the Temple was set aflame on the ninth of Av in the afternoon and it burnt until sundown on the tenth of Av. The Yerushalmi (Taanit 4:6) records that because of ...
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67 views

Is there such a thing as “Veset Halom”

One friend of mine told me that his wife always sees a special dream before her veset. Always the same one. Could such think be counted as veset kavua? I understand that technically a dream doesn't ...
6
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109 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 ...
6
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0answers
85 views

Benefiting from channukah candles in a mirror

One is not allowed to "benefit" from the lights of the channukah candles. Rashi says the reason is in order that it should be recognizable that these candles are light for the mitzvah in order to ...
6
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0answers
89 views

Are placebos permitted without telling the person they are getting one?

Does Judaism allow placebos where the person thinks it does something, and is thereby cured, even though the item does nothing? Is this gnevas da'as (or some other issur), or because it can help them ...
6
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0answers
103 views

Shomronim and Halakha

Do the Baraitot brought down by Masechet Kutim and other random halachot in the Talmud that were said about "kutim" apply to the 750 remaining Samaritans in the world today (who currently live in ...
6
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0answers
185 views

Chatzi LaHashem

I've been having this discussion with my friends and family about the Halacha of dividing Yom Tov into Chatzi LaHashem (half of the day devoted to prayer and learning) and Chatzi Lachem (half of the ...
6
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0answers
210 views

Prosthetic limbs in halacha

What is the status of prosthetic limbs in halacha in terms of being considered part of the body? Is it considered: As if I were born with it? As a living piece of flesh, but not a piece of me? ...
6
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0answers
131 views

American Idol and HaMalbin Pnei Ḥavero BeRabim

(Inspired by this question) Is watching televised talent shows, such as "American Idol", which are known to invite contestants to embarrass themselves in front of millions, and even have judges whose ...
6
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0answers
254 views

Can you fulfill Netilat Yadayim by dipping your hands in a sink?

According to the Gemara in Hullin on 107a, if there's a vessel with a hole in it, and there's a "stream" (more than a drip but not necessarily the "sheffoferet hannod" required for a real mikveh) ...
5
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0answers
32 views

If you're having a slow day are you halachically required to reduce your hourly rate?

Say you work as a contractor that charges an hourly rate. If on any given day you feel sluggish due to poor sleep or some other reason, are you supposed to reduce your rate for that day to compensate ...
5
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0answers
84 views

If you check for bugs according to halachic requirements, and then there is a bug in the food, are you liable?

If one or one's wife does everything that is needed for checking, but one accidentally eats a bug anyway, is one liable for the sin(s)? I'd also be interested in knowing whether one would be liable ...
5
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0answers
22 views

When does a place become a shul w/r/t saying me'ein sheva Friday nights?

Shulchan Aruch, Orach Chaim 268:10 plus commentaries gives the rule that me'ein sheva (magen avot etc) isn't said at a private home, because it lacks the regularity of a shul. If someone has a ...
5
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0answers
68 views

Are there any contemporary “Gedolim” that prohibit the use of davening from a smart phone?

It took me a long time to upgrade my technology, but I admit that lately, I have been using my smart phone during davening. My rav doesn't object, but some of my friends told me that it's prohibited ...
5
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0answers
91 views

Should you ask a stranger in your shul if he is Jewish?

We've had a few questions similar to this one that deal with assuming that you have a minyan, when in fact you don't. Shuls are, generally, open to anyone. We usually assume that when a stranger ...
5
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0answers
57 views

Yom Kippur and IV drips

This is a somewhat silly question, but I'm sure it has a good answer and I'd like to know what it is. Unfortunately, I was hospitalized recently and I ended up being in hospital over Yom Kippur. ...
5
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0answers
84 views

Is altering human genetics wrong in Judaism?

So, our colonists of the oceanic planet Mayim (yes, that's its name), of whom every single one is a Jew, have encountered a problem: there is no more room on the buoyant-colony-thing that they live ...
5
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0answers
117 views

Names with origins of avoda zara

I gave my daughter a second name after my father's, for which I came up with a female version. I saw that the name does exist, but I never bothered to see the origin for some reason. Now, after five ...
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0answers
43 views

Studying Holocaust Responsa on Tish'ah BeAv

One of the restrictions practiced on Tish'ah BeAv is the study of Torah, because Torah study "gladdens the heart". Several exceptions have been formally codified, which are of a nature germane to the ...
5
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0answers
26 views

What is involved in “shnayim mikro v'echod targum” for someone travelling from outside the land to Israel when the sedrahs are different?

What are the principles involved in “shnayim mikro v'echod targum” for someone travelling from outside the land to Israel when the sedrahs read in those places are different. (I have already asked my ...
5
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0answers
74 views

Does the chametz sales contract need to be enforceable under secular law?

We go to great lengths to ensure that our pre-Pesach chametz sale is effective according to halacha. Thus, we effect the sale via various means of acquisition: kinyan kesef, kinyan sudar, kinyan agav ...
5
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0answers
76 views

May a nutrition scientist perform research on chametz as part of his job on Hol Hamo'ed Pesach?

For this question, I am interested only in the aspect of handling the chametz and "benefitting" from it on Hol Hamo'ed, not any problems, possibly of going to work. (Let's assume that if the worker ...
5
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0answers
63 views

The angle of heseiba and derech cheirus

Heseiba (reclining) is a Rabbinic ordinance of the Passover seder intended to invoke the style of derech cherut ("the way of freedom" - associated with luxury/aristocracy). Some Rishonim (medieval ...