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Determining Normative Halacha

I don't really understand the process for establishing what "the halacha" is in a particular case. I know that there are rules in the talmud to decide whom the halacha follows when there are ...
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Why don't we say Baruch Hu UVoruch Shmo more often?

I notice in Minyanim that I participate in that when the Chazan repeats the Shemonei Esrei and gets to "Baruch Ata Hashem", nearly everyone says "Baruch Hu UVoruch Shemo". Yet, those same people skip ...
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Lifnei Iver for a chinuch-age child

Is there a prohibition of lifnei iver (causing or being an accessory to someone else's sinning) for a child who has reached the age of chinuch (education to mitzvos, the point at which he/she should ...
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113 views

Is using Siri a problem of 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 ...
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Does Birkas Hamazon eliminate the need for bracha acharona on foods eaten before?

Situation: One ate something that would require a bracha achrona besides Birkas Hamazon (let's say an Al Hamichya or Borei Nefashos). But one carelessly moved on to eating bread before making that ...
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minimum halachic definition of bread

This is sort of the counter question to Mezonos bread. At what point does a grain based admixture transition between bread and non bread? To clarify: The general position of Sephardic Jewry is that ...
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Should one make a bracha on seeing geological arches, hoodoos or balanced rocks?

I am considering visiting Arches National Park in Utah. This park has several "arch" rock formations and a few hoodoos and a balanced rock. Shulchan Aruch O.C. 228:1 states that one should make a ...
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Was the Mishna Brurah meant to be learned straight?

Disclaimer - I do not intend to dispute common practices in Klal Yisroel, nor do I intend to criticize the incredible work of an incredible Talmid Chacham. The current practice in a considerable ...
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If a convert converted without knowing that their conversion would be permanent

Hypothetically, if a convert converted without knowing that their conversion would be permanent (i.e., cannot convert out), does that make the conversion invalid?
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Does a seller acquire each coin one at a time, or all at once?

Let's say i owe someone 5 coins. I hand them to him one at a time. Does he acquire each one as i hand it to him, or does he get all of them after all 5 are in his hand? When exactly does ownership get ...
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Waiting after meat and milk

If someone eats a mixture of meat and milk, does he need to wait before eating more meat or milk?
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Shochtim who learned from translated materials

The Maharil in his Tshusvos Chadashos ("New Responsa," mentioned here), writes (Siman 93) that the custom is not to give kabblah to shochtim who learned the laws shechita in German (translated ...
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Is there an obligation to reattach a severed body part?

If a part of a person's body is severed for whatever reason, is there an obligation on the person who lost it to reattach it?
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How far must a publisher go to mitigate possible lashon hara?

This question is about sites that host community-contributed content, like Wikipedia, Reddit, or blogging platforms like LiveJournal communities. Suppose somebody posts something negative about an ...
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112 views

What happens if a non-Jew uses a mikvah?

If a gentile does a kosher immersion (does tevilah with the preparation, three kosher immersions, and the immersion prayer), which is required for conversion, but did so without the help of a rabbi, ...
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*Tzomeach* (צוֹמֵחַ) in kashrus halacha

To find the kashrus status of an organism, we first need to correctly classify it as tzomeach, animal, bird, or fish, as each group has its own distinct requirements. E.g., animals need to chew cud ...
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Western Ashkenaz Mishnah Berurah

The Mishnah Berurah was composed with the minhagim of the Eastern Ashkenazi kehillot in mind. Is there an equivalent for the communities of Western Europe*? *The Ashkenazi communities of the ...
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108 views

Halachic opinions on tefillin peshutim

I was discussing the subject of tefillin with my father motzei-Shabbat and particular, the battim (leather boxes that contain the parshiyot, or parchment scrolls). We ended up wondering what the ...
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maaser to your own employer

I know there are many Jews who work for schools, synagogues, soup kitchens, and other such non-profit organizations that do a community service. Many people also give maaser money to these ...
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Sous-vide cooking for Shabbat

Sous-vide is a method of cooking food slowly, at a precisely-controlled temperature. This article in the New York Times reports that this method is becoming more and more accessible to and widespread ...
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What's the definition of “not now” for priority-of-b'racha purposes?

Orach Chayim 211 is about what food to recite a blessing over (that is, and eat) first when one wishes to eat two foods. It's clear that (except according to the Rambam cited in 211:2) one does not ...
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Resolving a dispute where the customer denies that the product is theirs

If someone left something at the dry-cleaners', for example, and later returned to pick it up, but it seems to not be the same item that they left, what does halacha say about resolving it? Both the ...
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What to do with discarded shemittah produce of co-workers

I currently work in an environment where colleagues (irreligious and/or not Jewish) are consuming produce that has shemittah sanctity. They often throw their left over food directly in the bin with ...
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Can an unknown Reform Jew be counted for a minyan?

Orthodox Judaism treats someone as a Jew if their mother is Jewish, or they underwent an Orthodox conversion. Reform Judaism will count someone as Jewish even if their only connection is through their ...
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Transferring discrete “kippah clips” between domains on Shabbat, if the clips are NOT sewn to the kippah

A) Imagine the following: It is Shabbat, and I am using spring-loaded hair clips or bobby pins to attach a kippah to my hair. The clips or pins are NOT sewn to the kippah: instead, they are discrete ...
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The shlock — halachic considerations

Let's say you bought or built your own shlock (rain cover) for your sukkah. What halachic concerns are there about operating it on Shabbos/Yom Tov? Might there be problems of boneh (building)? If the ...
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Must the entire decoration be within 4 t'fachim of the schach?

Inspired by Can too many decorations render a sukkah invalid? If there is a big decoration hanging from the schach, is it OK as long as the top (part, or most of the decoration) is within 4 tefachim, ...
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What kind of responsibility do Mi Yodeya answerers have for people following halacha according to the site?

Here on Mi Yodeya, we are careful to remind people that they should not rely on this or any website for practical halachic decisions. Nonetheless, it is almost certain that some people take what they ...
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Holidays south of the equator

When Jews first started establishing communities south of the equator, they must have noticed that the holidays fell completely at the wrong times of the year. (For example, Pesach, referred to as hag ...
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Can Jews revolt?

I want to preface this question with the statement that I have absolutely no intention of starting a revolution against any government, so this is not off-topic as psak-seeking, and the NSA can just ...
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Is there any halachic problem with providing a service (e.g., matchmaking) to someone for free, when others pay for it?

I recently got an interesting email from a shadchan (matchmaker), which I've paraphrased here: I have a potential match in mind for you. However, it is a halachic problem if I set you up with this ...
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Liability for bed bugs

If one tenant in an apartment brings in bed-bugs (and that can be proven), and they spread throughout the building, and the other tenants have to vacate their apartments to be fumigated, or whatever ...
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Is one required to tie strong tzitzis knots?

In the comments here, you can find several suggestions of how to make sure your tzitzis knots will not loosen. Is one required to tie their knots this way, to prevent them from coming loose while ...
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Literal “bigdei zeya” in the nine days

During the nine days, people do not wear freshly laundered clothing as a sign of mourning for the destruction of the Temples. This applies to shirts, pants, coats etc (all examples of regular ...
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When does a מעריב-misser say שמונה עשרה?

קצור שלחן ערוך‎ 21:1 describes what one should do who missed מעריב by accident: לאחר תפילת שחרית יאמר תחנון ואשרי ויתפלל תפלת שמונה עשרה לשם ערבית ואחר כך יאמר למנצח ובא לציון וכו׳ After ...
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Whale-yeast Beer

This article describes a beer created with yeast from fossilised remains of an ancient whale. From what I understand, the yeast imparts certain characteristics to the beer other than alcohol content. ...
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A rebellious spouse in Beis Din today

The Rambam describes how to handle a case where a couple is divorcing and one spouse claims the other is rebellious (refusing marital relations) and the other is insisting that this is not the case ...
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Gentiles praying in Hebrew

Can a gentile pray in hebrew, and recite the Psalms? I am a Noahide (Chassidic Gentile) who is interested in going through the conversion process to Reform Judiaism. Is it okay for me to pray the ...
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how to clean up from one meal for another on shabbos?

if after putting all of the trash in the trash can there are lots of crumbs still left behind how should one get rid of these properly on shabbos? may one shake the crumbs outside (assuming its in ...
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Al Hamichya in one room and al hagefen in another room

If you eat cake in Room A and then proceed to drink wine in Room B both bracha achronas must be made in the rooms in which the food was eaten. Where and how do you make a bracha achrona. Here are the ...
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Blessing on Immersing Vessels to Purify Them

A Mikvah can be used to purify humans or certain vessels which have contracted ritual impurity (Rambam Mikvaot 1 (English)). When humans use the Mikvah to purify themselves they recite a blessing ...
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Is Mi Yodeya allowed to tweet on Shabbos?

I recently signed up for @StackJudaism tweets, just to see what's going on here when not logged in. These tweets are automatically sent out by the Stack Exchange, which is done for every SE site. ...
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Can one declare an area to be “not a shul” if it is in the same room as a shul?

Recently, my congregation moved into a temporary space while a new building is under construction. This space is essentially a single large room into which all the various elements of the old building ...
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Can you say shechechiyanu on something you might return?

Say you bought a nice suit. Can you say shechechiyanu on it if there's a possibility that you might return it. If you already did say shechichiyanu on it, are you allowed to return it?
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Does anyone allow one to get married the night after Pesach Sheni?

Rivivos Efraim Volume 2 page 266 in discussing whether one may eat roasted meat on the evening after Pesach Sheni concludes as follows. ופוק חזי מאי עמא דבר, שעושים חתונות מפוארות באותו לילה ...
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Are there communities that follow the Rambam?

At one point, many Sefardic communities followed the Mishneh Torah. As time went on, it seems that the sefardim accepted the Beit Yosef. Besides for Yemenites, were there any communities that, until ...
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What's considered shaving?

During periods of mourning, such as Sefirat Haomer and the three weeks prior to Tisha B'av, shaving is prohibited. What is considered shaving and what is allowed? May you pluck out a few hairs here ...
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Badikas Chamatz in courtyards of cities today

Shulchan Aruch HaRav says: קרקעית החצר אין צריך בדיקה לפי שעורבין ושאר עופות מצויין שם והם אוכלים כל חמץ שנופל ואפילו אם ידוע לו שיש שם בחצר ודאי חמץ אין צריך ליטלו משם בשעת בדיקת ליל י"ד ואפילו ...
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Can you take and post pictures of people online without their permission?

Realizing that there is some concern with having one's picture taken in the first place; according to those who allow pictures of people to be taken, is there any halachic reason which would prevent ...
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List of Halachot LiMosheh MiSinai

Is there a comprehensive list of things in the Talmud that are "halachot limosheh misinai"- laws that were passed down from Moshe through the generations? An example of such is tefilin needing to be ...