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13
votes
1answer
213 views

Rainbow in water spray

You can often see a rainbow in a spray of water such as from sprinkler irrigation. Is the brocha for a rainbow applicable in that case? Also, does a rainbow that comes from a prism get a brocha too?
13
votes
2answers
202 views

Bagging meat with milk

Two different supermarket cashiers have expressed mild surprise at my willingness to put cold, packaged meat and cold, packaged cheese in the same shopping bag, explaining that other Jewish customers ...
13
votes
2answers
380 views

Is it forbidden to wear a snap-brim Borsolino fedora on Shabbos?

The Talmud, at Shabbos 138b, presents the opinion that one may not wear a siyana -- which Rashi defines as a wide-brimmed hat -- on Shabbos if it has a brim that is one tefach (hand-bredth) wide ...
13
votes
3answers
288 views

May a Jewish cemetery refuse a body?

Based on a recent news item wherein cemeteries have been refusing to inter the body of one of the (alleged) Boston bombers, I am curious whether a Jewish cemetery's operators are allowed to refuse to ...
13
votes
3answers
114 views

Falling behind during selichos

Related to, but not duplicating Falling behind during davening, how should you attempt to keep up with overly-quick recitation of selichos? I would assume that you interrupt the piyut you’re reciting ...
13
votes
2answers
121 views

Announcements before אשרי

I am in high school and in the morning my principal makes announcements before אשרי at the end of שחרית. The announcements often have absolutely nothing to do with davening. For example, he will tell ...
13
votes
4answers
384 views

What is the status of a pull-apart challah for “lechem mishneh”?

On Shabbat, we're supposed to begin the meals with two whole loaves - "Lechem Mishneh." According to Shmirat Shabbat KeHilchato as quoted in the article linked above, "If two loaves bake together in ...
13
votes
1answer
251 views

According to Halacha, may we endanger many Jewish lives in order to definitely save one Jew?

For example, what does Halacha say about the Gilad Shalit prisoner exchange? "Save" means "free from captivity," although in many cases it's the same thing as saving his\her life (e.g. if we didn't ...
13
votes
1answer
221 views

Does Down Syndrome make one a Shoteh?

I had a very strange experience and I would like to know what halacha thinks. I was in shul on Shabbos, and an adult with Down Syndrome ripped by opening the box of tissues. I was not going to say ...
13
votes
2answers
393 views

May a man become a gynecologist?

Is there any discussion among the halachic authorities as to whether or not a man can choose to pursue a medical career in gynaecology? The issue that I would presume exists is that unlike other parts ...
13
votes
2answers
256 views

Whispering prayers?

Can one whisper t'fila (prayer)? I'm thinking of obligatory t'filos like sh'mone esre and "Sh'ma". I know one can speak t'fila quietly, even very quietly; in fact, sh'mone esre is said quietly. I'm ...
13
votes
1answer
373 views

What is the meaning of psak?

I have asked many people this question, and not yet got a comprehensive answer: What is psak? Like, let's say I have a certain piece of food of uncertain status. If I ask my 6 year old kid if it's ...
13
votes
1answer
222 views

Non-Jews Tending to Abandoned Cemeteries

Those of you who may have read my profile know that I have been reading and transcribing information on tombstones in towns in the Spis Region of Slovakia, in which no Jews remain. My colleague is ...
13
votes
3answers
286 views

Using Post-its on Shabbos

Is one permitted on Shabbos to use post-it notes or adhesive page flags to mark content in a book for future reference after Shabbos? Would there be an issue with the adhesive or leaving the page ...
13
votes
1answer
178 views

How much must one do to to sign a contract?

Nowadays most software comes with a EULA. In order to install the software one must click the "agree" button. However, there are some software that says are distributed through different licenses. For ...
13
votes
2answers
539 views

Is a Jew allowed to be knighted? Problem with kneeling?

Is there any halachik problem with going through the knighting (or Damehood for women) process of kneeling etc? The current ceremony does not contain many of the Christian or pagan overtones of the ...
13
votes
2answers
293 views

Overhead projector on Shabbos?

A discussion came up with some guests over shabbos. One asked if one could use an overhead projector on Shabbos if it was turned on from before, i.e. could one put a new plastic sheet on it or not? In ...
12
votes
15answers
1k views

Why is techeles not universally accepted?

The Machon Ptil Tekhelet has (to my mind) some pretty compelling arguments as to why the Murex Trunculus is very likely the genuine chilazon from which techeles (blue dye) for the mitzva of tzitzis is ...
12
votes
5answers
153 views

Giving over 20%

I know you are supposed to give between 10 and 20% of your income to צדקה. Does this mean that you are not allowed to give over 20% if you have enough money to do so? If so, why not? (this is more of ...
12
votes
3answers
511 views

Hypnosis in Halacha

Is there a proplem in the Halachic literature with hypnosis? What, if anything, is the issue involved in either hypnotising people or being the subject of such an hypnosis?
12
votes
4answers
247 views

Boruch Shem Kevod Malchuso L'Olam Voed - why do we whisper it?

Why do we say Boruch Shem Kevod Malchuso L'Olam Voed in Kriyas Shema in a whisper?
12
votes
4answers
347 views

Should a woman avoid singing in front of her husband while she is a niddah?

Should a woman avoid singing in front of her husband while she is a niddah? Is it strictly prohibited or just inadvisable? (Obviously I am not talking about deliberately seductive songs.)
12
votes
4answers
1k views

What do you do if you forgot to turn off the refrigerator light before Shabbat?

The first time you open a fridge on Shabbat, you notice the light is on. Your intention is to take out food, not turn on the light. Is closing the fridge a problem? Can I open it again? Is it better ...
12
votes
4answers
1k views

Is it muttar to whistle?

Is it allowed for a Jew to whistle? If yes, is it even allowed on Shabbos? If no, why not? Has anyone ever heard that if one whistles at night, that it attracts sheidim and mazikin? And what are the ...
12
votes
6answers
1k views

Why is Soy milk considered Parve and not Milchig/Halavi?

Considering that milk is forbidden with chicken (as stated in this answer), because chicken could be confused with meat, why isn't soy milk considered milchig as well? In Israel, chicken is ...
12
votes
4answers
1k views

Fast days and time zones

If I fly westward on a fast day, and travel through one/several time zone/s, thereby going back in (clock) time, must I then fast until it ends in my current time zone? What if I fly eastward, thereby ...
12
votes
5answers
365 views

Can we argue with gedolim when we are sure that we are right?

I recently saw a teshuva by Rabbi Moshe Feinstein, Ohrach Chaim Volume 1 Teshuva 109, that quotes a letter from Rabbi Menashe Klein asking a question on Rabbi Moshe's psak but saying that he does not ...
12
votes
4answers
315 views

Are Twist-ties allowed to be used on Shabbos?

A twist tie is a metal wire that is encased in a thin strip of paper or plastic and is used to tie the openings of bags, such as garbage bags or bread bags. A twist tie is used by wrapping it around ...
12
votes
2answers
263 views

Why do tzitzit have fabric-squares on the corners of the garment?

Pretty much across the board, beged gadol and katan have fabric squares sewn on the corners. Why do tzitzit have fabric-squares on the corners of the garment?
12
votes
2answers
542 views

Bootstrapping problem: havdalah ends shabbat (for one who didn't daven ma'ariv) but lighting the candle is melacha?

This answer to a question about melacha before havdalah notes that in that situation one should say "baruch hamavdil bein kodesh l'chol" first. Does that apply to lighting the havdalah candle? I ...
12
votes
2answers
270 views

Are Rabbeinu Tam's Tefillin really Rabbeinu Tam's Tefillin?

I once heard from a Sofer the shocking revelation that Rabbeinu Tam's Tefillin do not actually follow Rabbeinu Tam's opinion. Is that correct? Did I misunderstand? Are there any Soferim in our ...
12
votes
5answers
418 views

using two plastic cups for Kiddush

I know making kiddush with a plastic cup is problematic because of requirements. I have seen people using two plastic cups: what is the source for this and is it legitimate?
12
votes
4answers
1k views

What Bracha do you make on Sushi?

Really, as simple as that. What Bracha do you make on Sushi? Is the rice the main part and therefore a Mezonos, or is it just a toful in which case I guess a shehakol?
12
votes
5answers
412 views

What makes a wine kosher?

Why are some wines kosher and some not?
12
votes
4answers
614 views

The Ability to Pasken

What gives someone the ability to Pasken? At what point do we say that he is knowledgeable enough to decide questions on a topic? Does this have to do with "Semicha"? Does it have to do with being a ...
12
votes
5answers
681 views

Leniencies for someone keeping Kosher in a non-Kosher home

My family is not frum, but they do not eat non-kosher meat at home, although they do eat other not-certified-kosher products, including cheese. They don't mix meat and milk, but they do wash meat and ...
12
votes
6answers
999 views

Does the Torah ever mention jail as a punishment for a crime?

I have learned that punishments in the Torah often (always?) have a rehabilitative aspect to them as well as providing justice to the victim, e.g. someone who steals and can't pay back the value of ...
12
votes
2answers
594 views

What happens to the family of a Kohen today if his wife is a victim of rape?

What happens to the family of a Kohen today if his wife is a victim of rape? What are the steps taken and how does this come to be resolved according to halachah and in the most constructive way for ...
12
votes
3answers
273 views

Is it permissible for a Gentile to utter Hashem's Name?

I have seen a lot of mention about "Hashem's Name" on this website. I would like to know: Is it permissible for a Jew to tell a Gentile what Hashem's Name really is--what I am asking is, say, a ...
12
votes
4answers
293 views

Voting for a person that will not uphold Torah values

It is well known that Rabbi Avigdor Miller Zatzal strongly condemned those that voted for candidates that would not uphold Torah values. Yet there were many Gedolim that had no problem voting for such ...
12
votes
2answers
430 views

Shomer Negiah without direct contact?

An interesting thought crossed my mind: does shomer negiah specifically only relate to direct, physical contact, or does it additionally extend to cover cases where there is no direct touch? Though ...
12
votes
1answer
220 views

Woman and Zimun: What is the requirement?

What is a woman's requirement to say Bircat Hamazon with a Zimun of women? What is a women's requirement to say Bircat Hamazon with a Zimun of men?
12
votes
3answers
158 views

If a person voids a purchase/sale, what happens to the Bracha?

You buy a new Talis and after you wear it you notice a defect. You want to return it to the store for a refund or replacement. However a person is only obligated in Tzitzis if he owns or borrows the ...
12
votes
2answers
373 views

Is getting a “fake” tattoo a violation of halacha?

Inspired by Curiouser here: Is getting a "fake" (temporary) tattoo a violation of halacha? I'll define this broadly as any tattoo that doesn't permanently show on your body. This includes transfer ...
12
votes
5answers
505 views

Did the Rambam believe in magic?

If you read through Chapter 11 of the Rambam's laws on Idol Worship, you'll see what seems to be the Rambam forbidding anything that even resembles magic, all while calling such practices foolish and ...
12
votes
2answers
477 views

Do Shaving Restrictions Apply to Bearded Women?

For example, if a woman were to have a beard, would she be permitted to shave it off with a razor or otherwise destroy it, or do these restrictions apply to both men and women?
12
votes
2answers
239 views

Am I allowed to count people?

Where did the practice of not counting people come from? People count not-one, not-two, not-three etc. What is wrong with counting one, two, three etc? This is often found when counting to see if ...
12
votes
3answers
306 views

Moving from one's spot after Kedusha

After standing still for Kedusha, some people move after saying Yimloich, whereas others wait until after the Chazan says Hokail Hakodoish. What is the correct way?
12
votes
2answers
917 views

What are the halachic boundaries between a brother and sister?

Can they touch each other? Hug? Are they allowed to expose their legs, arms, etc., in front of each other? Can they swim together? Dance together?
12
votes
1answer
265 views

Bringing wallet with benscher into bathroom

If someone has one of the small "pocket benschers" that slide into his wallet, is it a problem for him to walk into the bathroom with his wallet in his pocket?