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15
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1answer
518 views

Is kneeling and bowing down in Kung Fu an idolatry (Avoda Zarah)?

I am exercising at Kung Fu's dojo and wonder whether kneeling and bowing down is an idolatry (Avodah Zarah)? The floor has soft mats. The reason explained to me is that it's done as a form of greeting ...
15
votes
1answer
368 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 ...
15
votes
1answer
574 views

Can I make a mikvah using artificial rain?

If I have a mikva which needs filling, and there is no rain, can I use the following mechanism - I have a Mikva in a closed room. On top of this Mikva, there is a cooling system (let's say that this ...
15
votes
2answers
185 views

The two stamp question

One man owns two of the only very expensive stamps in the world. Let us say each stamp was worth a million dollars. A second man comes along and destroys stamp one. The catch is that now according to ...
15
votes
1answer
461 views

Is it ok for spouses to touch in public?

Are spouses allowed to touch one another in public (when the wife is not a niddah) or is this a violation of tzniut? I am asking specifically regarding touch that is not in any way sexual or even ...
15
votes
1answer
309 views

Lechem Mishlesh?

(Based on Tosfot Pesachim 116a and Aruch haShulchan 274:5 I assume that the man did not fall on Yom Tov and double fell on Erev Yom Tov, and that this is why we have lechem mishne on Yom Tov.) When ...
15
votes
2answers
256 views

What is the status of a Kli Shemelachto LeIssur that's only used for Pikuach Nefesh?

What is the status of a kli (object) whose primary use would be forbidden on Shabbos, but it is only used in a case of Pikuach Nefesh (danger to life, where all Shabbos restrictions become allowed) -- ...
15
votes
4answers
388 views

Gabai speaking during chazaras hashatz, kaddish or kriyas hatorah for the sake of the tzibbur

Is a gabai allowed to speak during chazaras hashatz, kaddish and/or kriyas hatorah for the sake of the tzibbur (e.g. to ask someone if they are a Kohen or Levi)?
15
votes
1answer
220 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 ...
15
votes
5answers
430 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 ...
14
votes
4answers
3k views

Why don't most American orthodox Jews send to public school?

Given the benefits of a public school education over private day school education, such as $0 tuition and technology and extra curriculars which many schools do not have, why don't most orthodox ...
14
votes
2answers
1k views

Can a Cohen marry a bat niddah?

Can a Cohen marry a bat niddah? Are Cohens generally restricted from marrying baalot teshuva because of the possibility that they may be b'not niddah?
14
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7answers
2k views

Do Chasidim avoid wearing ties?

Do Chasidim not wear ties as a rule? If so, is this by design or an accident of history? If by design, where can I find said intended reason in print?
14
votes
3answers
1k views

Why don't brides (always) cover their hair for their weddings?

Why don't brides (always) cover their hair for their weddings? I understand that in some ultra-religious groups they do, but there seem to be many groups within Orthodoxy where they do not cover their ...
14
votes
1answer
777 views

Praying for rain in the Diaspora

Why on this year (and on other years that precede civil leap years) do we start praying for rain in the Diaspora (by inserting the phrase 'Vetein tal umatar") at maariv of December 5 and not maariv of ...
14
votes
2answers
505 views

Stacking Seforim

Are we allowed to place less holy seforim on top of more holy seforim? I believe that the consensus is that you are only allowed to stack seforim in chronological order from top to bottom (e.g., ...
14
votes
2answers
381 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?
14
votes
2answers
365 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 ...
14
votes
6answers
670 views

When do you become “Israeli” as far as the laws regarding doing only 1 day of Hag?

What are the laws that define when should someone do only one day of Yom Tov (Shavuot for example) or 2 days? For example, how long do you have to stay in Israel? Are there other factors?
14
votes
4answers
3k views

What Bracha do you make on Sushi?

What Bracha do you make on Sushi? Is the rice the main part and therefore a mezonos, or is it just a toful (less-important ingredient) in which case I guess a shehakol?
14
votes
1answer
1k views

Is there anything wrong with inviting friends to a bris?

I have a friend - let's call him 'A' - who's married; His wife gave birth to a boy. I asked another friend of mine, if 'A' invited him to the bris. He told me that one is not supposed to invite ...
14
votes
5answers
2k views

Can you be buried in a Jewish Cemetery if you have a tattoo?

Can you be buried in a Jewish Cemetery if you have a tattoo? I.e., is it just urban legend that you can't?
14
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4answers
565 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?
14
votes
1answer
357 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 woman's requirement to say Bircat Hamazon with a Zimun of men?
14
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4answers
485 views

Commencing Shabbos: Shkiya behind a mountain

It is common practice nowadays for Shuls to publish the zmanim (times) to begin Shabbos (the Sabbath) and other activities. These times, it would seem, are based upon standard calculations of sunrise ...
14
votes
2answers
655 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?
14
votes
3answers
674 views

What is the downside to wearing techeiles?

There are many Compelling arguments to support Techelet, although it's not yet universally accepted. A friend of mine bought P'til Tekhelet Murex techeiles, and went to his rabbi (who I know and ...
14
votes
1answer
350 views

Can I use a cutlass for a shechita knife?

Ahoy thar! I'm trapped on a pirate ship, and I'm so hungry I could eat a cow! Hey wait, we actually have one on board!! My problem is that the only sharp implement that I have is a pirate's cutlass. ...
14
votes
1answer
411 views

Putting Tefillin on Un-educated Jews

May one put tefillin on an uneducated Jew without first explaining to him the laws of keeping his body clean and conveying to him the seriousness of the sanctity of tefillin (is that even possible?)?
14
votes
3answers
977 views

What is the source of netilat yadayim before eating bread?

From where do we learn that one must wash one's hands before eating bread? What does washing one's hands before bread symbolize? Why is ritual hand washing required for bread, but not other foods?
14
votes
2answers
475 views

Orthodontics and period between eating fleischig and milchig

Since orthodontics often impose many artificial little crevices and wires and generally make one more susceptible to having bits of food stuck in the mouth for extended periods of time, is it ...
14
votes
2answers
778 views

Are you allowed to benefit from an electrical appliance turned on during shabbos?

If a jewish person were to accidentally turn on the light in their bedroom, or if the television were accidentally turned on (for these purposes, let's assume that the person in question woke up, ...
14
votes
3answers
1k views

The laws behind the separation of men and women

In Israel there is a hot debate because of instances on some communities where extra steps are taken to separate men and women in every day life. For example in some bus lines women seat in the back ...
14
votes
3answers
955 views

When does somebody living in space (e.g. ISS) observe Shabbat?

I understand that Jewish astronauts have been advised to observe Shabbat by Cape Canaveral time, by analogy with traveling to a place that doesn't have daily sunrise/sunset where some rule you use the ...
14
votes
1answer
964 views

How is gender halachically determined?

I apologize if this is a sensitive topic, but it seems that this question is foundational to some of the discussions that appear here. I hope that my wording is appropriate. If I understand correctly,...
14
votes
3answers
6k views

Is it permitted for a male to shave his pubic hair nowadays?

Is it permitted for a male nowadays to shave his pubic hair for non-medical reasons? Perhaps this question could be phrased a different way: Assuming that the market for male-specific shaving products ...
14
votes
1answer
473 views

In case of diphallia, how is brit-milah affected?

Diphallia is a rare medical condition in which a male infant is born with two penises. Does brit-milah requires both penises to be circumcised? Is there any reference in the litterature about such ...
14
votes
3answers
955 views

Why is Rosh Chodesh sometimes TWO days?

Why for certain months of the year do we celebrate the festival of Rosh Chodesh for two days while on other Roshei Chadashim we have one day of Rosh Chodesh?
14
votes
3answers
835 views

Is Metzitzah B'peh a must?

There is a lot of talk in the news, etc., about Metzitzah B'peh that employs direct oral contact being dangerous. First: If it is dangerous, shouldn't pikuach nefesh push it off? Second: How ...
14
votes
2answers
267 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 ...
14
votes
1answer
234 views

Woman with 2 wombs in regards to pidyon haben

There is a medical condition known as "Uterus didelphys". Wikipedia describes it as follows: Uterus didelphys (sometimes also uterus didelphis) represents a uterine malformation where the uterus ...
14
votes
3answers
366 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 ...
14
votes
3answers
433 views

Loshon Hara against an Online Identity

Does the prohibition of Loshon Hara apply when the target is an online name or identity, where the person behind it is anonymous, such as an anonymous user on this forum ?
14
votes
2answers
173 views

Sukkah in the Soviet Union

The opinion of the Shulchan Aruch Harav is that one isn't allowed to build a Sukkah on public property (because it is considered stolen). In the Soviet Union all property was nationalized and they ...
14
votes
2answers
828 views

Morning After Pill in Halacha

Is the morning-after pill considered an abortion in Halachic terms or does it have another status, and, if the latter, may it be used?
14
votes
3answers
247 views

Do our sources address “strategic loan defaults”?

In the most recent episode of NPR's Planet Money Podcast, they interviewed a real estate lawyer in Arizona who talked about the large numbers of her clients who have been asking for advice about doing ...
14
votes
2answers
319 views

How can someone, halachically, do teshuva when s/he has offended an anonymous person on the internet?

Ramba"m among others, state that Yom Kippur does not atone for sins committed between a person and his neighbor until a person personally asks the other for forgiveness. Mi Yodeya is an example of ...
14
votes
2answers
141 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 ...
14
votes
1answer
495 views

Time for morning prayer when flying over Greenland and seeing the sun rise twice

Last year I flew from Tel Aviv to Los Angeles. The flight leaves at night (1am) and, in the winter, lands when it is still night (630am). However during the flight, over Greenland, one sees the sun ...
14
votes
3answers
907 views

Returning after driving someone to the hospital on Shabbat

If a man needs to be brought to the hospital on Shabbat due to a life threatening situation, another man may bring him there even by violating biblical Shabbat prohibitions (e.g. driving a car). Which ...