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13
votes
3answers
659 views

Bitcoin and Halakha

What are the halakhot that apply to bitcoin? Is it halakhickly money? What even is the halakhic definition of money? Can bitcoin transactions be made over shabbat? That sort of thing.
6
votes
1answer
133 views

What bracha would the fruit of a parasitic plant be? (Or the plant itself.)

Parasitic plants do not grow in the ground, instead they grow on other plants. See: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Parasitic_plant List of examples: http://www.parasiticplants.siu.edu/ParasiteFood.html ...
8
votes
3answers
140 views

Why are Mikvas built low to the ground?

I have noticed that almost all Mikvas are built into the ground (either as a basement or on the first floor). Why is that? I have heard that it could be an ease-of-use issue (one doesn't have to climb ...
7
votes
2answers
199 views

Can the Torah be read in shul if a minyan is present after the point in the service designated for Torah reading?

There have been instances where we had 9 people in the shul, and we began to daven Mincha Shabbat afternoon. We finished our individual Shmoneh Esreh, when the 10th person appeared. Can we go back and ...
3
votes
1answer
199 views

What to do when a Mezuza scroll fell on the floor

A fellow comes home and finds the Mezuza scroll slipped out of the case and fell on the floor. Does this require any special sort of Teshuva? Is there any difference if it fell directly on the floor ...
15
votes
5answers
427 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 ...
18
votes
4answers
364 views

Why is a present day convert not obligated to read the Torah passage about the sacrifice he will have to bring in the future?

Rambam, Hilchot Issurei Biah 13:2 (English) tells us that a convert must do 3 things to complete the conversion process: circumcision immersion in a mikvah bringing a burnt offering The Rambam ...
1
vote
2answers
94 views

Are both witnesses and the verbal “Harei At” declaration required elements of the Chuppa ceremony?

A doctor was interrupted in the middle of his own chuppah because someone in the audience had an emergency that required the doctor's help. The emergency occured at the point where the groom was ...
9
votes
1answer
239 views

Can one trust the Kashrut of Alcoholic Beverages in bars?

Kosher Organizations, like the CRC (Chicago Rabbinical Council, supply lists of alcohol recommended for purchase and consumption. May one purchase these alcoholic beverages from a bar (where the ...
4
votes
2answers
480 views

What blessing is recited on grape juice from concentrate?

What blessing is recited on grape juice from concentrate? Does the addition of the water to the concentrate (usually 3 to 1) change the status of the grape juice to "too diluted" to require Borei Pri ...
2
votes
1answer
73 views

Counting Omer - yesterday was the day before today

If someone asks me which night of the Omer it is tonight, and I answer by telling them that last night was the night before the 5th night (on the 5th night), can I still count with a blessing? ...
8
votes
1answer
279 views

Filling a Mikvah from the Faucet

I read a book by Rabbi David Miller (1869 – 1939) ( he had semicha from Rabbi Isaac Elchanan of Kovno ) , The Secret of the Jew, which says you can fill an empty mikveh straight from a faucet (see ...
3
votes
1answer
97 views

What criteria decide what is “customary” to eat a vegetable raw with regard to its bracha?

Halacha states that if a person eats a raw vegetable where it is not customarily eaten raw, one says "shehakol" rather than "ha'admah"? What criteria decide"custom"? Does this rule change? E.g. - a ...
0
votes
1answer
153 views

Bracha on Natural Wonders

Is the bracha שככה לו בעולמו still said on natural wonders? It is in my siddur but I have never heard it said, rather, people often opt to say עושה מעשה בראשית. Which bracha would be said on a natural ...
16
votes
1answer
222 views

Attending a Siyum virtually

If one attends a Siyum virtually, whether by phone, Skype, or some other means of mass communication, can one partake of the Se'udath Mitzvah (relevant to allow eating meat during the 9 Days for ...
3
votes
2answers
153 views

Learning before Davvening

What is the halakhic validity of learning before davvening shachris? Is this assur? Eating before davvening shachris is of course a problem (my understanding is that it really becomes a problem once ...
8
votes
2answers
2k views

What to do with the Cross on the Chess King?

Many (perhaps most) Chess sets come with a King piece that has a cross on the top of it. Is there any problem with owning or using such a chess set? Should one break off the cross?
6
votes
2answers
229 views

Divrei torah written by a heretic

What is the status of divrei Torah written by someone who does not believe in the oral Torah? Does it retain any sanctity? Should it be burned or buried?
8
votes
1answer
107 views

If I sign a contract without reading it (such as a website's Terms and Conditions), is it halachically binding?

Many websites and computer applications require users to agree to "Terms and Conditions". However, few users actually read them. Are such conditions halachically binding? Does it depend on whether ...
1
vote
0answers
56 views

Can a digital signature be used to finalize a kinyan?

That is, can a code generated by a computer act as a legally binding signature for a contractual agreement in halacha? If so, is this true even if the code is not certified by a trusted authorized ...
2
votes
0answers
161 views

Cologne for men?

The Gemara writes that a Talmud Chacham should not wear cologne. Does this apply nowadays? I've personally smelled a Rosh Yeshiva's strong scent of cologne.
3
votes
1answer
530 views

Why are we allowed to refer to “Yisra'el” as “Ya'akov”?

The Torah states (Bereshis 35:10) that when G-d blessed Ya'akov, he says, "Your name shall no longer be called Ya'akov, but Yisra'el shall be your name". If so, why does God, and we are allowed to ...
2
votes
2answers
102 views

Do We Repeat the Prayers for Using the Restroom and Washing the Hands After Each Time?

I cannot quite figure out whether we are obliged to repeat the blessing over use of the restroom and the washing of hands each time. At present I do in the morning, when I first wake up, per what my ...
0
votes
2answers
105 views

Sephardim naming after living grandparents

It is very common for Sephardim to name their children after their parents who are still alive. There is a Halacha that forbids children to call their parents by their first name. How can they do ...
4
votes
1answer
342 views

Who (if anybody) requires a minyan for Hallel?

The weekday minyan I go to only says Hallel if there is a minyan present. (I'm talking about for Rosh Chodesh, Chanukah, and chol hamoed; I don't know if their practice differs for chagim but I don't ...
1
vote
3answers
90 views

What is the source that an accused criminal must have been warned?

What are the Biblical and rabbinic sources that say that someone accused of a crime, especially a capital crime, must be proved to have had a prior warning or instruction that the activity was a sin ...
13
votes
3answers
586 views

Killing Civilians in a defensive war

In the recent Operation Pillar of Defense against Gaza, many Palestinian civillians were killed by Israeli air-strikes (the Palestines claim the number is as high as 158, while according to the IDF ...
2
votes
1answer
150 views

Why are women obligated in maggid?

Why are women obligated to say over the story of pesach on pesach if its a time bound mitzva? By matza there is a special derasha used. and the other mitzvos are Rabbinical, so you can say since they ...
5
votes
3answers
740 views

Is there a prohibition against being a hypocrite?

Is there either a Torah or Rabbinic prohibition against being a hypocrite? Is there any prohibition in and of itself in telling people to keep some Halacha that you don't keep? Or, is there anything ...
6
votes
3answers
152 views

Do any halachic sources address the question of making a siyum masechet on a tractate of Yerushalmi?

I don't see a reason why one couldn't make a siyum on a masechet of Yerushalmi but I was wondering if there are any halachic sources that discourage it or address this specific question.
3
votes
1answer
171 views

How Should I Pray When Alone?

Using the notes in my Siddurs to direct my prayers, I am trying to figure out exactly what to pray, what is required, what is not permissible, etc., when praying solo. There is not always the right ...
5
votes
1answer
283 views

Is a child obligated to honor his foster parents?

Is a child obligated to honor his foster parents? Does it matter if the child cannot locate his biological parents?
2
votes
2answers
274 views

Does a man with long-hair need to become a nazir

Is there any issue with a man having long hair if he isn't a nazir, or its necessitating him to become one? Long hair is here defined as shoulder-length or longer.
7
votes
1answer
233 views

Should separating pull apart Challah rolls be considered a forbidden act of completion?

I have heard many people state that using Challah* rolls that are baked in one unit to be pulled apart might be a problem for making Leḥem** Mishneh on Shabbath. In fact, there are rolls that are sold ...
6
votes
2answers
523 views

What is the reason that you are not allowed to learn Torah shebictav at night?

I saw in some books (Rav Belsky, Arizal) that you are not allowed to learn torah Shebictav (Tanach) at night without commentaries. Why is that?
1
vote
1answer
114 views

which animals have tuma neveila

tuma sheretz applies only to the shmonei sheratzim (8 critters) mentioned in the torah. But what about tuma neveila (which is more severe)? Is it for all other animals or some? what about small ...
2
votes
1answer
149 views

Why is it called “safek berachos lehakel” to make a more inclusive beracha?

If one is unsure which blessing a food gets, you make the more inclusive blessing, defaulting to the most inclusive she'hakol if nothing else is inclusive enough to cover all of your bases (Shulchan ...
3
votes
1answer
91 views

Hefsek during kaddish and shemonah Esrei

Here's the case: In the shul I daven mincha in during the week, the chazzan is stopped nearly daily by the rav, either in the middle of the kaddish recited after ashrei or in the middle of Shemonah ...
4
votes
4answers
418 views

Family Event at non-kosher resturant

One of my family members is having a family event at a non-kosher restaurant. I want to be there because it is a very important occasion and I don't want to insult my family. However, I know that in ...
2
votes
1answer
94 views

Non-Mevushal wine was poured by someone who shouldn't have poured it. Now what?

If non-Mevushal wine was poured by someone who should not have poured it, what should one do? Does it make a difference if: the wine was poured, but not for you (ie., you just have to contend with ...
1
vote
1answer
114 views

Answering amen to Hallel on Yom Haatzma'ut

There is a debate as to whether one can recite Hallel with a beracha on Yom Haaztmaut (related). I have been to a synagogue where they had invited someone who is of the opinion that one should say a ...
2
votes
2answers
468 views

Can one bow before a king? Can one bow to a statue of a king?

Can one bow before a king? Can one bow to a statue of a king? For example, if one is visiting North Korea, may one bow to the statues as shown in this picture? Note that they are not fully ...
2
votes
3answers
139 views

Can you make an Upsherin during Sefira?

Suppose a boys birthday is 6 Iyar, which is on a date that all observe mourning practices in Sefiras Homer. For those that do not give a haircut to a child until the child is three, can they make an ...
1
vote
1answer
83 views

Can a father dissown his oldest son and make his younger son the bachor?

It is well known Esav sold his 'birthright' to Yaakov. Can a father decide arbitrarily which son he wants to favor as his bachor? If so -under what conditions?
3
votes
3answers
168 views

mi shebeirach for yourself when calling a relative up for an aliyah

I have been looking at the halachot for a son who is the gabbai and who calls his father up for an aliyah here and I know that there was a question about it, but my question is about after the aliyah. ...
9
votes
1answer
187 views

Certification of Shochtim

Do Shochtim need any kind of certification or license in order to shecht? How does one get a license? What if someone slaughtered without one?
4
votes
5answers
5k views

Is a Kohen required to marry a virgin?

In a recent conversation with several friends regarding ba'alei teshuva marrying Kohanim (specifically college students), one person present said that a Kohen can only marry a virgin. I contested this ...
1
vote
3answers
262 views

Litvaks/Yeshivish and Shulchan Aruch

I understand that non-Chasidic (Ashkenaz) haredim follow the Mishnah Berurah when it comes to Orach Chayim part of Shulchan Aruch. But Mishnah Berurah is only for Orach Chayim. What they do with other ...
6
votes
1answer
153 views

Using Christian theological texts for a Torah class

Would there be a problem with quoting a Christian theologian’s words (e.g., C.S. Lewis) while teaching in order to advance an idea? (I might want to do this if he speaks particularly well on a ...
7
votes
1answer
979 views

Davening after the zman

Can someone please explain the halachot for someone who wakes up after zman kriat shema? After zman tfillah?