Questions about the lives and personalities of Jewish religious authorities.

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Calling the Chatan Torah “רבי”

On Simchat Torah, a special formula is used to call up the Chatan Torah, the person who gets the final aliyah. In this formula, it says "עמוד רבי (פלוני) חתן התורה" a few times. The question: Why do ...
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47 views

Is da'as torah a natural process or supernatural?

When an individual is said to have da'as torah, is that the natural consequence of intense expertise or is it a God given supernatural gift bestowed on those deserving? For example, it would be ...
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1answer
51 views

Notable Rabbanim and Thanksgiving

I know (from a friend who attends) that the Maimonides, the school founded by R' Soloveitchik, observes Thanksgiving. Did the Rav, or any other notable American Rabbanim, observe Thanksgiving?
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102 views

Rav Shlomo Wolbe and children

I heard someone quote Rav Shlomo Wolbe from his sefer זריעה ובניין בחינוך saying, “We have blood on our hands for forcing children to daven so much way before bar or bas mitzvah..." Does anyone know ...
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0answers
28 views

Is there a communal responsibility to ensure that its Torah scholars are dressed and groomed appropriately?

The Gemara in Mesekes Shabbos 114a teaches that a Torah scholar should not go out in stained or patched clothing, suggesting that one who goes out with a stain is subject to the "penalty of death." ...
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90 views

Napoléon's Sanhedrin

In 1806, Napoléon Bonaparte convened a synod of French rabbinim (mainly Alsatiens and Bordelais) to ascertain halachic opinions on a set of questions. What is the halachic standing of this synod's ...
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42 views

Disagreeing with one's rebbe

We all have Rabbeim that we asked questions to. Is one allowed to disagree with his rebbe if he feels that his rebbe's viewpoint is incorrect?
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2answers
420 views

How does the oral Torah not contradict Dvarim 4:2?

If God intended there to be an oral Torah, why would He say not to add anything? Shouldn't He have at least mention this exception in the Torah, so we know the Talmud is divine? Devarim 4:2 ב ...
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54 views

How should a shul determine its hashkafa?

How should a shul determine its hashkafa? Is it the hashkafa of the community at large, or the rabbinate - even if they do not always seem to be identical?
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3answers
658 views

Okay to address a rabbi with “you”?

I find it awkward to constantly say "Rabbi" instead of "you" while in a conversation. For example: "Hello Rabbi. I once spoke with the Rabbi regarding X. The Rabbi said Y. I think that the ...
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1answer
47 views

How to go about finding a personal Rav

The mishna in Avot (1:6) tells us: יהושוע בן פרחיה וניתאי הארבלי קיבלו מהם. יהושוע בן פרחיה אומר, עשה לך רב, וקנה לך חבר; והוי דן את כל האדם לכף זכות When living in different areas I have gone ...
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1answer
85 views

Dating through the Rabbis?

Is there a custom in which a man approaches his Rav to act as a liaison between himself and a lady he is interested in in order to start the dating/courting process? Someone recently recounted to me ...
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88 views

Demons and smoke

R. Kaduri used to smoke 3 times a day. At his old age, I wouldn't think that he did it for any other reason but to smoke. I've heard that R. Kaduri was asked the question as to why he smoked, and he ...
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2answers
313 views

Why were the Tanayim and Amoraim so easily offended?

There are many places in the Gemara where Tanayim and Amoraim were offended (such as when one wouldn't come to the shiur of the other, when one wouldn't start class over to let him catch up, when one ...
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1answer
80 views

Rav vs. Rabbi in Talmudic Times

I was reading about the life of Rabbi Zera, and it said he was originally a Rav. The Rabbis of Eretz Yisrael offered to confer on him the title of Rabbi and at first he refused, until they told of ...
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3answers
110 views

Is getting a blessing from a rabbi considered heresy?

The situation a person is in, is the best situation God wants you to be in. By going to a rabbi to get a blessing to change your situation, you might be neglecting this fact. With that being the ...
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71 views

Chida's statement about shabbat violators

I heard Rabbi Yitzhack Yosef Shelita (Rishon LeTzion and son of Maran HaRav Ovadia Yosef, Z"L) who says that the Chida writes that in all the places that he was never saw a Sephardic Jew that wasn't ...
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1answer
86 views

What Jewish leaders/rabbis/prophets were active in years 3350-3360?

What Jewish leaders/rabbis/prophets were active in years 3350-3360 (in Jewish calendar years)? and died around 3360...
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1answer
165 views

What was Rav's relationship to R' Hiyyah?

In Mo'ed Katan (Bab. 20a) the Gemara relates a story about how Rav learned of the death of his parents from a conversation with R' Hiyyah. The Gemara tells us their relationship, and it's pretty ...
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2answers
108 views

Why is a kohen allowed to be a rabbi?

Rabbis often need to attend funerals, give eulogies, arrange for the proper care of the deceased's body in the time between death and burial, and other related matters. A kohen can't come into ...
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3answers
447 views

What's the deal with female Rabbis?

I was searching for a while, figuring this was already on here somewhere.. the questions about maharat were close but not what I was looking for. I'll ask it in two parts: 1) Is there a concrete ...
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1answer
50 views

Do the seven types of Perushim described at Sotah 22b refer to the Essenes?

The Mishna at Sotah 20a writes of a "plague" of perushim who bring destruction to Israel. Likewise the Gemara at Sotah 22b describes seven categories of perushim -- a word some translate as ...
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1answer
34 views

What biographical information is known about Rabbi Yitzchak Izaik Zorovitz?

What biographical information is known about Rabbi Yitzhak Izaik ben Yaakov haLevi Zorovitz, author of this sefer, among others. Apparently he was of a Chassidic background, but I wasn't able to find ...
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1answer
126 views

Whose portrait hung in Rav Elyashiv's home?

Whose portrait hung in Rav Elyashiv's home? In this video (on the top-right of the video, to Rav Elyashiv's left) you can see the portrait I'm asking about. The portrait was not hung in the same room ...
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1answer
60 views

Did the Pnei Menachem of Ger have a sharp sense of humor?

A Satmar Chossid relayed this story to me: The previous Gerer Rebbe had a policy that he did not want a newly married chatan to attend his Shabbat tisch during his 1st year of marriage. One ...
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115 views

Pictures of rabbis in the living room

Are there any poskim prohibiting hanging Pictures of Rabbis in ones house? Lots of people do it but I never understood why this is not prohibited due to too much kavod for human being, which is close ...
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1answer
127 views

Were ancient Rabbis night owls?

I constantly here of stories of rabbis, in the olden days, that woke up at midnight recited Tikkun Hatzot and studied Torah until sunrise. Was this the common practice of Jews of ancient times or was ...
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1answer
62 views

LOR and sinat chinam or lashon hara

Recently the rav at my local schul made a highly innapropriate remark on Facebook which would be considered lashon hara as well as sinat chinam. As the schul is a shlichut of Chabad (it is the only ...
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1answer
52 views

Is there a halacha for writing a biography of a gadol? If so, what is it?

I was thinking of writing a magazine article on a rabbi I knew well before his death some years back. I wrote to his son to see if he could help me with stories, history, photographs, etc. He ...
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4answers
182 views

Why does Halacha not follow the simple reading of the Biblical text?

There are many Halachot which appear to contradict explicit Biblical statements. For example, that an "Eye for an Eye" means monetary compensation. Why does Halacha not follow the simple reading of ...
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32 views

Song from Rebbi Meir Shapira

I have a script of a song from Rebbi Meir Shapira of Lublin which starts with מיט דער כתר התורה Are any of our readers familiar with the words or the tune which is supposed to accompany them?
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2answers
1k views

Why are challenges to respected rabbis not treated seriously?

Say someone disagrees with the Chazon Ish or has a problem with the Aruch HaShulchan in a particular halachic area. Sure, they're no gadol, and they might have not even learned an extensive volume of ...
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72 views

At what point can you assume senility?

In my experience it is rare to see a Rosh Yeshiva or other prominent Rabbi declared to be senile and no longer working at full mental capacity. Recently such a proclamation was made about one Rosh ...
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3answers
204 views

Is it permitted and possible to convert a Christian to Judaism without approaching rabbinical authorities?

Are private conversion without involving a Rabbi possible? Like converting a Christian without making it public, not even to rabbis thus doing the conversion rituals on our own?
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1answer
131 views

Rabbis who don't wear neck ties?

I have noticed many Haredi Rabbonim who do not wear ties through out the year (Shabbos, Yom Tov, Simchas) even though they aren't chasidish. Does anyone know the reason? I was thinking along the ...
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1answer
249 views

Speaking to a Rabbi in the Third Person

Is there a source for requiring one to refer to his Rabbi in the third person and not referring to a rabbi in the second person (i.e. "you")? I can not recall any reference to this requirement in ...
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0answers
92 views

Let's play Name that Gadol - women wearing Tallis story

There is a story that I have heard with multiple names being used as the Rabbi in the story. It goes like this: A woman came to [insert name of Torah Sage here] and said that it would enhance her ...
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1answer
83 views

What is an “Askan?”

What is an "Askan?" I have heard this phrase in relation to well-know Yeshivot and rabbis, but have no idea who an "Askan" is.
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24 views

How is a “Gadol” recognized as such? [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: Gedole HaDor: who and how The phrase "Gedolim" or "Gadol haDor" has appeared in several questions and answers on this site (see here, here, here, and here). However, ...
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39 views

Removing haskamot when reprinting a sefer

I have heard that, recently, some publishers who reprint old sefarim remove some haskamot (approbations) from the book when they reprint it. (Specifically, I heard that some Israeli chareidi ...
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1answer
97 views

rav wosner and the kind kallah who got a brocho [closed]

a couple of years ago I read a very moving story of a Kalloh who insisted that she doesn't break her engagement in spite of the situation which had arisen. The story of the Kalloh moved Harav Shmuel ...
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2answers
182 views

What is the Anshei Knesset HaGedolah?

I've heard many things about this "Great Assembly," mostly about how they established davening (prayers). However, there appears to be a lack of specific information about this institution. So: ...
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27 views

What is Kabbalos Pnei Rabo?

There is an obligation to visit ones Rebbe on holidays (see here for details) However the mitzvah or obligation that we know of, what does this mean exactly? Is it enough if I "see" my Rebbe even if ...
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1answer
283 views

Story of Rabbi Who Burned Out His Eyes

I once heard a story about a rabbi who was given a test by God, in which the Satan was sent in the form of a beautiful woman to entice him. He would not look at the Satan, and when pressed, he had one ...
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72 views

The difference between Chazal and Razal

I have heard it said before that Chazal (חז"ל = חכמינו זכרונם לברכה; "our sages of blessed memory") refers to sages of the Mishna and Gemara, while Razal (רז"ל = רבנים/נו זכרונם לברכה; "our/the ...
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3answers
158 views

Consulting a local orthodox rabbi if there isn't one?

For questions where I'm supposed to consult my local orthodox rabbi, if there isn't one, what am I supposed to do? There is a LOR in the city where I live (a Chabad shliach) but he frequently declares ...
5
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2answers
313 views

Why does the Rabbi face the congregation during prayer?

In nearly every shul I've been in the Rav of the shul sits up near the aron kodesh and faces towards the congregation instead of facing east. I assume this is in keeping with halacha (as mentioned in ...
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119 views

Written Semicha Tests

Which Rabbonim give a semicha based on a written test (as opposed to requiring one to complete a program under them)? Are they only on Basar Bechalav and Ta'aruvos, only on Shabbos, only on Niddah or ...
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40 views

Is it a good thing to sing “ יָמִים עַל יְמֵי מֶלֶךְ תּוֹסִיף שְׁנוֹתָיו כְּמוֹ דֹר וָדֹר” in honour of the senior Rabbinic speaker?

It has become customary to sing יָמִים עַל יְמֵי מֶלֶךְ תּוֹסִיף שְׁנוֹתָיו כְּמוֹ דֹר וָדֹר in honour of the senior Rabbinic speaker at a function. An explanation is given here. The Pashut ...
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3answers
194 views

Custom of Rov speaking before Krias HaTorah on Shabbos

I've been in a number of shuls where the Rov of the shul will get up before Krias HaTorah on Shabbos and say some sort of "drasha". Sometimes it was connected to the parsha or inyunei d'yoma (i.e. ...