Questions about the lives and personalities of Jewish religious authorities.

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7
votes
1answer
329 views

Is this the Chofetz Chaim?

What is the story behind this picture being known as the image of the great Rabbi Yisrael Meir Kagan? Is it him in fact? Where does it come from? The only true picture (that I am aware of) shows ...
3
votes
2answers
152 views

Origin of the Escalator analogy

What is the origin of the escalator analogy of always striving for growth? I'm referring to the analogy that, in life, like a person climbing a downward escalator, if one is not constantly striving ...
12
votes
4answers
197 views

Who is the voice of Tosafoth?

Tosafoth were the sons-in-law, grandchildren, and students of Rashi (and their students), and "they" wrote a commentary on the Talmud that is often at odds with Rashi's earlier commentary. Sometimes ...
8
votes
3answers
240 views

Meforshim Nick"names

It has become common practice to refer to most meforshim by acronyms of their name (eg Rashi, Rosh, etc.). When and why did this practice start, and is it proper?
4
votes
2answers
190 views

Sefer Torah Lishma **not** from the Ben Ish Hai?

Yabia Omer vol. 9 Orah Haim sim. 96: גם ראיתי בקובץ "משנת חכמים", (תשרי תש"ס), במאמר מאת הרה"ג עזריאל מנצור (עמוד לה) שכתב, ששאל על זה מאת הרה"ג יעקב מוצפי זצ"ל, ואמר לו, שספר "תורה לשמה" אינו ...
5
votes
1answer
93 views

Chazon Ish and Medicine

I have recently studied the Chazon Ish's work Emunah U'Vitachon and in the opening pages, the Chazon Ish displays a vast knowledge of human anatomy. Also, the Chazon Ish successfully mapped out a plan ...
7
votes
2answers
198 views

Which Amora is mentioned most often in the Gemara?

Which Amora is mentioned most often throughout Talmud Bavli?
4
votes
2answers
107 views

Why is the Or Hachayim's yahrzeit in Luach Colel Chabad?

The Luach Colel Chabad is a calendar published annually by Colel Chabad. It includes instructions for special prayers and Torah readings according to the Chabad custom. It also mentions red-letter ...
1
vote
0answers
66 views

How does one 'learn' how to paskin?

When a person goes through smicha (in order to become a Rabbi) they learn (at least) the laws of kashrus. Depending on the program this can include more or less amounts of information (more or less ...
7
votes
3answers
265 views

Non-Lubavitch views of the Maggid of Mezrich's relationship with R' Shneur Zalman of Liadi?

As far as I know, all chasiduses agree that the Maggid of Mezrich was the primary student of the Baal Shem Tov. But I was listening to an online shiur about Chabad (Lubavitch) history, which conveyed ...
3
votes
2answers
89 views

If one surpasses ones rebbi does one still have to honor him?

One has to give kovod, honor to ones main rebbi (teacher). There are many dinim of how this kovod must be shown. One pertaining to the gemoro in eiruvin is that one must not be in a bath house at the ...
2
votes
2answers
874 views

Per my beliefs, to which should I convert: Modern Orthodox or Conservative Judaism? [duplicate]

I was born to a Jewish father and Christian mother, following all Jewish holidays, and have always identified as a Jew and nothing else. I was frequently reminded by my friends (most of whom were ...
2
votes
2answers
79 views

Which 20th century rabbi said “G-d normally doesn't stop the ill-intentioned”?

I recall hearing the following story: There was a non-observant Israeli Jew who kept having visions of his deceased father telling him he should do more religiously. Finally he was about to turn on ...
7
votes
2answers
107 views

R' Yehoshua Ben Levi — A Tanna or an Amorah?

I had always assumed that R' Yehoshua Ben Levi was an Amorah. However, we know he is quoted in the mishnah in Avos (Perek 6 Mishnah 2. Which is really a braisa, not a mishnah, but still a Tannaic ...
5
votes
3answers
243 views

What is the status of the psak of a Maharat?

If an orthodox male Rabbi bestows semicha on a woman (dubbed Maharat), what is the status of her halachic decisions? This question is irrespective of whether or not the male Rabbi should confer ...
1
vote
1answer
49 views

Teacher and tradition of R' Judah ben Meir HaKohen

Who was the teacher of R' Judah ben Meir HaKohen, and from which chain of tradition does he derive? I ask because I cannot find much information about him online, other than many references to his ...
12
votes
4answers
616 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 ...
0
votes
1answer
58 views

Talmid that is an Avel going to a wedding of his Rebbe

I had heard once that there is a Teshuvas Ranach that says it's muter for a student that is an avel (in the year of mourning) to go to a wedding that his Rebbe is making for one his children. I ...
5
votes
2answers
378 views

How can I know a rav has daas Torah

I have been privileged to know rabbis of great wisdom and knowledge who could address my issues with unique and helpful insights through the prism of Torah. I always understood them to have "daas ...
5
votes
1answer
154 views

According to Reform Judaism, should rabbis be allowed to have non-Jewish spouses?

According to Reform doctrine, is it 1. permissible for rabbis to marry non-Jewish spouses, and 2. advisable for them to do so, considering that rabbis are generally seen as role-models of proper ...
1
vote
3answers
203 views

Are gedolei Yisroel fallible?

Is there a source to assert that the leaders of the Jewish people at any given time are always correct in how they lead (perhaps because their decisions are divinely inspired), or is it possible to ...
11
votes
2answers
234 views

What is “emunas chachomim”?

My daughter came home from school with a textbook response for what "emunas chachomim" is. I disagreed strongly with what was written in the book, so I'm not even going to say what they said. ...
2
votes
3answers
237 views

Should a Rabbi apologize for a comment that could be misunderstood?

If a prominent Rabbi (meaning someone who heads a community or institution, not just anyone who has semicha) makes a statement that is technically halachically correct/acceptable but is easily ...
4
votes
0answers
80 views

The silence of the Rabbis — Should they have defended Bar Kamtza?

In Gittin 55b-56a, we read that a fellow named Bar Kamtza was humiliated by a host of a party in public view of all, including the rabbis. Bar Kamtza received an invitation to the party by mistake, ...
8
votes
2answers
1k views

Smicha from R' Zalman Nechemia Goldberg?

One often sees that individuals' have smicha from R' Zalman Nechemia Goldberg. The smicha exams are typically considered more theoretical than that of the Israeli rabbinate, which requires more ...
3
votes
1answer
103 views

Is there such a thing as dispassionate p'sak?

(Inspired by http://mi.yodeya.com/questions/6008/psak-halacha-by-ai) Much is made of the need for poskim to be well-experienced people who have been involved in a number and variety of Jewish ...
1
vote
0answers
129 views

When did the Kanievsky family switch from Chasidic to Litvish?

R' Chaim Kanievsky shlita davens Ashkenaz and wears Ashkenazi tefilin. His grandfather z'l was a Chernobyler chasid. It's not clear to me how the Steipler Gaon ztz'l conducted himself with regards ...
9
votes
4answers
3k views

Is a rabbi required to be married?

I have heard (I honestly cannot remember where...) that to be a rabbi a man must be married. Is there any truth to this? I am more interested in knowing if this "WAS" true in time of Jesus, than if ...
8
votes
0answers
82 views

Were there any sages who supported the Zealots during the seige of Jerusalem?

In Gittin 56a-b, we read how the sages warned the Zealots (a.k.a. the Biryonim) to not wage war with the Romans who were holding Jerusalem under seige, but that the Biryonim set fire to the store ...
7
votes
7answers
211 views

Beginner on Rav Soloveitchik

I am looking to delve into the teachings of Rav Joseph B. Soloveitchik (1903-1993). Any recommendations on a good starting point?
5
votes
1answer
145 views

“Rabbi, teach me something new”

Throughout the Talmud* there are launch-pad stories of sages being asked by their students and even their peers to teach them something they've never been taught before or else something that was ...
8
votes
2answers
453 views

Which 20th-century Rosh Yeshiva studied under the mysterious Monsieur Chouchani?

Monsieur Chouchani was a mysterious figure who travelled around post-World War II and taught several great Jewish thinkers, including Emmanuel Levinas z"l and [yibadel l'chayim] Elie Wiesel. ...
21
votes
6answers
583 views

Looking for more information about a story of positive atheism/heresy

In a 2006 article (original link no longer available), Rabbi Jonathan Sacks tells the following story: “DO YOU believe,” the disciple asked the rabbi, “that God created everything for a purpose?” ...
0
votes
0answers
44 views

Does a Rov have to answer a question?

In the past I asked what responsibility does a person have to look up and investigate an answer to a question that he wasn't able to answer. I'd now like to ask a similar question with a few points. ...
3
votes
0answers
50 views

Why are rabbonim referred to by the names of their seforim?

Many rabbonim who published important seforim are coloquially referred to by the names of one of the seforim. Why is this? When did it start?
4
votes
2answers
115 views

Should a torah scholar be cruel to his family?

Eiruvin(21b-22a): His locks are curled (Shir HaShirm 5:11). Mar Ukva says that teaches us that we are to make many interpretations on every point of the letters of the Torah. black as a raven – With ...
11
votes
2answers
342 views

Why are the descendants of Rav Pappah mentioned in the text of the Siyum for a tractate of Talmud?

Who are the descendants of Rav Pappah mentioned in the text of the Siyum for a tractate of Talmud, and why are they so important that we mention them all by name? Why don't we mention any other great ...
13
votes
2answers
243 views

How do you CYLOR after posting on judaism.stackexchange.com?

We recommend CYLOR. How do I: ask the OR a shaaloh that one has already posted on judaism.stackexchange.com. Should I acknowledge its use when asking? introduce the concept of ...
4
votes
2answers
113 views

Pinchas and Halacha In Front Of One's Rabbi

The Gemara in Eiruvin 63a,b learns that one is not allowed to paskin a halachah in front of one's Rebbi. Multiple examples and details are brought. In particular, Elazar haKohen taught the soldiers ...
3
votes
3answers
184 views

How to say Adonainu Moreinu VeRabeinu in Aramaic

I have heard people translate "Adoneinu Moreinu VeRabeinu" (please don't ask where) into Aramaic as "Adonana Morana Verabana". I assume that the "a" is an aleph at the end. However, I realized that ...
10
votes
2answers
173 views

Why is precedent set by individual rabbis, not courts?

The headline on this obituary for R' Eliyashiv ("A One Man Supreme Court") got me thinking - why do we invest so much power in precedents set by individual rabbis, as great as they may be, but not in ...
15
votes
6answers
393 views

G'dolim or Rabbis Owning Pets

Are there any g'dolim (or rabbis of major influence) - past or present - who are known to have owned pets/kept animals for non-agricultural purposes?
10
votes
2answers
191 views

Did the Rosh (Rabbeinu Asher) describe the culture clash moving from medieval Germany to Spain?

Rabbi Asher (the "Rosh") moved from medieval Germany to Spain. I know he describes some different halachic practices that were done in Spain (e.g. linen tzitzis); but does he describe the difference ...
2
votes
2answers
204 views

Asking a Rav a fake question

Many times Rabbonim will not take the time to speak to someone in learning or answer a question unless it is a "practical" question. This to me seems to be a new phenomenon but in Eretz Yisrael it is ...
-3
votes
1answer
112 views

Samaritan Torah and its semantic difference with Rabbinical Torah [closed]

What are the in text semantic differences if any between the Samaritan Torah and the Rabbinical Torah. Do point out from the text as to how it differs?
-2
votes
1answer
370 views

I suspect I must do something, but don't want to. Must I check into the halacha?

I'm sometimes in a situation where, if I do nothing, I'll benefit. But I suspect Jewish law may actually require me to take action that will prevent the benefit. I'm not sure if I should ask my ...
8
votes
2answers
183 views

Why did God give the Rabbis so much power?

The Torah demands that we adhere to the laws implemented by the Rabbis (I think the source is "don't veer from what they tell you to the right or to the left"). This has given the Rabbis far-reaching ...
-1
votes
2answers
67 views

Rabbis giving conflicting opinions?

Are there any examples in the history of Rabbis giving conflicting opinions on the same issue
3
votes
2answers
120 views

Asking a shaila where disclosure of classified information might be necessary

Orthodox Jews have taken on more and more responsible government positions and have been trusted with clearances to see highly sensitive classified materials. Many years ago I had such a job. It ...
-1
votes
1answer
278 views

Is it forbidden for the Jews to Establish a Nation of Israel?

I keep on reading about a lot of Orthodox Jewish Rabbis opposed to the building of the nation of Israel as they deem it to be blasphemous and heresy in violation of God's commandment to the Jews. I ...