Questions about the lives and personalities of Jewish religious authorities.

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9
votes
2answers
2k 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 ...
-4
votes
2answers
111 views

Were/are there any gedolim that do not wear a hat of some kind?

It seems like almost major rebbeim/poskim do/did ear some sort of additional head covering (black hat, streimel, cap, etc) for davening. If the practice is that universal among gedolim, that might ...
5
votes
2answers
234 views

When was the Meiri discovered?

According to Wikipedia, the Meiri was rediscovered in modern times. I assume that means in the 20th century or so. However, Hebrewbooks has a copy of the Meiri from 1795. I don't know if that was the ...
1
vote
1answer
50 views

Was Rabbi Yossei a member of Beth Shammai?

Was Rabbi Yossei a member of Beth Shammai? I am talking about the Rabbi Yossei of Berakhot Perek 2 Mishna 3. He is opposed in this Mishna to Rabbi Yehuda, a member of Beth Hillel.
7
votes
4answers
1k views

Which rabbis permit food being kosher just based on the ingredients?

Kosherstarbucks.com give options of what to order based on different halakhic standards. They include the "No Utensils List" (CRC-recommended), the Regular list, and the Kosher by Ingredients list ...
2
votes
1answer
53 views

Baba Sali and his Torah chiddushim

I can not find any Torah writings from the Baba Sali. Does anybody know where I can find his Torah?
9
votes
3answers
216 views

Under whom did these Rabbis study?

In an effort to trace back Rabbi-to-student transmission of tradition, I've run into some dead ends, and I'm hoping the community can offer some leads. Under whom did the following Rabbis study? ...
3
votes
1answer
268 views

What should a conversion candidate expect in a Reform three-judge rabbinic court (Bet Din)?

What should a conversion candidate expect in a Reform three-judge rabbinic court (Bet Din)? I was told it was to determine the Jewish knowledge of the conversion candidate, but do you have any ...
4
votes
2answers
70 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?
6
votes
2answers
47 views

Why do different halachic authorities arrive at conflicting rulings?

Rabbi A says strawberries are ha'adama; Rabbi B says that strawberries are Ha'etz. The halachic texts are replete with such differences in "opinion". What's the underlying reason that different ...
6
votes
1answer
196 views

Source for Dubno Maggid's rebuke of the Vilna Gaon?

In a shiur I heard that the Vilna Gaon begged the Dubno Maggid to give him mussar (rebuke) after repeatedly declining the Maggid responded that It is not so difficult to be a Gaon, cloistered in ...
1
vote
2answers
127 views

Is showing excessive honor to Gedolim idolatry?

At what point is the kavod shown toward the Gedolim considered idolatry? Terms like 'Gadolatry' are sometimes used as if to indicate that too much respect is being shown for certain rabbis to the ...
2
votes
1answer
135 views

Why do some Rabbis wear a black frock coat?

How did the black frock coat come to be garb of some roshei yeshivos and other senior rabbis? Related Did "Litvish" frock coats button left-on-right? and Haredi clothing
8
votes
3answers
665 views

Where does “probeh” come from?

Every time recently that I've heard of an Orthodox congregation conducting a search for a rabbi, the stage at which the rabbi visits the community for a Shabbat and auditions for the position is ...
0
votes
2answers
128 views

Do you know of a Rabbi who rejects modern technology?

A little bit like the Amish... I just want to know if such an ideology exists in Judaism. I know that the Hatam Sofer and Rabbi Hillel Lichtenstein opposed modern philosophy, maybe one Rabbi opposed ...
4
votes
2answers
238 views

Gedole HaDor: who and how

1)Who do we know to refer to as a "Gadol?" 2)How do we determine who is a "Gadol?" For example, how did we determine that Rav Elyashiv is a Gadol? A Gadol HaDor is known as one of the most ...
0
votes
1answer
50 views

the nature of an argument between the Wurtzberger rov and Rav Shamshon Refoel Hirsch

Does anyone know the nature of a famous argument between the Wurtzberger rov and Rav Shamshon Refoel Hirsch? I think it was to do with the extent a kehilah must follow thier rov or vice versa.
3
votes
0answers
131 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 ...
7
votes
3answers
760 views

Why were some of the works of Rabbi Steinsaltz banned?

Apparently some of the works of Rabbi Steinsaltz were banned. What are the specific examples that prompted the ban? Is there a list of all of his works that have been banned, as I am interested in ...
7
votes
1answer
63 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 ...
3
votes
2answers
73 views

Why do we reject Rabbi Chiya's opinion?

The Gemara says (in Yevamos 42b-43a as well as other places) that "וכי רבי לא שנאה ר' חייא מנין לו". In context of Yevamos, it means that if there is an argument in a Mishna and a Stam in a Braisa, we ...
2
votes
1answer
73 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 ...
8
votes
1answer
171 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 ...
-3
votes
4answers
238 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 ...
7
votes
1answer
143 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, ...
6
votes
2answers
255 views

Are there recordings of Rav Elyashiv ztz'l learning with his unique melody?

Rav Elyashiv apparently utilized a distinctive melody when learning. Are there any extant recordings, either audio or video, of this melody?
-1
votes
2answers
98 views

Gedolim and Sever Panim Yafos

I have seen many video's of gedolei Torah and very often when they greet someone they don't smile or look very excited. This is even when the person comes to the gadol's house. I wondered how to ...
-6
votes
2answers
127 views

Was R. Gamliel really a great rabbi in Jewish estimation?

In Christianity it is often said that Gamliel was the greatest rabbi of all time. But it seems that he is just being hyped because according to Acts he trained Paul. Do Jews really view him as a ...
3
votes
1answer
829 views

What was Rabbi Judah ben Samuel's method for predicting the Beginning of Messianic Times?

John Hagee said this on a recent program and in his book The 4 Blood Moons (chapter 16): Rabbi Judah heHasid – “In the ninth jubilee Jerusalem will once again come back into the possession of ...
0
votes
0answers
147 views

Demons and smoke

R. Kaduri used to smoke three 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 from a lecture by Rabbi Yosef Mizrachi that R. Kaduri was asked ...
3
votes
1answer
102 views

May a person with a nature of getting angry be a dayan?

I sit in a beis din with a dayan who gets angry very easily. He can't seem to control his anger, causing great anguish to the litigants, and a big chilul Hashem at times. I have been asked to approach ...
8
votes
1answer
145 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 ...
33
votes
9answers
2k views

Why is it necessary to ask a Rabbi?

In various places on this site, including the FAQ, we have the following disclaimer: Like Wikipedia, this site makes no guarantee of validity, and does not offer professional (particularly ...
12
votes
1answer
221 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 ...
12
votes
3answers
247 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 ...
6
votes
2answers
1k 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 ...
1
vote
1answer
30 views

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 ...
10
votes
2answers
163 views

Is it Halachically wrong to avoid the rabbi's sermon?

At some point in our history, the rabbi's Derashah, or sermon, went from being taboo to being so integral to the service that some Shuls have ushers to keep the doors closed at that time so that no ...
10
votes
1answer
258 views

What did a “don't-issue-rulings” semicha (ordination) look like?

Again from the biography of Rabbi Moshe Feinstein found in Igrot Moshe Volume 8 (emphasis added): Many approached [him] for ordination, and he was not difficult on them. Some ordinations were ...
1
vote
0answers
54 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 ...
0
votes
1answer
138 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 ...
4
votes
2answers
1k views

Chazon Ish neurosurgery diagram

There is a well-known story about the Chazon Ish, where someone who was scheduled to undergo a neurosurgical procedure came to him for advice, and the Chazon Ish drew a diagram for the surgeon ...
2
votes
0answers
33 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." ...
5
votes
3answers
179 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 ...
7
votes
3answers
168 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 ...
15
votes
2answers
343 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
455 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 ...
1
vote
0answers
56 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?
5
votes
3answers
703 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 ...
6
votes
1answer
54 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 ...