Questions about the lives and personalities of Jewish religious authorities.

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1
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0answers
124 views

Where can I find family history of Shalom Shachna Altshuler? [closed]

I'm looking for history about Shalom Shachna Altshuler, the father of the tzemach tzedek (Menachem Mendel Schneerson), and his family afterwards till now. Your help would be greatly appreciated in ...
22
votes
6answers
1k 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?” ...
11
votes
2answers
758 views

Origins of איל משולש and Vilna Ga'on's bathroom math

There is a well-known fact that the Vilna Ga'on studied math while in the bathroom since Torah was out of the question in an unclean place. It is also somewhat well-known that he produced the material ...
17
votes
2answers
2k views

Is this the Chofetz Chaim? [closed]

What is the story behind this picture being known as the image of the great Rabbi Yisrael Meir Kagan(Chafetz Chaim)? Is it him in fact? Where does it come from? The only true picture (that I am ...
16
votes
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 ...
14
votes
9answers
831 views

What to call the 7th Lubavitcher Rebbe

Often times a few different rebbes are mentioned (either previous Chabad rebbes or rebbes of other Chasudusim) in the same talk and then the word "The Rebbe" comes in and it's ambiguous. I have heard ...
13
votes
1answer
730 views

Shul Ravs: What is job outlook like and how much do they make

How much do Shul Rabbis get paid? Are there job opportunities in smaller communities out of New York, for people looking to go into the Rabbinate?
5
votes
1answer
272 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 ...
15
votes
2answers
352 views

Insults in the gemarah

Why do tanaim and amoraim use disparaging terms (bavlai tipshai, for instance) or insults when talking with one another. If there is something positive to be learned from this behavior why is it no ...
13
votes
1answer
674 views

The history of the Sephardic Chief Rabbi's outfit

The role of Rishon LeZion, otherwise known as the Sephardic Chief Rabbi of Israel, seems to include wearing a traditional robe and turban. Related to this question, this outfit is distinct from the ...
10
votes
2answers
168 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 ...
9
votes
1answer
212 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 ...
8
votes
3answers
303 views

Is the presence of a rabbi required for an orthodox wedding?

Is it possible for two Orthodox Jews to be married by anyone other than a rabbi?
8
votes
1answer
151 views

Who wrote the anonymous explanations of Rashi printed within the text of Rashi?

Who wrote the anonymous explanations of Rashi printed within the text of Rashi? Sometimes when reading Rashi's commentary on the Torah one finds comments in parentheses that say things such as: ס"א, ...
7
votes
4answers
2k 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 ...
7
votes
2answers
260 views

Which Amora is mentioned most often in the Gemara?

Which Amora is mentioned most often throughout Talmud Bavli?
7
votes
2answers
297 views

Do “most leading Orthodox rabbis” really hold that brain-stem death is death?

According to a recent NYTimes piece on the new organ donation law in Israel, Most leading Orthodox rabbis -- as well as Israeli law -- agree that a person dies when his brain-stem stops ...
6
votes
2answers
284 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?
5
votes
1answer
457 views

Why did Rabbis stay away from Amei Haaretz?

The Gemara tells Torah scholars that they should not mix with Amei Haaretz, and shouldn't be around them, eat with them, etc. The reason is that the Torah Scholars would learn from their bad ways. ...
4
votes
1answer
61 views

Tracing the Tradition of HaRav Shimshon Rafa'el Hirsch

I'm not sure if this is the proper forum for such an investigation; but, I'll pose the question and find out. I'm trying to trace the tradition received by HaRav Shimshon Rafa'el Hirsch through the ...
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 ...
1
vote
1answer
433 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 ...
0
votes
1answer
61 views

Rabbis and Politics

Why do some of the Israeli Left (politically) argue that they believe in the teachings of Rabbi Yochanan ben Zakkai over the teachings of Rabbi Akiva?
0
votes
1answer
146 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 ...
-3
votes
1answer
173 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?
10
votes
1answer
434 views

Are there any Synagogues or Rabbis available in Pakistan?

There was once a very thriving Jewish community available in Pakistan. There was a Synagogue in the port city of Karachi as well till 1985. What is the current situation now? What if someone would ...
9
votes
1answer
225 views

Why was Rabbi Yitzchok Alfasi known as the Rif - rather than the Ria? (הרי"ף - רבי יצחק אלפסי)

Rabbi Yitzchok Alfasi was known as the Rif. The Roshei Teivos of his name is רי"א, and as far as I know there is no other historic figure known as the רי"א. Then why was he known as the Rif?
8
votes
1answer
233 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 ...
8
votes
2answers
211 views

What are the 3 things Rabeinu Gershom banned?

I've heard that Rabeinu Gershom (a 10th-11th century scholar) banned 3 things, and I know one of them is polygamy. Does anyone know what the other two are?
8
votes
1answer
179 views

Baal haTanya's donning shel yad seated

I have heard that the baal haTanya put on his t'fila shel yad while seated (as S'faradim do). Does anyone have a source for this (or for the opposite: that he put on his shel yad standing)? If he ...
7
votes
1answer
387 views

Was Rabbi Moshe Feinstein ever formally ordained? (Given semicha?)

Did Rabbi Moshe Feinstein ever formally receive semicha? From whom? I recall reading that he studied a great deal with his father, and that his first responsum was written "at his father's orders."
7
votes
4answers
395 views

What is the typical retirement plan for a Chabad-Lubavitch shliach (emissary)?

If a Chabad-Lubavitch couple decide to live as shlichim (emissaries) in some place far from New York, what's the most common age and location of retirement? Do they tend to remain in their location? ...
6
votes
4answers
167 views

Asara Haruge Malchut (Ten Martyrs), why were 10 Rabbis killed?

In Vayigash, Rabenu Bahya (also the Zohar) comments and says that the reason we had Asara Haruge Malchut because the brothers sold Yosef. However, Reuven didn't sell Yosef, so why should the ...
5
votes
2answers
341 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 ...
5
votes
1answer
220 views

Was Marcus Jastrow an apikores?

During Yeshiva I remember some bochrim made a point of not putting the Jastrow dictionary on top of sefarim, and would often talk about how it does not have kedusha because it was written by an ...
5
votes
3answers
998 views

Does an Orthodox rabbi have to have semicha?

I have heard that in the Orthodox world rabbis that teach are referred to as "Rabbi" even though they might not have semicha. Even several roshei yeshivah might not have semicha. can this be true?
5
votes
0answers
81 views

On What Subjects Does One Say Birchas HaTorah?

Must one say Birchas Hatorah before learning Aggadata in the Gemara? Biographies like Shem Hagedolim (a biography of various Rabbonim written by the Chida)? Artscroll biographies?
5
votes
2answers
767 views

Rav Yaakov Moshe Hillel and wearing tzitzios out

Does someone know anything about Rav Yaakov Moshe Hillel shlita hamekubal stating that tzitzios should be worn outside the clothes? I read it once but without any sources on a web forum. It would be ...
4
votes
1answer
53 views

How to find a Rabbi [duplicate]

Throughout this site, there are directives to ask your local Rabbi. Over here are some excellent answers that explain why one should ask a Rabbi. But how does one go about finding a Rabbi to ask? ...
4
votes
2answers
106 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?
4
votes
0answers
195 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 ...
4
votes
2answers
294 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 ...
4
votes
2answers
271 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 ...
4
votes
1answer
175 views

Following old Rabbi's Pesak

Let's you asked your old rabbi a question and he answered you, but not let's say you lost contact with him or some other story. Do you still have to follow this pesak or can you change?
4
votes
1answer
145 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 ...
3
votes
1answer
109 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 ...
3
votes
1answer
91 views

What to present to the rabbi

My friend is going to meet rabbi, to talk about house management, and she wants to bring some present to him. What you would present to the rabbi, and what you should not to? Please explain why.
3
votes
2answers
252 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 ...
3
votes
1answer
177 views

Why did the Baba Sali leave Yavneh? [closed]

I remember hearing that the Baba Sali very suddenly decided to move away from Yavneh. Does anyone know the story of what exactly occurred?
3
votes
2answers
164 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 ...