Questions about the lives and personalities of Jewish religious authorities.

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1
vote
1answer
437 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 ...
15
votes
2answers
358 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 ...
10
votes
2answers
170 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
227 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
1answer
152 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, ...
8
votes
3answers
308 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?
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
268 views

Which Amora is mentioned most often in the Gemara?

Which Amora is mentioned most often throughout Talmud Bavli?
7
votes
2answers
298 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 ...
5
votes
1answer
459 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
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 ...
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 ...
2
votes
1answer
145 views

Disagreeing with one's rebbe

We all have Rabbeim that we ask questions to. Is one allowed to disagree with his rebbe if he feels that his rebbe's viewpoint is incorrect?
0
votes
1answer
62 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
150 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
177 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?
12
votes
4answers
804 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 ...
8
votes
1answer
248 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
213 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
180 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 ...
8
votes
3answers
1k views

Which Hasidic rabbi has no beard, and what is the story?

There is a famous Hasidic rabbi who has no facial hair, and I seem to recall that there is a famous story as to why. But I can remember neither which rabbi (or of which sect), nor the story. I do not ...
7
votes
1answer
393 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."
6
votes
1answer
552 views

What forms of evidence do batei din accept to establish that someone is Jewish?

I am interested in the question, what forms of evidence do contemporary Orthodox batei din accept to establish that someone is Jewish? In particular, if you, your parents and grand-parents are non-...
6
votes
1answer
189 views

Was the Tzemach Tzedek related to the Metzudos Tziyon/Dovid? [closed]

The Tzemach Tzedek (of Lubavitch)'s father's name was Shalom Shachna Altshuler. Is he related to the Metzodos Tziyon?
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
397 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 ...
5
votes
0answers
83 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
795 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 ...
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
229 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 ...
4
votes
2answers
288 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
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
205 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
1answer
147 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 legal ...
4
votes
1answer
62 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? ...
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
94 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
165 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 ...
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 ...
2
votes
1answer
91 views

Rabbi Shlomo Zalman said Baruch Shepetarani with Shem UMalchut?

I heard a story about Rabbi Shlomo Zalman Auebuch that he said "Baruch Shepetarani" for his son with Shem UMalchut. Does anyone have a source for this story? Usually we only say Baruch ShePetarni ...
2
votes
2answers
138 views

Rabbi David M. Feldman,Orthodox?

I own a book on birth control written by Rabbi David M Feldman. I was very impressed on how much bikius he has and erudition on the subject. I really cannot find any info on him,and wanted to know of ...
2
votes
1answer
226 views

Does the name Rami (רמי‎) have a meaning based in Judaism? If so, what is it?

Does the name Rami (רמי‎), as used by figures in the Talmud such as Rami bar Papa and Rami bar Chama, have a meaning based in Judaism? If so, what is it? If רמ means high or exalted, does רמי mean my ...
2
votes
2answers
121 views

Non-Israeli pulpit rabbis who actively promote moving to Israel

Are there any rabbis who have pulpits outside of Israel and who have no plans to move to Israel themselves, but who actively and sincerely try to get their congregants to move to Israel? I don't ...
1
vote
1answer
92 views

Kabbalos Pnei Rabo

That which it says in the Gemorah (Rosh Hashana 16b) that one has a obligation of "kabbalos pnei rabo" (to go see ones rebbe) on holidays - when is the obligation? Is there an obligation every day, or ...
1
vote
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 ...
1
vote
0answers
57 views

Is it proper to investigate the validity of a rav?

I've been in some unique situations where I've met someone who claims to be a rabbi but doesn't speak Lashon HaKodesh well or at all (not that I'm 'all that and a bag of chips' either). If I recall ...
1
vote
2answers
269 views

Main Sefardi Rav

Which rabbi do the majority of sefardim follow? Or, do a majority of them not follow a single rabbi?
1
vote
2answers
181 views

Shabbos sends a letter to Ibn Ezra

Shabbos sends a letter to Ibn Ezra I heard this in in a shiur can anyone find the text of the letter or if it exists and or summarize it and find out who the source for this Legend is?
1
vote
0answers
186 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 ...
0
votes
2answers
177 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 ...