Questions about the lives and personalities of Jewish religious authorities.

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8
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1answer
131 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
2answers
189 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 ...
8
votes
1answer
168 views

Does a Rabbi have to sink with his ship?

There is a famous story (mentioned in his wikipedia article) that R' Elchonon Wasserman visited the United States before the war. He had the option to stay, but he refused since (as I heard) "A leader ...
8
votes
0answers
108 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
4answers
304 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? ...
7
votes
8answers
237 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?
7
votes
3answers
171 views

Semicha and Gneivas Daas

If today's semicha is only an "echo" of the true semicha which ceased with the loss of the sanhedrin then Why do we still give it? Why isn't it gneivas daas (the assumption is that people who have ...
7
votes
2answers
175 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?
7
votes
3answers
996 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
2answers
210 views

Which Amora is mentioned most often in the Gemara?

Which Amora is mentioned most often throughout Talmud Bavli?
7
votes
2answers
269 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 ...
7
votes
3answers
158 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? ...
7
votes
2answers
235 views

Where can I find responses to biblical criticism?

Where can I find well documented source material by strictly orthodox Rabbis or scholars which directly address most (or all) of the major themes of academic biblical criticism such as, but not ...
7
votes
2answers
118 views

What financial arrangement did Rambam have with his jeweler brother?

I was taught in yeshiva that as a young man, Rambam just studied Torah and was supported by his brother, who was a jewel merchant. Then his brother died at sea, so Rambam became a physician. Recently ...
7
votes
2answers
216 views

Semicha (ordination) by Rabbi Yaakov Kamenetsky Zatzal

I have never met anyone or heard of anyone that has received Semicha (rabbinic ordination) from Rabbi Yaakov Kamenetsky Zatzal. Did Rabbi Yaakov Kamenetsky ever give anyone Semicha? If the answer is ...
7
votes
2answers
121 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 ...
7
votes
1answer
101 views

How did they establish in the USA, post-WW II, that a Rav had smicha prior to the Holocaust?

This is probably something that happened many times after World War II, when documentation was lost. Here's the scenario: A rabbi, who had led a kehila (congregation) in a small town in ...
7
votes
1answer
135 views

Unique signature of the Chida

The Chida has a very unique signature. What is the significance of this signature (if any)? Is it in any way related to the seven kabbalistic seals? Are there other similarly unusual signatures by ...
7
votes
1answer
277 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
1answer
97 views

Why does the Gemara often mention that certain Amoraim were asleep?

I've noticed that in the Gemara you often see a pattern where two people are discussing an issue in front of an Amorah (e.g R' Yirmiyah) while he was asleep. After their discussion he wakes up and ...
7
votes
0answers
184 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 ...
7
votes
0answers
99 views

Identifying Ba'alei Tosafos [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: Who is the voice of Tosafoth? How much do we know about which specific people wrote which comments of Tosafos?
6
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 ...
6
votes
3answers
111 views

How to choose 'your' rebbi?

When a person is choosing who they will learn from as their rebbi, are there any guidelines or rules that govern the decision making process? First a definition of what a rebbi is (for the purposes ...
6
votes
2answers
210 views

Examples of Rabbis who had strong disagreements and were amicable

I'm looking for examples of Rabbis who had a serious disagreement and were nevertheless very kind and thoughtful towards each other. The main reason I'm asking for examples is to illustrate what a ...
6
votes
4answers
143 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 ...
6
votes
1answer
153 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 ...
6
votes
1answer
74 views

Identification of Rishon

Tosafos Rebbeinu Peretz (in Pesachim 38a) refers to הר"ר דיילקרויישא מאורליינש. Does anyone know who this is, or at least how his name is pronounced? (It looks like it could be "R' Delacroix of ...
6
votes
2answers
179 views

Which rabbi was it who checked a person's identity by asking where he sat in shul?

The story goes something like ... A few days after his wedding, a man disappeared without a trace. Many years later, a mysterious man showed up back in town, claiming to be him. He looked ...
6
votes
2answers
148 views

Looking for biographical information about R. Avraham Halevi Fattal

I'm writing something for which I need a capsule biography of him. So far, about all I know is: He is the father-in-law of (יבלח"ט) R. Ovadiah Yosef. He was an important figure in the Syrian Jewish ...
6
votes
2answers
109 views

Information about the office of the Chief Rabbi of England

Who determines the Chief Rabbi of England? Is he picked by a general vote of all Shul attendees in Great Brittan? Is he picked by a committee picked by boards of different Shuls? What are his ...
6
votes
1answer
164 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
2answers
138 views

What are the different [para-]rabbinic roles in the UK?

If you look at the "Our Rabbis" page on the website of the United Kingdom's United Synagogue, you'll find people with the personal titles "Rabbi" or "Reverend," and with the organizational roles ...
6
votes
1answer
109 views

Receiving Rabbinic smicha from a group

Is it possible for a man to receive his smicha simply from the fact that the Jews of his time all agree he should be a Rabbi? (I know this leaves out the ceremony part of it.) If a man so clearly ...
6
votes
3answers
184 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. ...
6
votes
1answer
118 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 so integral to the service that some Shuls have ushers to keep the doors closed at that time, so that no one may ...
6
votes
0answers
241 views

Can a convert (ger) become a chabad shliach?

"A convert may not hold a position of Jewish communal authority." (Mishneh Torah, Hilchos Melachim 1:4) The Tzitz Eliezer ruled that a convert may not serve in a lone communal position but he may ...
5
votes
3answers
666 views

Reb Moshe Feinstein in the New York Times

Reb Moshe Feinstein was once interviewed by the New York Times where he answered questions like how does Klal Yisroel know who is a Gadol? Does anyone know when it was, and does anyone know where I ...
5
votes
3answers
180 views

What sages were known to have revived the dead?

The Talmud speaks of several rabbis who successfully appealed to G-d to revive a deceased colleague or some other individual. As I recall, one revived rabbi asked to be return to the world of the ...
5
votes
3answers
482 views

Do Rabbis have to be Jewish by ethnicity?

I am under the impression that a person can be received into Judaism from a gentile nation. My question is whether or not that person could conceivably then become a Rabbi? Please indicate whether ...
5
votes
3answers
497 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
2answers
203 views

What is the greatest number of pages (daf) you can go in the Babylonian Talmud without encountering Abayei or Rava?

What is the greatest number of pages (daf) you can go in the Babylonian Talmud without encountering Abayei or Rava? I've heard it was 3?
5
votes
1answer
373 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. ...
5
votes
1answer
120 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 ...
5
votes
2answers
289 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
191 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
2answers
880 views

List of Techelet Wearers

I was looking online for a list of people famous for deciding or influencing halacha, who currently wear Ptil Techelet Techelet. However I could not find one. Does such a list exist? If not, could ...
5
votes
3answers
261 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 ...
5
votes
1answer
178 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 ...
5
votes
1answer
85 views

Who was R' Jacob Pidanki?

Every once in a while the Judaica Press English translations (such as this one) will quote R' Jacob Pidanki in their commentary anthology. Who was R' Jacob Pidanki? Where did he live? What ...