Questions about the lives and personalities of Jewish religious authorities.

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6
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1answer
78 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
157 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
1answer
77 views

When the רא״ש refers to “הגאון”, who is he referring to?

A friend posted on Facebook the following question, and I couldn't solve it based on any context, so I thought I'd bring it here. When the רא״ש refers to "הגאון", who is he referring to? Is there ...
6
votes
2answers
470 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 ...
6
votes
2answers
120 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
188 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
1answer
91 views

Rabbi “shopping”

Is there any explicit halachah against going to different rabbanim to find the most lenient one for a specific shaylah? I know it says in pirkei avos "asei l'cho rav", but what if you don't have a ...
6
votes
2answers
57 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
156 views

Why is Rabbi Yitzchak Luria referred to as Godly?

In shul a friend explained to me the moniker Ari actualy stands for Eloki Rav Yitzchak, meaning the Godly Rabbi Yitzchak (Luria). The appellation Godly struck me as odd. How is such a thing ...
6
votes
1answer
537 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
138 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
208 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. ...
5
votes
3answers
274 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
1k 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
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2answers
219 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
2answers
114 views

Where can I find the Rav's hesped for R Chaim Ozer Grodzinsky?

I am looking for the text (in Hebrew) of R' JB Soloveitchik's hesped for R' Chaim Ozer Grozhinsky, unofficially titled "HaTzitz vehaChoshen" which was written before RJBS broke away from Agudah.
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. ...
5
votes
2answers
382 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
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2answers
1k 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
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2answers
341 views

Why were the Tanayim and Amoraim so easily offended?

There are many places in the Gemara where Tanayim and Amoraim were offended (such as when one wouldn't come to the shiur of the other, when one wouldn't start class over to let him catch up, when one ...
5
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2answers
447 views

What is the Anshei Knesset HaGedolah?

I've heard many things about this "Great Assembly," mostly about how they established davening (prayers). However, there appears to be a lack of specific information about this institution. So: ...
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
222 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
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1answer
274 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
2answers
777 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
1answer
108 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 books/...
5
votes
1answer
376 views

Did Rabbis Moshe Feinstein and Shlomo Zalman Auerbach ever meet in person? How many times? [closed]

Rav Moshe was in America, Rav Shlomo Zalman in Israel. Did they ever meet? Where and when? Do we have a photo of both of them together? (I know Rav Shlomo Zalman was asked to speak at Rav Moshe's ...
5
votes
2answers
193 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 ...
5
votes
3answers
118 views

Are there any examples of Chazal pointing out a flaw in one of their contemporaries?

The Tanach is replete with examples of some of our greatest leaders and heroes' personal flaws and mistakes (however minuscule they might be when put into proper perspective). These flaws and mistakes ...
5
votes
2answers
1k 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 ...
5
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2answers
98 views

Shiurim on Approaches of Meforshim

Does anyone know of any good shiurim that I could find online that go through the approaches of the various meforshim on Torah?
5
votes
1answer
56 views

Choosing Rabbonim in shtetlach

How were Rabbonim chosen in Shetlach? Was there an Election (like in Crown Heights), and if so, who were eligible to vote? Was it all men were allowed, or just learned members of the community?
5
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2answers
127 views

If two rabbis tell you opposite things which do you listen to?

If you ask two rabbis the same question and they give you opposite answers (one says mutar the other says assur). Which do you listen to?
5
votes
1answer
169 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 ...
5
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0answers
49 views

Why do Rabbis curse in the Gemara?

I've always believed cursing people is forbidden in Judaism, but I recently read the following on the Gemara: Berakhot 13b והא רבי יהושע בן לוי לייט אמאן דגני אפרקיד For lo, R. Joshua b. Levi ...
5
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0answers
142 views

Has anyone since Rashbi been considered so regularly involved in Torah study so as to be exempt from prayer?

In SA OC Siman 106 Sif 2, the Machaber says that someone that for whom "Toraso Umanaso" ("his torah is his occupation", ie a person that is constantly engaged in Torah study) like Rebbe Shimon Bar ...
5
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0answers
155 views

Which rabbi said “if a horse had the mind of Kant …”?

I recall hearing in yeshiva that one great rabbi -- I think one of the baalei mussar? once said: If a horse had the mind of Kant, it would author volume after volume of great philosphical works -- ...
5
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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?
4
votes
3answers
407 views

How do I find answers to sensitive questions I can't ask my rabbi?

I have a halachic question of a sexual nature that I feel I can't ask my rabbi. Where can I get such questions answered? Are there rabbis knowledgeable in this area who are willing to answer ...
4
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2answers
168 views

Who was the first ordained rabbi to live in the USA?

Who was the first ordained rabbi to live in the USA? What was his position?
4
votes
3answers
389 views

Tzlach - source of name?

The Noda BiYehuda has a commentary on Shas known as Tzlach - can someone help me by explaining what that stands for?
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
2answers
492 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 ...
4
votes
2answers
144 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 ...
4
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3answers
842 views

Is there a difference between a Rabbi and a Temple Priest?

I was reading about Perushim and Tzedukim on Wikipedia and the articles seems to suggest that there is a difference between them. Is there a difference between a rabbi and a (Temple) priest?
4
votes
2answers
172 views

Today, what is our replacement for prophets?

Today, who can be a good replacement for prophets? Whom should we go to in order to find truth? Is a rabbi a good replacement for prophets? Today, what are the requirements for a rabbi so he can be ...
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
1answer
151 views

Why refer to Isaac Luria as the Arizal, and not Arizatzal?

One of the common ways to refer to the R' Isaac Luria is "the Arizal". I understand this to mean, The Ari, zecher L'bracha (may he be mentioned/remembered for blessing). However, one usually refers ...
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 legal ...
4
votes
1answer
109 views

gedolim on “The Jazz Singer”

The film The Jazz Singer is about a Jewish boy who goes off the derech and portrays him positively. What was the contemporary (1927) rabbinic response to the film and did cantor Yosselle Rosenblatt ...