Questions about the lives and personalities of Jewish religious authorities.

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6
votes
1answer
155 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 ...
11
votes
2answers
581 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 ...
10
votes
1answer
169 views

Upon whom would one make this blessing?

Upon whom today would you make the bracha - Baruch Attah Hashem Elokeinu Melech HaOlam She’chalak Mei’chochmaso Li’rei’av, that He bestowed of His wisdom to those who fear Him (Gemara Brachos 58a)? ...
1
vote
0answers
93 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 ...
8
votes
1answer
80 views

What is the genealogy of Judah ben Bava?

Is Judah ben Bava, noted for continuing the tradition of ordination, the son of Bava ben Buta, the Rabbi who was spared by Herod?
3
votes
2answers
123 views

Is there a book containing references to contemporary responsa according to the order of the Shulchan Aruch?

Is there a book containing references to contemporary responsa (maybe think starting from around the time electricity became common until now) according to the order of the Shulchan Aruch? I tried to ...
2
votes
1answer
164 views

Who was R' Avin Nagara

The Gemara (Bab. Shab. 23b) relates a story about one R' Avin Nagara ("The Carpenter"). Was he a Rabbi? Or was this merely an honorary title given to him because of his great children (as related in ...
1
vote
3answers
156 views

Has a gadol be'Torah ever drastically changed his type of avodas Hashem?

I know that my question is a bit broad and maybe abstract but I'm not sure how to phrase it better. I'm looking for any change in avodah. It can be a change in which group of Jews he associated with ...
5
votes
0answers
128 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 -- ...
7
votes
2answers
218 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 ...
1
vote
1answer
74 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 ...
4
votes
1answer
135 views

Rational approaches to superstitious ideas

Can one assume that there is a perfectly rational approach to superstitious ideas? May one go out of one's way to come up with rational approaches if these ideas bother him? My thinking is, ...
1
vote
1answer
67 views

Where is the Bandits/Teshuvah Midrash?

Rabbeinu Yonah writes (Shaarei Teshuvah 1:2) a parable in the name of "Midrash Koheles" that at first glance makes no sense. I have my own theory about a way to explain it, but I wanted to check what ...
-1
votes
2answers
139 views

Why have great rabbis written of their hard times?

Rambam: And that was a most terrible event as my brother drowned in the Indian Ocean, he had taken such care of me and now I was left alone and bewildered in a strange land. Rabbi Moshe ...
1
vote
2answers
221 views

Main Sefardi Rav

Which rabbi do the majority of sefardim follow? Or, do a majority of them not follow a single rabbi?
10
votes
3answers
297 views

Why in judaism - when discussing the Torah - do I see a lot of answers referring to writings of different Rabbis?

Sorry for the simpleness of this question. I've been trying to study the Torah as much as possible. I do not know Hebrew (though I'd truly like to and would appreciate any advice on how to get ...
6
votes
1answer
119 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 ...
4
votes
1answer
126 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 ...
3
votes
3answers
220 views

What is the source of the word “Rabbi”? [closed]

What is the source of the Hebrew word "Rabbi" - which is commonly applied to a Rav, Rosh Yeshiva, etc.?
5
votes
0answers
67 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?
13
votes
5answers
402 views

Can we argue with gedolim when we are sure that we are right?

I recently saw a teshuva by Rabbi Moshe Feinstein, Ohrach Chaim Volume 1 Teshuva 109, that quotes a letter from Rabbi Menashe Klein asking a question on Rabbi Moshe's psak but saying that he does not ...
6
votes
4answers
144 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 ...
10
votes
1answer
130 views

When did Ben Azzai die?

Rabbi Shimeon ben Azzai is listed as having died twice, once as part of the 4 who enter "pardes" (chagigah 14b) and again as one of the 10 martyrs. Which of these traditions is correct, or is there a ...
38
votes
7answers
713 views

Did any Achronim comment on the American Revolutionary or Civil Wars?

I've heard that for instance, in the 1800s, the American rabbis in the South were pro-slavery, and the American rabbis in the North opposed to it. But what were the views towards America of the ...
7
votes
1answer
98 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 ...
9
votes
2answers
114 views

Who was the קדוש מרדוש?

Today, in a shiur, I heard someone quote an opinion of the "קדוש מרדוש" (pronounced "Kadosh Meradoosh", I think). The Bet Yosef in E"HE 35 seems to quote the מרדכי who quotes him, so apparently he's a ...
3
votes
3answers
486 views

Rav Scheinberg and Tzitzis (series of questions)

I have heard that Rav Scheinberg wore many garments with ציציות on them at a time. . . Is this true? If so, why did he do it? If not, why do other people do it? How many ברכות do they make when ...
7
votes
1answer
102 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
137 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 ...
14
votes
2answers
256 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 ...
7
votes
2answers
143 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 ...
5
votes
1answer
380 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. ...
8
votes
1answer
161 views

How does the Rabbanut Harashit work?

Who picks the Chief Rabbi of Israel/Cities? Is it a vote of all citizens/Shuls/Politicians or all of the above? Who picks the lower Dayanim on the Rabbanut Beis Din? Is it the "Chief Rabbi" or some ...
6
votes
2answers
110 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 ...
7
votes
3answers
174 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 ...
6
votes
1answer
166 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?
8
votes
1answer
325 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 ...
5
votes
1answer
53 views

Chafez Chayim checked copies of (which) books?

I've heard that the Chafetz Chayim inspected each page of each printed copy of the Mishna B'rura to be sure that it was printed correctly (with no large ink splotches or the like). Is there a ...
5
votes
2answers
205 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?
11
votes
1answer
160 views

The Alshich and Lavan

There are many sources online mentioning the story of how the Alshich once gave a Drasha and the Arizal was present. In the Drasha he elaborated on the 100 different ways Lavan deceived Yaakov. At one ...
0
votes
1answer
56 views

Respected Haskamot [closed]

Sometimes I find a interesting looking Sefer (I know...I know...don't judge a book by it's cover) and want to take a look at the content. To my surprise, there are many Haskamot (approbations) from ...
9
votes
1answer
201 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
364 views

How is a Chabad-Lubavitch synagogue typically owned/governed/directed?

I'm used to an Orthodox Union-type synagogue that has a board, a president, and a rabbi as an employee. How does it work with a Lubavitch shul?
3
votes
1answer
2k views

Difference between the Mishnah, Gemara and the Talmud

As a non-Jew, I would like to know the difference between the Mishnah, Gemara and the Talmud. I understand that the Oral Law was not written down until after the destruction of the second temple. That ...
4
votes
1answer
160 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
237 views

HaGaon HaRav Asher Weiss Shelita and Techelet

Does anyone know if HaRav HaGaon Asher Weiss wears Techelet? Also, why or why not?
4
votes
1answer
103 views

List of titles before different Rabbis

It is customary to put many honorific titles before most modern day Rabbis (I've even seen seforim that write Harav Hagaon etc. etc. So-And-So). Many times one sees long lines of adjactives praising ...
2
votes
1answer
156 views

Rif, Rosh, and Rambam about the Techelet

The Petil Techelet company (I believe) makes three types of colored strings: Raavad- 1 full string of blue Tosafot- 2 full strings of blue Rambam- 1/2 string of blue Does the Rif or Rosh mention ...
3
votes
2answers
182 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 ...
7
votes
2answers
123 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 ...