Questions about the lives and personalities of Jewish religious authorities.

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25
votes
5answers
705 views

How Is It That Rabbis Have Copies of Their Own Responsa?

(I could use some help with tagging.) There are many seforim out there that are the compiled letters or teshuvos of this or that Rabbi. Those that come to mind are "Igros Moshe", from R' Moshe ...
2
votes
2answers
947 views

Why does someone wanting to get married need to show an Orthodox ketubah from a maternal ancestor?

My friend is due to get married soon and has been asked by her Orthodox Rabbi to provide proof that she is jewish by showing that she is descended from jews. She doesn't have her parents Ketubah so ...
7
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 ...
5
votes
0answers
122 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
votes
3answers
624 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?
6
votes
1answer
396 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 ...
7
votes
2answers
184 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?
1
vote
1answer
571 views

What is the biography of Rav Yitzchak Meir Morgenstern?

Rav Yitzchak Meir Morgenstern is the Rosh Yeshiva of Toras Chochom in Israel. What is his background and biography? Meaning, where did he grow up, which yeshivot did he learn at and under whom (I know ...
5
votes
3answers
192 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 ...
1
vote
0answers
34 views

Who were Hillel's greatest students and what were they known for?

In Succah 28a, the Gemara tells us that Hillel the Elder had 80 students of whom Yochanan ben Zakai was the "least" and Yonason ben Uziel was the greatest. There, it says of Yonason ben Uziel that ...
4
votes
2answers
75 views

Should works continue to be banned?

Often today when a Jewish book is banned that leads to a dramatic increase in sales and circulation of the work. This would seem to be the exact opposite of what the Rabbi or Beit Din was trying to ...
7
votes
4answers
314 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? ...
3
votes
1answer
147 views

Why did the Baba Sali leave Yavneh?

I remember hearing that the Baba Sali very suddenly decided to move away from Yavneh. Does anyone know the story of what exactly occurred?
1
vote
0answers
40 views

Looking at the Nasi

It says in the Gemorah in Chagigah Daf 16a המסתכל בג' דברים עיניו כהות בקשת ובנשיא ובכהנים ...בנשיא דכתיב ונתת מהודך עליו That the eyes of anyone who looks at the "Nasi" (a leader of the ...
4
votes
1answer
110 views

Where Does the Talmud Teach Not to Learn Halacha From Observation of Teachers?

Back when I was learning Daf Yomi, I ran into an interesting lesson I'm finding difficult to find again. It was a teaching that one should learn halacha from your rebbe's teachings and not through ...
11
votes
2answers
278 views

Is there a chief Rabbi of the United States?

Is there currently or has there ever been historically a chief Rabbi of the United States? If not, why not?
6
votes
1answer
165 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
604 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
172 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
97 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
125 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
166 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
158 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
132 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
228 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
76 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
139 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
71 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
224 views

Main Sefardi Rav

Which rabbi do the majority of sefardim follow? Or, do a majority of them not follow a single rabbi?
11
votes
3answers
308 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 ...
4
votes
1answer
129 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
223 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
69 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?
14
votes
5answers
419 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
153 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
134 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 ...
40
votes
7answers
759 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
104 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
118 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
501 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
108 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
139 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
272 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
162 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
393 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
171 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
113 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
177 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 ...