Questions about the lives and personalities of Jewish religious authorities.

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4
votes
2answers
819 views

Rav Nissan Kaplan - biography

Rav Nissan Kaplan is one of the Rashei Yeshiva at the Mir in Jerusalem, teaches English-speaking students in Walmark (וולמארק), which is one of the two batei midrash in the Bet Yeshaya building, ...
4
votes
2answers
613 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 ...
6
votes
2answers
153 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 ...
14
votes
5answers
321 views

Rabba bar bar Chana

There is a rabbi in the Talmud referred to as רבה בר בר חנה. Why is he called that way? It says that Rabba was the grandson of Chana. Who was Chana? Was it(?) a woman? Why wasn't he called after his ...
3
votes
3answers
238 views

What are the main source texts for the chavruta and teacher-student models in Jewish learning?

I'm working on an outline for a short presentation on how new online tools, especially this site, interact with the traditional Jewish learning models of chavruta and teacher-student. What are the ...
0
votes
1answer
1k views

Have recently-published allegations that Shlomo Carlebach was a sexual predator led to any bans of his music or conversions?

Even before his death, Rabbi Shlomo Carlebach was, at best, controversial. Many people loved his music and some congregatins organized "Carlebach minyans" that emphasized spirituality through music, ...
9
votes
1answer
190 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 ...
6
votes
1answer
145 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 ...
3
votes
1answer
80 views

Students who received Smicha from Rabbi Akiva Eger

I'm seeking a list of Rabbis who received Smicha from R. Akiva Eger, both in Markisch Friedland and later in Posen.
3
votes
2answers
163 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 ...
13
votes
4answers
235 views

Who is the voice of Tosafoth?

Tosafoth were the sons-in-law, grandchildren, and students of Rashi (and their students), and "they" wrote a commentary on the Talmud that is often at odds with Rashi's earlier commentary. Sometimes ...
8
votes
3answers
256 views

Meforshim Nick"names

It has become common practice to refer to most meforshim by acronyms of their name (eg Rashi, Rosh, etc.). When and why did this practice start, and is it proper?
4
votes
2answers
241 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 ...
7
votes
2answers
231 views
4
votes
2answers
130 views

Why is the Or Hachayim's yahrzeit in Luach Colel Chabad?

The Luach Colel Chabad is a calendar published annually by Colel Chabad. It includes instructions for special prayers and Torah readings according to the Chabad custom. It also mentions red-letter ...
2
votes
0answers
88 views

How does one 'learn' how to paskin?

When a person goes through smicha (in order to become a Rabbi) they learn (at least) the laws of kashrus. Depending on the program this can include more or less amounts of information (more or less ...
9
votes
3answers
376 views

Non-Lubavitch views of the Maggid of Mezrich's relationship with R' Shneur Zalman of Liadi?

As far as I know, all chasiduses agree that the Maggid of Mezrich was the primary student of the Baal Shem Tov. But I was listening to an online shiur about Chabad (Lubavitch) history, which conveyed ...
3
votes
2answers
93 views

If one surpasses ones rebbi does one still have to honor him?

One has to give kovod, honor to ones main rebbi (teacher). There are many dinim of how this kovod must be shown. One pertaining to the gemoro in eiruvin is that one must not be in a bath house at the ...
3
votes
2answers
2k views

Per my beliefs, to which should I convert: Modern Orthodox or Conservative Judaism? [duplicate]

I was born to a Jewish father and Christian mother, following all Jewish holidays, and have always identified as a Jew and nothing else. I was frequently reminded by my friends (most of whom were ...
3
votes
2answers
155 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 ...
6
votes
3answers
338 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 ...
1
vote
1answer
77 views

Teacher and tradition of R' Judah ben Meir HaKohen

Who was the teacher of R' Judah ben Meir HaKohen, and from which chain of tradition does he derive? I ask because I cannot find much information about him online, other than many references to his ...
12
votes
4answers
739 views

The Ability to Pasken

What gives someone the ability to Pasken? At what point do we say that he is knowledgeable enough to decide questions on a topic? Does this have to do with "Semicha"? Does it have to do with being a ...
0
votes
1answer
68 views

Talmid that is an Avel going to a wedding of his Rebbe

I had heard once that there is a Teshuvas Ranach that says it's muter for a student that is an avel (in the year of mourning) to go to a wedding that his Rebbe is making for one his children. I ...
6
votes
2answers
449 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 ...
5
votes
1answer
245 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 ...
1
vote
3answers
233 views

Are gedolei Yisroel fallible?

Is there a source to assert that the leaders of the Jewish people at any given time are always correct in how they lead (perhaps because their decisions are divinely inspired), or is it possible to ...
12
votes
2answers
286 views

What is “emunas chachomim”?

My daughter came home from school with a textbook response for what "emunas chachomim" is. I disagreed strongly with what was written in the book, so I'm not even going to say what they said. ...
3
votes
3answers
276 views

Should a Rabbi apologize for a comment that could be misunderstood?

If a prominent Rabbi (meaning someone who heads a community or institution, not just anyone who has semicha) makes a statement that is technically halachically correct/acceptable but is easily ...
4
votes
1answer
133 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 ...
2
votes
0answers
192 views

When did the Kanievsky family switch from Chasidic to Litvish?

R' Chaim Kanievsky shlita davens Ashkenaz and wears Ashkenazi tefilin. His grandfather z'l was a Chernobyler chasid. It's not clear to me how the Steipler Gaon ztz'l conducted himself with regards ...
5
votes
1answer
167 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 ...
8
votes
2answers
563 views

Which 20th-century Rosh Yeshiva studied under the mysterious Monsieur Chouchani?

Monsieur Chouchani was a mysterious figure who travelled around post-World War II and taught several great Jewish thinkers, including Emmanuel Levinas z"l and [yibadel l'chayim] Elie Wiesel. ...
22
votes
6answers
775 views

Looking for more information about a story of positive atheism/heresy

In a 2006 article (original link no longer available), Rabbi Jonathan Sacks tells the following story: “DO YOU believe,” the disciple asked the rabbi, “that God created everything for a purpose?” ...
0
votes
0answers
54 views

Does a Rov have to answer a question?

In the past I asked what responsibility does a person have to look up and investigate an answer to a question that he wasn't able to answer. I'd now like to ask a similar question with a few points. ...
3
votes
0answers
64 views

Why are rabbonim referred to by the names of their seforim?

Many rabbonim who published important seforim are coloquially referred to by the names of one of the seforim. Why is this? When did it start?
4
votes
2answers
143 views

Should a torah scholar be cruel to his family?

Eiruvin(21b-22a): His locks are curled (Shir HaShirm 5:11). Mar Ukva says that teaches us that we are to make many interpretations on every point of the letters of the Torah. black as a raven – With ...
13
votes
2answers
523 views

Why are the descendants of Rav Pappah mentioned in the text of the Siyum for a tractate of Talmud?

Who are the descendants of Rav Pappah mentioned in the text of the Siyum for a tractate of Talmud, and why are they so important that we mention them all by name? Why don't we mention any other great ...
4
votes
2answers
132 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 ...
3
votes
2answers
237 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 ...
10
votes
2answers
186 views

Why is precedent set by individual rabbis, not courts?

The headline on this obituary for R' Eliyashiv ("A One Man Supreme Court") got me thinking - why do we invest so much power in precedents set by individual rabbis, as great as they may be, but not in ...
16
votes
6answers
461 views

G'dolim or Rabbis Owning Pets

Are there any g'dolim (or rabbis of major influence) - past or present - who are known to have owned pets/kept animals for non-agricultural purposes?
10
votes
2answers
211 views

Did the Rosh (Rabbeinu Asher) describe the culture clash moving from medieval Germany to Spain?

Rabbi Asher (the "Rosh") moved from medieval Germany to Spain. I know he describes some different halachic practices that were done in Spain (e.g. linen tzitzis); but does he describe the difference ...
2
votes
2answers
238 views

Asking a Rav a fake question

Many times Rabbonim will not take the time to speak to someone in learning or answer a question unless it is a "practical" question. This to me seems to be a new phenomenon but in Eretz Yisrael it is ...
-3
votes
1answer
143 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?
1
vote
1answer
416 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 ...
9
votes
2answers
208 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 ...
-2
votes
2answers
80 views

Rabbis giving conflicting opinions?

Are there any examples in the history of Rabbis giving conflicting opinions on the same issue
25
votes
5answers
728 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
1k 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 ...