Questions about the lives and personalities of Jewish religious authorities.

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237 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 ...
4
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2answers
128 views

Can one cite divrei torah in the name of a rabbi who has gone astray?

In the most recent issue of Jewish Action, there is a brief interview with R. Herschel Schachter about HALACHAH AND THE FALLEN RABBI. The final question is JA: Can we/should we continue to cite ...
4
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1answer
144 views

Were ancient Rabbis night owls?

I constantly here of stories of rabbis, in the olden days, that woke up at midnight recited Tikkun Hatzot and studied Torah until sunrise. Was this the common practice of Jews of ancient times or was ...
4
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2answers
132 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 ...
4
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2answers
145 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 ...
4
votes
1answer
144 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, ...
4
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1answer
110 views

Answering others' sh'elos

Would it be surprisingly improper for the author of a legal responsum to publish his own answer to a question asked, answered, and published by another such author because he believed he had a better ...
4
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2answers
69 views

Notable Rabbanim and Thanksgiving

I know (from a friend who attends) that the Maimonides, the school founded by R' Soloveitchik, observes Thanksgiving. Did the Rav, or any other notable American Rabbanim, observe Thanksgiving?
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1answer
125 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 ...
4
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1answer
169 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
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0answers
54 views

Od (Ovadyia) Yosef Chai - what is the idea behind the movement

I saw in Tzfat a car adorned with signs saying עוד יוסף חי - with a big picture of Rav Ovadia Yosef. I was informed by someone going to Yeshiva there that this is some kind of nascent Jewish (not ...
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0answers
118 views

The difference between Chazal and Razal

I have heard it said before that Chazal (חז"ל = חכמינו זכרונם לברכה; "our sages of blessed memory") refers to sages of the Mishna and Gemara, while Razal (רז"ל = רבנים/נו זכרונם לברכה; "our/the ...
4
votes
3answers
90 views

Is there a guideline to knowing when to consult a rabbi and when to use your own judgement?

Sometimes when I get a life dilemma I wonder if it's something I should be asking my rabbi or decide on my own. When it's a matter of Torah and Judaism then it's fairly clear that the rabbi should be ...
4
votes
2answers
79 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 ...
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3answers
555 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 ...
3
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3answers
235 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.?
3
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3answers
255 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 ...
3
votes
1answer
232 views

What should a conversion candidate expect in a Reform three-judge rabbinic court (Bet Din)?

What should a conversion candidate expect in a Reform three-judge rabbinic court (Bet Din)? I was told it was to determine the Jewish knowledge of the conversion candidate, but do you have any ...
3
votes
1answer
306 views

Story of Rabbi Who Burned Out His Eyes

I once heard a story about a rabbi who was given a test by God, in which the Satan was sent in the form of a beautiful woman to entice him. He would not look at the Satan, and when pressed, he had one ...
3
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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
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1answer
166 views

Why did the Baba Sali leave Yavneh? [closed]

I remember hearing that the Baba Sali very suddenly decided to move away from Yavneh. Does anyone know the story of what exactly occurred?
3
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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 ...
3
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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
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2answers
170 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 ...
3
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1answer
51 views

History of waiting for the Rav / Rabbi to finish Shemona Esrei

Rama - Orach Chaim 124:3 says that the one leading the prayers should not wait for the respected people to finish their Tefila. Mishna Berura 13 - says the reason is because of Tircha D'tzibura. ...
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2answers
238 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 ...
3
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1answer
800 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 ...
3
votes
1answer
102 views

May a person with a nature of getting angry be a dayan?

I sit in a beis din with a dayan who gets angry very easily. He can't seem to control his anger, causing great anguish to the litigants, and a big chilul Hashem at times. I have been asked to approach ...
3
votes
1answer
87 views

Do the seven types of Perushim described at Sotah 22b refer to the Essenes?

The Mishna at Sotah 20a writes of a "plague" of perushim who bring destruction to Israel. Likewise the Gemara at Sotah 22b describes seven categories of perushim -- a word some translate as ...
3
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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 ...
3
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2answers
139 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 ...
3
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1answer
4k 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 ...
3
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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
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1answer
78 views

Margaliyos family tree

Many famous rabbanim have had the last name מרגליות. A couple that come to mind are ר' ראובן מרגליות and ר' אפרים מרגליות. Are they related? Where could I find genealogical information on such people? ...
3
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2answers
72 views

Why do we reject Rabbi Chiya's opinion?

The Gemara says (in Yevamos 42b-43a as well as other places) that "וכי רבי לא שנאה ר' חייא מנין לו". In context of Yevamos, it means that if there is an argument in a Mishna and a Stam in a Braisa, we ...
3
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0answers
83 views

Chida's statement about shabbat violators

I heard Rabbi Yitzhack Yosef Shelita (Rishon LeTzion and son of Maran HaRav Ovadia Yosef, Z"L) who says that the Chida writes that in all the places that he was never saw a Sephardic Jew that wasn't ...
3
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1answer
115 views

Is there a halacha for writing a biography of a gadol? If so, what is it?

I was thinking of writing a magazine article on a rabbi I knew well before his death some years back. I wrote to his son to see if he could help me with stories, history, photographs, etc. He ...
3
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0answers
80 views

At what point can you assume senility?

In my experience it is rare to see a Rosh Yeshiva or other prominent Rabbi declared to be senile and no longer working at full mental capacity. Recently such a proclamation was made about one Rosh ...
3
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0answers
129 views

Let's play Name that Gadol - women wearing Tallis story

There is a story that I have heard with multiple names being used as the Rabbi in the story. It goes like this: A woman came to [insert name of Torah Sage here] and said that it would enhance her ...
3
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0answers
65 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?
3
votes
1answer
84 views

What to present to the rabbi

My friend is going to meet rabbi, to talk about house management, and she wants to bring some present to him. What you would present to the rabbi, and what you should not to? Please explain why.
3
votes
1answer
150 views

How do I know if a midrash is accepted?

I have found many different types of midrashic works. Some are, as far as I can tell, accepted as being authoritative. Meaning they were written (compiled?) by the sages in roughly the talmudic era. ...
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 ...
2
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1answer
361 views

Accurate list of Gedolim [closed]

Wikepedia's list is missing certain Gedolim. Where can I access a list of Gedolim that would be virtually unarguable?
2
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3answers
268 views

Is it permitted and possible to convert a Christian to Judaism without approaching rabbinical authorities?

Are private conversion without involving a Rabbi possible? Like converting a Christian without making it public, not even to rabbis thus doing the conversion rituals on our own?
2
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1answer
101 views

What is an “Askan?”

What is an "Askan?" I have heard this phrase in relation to well-know Yeshivot and rabbis, but have no idea who an "Askan" is.
2
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1answer
168 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 ...
2
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1answer
84 views

Rabbi Shlomo Zalman said Baruch Shepetarani with Shem UMalchut?

I heard a story about Rabbi Shlomo Zalman Auebuch that he said "Baruch Shepetarani" for his son with Shem UMalchut. Does anyone have a source for this story? Usually we only say Baruch ShePetarni ...
2
votes
2answers
117 views

Non-Israeli pulpit rabbis who actively promote moving to Israel

Are there any rabbis who have pulpits outside of Israel and who have no plans to move to Israel themselves, but who actively and sincerely try to get their congregants to move to Israel? I don't ...
2
votes
1answer
66 views

Tracing the Tradition of HaRaM"A (Moshe Isserles)

In tracing the tradition of HaRav Shimshon Rafa'el Hirsch, I arrived at the famed RaM"A (Rav Moshe Isserles) with help from the beloved MY community. As Rabbi Lawrence Kelemen mentions having done in ...