Questions about the lives and personalities of Jewish religious authorities.

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1answer
103 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 ...
13
votes
4answers
800 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
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1answer
73 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
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2answers
469 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
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1answer
272 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 ...
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3answers
263 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
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2answers
312 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. ...
4
votes
3answers
285 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
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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 ...
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 ...
8
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2answers
633 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
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6answers
1k 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
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0answers
56 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
71 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
150 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
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2answers
643 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
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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 ...
3
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2answers
252 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
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2answers
194 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
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6answers
507 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?
2
votes
2answers
249 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
173 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
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1answer
433 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
220 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 ...
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2answers
89 views

Rabbis giving conflicting opinions?

Are there any examples in the history of Rabbis giving conflicting opinions on the same issue
26
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5answers
753 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
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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 ...
5
votes
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
votes
3answers
999 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
533 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 ...
8
votes
2answers
211 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?
2
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1answer
1k 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
266 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
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0answers
44 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
80 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
395 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
177 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?
1
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0answers
49 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
129 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
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2answers
399 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?
11
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2answers
760 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 ...
1
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0answers
124 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
87 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
156 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
171 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 ...
5
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0answers
152 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
269 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
92 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
148 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
77 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 ...