Questions about the lives and personalities of Jewish religious authorities.

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8
votes
1answer
126 views

Whose portrait hung in Rav Elyashiv's home?

Whose portrait hung in Rav Elyashiv's home? In this video (on the top-right of the video, to Rav Elyashiv's left) you can see the portrait I'm asking about. The portrait was not hung in the same room ...
30
votes
9answers
2k views

Why is it necessary to ask a Rabbi?

In various places on this site, including the FAQ, we have the following disclaimer: Like Wikipedia, this site makes no guarantee of validity, and does not offer professional (particularly ...
12
votes
1answer
182 views

Were there any sages who supported the Zealots during the seige of Jerusalem?

In Gittin 56a-b, we read how the sages warned the Zealots (a.k.a. the Biryonim) to not wage war with the Romans who were holding Jerusalem under seige, but that the Biryonim set fire to the store ...
12
votes
3answers
210 views

Asking a shaila where disclosure of classified information might be necessary

Orthodox Jews have taken on more and more responsible government positions and have been trusted with clearances to see highly sensitive classified materials. Many years ago I had such a job. It ...
4
votes
2answers
887 views

Is it forbidden for the Jews to Establish a Nation of Israel?

I keep on reading about a lot of Orthodox Jewish Rabbis opposed to the building of the nation of Israel as they deem it to be blasphemous and heresy in violation of God's commandment to the Jews. I ...
1
vote
1answer
22 views

Calling the Chatan Torah “רבי”

On Simchat Torah, a special formula is used to call up the Chatan Torah, the person who gets the final aliyah. In this formula, it says "עמוד רבי (פלוני) חתן התורה" a few times. The question: Why do ...
10
votes
2answers
158 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 being so integral to the service that some Shuls have ushers to keep the doors closed at that time so that no ...
24
votes
20answers
1k views

About what were rabbis ahead of the times?

I have heard claims that experts in the world of Torah were significantly ahead of their counterparts in the world of natural science (or mathematics, or psychology, or…) in that they knew X ...
10
votes
1answer
240 views

What did a “don't-issue-rulings” semicha (ordination) look like?

Again from the biography of Rabbi Moshe Feinstein found in Igrot Moshe Volume 8 (emphasis added): Many approached [him] for ordination, and he was not difficult on them. Some ordinations were ...
1
vote
0answers
47 views

Is da'as torah a natural process or supernatural?

When an individual is said to have da'as torah, is that the natural consequence of intense expertise or is it a God given supernatural gift bestowed on those deserving? For example, it would be ...
0
votes
1answer
102 views

Rav Shlomo Wolbe and children

I heard someone quote Rav Shlomo Wolbe from his sefer זריעה ובניין בחינוך saying, “We have blood on our hands for forcing children to daven so much way before bar or bas mitzvah..." Does anyone know ...
2
votes
1answer
51 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?
4
votes
2answers
1k views

Chazon Ish neurosurgery diagram

There is a well-known story about the Chazon Ish, where someone who was scheduled to undergo a neurosurgical procedure came to him for advice, and the Chazon Ish drew a diagram for the surgeon ...
2
votes
0answers
28 views

Is there a communal responsibility to ensure that its Torah scholars are dressed and groomed appropriately?

The Gemara in Mesekes Shabbos 114a teaches that a Torah scholar should not go out in stained or patched clothing, suggesting that one who goes out with a stain is subject to the "penalty of death." ...
6
votes
0answers
90 views

Napoléon's Sanhedrin

In 1806, Napoléon Bonaparte convened a synod of French rabbinim (mainly Alsatiens and Bordelais) to ascertain halachic opinions on a set of questions. What is the halachic standing of this synod's ...
5
votes
3answers
158 views

Consulting a local orthodox rabbi if there isn't one?

For questions where I'm supposed to consult my local orthodox rabbi, if there isn't one, what am I supposed to do? There is a LOR in the city where I live (a Chabad shliach) but he frequently declares ...
7
votes
3answers
150 views

R' Yehoshua Ben Levi — A Tanna or an Amorah?

I had always assumed that R' Yehoshua Ben Levi was an Amorah. However, we know he is quoted in the mishnah in Avos (Perek 6 Mishnah 2. Which is really a braisa, not a mishnah, but still a Tannaic ...
0
votes
0answers
42 views

Disagreeing with one's rebbe

We all have Rabbeim that we asked questions to. Is one allowed to disagree with his rebbe if he feels that his rebbe's viewpoint is incorrect?
7
votes
1answer
80 views

Rav vs. Rabbi in Talmudic Times

I was reading about the life of Rabbi Zera, and it said he was originally a Rav. The Rabbis of Eretz Yisrael offered to confer on him the title of Rabbi and at first he refused, until they told of ...
15
votes
2answers
307 views

How do you CYLOR after posting on judaism.stackexchange.com?

We recommend CYLOR. How do I: ask the OR a shaaloh that one has already posted on judaism.stackexchange.com. Should I acknowledge its use when asking? introduce the concept of ...
4
votes
2answers
420 views

How does the oral Torah not contradict Dvarim 4:2?

If God intended there to be an oral Torah, why would He say not to add anything? Shouldn't He have at least mention this exception in the Torah, so we know the Talmud is divine? Devarim 4:2 ב ...
1
vote
0answers
54 views

How should a shul determine its hashkafa?

How should a shul determine its hashkafa? Is it the hashkafa of the community at large, or the rabbinate - even if they do not always seem to be identical?
5
votes
3answers
658 views

Okay to address a rabbi with “you”?

I find it awkward to constantly say "Rabbi" instead of "you" while in a conversation. For example: "Hello Rabbi. I once spoke with the Rabbi regarding X. The Rabbi said Y. I think that the ...
5
votes
1answer
47 views

How to go about finding a personal Rav

The mishna in Avot (1:6) tells us: יהושוע בן פרחיה וניתאי הארבלי קיבלו מהם. יהושוע בן פרחיה אומר, עשה לך רב, וקנה לך חבר; והוי דן את כל האדם לכף זכות When living in different areas I have gone ...
13
votes
9answers
725 views

What to call the 7th Lubavitcher Rebbe

Often times a few different rebbes are mentioned (either previous Chabad rebbes or rebbes of other Chasudusim) in the same talk and then the word "The Rebbe" comes in and it's ambiguous. I have heard ...
2
votes
1answer
84 views

Dating through the Rabbis?

Is there a custom in which a man approaches his Rav to act as a liaison between himself and a lady he is interested in in order to start the dating/courting process? Someone recently recounted to me ...
5
votes
2answers
313 views

Why were the Tanayim and Amoraim so easily offended?

There are many places in the Gemara where Tanayim and Amoraim were offended (such as when one wouldn't come to the shiur of the other, when one wouldn't start class over to let him catch up, when one ...
0
votes
0answers
88 views

Demons and smoke

R. Kaduri used to smoke 3 times a day. At his old age, I wouldn't think that he did it for any other reason but to smoke. I've heard that R. Kaduri was asked the question as to why he smoked, and he ...
5
votes
2answers
90 views

Shiurim on Approaches of Meforshim

Does anyone know of any good shiurim that I could find online that go through the approaches of the various meforshim on Torah?
-2
votes
3answers
110 views

Is getting a blessing from a rabbi considered heresy?

The situation a person is in, is the best situation God wants you to be in. By going to a rabbi to get a blessing to change your situation, you might be neglecting this fact. With that being the ...
3
votes
0answers
71 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 ...
0
votes
1answer
86 views

What Jewish leaders/rabbis/prophets were active in years 3350-3360?

What Jewish leaders/rabbis/prophets were active in years 3350-3360 (in Jewish calendar years)? and died around 3360...
4
votes
1answer
165 views

What was Rav's relationship to R' Hiyyah?

In Mo'ed Katan (Bab. 20a) the Gemara relates a story about how Rav learned of the death of his parents from a conversation with R' Hiyyah. The Gemara tells us their relationship, and it's pretty ...
0
votes
2answers
108 views

Why is a kohen allowed to be a rabbi?

Rabbis often need to attend funerals, give eulogies, arrange for the proper care of the deceased's body in the time between death and burial, and other related matters. A kohen can't come into ...
6
votes
3answers
447 views

What's the deal with female Rabbis?

I was searching for a while, figuring this was already on here somewhere.. the questions about maharat were close but not what I was looking for. I'll ask it in two parts: 1) Is there a concrete ...
4
votes
5answers
616 views

Why were some of the works of Rabbi Steinsaltz banned?

Apparently some of the works of Rabbi Steinsaltz were banned. What are the specific examples that prompted the ban? Is there a list of all of his works that have been banned, as I am interested in ...
1
vote
1answer
34 views

What biographical information is known about Rabbi Yitzchak Izaik Zorovitz?

What biographical information is known about Rabbi Yitzhak Izaik ben Yaakov haLevi Zorovitz, author of this sefer, among others. Apparently he was of a Chassidic background, but I wasn't able to find ...
3
votes
1answer
50 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 ...
11
votes
1answer
625 views

Is this the Chofetz Chaim?

What is the story behind this picture being known as the image of the great Rabbi Yisrael Meir Kagan(Chafetz Chaim)? Is it him in fact? Where does it come from? The only true picture (that I am ...
6
votes
3answers
194 views

Custom of Rov speaking before Krias HaTorah on Shabbos

I've been in a number of shuls where the Rov of the shul will get up before Krias HaTorah on Shabbos and say some sort of "drasha". Sometimes it was connected to the parsha or inyunei d'yoma (i.e. ...
2
votes
1answer
60 views

Did the Pnei Menachem of Ger have a sharp sense of humor?

A Satmar Chossid relayed this story to me: The previous Gerer Rebbe had a policy that he did not want a newly married chatan to attend his Shabbat tisch during his 1st year of marriage. One ...
2
votes
1answer
302 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?
1
vote
0answers
115 views

Pictures of rabbis in the living room

Are there any poskim prohibiting hanging Pictures of Rabbis in ones house? Lots of people do it but I never understood why this is not prohibited due to too much kavod for human being, which is close ...
9
votes
1answer
249 views

Speaking to a Rabbi in the Third Person

Is there a source for requiring one to refer to his Rabbi in the third person and not referring to a rabbi in the second person (i.e. "you")? I can not recall any reference to this requirement in ...
4
votes
1answer
127 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 ...
1
vote
1answer
62 views

LOR and sinat chinam or lashon hara

Recently the rav at my local schul made a highly innapropriate remark on Facebook which would be considered lashon hara as well as sinat chinam. As the schul is a shlichut of Chabad (it is the only ...
2
votes
1answer
52 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 ...
6
votes
0answers
268 views

Can a convert (ger) become a chabad shliach?

"A convert may not hold a position of Jewish communal authority." (Mishneh Torah, Hilchos Melachim 1:4) The Tzitz Eliezer ruled that a convert may not serve in a lone communal position but he may ...
17
votes
7answers
332 views

Am I allowed to answer my friend's Halacha question?

Preface: Assume I am not an ordained Rabbi. Suppose I'm having lunch with my friend and he asks me "do I have to say a bracha on this dessert?" or "when's the last time I could daven mincha today?" ...
7
votes
8answers
244 views

Beginner on Rav Soloveitchik

I am looking to delve into the teachings of Rav Joseph B. Soloveitchik (1903-1993). Any recommendations on a good starting point?