Questions about the lives and personalities of Jewish religious authorities.

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16
votes
2answers
943 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 ...
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 ...
2
votes
1answer
31 views

Baba Sali and his Torah chiddushim

I can not find any Torah writings from the Baba Sali. Does anybody know where I can find his Torah?
1
vote
1answer
92 views

Disagreeing with one's rebbe

We all have Rabbeim that we ask questions to. Is one allowed to disagree with his rebbe if he feels that his rebbe's viewpoint is incorrect?
9
votes
3answers
211 views

Under whom did these Rabbis study?

In an effort to trace back Rabbi-to-student transmission of tradition, I've run into some dead ends, and I'm hoping the community can offer some leads. Under whom did the following Rabbis study? ...
3
votes
1answer
78 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 ...
4
votes
2answers
62 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?
2
votes
1answer
64 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 ...
0
votes
2answers
41 views

Earliest ban issued by a sage in the torah

What is the earliest source in the Torah where a leader/sage made a ban against something and people ignored what he said?
6
votes
2answers
34 views

Why do different halachic authorities arrive at conflicting rulings?

Rabbi A says strawberries are ha'adama; Rabbi B says that strawberries are Ha'etz. The halachic texts are replete with such differences in "opinion". What's the underlying reason that different ...
1
vote
1answer
28 views

Was Rabbi Yossei a member of Beth Shammai?

Was Rabbi Yossei a member of Beth Shammai? I am talking about the Rabbi Yossei of Berakhot Perek 2 Mishna 3. He is opposed in this Mishna to Rabbi Yehuda, a member of Beth Hillel.
6
votes
1answer
178 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 ...
1
vote
2answers
119 views

Is showing excessive honor to Gedolim idolatry?

At what point is the kavod shown toward the Gedolim considered idolatry? Terms like 'Gadolatry' are sometimes used as if to indicate that too much respect is being shown for certain rabbis to the ...
2
votes
1answer
76 views

Why do some Rabbis wear a black frock coat?

How did the black frock coat come to be garb of some roshei yeshivos and other senior rabbis? Related Did "Litvish" frock coats button left-on-right? and Haredi clothing
8
votes
3answers
609 views

Where does “probeh” come from?

Every time recently that I've heard of an Orthodox congregation conducting a search for a rabbi, the stage at which the rabbi visits the community for a Shabbat and auditions for the position is ...
0
votes
2answers
96 views

Do you know of a Rabbi who rejects modern technology?

A little bit like the Amish... I just want to know if such an ideology exists in Judaism. I know that the Hatam Sofer and Rabbi Hillel Lichtenstein opposed modern philosophy, maybe one Rabbi opposed ...
3
votes
2answers
216 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 ...
0
votes
1answer
42 views

the nature of an argument between the Wurtzberger rov and Rav Shamshon Refoel Hirsch

Does anyone know the nature of a famous argument between the Wurtzberger rov and Rav Shamshon Refoel Hirsch? I think it was to do with the extent a kehilah must follow thier rov or vice versa.
3
votes
0answers
118 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 ...
7
votes
3answers
705 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 ...
7
votes
1answer
59 views

What is Kabbalos Pnei Rabo?

There is an obligation to visit ones Rebbe on holidays (see here for details) However the mitzvah or obligation that we know of, what does this mean exactly? Is it enough if I "see" my Rebbe even if ...
3
votes
2answers
63 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 ...
28
votes
21answers
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 ...
2
votes
1answer
69 views

Removing haskamot when reprinting a sefer

I have heard that, recently, some publishers who reprint old sefarim remove some haskamot (approbations) from the book when they reprint it. (Specifically, I heard that some Israeli chareidi ...
8
votes
1answer
155 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 ...
-3
votes
4answers
215 views

Why does Halacha not follow the simple reading of the Biblical text?

There are many Halachot which appear to contradict explicit Biblical statements. For example, that an "Eye for an Eye" means monetary compensation. Why does Halacha not follow the simple reading of ...
7
votes
1answer
135 views

The silence of the Rabbis — Should they have defended Bar Kamtza?

In Gittin 55b-56a, we read that a fellow named Bar Kamtza was humiliated by a host of a party in public view of all, including the rabbis. Bar Kamtza received an invitation to the party by mistake, ...
6
votes
2answers
230 views

Are there recordings of Rav Elyashiv ztz'l learning with his unique melody?

Rav Elyashiv apparently utilized a distinctive melody when learning. Are there any extant recordings, either audio or video, of this melody?
-1
votes
2answers
86 views

Gedolim and Sever Panim Yafos

I have seen many video's of gedolei Torah and very often when they greet someone they don't smile or look very excited. This is even when the person comes to the gadol's house. I wondered how to ...
-6
votes
2answers
117 views

Was R. Gamliel really a great rabbi in Jewish estimation?

In Christianity it is often said that Gamliel was the greatest rabbi of all time. But it seems that he is just being hyped because according to Acts he trained Paul. Do Jews really view him as a ...
12
votes
3answers
1k views

Does a Jewish grandmother (mother's side) really get one accepted as a Jew?

My grandmother (mother's side) is 100% Jewish and even living in Israel. As far as I know, that makes, me a Jew, too. But it feels a little bit strange to say that I am Jewish just because my ...
3
votes
1answer
582 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 ...
0
votes
0answers
109 views

Demons and smoke

R. Kaduri used to smoke three 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 from a lecture by Rabbi Yosef Mizrachi that R. Kaduri was asked ...
3
votes
1answer
95 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 ...
8
votes
1answer
132 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 ...
29
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
187 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
225 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 ...
5
votes
2answers
1k 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
25 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
161 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 ...
10
votes
1answer
247 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
50 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
114 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 ...
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
29 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." ...
5
votes
3answers
165 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
154 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 ...
7
votes
1answer
103 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
316 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 ...