technological innovations

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Can a digital signature be used to finalize a kinyan?

That is, can a code generated by a computer act as a legally binding signature for a contractual agreement in halacha? If so, is this true even if the code is not certified by a trusted authorized ...
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2answers
221 views

Are there any tanakh search engines?

I'm looking to find instances where music, and musical instruments, is mentioned in Tanakh. Oftentimes, more generally, I search for particular words in Tanakh, and it takes me a lot of time. Is ...
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63 views

Why can't we drink wine that was made by a non Jew but by machine

Why can't we drink wine that was made by a non Jew but was made from beginning to end by machine? Needless to say that according to the Gemara that it is only yayin nesech, if the non Jew makes An ...
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57 views

Is wine from a Miracle Machine subject to Stam Yenam?

This article describes a kickstarter for a machine to make wine quickly out of grape juice concentrates. My question is twofold: Is such wine subject to stam yenam? Is it even Borei pri hagafen?
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28 views

plastic utensil absorption and kashering

Does a plastic utensil swallow up taste and excrete it out like metal,or is it like glass. Also can plastic be kashered if it became treif? What are the sources that discuss this?
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1answer
166 views

Is one permitted to watch tv or movies with immodest women?

Is a man permitted to watch tv or movies that feature immodestly dressed women? Assuming one will not have improper thoughts, is it prohibited to look at an immodestly dressed woman on a screen? Are ...
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1answer
67 views

May one set posts for Shabbos?

Tumblr has a feature where one can, instead of posting something at the time it it written or a set time, you can add it to a "queue". It will then post a set amount of posts per day as long as there ...
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39 views

Solar analog watch be worn on Shabbos where in the dark the second stops?

Can a solar charge watch that the second hand stops moving in the dark after 30 minutes to save power and resumes operation when brought back in the light, be worn on Shaboss?
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1answer
101 views

Making up a synagogue calendar manually is tedious work. Which software can do the calculations automatically?

The year 2014 starts soon. Lots of synagogues print up a customized calendar every year. (Sample.) Such a calendar includes shul-specific information (e.g. service times and maybe a weekly class or ...
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1answer
61 views

Will editing genome of embryo having Jewish parents diminish Jewish status of later child? [closed]

There's a dreadful genetic illness known as Tay-Sachs requiring two carriers to activate the fatal effects in a child. Probably, in reaction to the 20th century eugenics movement and its terrible ...
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3answers
107 views

Why wasn't the Torah given to klal Yisroel as a DVD?

The obvious answer is that they didn't have DVDs back in Moshe Rabeinu's time. But still, Hashem could have created them back then. My question, "Why wasn't the Torah given as a DVD?", is really ...
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77 views

Nespresso Machine Tevilas Keili alternatives

I recently acquired a new Nespresso coffee machine that will most probably be damaged if immersed. (The warranty will be void if immersed). Are there any alternatives to Tevila? I've heard you can ...
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74 views

Slide Rule on Shabbos/Yom Tov

May a slide rule (mechanical device before calculators) can be used on Shabbos for Gemara calculations?
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1answer
37 views

If a Cohen couple gets an embryo donation do they perform pidyon?

If a Cohen couple gets an embryo donation and their first born is a boy, do they have to do pidyon or is the baby a Cohen?
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1answer
28 views

pidoyon haben for a baby born from egg donation?

If a non married bat Cohen donates an egg to a yisraelite couple who have a first born son from it, do they have to do a pidyon haben?
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2answers
259 views

Brewing fresh coffee for Shabbos with a time clock

May one prepare coffee ingredients in a brewer such as this one on Friday and set the timer to brew the coffee for 8:00 Shabbos morning?
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1answer
70 views

List of all the Seforim Software

I'd like to compile a list of all the computer programs out there that people can use for learning/reading seforim with. There are many of them now a days (and perhaps were some in the past that are ...
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0answers
74 views

G-d's name on screen readers

People who are blind or hard-of-seeing often interact with computers using devices called "screen readers". These screen readers will read aloud the words that are written on the screen (or in the ...
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2answers
265 views

Jawbone UP on Shabbat

I recently received a new gadget: The Jawbone UP band. Look it up on Google, but the basic idea is it is a bracelet you wear 24/7 that measures all kind of things while you move around. Should it be ...
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1answer
102 views

Pirating software

I have heard from numorous people that there are opinions within Orthodox halacha that permit using pirated computer software. I have never seen this sourced or printed anywhere but only things like ...
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82 views

What modern-day hygiene products are prohibited on Yom Kippur?

What, if any, modern-day hygiene products are prohibited "oils" on Yom Kippur? Are deodorants and perfumes in this category? What about medical ointments?
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1answer
109 views

Mission to Mars: halachic challenges

There is talk in the scientific community of a manned Mars mission: sending an elderly couple to slingshot past Mars and return to Earth as a trial mission, toward eventual other missions that will ...
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72 views

Sending/reading SMS on Shabbat [duplicate]

Recently a debate of usage of cellphones on Shabbat has come up, mainly about reading and sending text messages. I was wondering what the specific reasoning is behind not allowing it on Shabbat. Any ...
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40 views

Personal Air Purifiers and Shabbath

What implications might there be for a personal air purifier on Shabbath? Would it be the same as wearing a watch, even a self-winding watch, which according to most is Mutar on Shabbath? Or is it a ...
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1answer
154 views

Can a minyan meet online?

My question is twofold: Can a person present via webcam (with sound enabled), but not present physically, count towards a minyan (see this example)? If not, can that person still receive the ...
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2answers
86 views

Halachah: What's the difference between this site and looking up a question in a book?

Per our oft-cited FAQ, and our frequent use of the disclaimer to consult one's own rabbi in matters of practical Halachah, we do not, as a matter of policy, accept questions, or provide answers, ...
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2answers
143 views

Embryo adoption and status as a Jew

My wife and I we are Gentile, and we will adopt a (frozen) embryo, probably in Israel. If the ovocyte of the embryo comes from a Jewish woman, and later my wife gives birth to this baby, can the ...
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1answer
177 views

Would a metallic prosthetic hand require immersion?

Normally, a metal utensil used to eat with, such as a fork, requires immersion before its first use if it had been owned by a gentile. If a person has a metallic prosthetic hand which he uses to eat, ...
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3answers
202 views

Website for tzuras hadaf

A couple years ago, I chanced upon a site for creating a tzuras hadaf layout on the Gemara. The website used a custom markup (using tags) to create the layout, and it was a community project that ...
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1answer
158 views

May I play a computer game which includes Greek mythological creatures?

I sometimes play a computer role-playing game (RPG) in which my character fights creatures and retrieves treasure. But some of the creatures are derived from Greek mythology. Is it still permissible ...
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1answer
74 views

Jewish-themed Open Source projects

I am a programmer and would like to begin contributing to an Open Source code base. What projects related to Judaism are under active development?
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1answer
136 views

Artificial non Kosher food

According to Vayikra we have: ז וְאֶת-הַחֲזִיר כִּי-מַפְרִיס פַּרְסָה הוּא, וְשֹׁסַע שֶׁסַע פַּרְסָה, וְהוּא, גֵּרָה לֹא-יִגָּר; טָמֵא הוּא, לָכֶם.‏ 7 And the swine, because he parteth ...
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131 views

why was technology withheld for so long from man

Why did God withhold the discovery of modern technology from man until recently? what is the reason for this and why does this reason not apply in our era? (according to the shaar bitachon ch.3 God ...
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1answer
113 views

are bionic abilities legal for shabbos

Today the world is high in technology; many medical fields are experiencing breakthroughs in artificial limbs and what not. What are the legalities of these in Jewish law? For example, a pace maker ...
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3answers
240 views

canned whipped cream on shabbas?

Can one use a pressure can of whipped cream on shabbas ? It is funny because on the actual can it says to ask your Rabbi if one can use it or not.
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2answers
293 views

Overhead projector on Shabbos?

A discussion came up with some guests over shabbos. One asked if one could use an overhead projector on Shabbos if it was turned on from before, i.e. could one put a new plastic sheet on it or not? In ...
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220 views

May a Jew own/operate a blog open to comments?

In light of recent events I would like to know if a Jew may own and operate a blog or website which is open to comments if it is found that comments can often contain lashon hara, rechilus or motzei ...
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2answers
145 views

Using water filter/purification system on Shabbos

(Being asked as a theoretical question. Obviously everyone should ask their LOR.) There is a water filter (or purifier) that works in the following way: The water flows into a part where there is ...
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3answers
545 views

While playing a computer game, may I “worship” one of the game's “gods” to help me win?

I sometimes play a certain computer role-playing game (RPG). In this game, my character (whom I might name after myself but who does not otherwise resemble me) fights mythological creatures and ...
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114 views

Am I allowed to wear my Pebble Watch on Shabbat? [duplicate]

The Pebble is a smart watch that connects to a smart-phone via Bluetooth and can deliver messages to your wrist. Am I allowed to wear it on Shabbat if I disconnect it from my phone? Think of it, then, ...
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130 views

May I let my web browser save my browsing session during Chol Hamoed?

To save electricity, I like to shut down my computer every night. First, I quit my Web browser. My Web browser is set up so that, when I quit, it automatically saves my session: a list of open tabs ...
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100 views

May I vote Stack Exchange answers up or down during Chol Hamoed?

Stack Exchange websites, such as Mi Yodeya, include a "voting" feature. They let me click an "up arrow" icon to indicate that a post is useful, or a "down arrow" icon to indicate that it's not useful. ...
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1answer
97 views

What Bracha do we say on bread baked with evaporated mei peiros?

If one bakes bread made out of flour and pure fruit juice, it becomes pas haba bekisnin and the bracha is (at times) mezonos. What if one distilled fruit juice (to produce water) and baked bread out ...
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299 views

Can I make a mikvah using artificial rain?

If I have a mikva which needs filling, and there is no rain, can I use the following mechanism - I have a Mikva in a closed room. On top of this Mikva, there is a cooling system (let's say that this ...
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2answers
232 views

Solar Powered Wrist-Watch on Shabbos

Is one allowed to go out with a solar powered watch on Shabbos (where they know the watch is in a situation where they will surely benefit from the power produced through the sun?) What could be the ...
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1answer
93 views

Is there a way to find proximate words?

I am looking to see if certain words in the tanach are used in proximity to other words. Other than looking a word up in my Even-Shoshan and reading through each instance and seeing if the other word ...
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1answer
94 views

Software for organizing a “thing” gemach

I'd like to organize a baby clothes gemach in my area and I was wondering if there was any software that people have used to do this, or if this was a piece of software I'd have to write on my own. ...
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1answer
90 views

Are preservatives called a “davar ha'mamid”

At the end of YD Siman 87 we find the dinim of "mamid". Over there it's speaking about cheese made in the skin of the kevah of a nevilah of treifah. The Rema explains that because it is an issur for ...
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182 views

Electronic sliding doors on shabbat

What can a person who is staying at a hotel which has only electronic sliding doors that open when one walks near them do to avoid any issue on shabbat? Wait for someone else to enter and ...
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3answers
296 views

Where can I find a professionally typeset pdf siddur suitable for mobile viewing?

I have used a number of siddurim apps for my smartphone/tablet and have found the text layout so abhorrent (nikkud floating all over the place, unprofessional kerning, ugly fonts etc.) that I've given ...