Questions about how Judaism interacts with technological innovations.

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8
votes
3answers
177 views

Beracha upon seeing a friend on a webcam

The Shulchan Aruch (OC 225:1) rules: שולחן ערוך אורח חיים הלכות ברכת הפירות סימן רכה הרואה את חבירו לאחר שלשים יום, אומר: שהחיינו, ואחר י"ב חדש מברך: מחיה מתים, והוא שחביב עליו הרבה ושמח ...
5
votes
1answer
66 views

Birkot HaTorah and Typing

Shulhan Aruch (Orah Haim 47:3) as well as Yalkut Yosef (47:14) write that before one writes down words of Torah, he must recite Birkot HaTorah (because people that write sometimes voice their ...
8
votes
1answer
209 views

Dropping a phone siddur or chumash

If you have a siddur or chumash on your phone and you drop it, do you kiss it if... the siddur is not open the siddur is open, but shem hashem is not showing the siddur is open and shem Hashem is ...
10
votes
1answer
226 views

Opening an umbrella indoors

Is there anything wrong with opening up an umbrella indoors according to Jewish tradition? I have met many people who view it as bad luck or possibly rude. On the other hand we are commanded not to ...
5
votes
1answer
249 views

How can I slow-cook dairy if my slow-cooker is meat?

I have a (meat) slow-cooker and very occasionally want to be able to slow-cook dairy foods. Is it possible to adapt my existing appliance for this purpose? The slow-cooker consists of a glazed clay ...
4
votes
2answers
93 views

Is a head-mounted lamp better than a candle for bedikas chometz?

A LED or Xenon lamp attached to the head (link shows example) seems to be ideal for bedikas chometz and superior to a candle? Do contemporary poskim offer a view?
6
votes
1answer
65 views

Water from hydroelectric plant for netilat yadayim?

The Shulchan Aruch OC 160:2 rules that water with which one has done "melachah," is disqualified from netilat yadayim. Does this include water which has flowed downstream from a hydroelectric plant?
8
votes
4answers
1k views

Who determines the kosher status of “new” foods?

Who determines the kosher status for "new" processed foods (e.g. Jell-O)? A few orthodox rabbis' approval? General consensus by the Jewish religious community? Certain kosher standards organizations? ...
4
votes
2answers
156 views

What does “aerosol” have to do with spitting in the wind, or winnowing?

In this answer over here it is explained, that a "question" comes up with aerosol cans, based on a gemora which asks if spitting in the wind counts as winnowing. Now, the spitting in the wind case ...
8
votes
2answers
508 views

Is there any issue with using aerosols on Shabbos?

I've heard from many people that you shouldn't use aerosols (such as air fresheners, disinfectants or deodorants) on shabbos, usually citing some vague reason of changing the form from liquid to gas, ...
7
votes
2answers
309 views

Fulltext search across sources: Gemara, Zohars, Rishonim and Aharonim

I know about Hebrewbooks.org for searching for sources in books, but the problem is you have to get to let's say every Masechta to look for a phrase. Is there a program (doesn't have to be free) that ...
7
votes
2answers
223 views

Is Listening to a Torah Tape considered Talmud Torah?

It says in the Baal HaTanya's Hilchos Talmud Torah that one fulfills his obligation to learn Torah only if he says the words. Moreover, a Chavrusa fulfills his obligation only because Shomeya Keoneh. ...
7
votes
2answers
297 views

Can you leave video chat on over Shabbos?

Basically: Can you leave your computer with video chat on (to another person) on over shabbos? And what if there's also audio? For example a relative in the hospital, relatives that in a far away ...
2
votes
4answers
637 views

Looking for a good English-to-Hebrew translation software

I'm looking for a translation software, or website, that accurately translates entire sentences and paragraphs from English to Hebrew, without grammar mistakes or funny language usage. Anyone know of ...
18
votes
3answers
428 views

Can I cause a Melacha to happen in a place where Shabbat has already started?

For example, if I live in New York, could I send a fax (causing the machine to print a document) to Israel on Friday afternoon, before it is Shabbat for me, but after Shabbat has started there?
4
votes
9answers
389 views

Suggestions for Kosher iPhone apps

I'm an iPhone app developer with mostly Jewish & Israeli iPhone apps and I'm open to new suggestions or ideas for new apps that can be useful for Jewish people. Anyone here had a case that he ...
11
votes
2answers
198 views

Rabbinic Responses to Landline Telephones

Recently the use of cellphones and smartphones has met with a lot of criticism in some communities. I'd be interested to see if landline telephones encountered any similar opposition when they were ...
18
votes
4answers
679 views

Does artificial meat grown in a petri dish have the halachic status of meat?

Scientists are developing means of growing artificial meat in a petri dish. Does such 'meat' have the halachic status of meat? Source: ...
12
votes
3answers
621 views

Am I allowed to view a Kotel Cam on Shabbos?

If there is a camera in Israel that is operating on Shabbos, am I (a person living in America, where Shabbos only starts 6 or 7 hours later) allowed to view such a camera? I suppose the same could be ...
10
votes
1answer
207 views

May one reheat food on top of a crock-pot or urn on Shabbos?

According to my understanding cooked or baked food that is currently cold, may be placed on top of a pot that is on a blech on Shabbos to warm up. What about putting cooked or baked foods on top of ...
6
votes
1answer
279 views

Do Orthodox synagogues have audio induction loops? Can they use them on Shabbat?

Let's assume we follow Rabbi Moshe Feinstein's ruling that hearing aids are permitted on Shabbat, but microphones are not. What about installing an audio induction loop in the synagogue? It would ...
4
votes
2answers
172 views

How do Shabbos mode scooters work?

Related to a question about shabbos and yom tov mode stoves I wonder about shabbos mode powered scooters. I recall seeing them advertised in the Jewish newspapers. How do they work, in terms of ...
7
votes
2answers
324 views

How does Shabbos/Yom Tov mode on a stove work?

Star-K certifies the shabbos mode on some modern stoves. (Oh how I pine for the day of simple rheostats on electric stoves, and pilot lights on gas stoves! Those were the days...) Our GE gas stove ...
8
votes
2answers
368 views

Voice-activated electronics on Shabbat

Does using a voice-activated device constitute a melacha? For example, Siri on an iphone or, a even a voice-activated light-switch. Does it make a difference if the computer doesn't take direct ...
5
votes
0answers
118 views

What are the practical limits of shaimos in the common era? [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: Hashems name on device I've tried to always be careful in regard to shaimos, but I'm still having difficulty understanding how it maps out in the age of the computer. ...
10
votes
2answers
628 views

Why is it ok to use tap water/toilets on Shabbos? Considering the source of the water pressure

Why is it ok to use tap water/toilets on Shabbos? Considering the source of the water pressure. The water pressure that enables the water to flow out of the tap has to come from somewhere. It is ...
17
votes
5answers
491 views

Why do music tapes and CDs warn about playing on Shabbos?

I have seen written on almost every music CD and Cassette Tape that I have in my house the line: Please do not play on Shabbos and Yom Tov I've always wondered if this is really necessary. Does ...
3
votes
1answer
91 views

Looking at a Kohen's hands on Video

One is not allowed to look at a Kohen's hands while he is performing Birchas Kohanim (source: my Artscroll siddur, but it is well-known too) Would this also apply if one was looking at a video of the ...
28
votes
3answers
923 views

May one use a computer script or robot to do something specifically on Shabbos/Yom Tov?

May one run a program or machine that will operate on Shabbos, either by setting a timer to activate once Shabbos has started, or by leaving it running continually? What if the action is one that is ...
10
votes
3answers
397 views

DNA and Jewish Law

Why isn't DNA seen as a valid source of Halachic decision making? Is it because it's too small for the naked eye? A margin of error problem? What? Normally, physical evidence is plenty of information ...
2
votes
1answer
139 views

Could the 'air conditioner' shown here be run during shabbat?

I saw this DIY video, and was wondering if such a fan could be run before shabbat started and left running as shown? The video on this page (Ignore the article): ...
3
votes
1answer
114 views

Wirelessly recharging a light-emitting diode on Shabbos

Could one use wireless recharging technology (see http://home.howstuffworks.com/question292.htm) to power a light-emitting diode (which does not have a filament that gets hot (see ...
10
votes
1answer
143 views

Cell Phone Jammers in Halacha

I could not imagine cell phone jammers would be מותר, but perhaps my gut-feeling is wrong... Either way, I would be interested in knowing how they fit into halacha, and what the reasons behind ...
19
votes
1answer
242 views

a wheelchair user's taking “steps” before sh'mone esre

The Shulchan Aruch, OC 94:5, writes: Suppose someone is sitting on a boat or wagon [and saying sh'mone esre (amida)]. If he can stand up when he reaches the point of bowing, he should stand, so as ...
3
votes
1answer
218 views

Which rabbis forbade cars 100 years ago?

"Venishmartem Meod Lenafshoseichem" I heard that there were Rabbonim about 100 years ago who forbade cars, saying that they were dangerous. Does anyone know who they were?
5
votes
1answer
79 views

Buying New Electronics During the 9 Days

Is one allowed to buy new electronic devices during the nine days (e.g. cellphone, laptop)?
17
votes
6answers
2k views

Is using a Kindle on Shabbat permitted?

A Kindle is an e-book reader that uses "e-ink" rather than an LCD screen. It has physical controls to turn pages. If left unused it enters a sleep mode, and you can return to reading by moving a ...
9
votes
2answers
167 views

If three men pre-arranged to sit down and eat together over a video-chat, is there any reason they shouldn't have a zimun?

I learned that if two groups were eating in two different rooms but even one person could see someone in the other room, then they could have one zimun (I thought this was in Masechet Brachot, but I ...
1
vote
2answers
223 views

Would the internet be considered muktzeh due to Nolad (a new thing)

There is a category of muktzeh on shabbat called Nolad. Nolad means literally, something that is born on shabbat. It is interpreted in the modern era, as meaning anything which you did not have ...
7
votes
1answer
176 views

What is the best online English translation of Tanach?

I am aware of a number of partial or complete English translations of Tana"ch online, but I am wondering if there are any I am unaware of, especially that fulfill the following criteria: Precision ...
6
votes
4answers
902 views

Is it okay to drive a car on the Sabbath?

The Five Books of Moses mention not stoking a fire on the Sabbath, if I remember correctly. By starting a car, I'd think I am stoking a fire. Is this okay to do for a Jew? Why or why not?
8
votes
4answers
705 views

Walking by an Automatic Door on Shabbos

Is one allowed to walk by an automatic door on Shabbos, if he/she has no benefit of the door opening (i.e. not walking in)? How does this case compare/contrast to the walking by an automatic light on ...
7
votes
2answers
385 views

Is it actually forbidden to push a wheelchair outside of an eruv on Shabbat?

I have heard opinions varying wildly on the subject and am trying to make sense of them halachically. Is it illegal on Shabbat to push someone in a wheelchair, let's say, from their home to synagogue ...
3
votes
2answers
190 views

Yichud in Elevator

Is there a problem of Yichud in the elevator? (especially considering there's a possibility that the elevator may get stuck) [and specifically those without cameras]
25
votes
4answers
2k views

bicycle on Shabbat?

Is riding a bicycle on Shabbat permitted within an eiruv, being ridden only on pavement (so no unintended plowing), for transportation and not exercise, and with the understanding that repairs aren't ...
32
votes
7answers
2k views

Is it permissible to erase the name of G-d from an E-reader?

Most people seem to be lenient about shemos on digital screens in general (though Bar-Ilan does avoid displaying the Tetragrammaton.) The letters on the screen are just light, there is nothing really ...
7
votes
3answers
156 views

Robot as a competent proxy?

Would those who hold that a minor can serve as an agent in Jewish law (for a d'var r'shus - discretionary act, not a mitzva) hold similarly for a sufficiently intelligent and self-aware robot? The ...
5
votes
2answers
634 views

Why should A Capella music be allowed during Sefirah/Three Weeks?

Background: I'm not sure how I feel about: a)the custom to refrain from listening to recorded music during Sefirah or b)the assumption that recorded a cappella music is not considered instrumental ...
10
votes
6answers
270 views

Technological innovations and halacha

A generally accepted halachic principle is that the Torah was not given to angels. As such, halacha is only applied within normal human capabilities. A classic example is that one is not required to ...
10
votes
3answers
381 views

Glow sticks on Shabbos

May one activate a glow stick on Shabbos? (In other words, is there a prohibition on activating the chemical reaction which produces the light in a glow stick?)