Questions about how Judaism interacts with technological innovations.

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35
votes
7answers
1k views

May I use my neighbor's Wi-Fi without asking permission?

My neighbor has never set up password protection on his wireless router. If I wanted, I could wirelessly connect to his high-speed Internet service. May I use his Internet service without asking him ...
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 ...
26
votes
3answers
851 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 ...
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 ...
19
votes
1answer
229 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 ...
19
votes
3answers
601 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 ...
18
votes
4answers
662 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: ...
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 ...
16
votes
3answers
402 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?
16
votes
5answers
475 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 ...
16
votes
1answer
155 views

Attending a Siyum virtually

If one attends a Siyum virtually, whether by phone, Skype, or some other means of mass communication, can one partake of the Se'udath Mitzvah (relevant to allow eating meat during the 9 Days for ...
16
votes
3answers
395 views

Is ad-blocker software permissible?

Kalashnikover_Rebbe at hashkafah.com asks: Isn't blocking ads stealing??? The people put them on the sites for a reason.... He elaborates: On one hand the argument can be made that [forum ...
15
votes
3answers
411 views

Escalator on Shabbos

Escalators: Are they allowed to be used on Shabbos or not? (and the reasons behind it)
15
votes
5answers
384 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 ...
13
votes
5answers
480 views

“Silk-Screened” Sifrei Torah

What are the halachic issues with Silk-screened sifrei torah? I am interested in a summary of concise halakhic rulings of multiple authorities on the prohibition or permissibility of HaRav Yitzchak ...
12
votes
7answers
221 views

Zmanim accuracy before digital clocks?

How was time measured for the purpose of Zmanim before we had accurate clocks like we do today? Was it possible to accurately determine Chatzos (at night) or the different watches of the night? I know ...
12
votes
1answer
559 views

Food in bathroom

Is one allowed to take food into the bathroom? I heard that the prohibiton is only on the type of bathroom used years ago.
11
votes
6answers
1k views

If a pig was genetically modified to chew its cud, would it be kosher?

If they were to genetically modify a pig to chew its cud, would it be kosher?
11
votes
2answers
195 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 ...
11
votes
3answers
581 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 ...
11
votes
0answers
394 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 ...
10
votes
1answer
432 views

Is programming against Judaism?

I just recently learned about this site when I saw Judaism was one of the stack overflow topics. I have been Jewish all my life and two years ago I started programming. I was wondering if there ...
10
votes
6answers
269 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
2answers
508 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 ...
10
votes
4answers
341 views

How to learn Amidah, Shma and others?

I live 3000km from shul and take conversion classes remotely. I am learning from Koren Siddur. Because I do not ever hear how the words should be spoken, I sometimes wonder if it is a waste of time. I ...
10
votes
1answer
211 views

Electronic communication immediately before wedding

Is it permissible to chat with your future spouse during the week before the wedding when you are not supposed to see each other face to face? Are any, all, or none of the following permissible: ...
10
votes
3answers
380 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 ...
10
votes
3answers
353 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?)
10
votes
1answer
223 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 ...
10
votes
1answer
202 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 ...
10
votes
1answer
798 views

Can a live video feed remove the prohibition of Yichud?

I was wondering if and how a public videostream could affect a potential yichud situation. For example, may a single guy and girl be secluded if they set up a continuously broadcasting camera and ...
9
votes
2answers
236 views

Do photocopies of torah need to be put in shaimos?

Do photocopied sheets (such as chumash or gemara) need to be put in sheimos or can they be thrown straight into the garbage?
9
votes
4answers
177 views

Online tool for minyan management?

If I'm running a small minyan that sometimes has a quorum and sometimes doesn't, and I'd like to only hold the minyan when I know we'll have ten, is there an online tool to help me manage this?
9
votes
1answer
321 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?
9
votes
1answer
123 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 ...
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? ...
8
votes
2answers
208 views

Cryonics in Judaism

I was recently reading an article about cryogenics, there are around 200 bodies frozen in cryogenics labs around the world, and in the article they said that in the near future they may be able to ...
8
votes
3answers
174 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 ...
8
votes
1answer
182 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, ...
8
votes
2answers
478 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, ...
8
votes
2answers
165 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 ...
8
votes
1answer
244 views

Shaking a no-battery flashlight on Shabbos

What is the problem with shaking one of the no battery/shaking flashlights which is on on shabbos?
8
votes
4answers
663 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 ...
8
votes
2answers
341 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 ...
8
votes
1answer
121 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 ...
8
votes
0answers
164 views

Is it acceptable to use software which incidentally blocks ads?

A question on this site on whether ad-blocking software is permissible suggests that the answer is that it probably, but not definitely, is acceptable. I don't use ad-blocking software myself, but I ...
7
votes
6answers
377 views

A letter prohibiting television?

I don't have the book myself, but I believe it is called To Touch Kindle a Soul, on chinuch. It contains, in the endnotes a reference to a letter written by Rav Moshe Feinstein zt'l, Rav Shach zt'l, ...
7
votes
2answers
290 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
5answers
373 views

Will rabbis allow brainy Shabbat driving?

Saw this news story a few days ago about a car being driven with just thought, using a special cap with sensors. http://www.jpost.com/Sci-Tech/Article.aspx?id=215704 To me this still seems entirely ...
7
votes
4answers
180 views

Amen for Recorded Brochos

Many times I listen to recorded Shiurim (lectures) where the speaker says a Brocho (usually Shehakol on a drink). Should one answer Amen to such Brochos?