3
votes
0answers
28 views

What is parshanut theory?

Are there rules that must be followed in learning Torah with commentaries? I mean, clearly, we can't put words in the mouth of the Torah that go against the basic tenets of the faith, but what rules ...
3
votes
1answer
40 views

Do brachos on seeing have to be made within four amos?

Is there any source that says that in order to make a bracha for seeing e.g., a sage of Israel, a sage of the nations, or an unusual animal, one must be within four amos of the person/thing? I found ...
1
vote
0answers
52 views

How is Qi viewed in Judaism?

Are there any Jewish sources which discuss Qi and some of the amazing feats people seem to be able to perform with it? Is it considered impure magic and therefore forbidden to be practiced?
2
votes
1answer
58 views

Why say Adam listened to Eve if she merely gave him fruit?

In Genesis 3 Eve simply hands over to Adam the forbidden fruit. If this is so, then why did G-d say "because you listened to your wife and ate fruit from the tree"?
5
votes
0answers
27 views

Containers and wine

Is there any outer container (a frame or box, perhaps) into which an open bottle of non-mevushal wine can be placed that will shield the bottle in such a way that, if a non-Jew (or heretic) casually ...
3
votes
1answer
39 views

Berur halachah - what is this called in English?

I'm translating an article concerning the need for a "berur halachah" in order to determine the legal status of individuals with mental retardation. How would say "berur halachah" in English? ...
2
votes
1answer
29 views

Why did Yosef cause so much anguish to his family?

While this question already seems to assume some answer or another (that of a 'deeper purpose'), I thought it strange that nobody has actually asked this question so far: Yosef recognized his ...
2
votes
1answer
21 views

Specific writings of the Vilna Gaon

1- What writings of the Vilna Gaon do we have that are not commentary or textual emendations? 2- Do we possess any writings of the Vilna Gaon that talk about or reference his contemporaries or ...
3
votes
1answer
71 views

May Kohanim visit Hayden Planetarium in NYC?

May Kohanim visit Hayden Planetarium in New York City? The planetarium in question is adjacent to the Natural History Museum. Issues in question are presumably sof tumah latzeit (the idea that the ...
3
votes
0answers
30 views

Why does the Torah specify only that Lea'h's children were born in Padan Aram?

Breishit 46:15 states that "These are the sons of Leah, whom she bore unto Jacob in Paddan-aram..." What is the significance of the Torah telling us where the children were born, and why does it ...
3
votes
1answer
42 views

What didn't Ya'akov believe when his sons told him that Yosef was alive?

Bresihit 45:26 says that when Ya'akov's sons returned from Egypt (the 2nd time) they say, "Yoseph is alive and he is ruling over Egypt"; the end of the verse says that Ya'akov didn't believe them. ...
6
votes
2answers
44 views

Should I close my eyes for the shmona estrai or look in the siddur?

I was taught to look in the siddur when davening. But the answer here suggests that some authorities prefer to close their eyes during the amida. What are sources for all opinions on this matter?
8
votes
1answer
104 views

Practically speaking, how should I cover my hair?

I belong to a liberal community where married women do not cover their hair. But occasionally I visit other communities (generally Modern Orthodox or Lubavich) for Shabbat and I would like to fit in ...
17
votes
2answers
4k views

May my wife wear my jacket to keep warm?

The Sefer HaChinuch #564 writes that it’s forbidden for a woman to wear men’s clothing. If it’s cold outside, is a woman allowed to wear a man’s coat to keep warm? If #1 is a problem, are any ...
5
votes
2answers
79 views

What to do in a case of no siddur available and additions to the Shemoneh Esrei?

(Feel free to write a better title.) Today i ended up getting to shul too late for mincha, and having to daven outside (still within the proper time). Now, i know shemoneh esrei by heart, and even ...
4
votes
2answers
131 views

Whence the minhag to light in shul by day?

In pretty much every shul and yeshiva I've been in has lit Chanukah candles by shacharis, the same number of candles that were lit the night before. What is the source for this custom, and why is it ...
2
votes
1answer
39 views

(Online) Hebrew Babylonian Talmud

I sometimes need to show things from Gemorra for someone who knows both Modern Hebrew and Lashon Hakodesh, but not Aramaic. I do not need inserted explanation, like the Hebrew ArtScroll or Mesivta, ...
2
votes
2answers
184 views

Can one use Chanukkah lights/candles for a mitzvah?

One is generally not allowed to benefit from the light of the Channukah candles (see discussion here) but does that include using the light to perform a mitzvah? Note: I'm pretty sure that this is ...
3
votes
0answers
35 views

Early descriptions of the Foundation Stone

I am looking for early descriptions of the "Foundation Stone" (אבן שתיה) -- the huge flat rock now enclosed by the mosque known as the "Dome of the Rock," and believed by many Jewish scholars to have ...
3
votes
1answer
207 views

Could the minhag of lighting menorah in Shuls have developed from when guests would stay in Shul?

Could the minhag (=custom) of lighting menorah in synagogues have developed from when guests would stay in the synagogue? Does anyone bring this as a source for the minhag? If so, would it not apply ...
4
votes
1answer
60 views

Assuming Christianity is Avodah Zarah (RamBam), can I get my car fixed by a gentile right before/during Nittle Nacht?

Assuming Christianity is Avodah Zarah (RamBam), can one get his car fixed by a gentile, with a new part, put in, over Christmas? Obviously, there's no way to know whether the mechanic will work on the ...
3
votes
1answer
37 views

How many years before Yakov did Rochel die?

The torah teaches us that when Binyomin was born to Yakov, his wife Rochel died. How old was Yakov Avinu when Rochel died and how many years was that before his petira?
1
vote
2answers
53 views

Why Does the Rambam Assert That It Took Eight Days To Obtain Pure Oil? [duplicate]

Background In a previous post regarding the quantity of oil sufficient for one day’s lighting of the Menorah the answer given was the quantity of oil is more than one liter, but not more than two ...
2
votes
4answers
118 views

If the majority of organic and/or free range eggs contain blood spots, why are they certified kosher? [on hold]

Variables that are known of the organic and/or free range: I don't believe the eggs with blood are just protein spots even though brown eggs through observation usually do contain more protein spots ...
2
votes
1answer
39 views

Was the Mishkan in Shiloh destroyed?

The gemarah Megillah 16b indicates that the Mishkan in Shiloh was destroyed. There does not seem to be any outright statement in the pesukim that this is the case. It says (Shmuel Alef chapter 4) that ...
5
votes
1answer
421 views

May Jews sell wine to Christians for them to use in their religious ceremonies?

(This question is based on an older one which Rabbi Levi Cash posted a few years ago.) Under Charlemagne in the 8th century and the Carolingian emperors, Jews provided wine for Christian mass. But I ...
3
votes
1answer
52 views

Is modern-day Lebanon considered part of Eretz Yisrael? [duplicate]

Related to What are the Halachic boundaries of Eretz Yisroel? but that doesn't address my specific concern. Is modern-day Lebanon considered part of halachic Eretz Yisrael? Believe it or not, there ...
6
votes
2answers
57 views

What is the valley of deep darkness (or shadow of death) in Psalm 23?

In Tehillim 23, David says "Even when I walk in the valley of darkness, I will fear no evil for You are with me". Someone asked me if this "valley of darkness" is metaphorical or physical and, either ...
0
votes
1answer
38 views

Does eating non-kosher meat incur the punishment of Kareth?

This question is not about standards of kashrut -- which are of course a serious topic -- but rather the question of "grave sins" for which the death penalty is prescribed, or the consequence of ...
3
votes
0answers
32 views

French Minhagim

When I was in France over the summer, I noticed that, in general, the Ashkenazim followed German minhagim. Resultantly, it made me wonder whether there are any major differences between Minhag Rheinus ...
2
votes
1answer
31 views

How long was Shimon in prison?

In Bereishit 42:24 Shimon is taken away from the brothers and put in prison as surety so that the other brothers will bring back Binyamin to prove that they are not spies. The brothers then return to ...
5
votes
1answer
31 views

The brothers telling Yosef about Yosef

Rashi to Miketz (Bereishit 42:13-14) says that the brothers told Yosef that they came to Egypt to look for their missing brother. However, in Vayigash (Bereishit 44:20) Yehudah tells Yosef that they ...
0
votes
0answers
23 views

Why did God make such a vast, expansive universe? [duplicate]

The title pretty much says it all — but it certainly seems unnecessary and plays very well into the theories of people such as Richard Dawkins. How are we best to respond to this challenge of theirs?
2
votes
1answer
74 views

How are we to understand Lurianic Kabbalah?

We believe that the Torah is eternal and never-changing. And yet, the Arizal brought quite a number of innovations to our religion. Although none really change halacha, they certainly do build upon ...
4
votes
1answer
83 views

How long do you really need to keep your sideburns?

I've seen multiple sources that seem to indicate that one MUST keep his sideburns to either The bottom of the ear The bottom of the ear cartilage To the jaw bone, around the middle of the ear. ...
2
votes
1answer
126 views

Bentching in a different place than where you started eating

If you ate a meal by the table and finished it on the couch (in the same living room), can you bentch by the couch or must you go back to the table to bentch?
9
votes
3answers
56 views

How could the brothers drink with Yosef?

Towards the end of parshas Miketz (Bereishit 43:34), it mentions that the brothers drank with Yosef. Considering that as far as the brothers knew, they were surrounded by idol-worshipers, were they ...
6
votes
3answers
165 views

Siding with your father in an argument between parents

According to the laws of respecting your parents, a child may not tell his parent that he/she is wrong. (Shulchan Aruch, Yoreh De'ah 240:2) Now, if both father and mother are arguing about something ...
1
vote
0answers
24 views

Why entrap B'rurya? [duplicate]

Rashi, Avoda Zara 18 amud 2, in my own translation: One time, [B'rurya] belittled the sages' having said that women's knowledge is light on them. [Her husband, Rabi Meir,] told her, "By your life, ...
2
votes
2answers
33 views

If צאת is late, then פלג is late. When does one light the מנורה on Friday?

One cannot light the Chanuka lights before p'lag hamincha (Shulchan Aruch 672:1), not even on Friday evening (Mishna B'rura 679:2). If he did so, his lighting is invalid (Shaar Hatziyun 672:4). P'lag ...
6
votes
1answer
65 views

How is the sex of a baby born with unclear genitalia determined?

A baby may be born with a penis but no testicle. The hospital would do genetic tests to determine whether the baby was genetically female or male. In the case of a genetic female born with a penis the ...
1
vote
0answers
14 views

Why does R. Nachman b. Yitzchak say a blessing, and why does the Bavli include it? (שבת דף מו)‎

The Bavli, Shabas 46: Rav Aviya came to Rava's house; his boots were gross with clay. He set [them] on a bed in front of Rava. Rava minded; [Rava] wanted to bother him. [Rava] said to him: Why did ...
-5
votes
1answer
74 views

What is the Jewish view on Adam's footprint in Sri Lanka? [on hold]

There's a certain mark and a peak called adam's peak in Sri Lanka has a not jewish tradition that it is Adam's footprint. Does Judaism have any tradition about this mark? I would like to see the Torah ...
4
votes
2answers
198 views

Do I need a menorah?

It's been common practice for a very long time (perhaps as early as 60 years after the Chanukah miracle) to use a menorah (aka "chanukiyah") to light the Chanukah candles with. Do I need a menorah to ...
4
votes
2answers
50 views

What was the volume of oil for one day's lighting of the Menorah?

Large jars for storing oil or wine were common in Judah. For 100’s of years, oil and wine were the commodities that were used to pay tribute and taxes. Many storage jars were standardized and may ...
3
votes
1answer
18 views

Stations of the Exodus far into Canaan

Why is it that certain Exodus stations such as Libnah, Rissah, and Mount Shapher are so far into the actual Promised land of Canaan? Were the Israelites drifting into Canaan unknowingly?
5
votes
2answers
334 views

Washing after the bathroom from a running faucet — any point?

After using the bathroom some folks let the water run (without opening and closing the faucet) and pass each hand under the faucet 3 times alternating between the right and left hands. Since there's ...
1
vote
1answer
37 views

infallible reasoning for believing in a god that created and runs the world [duplicate]

In the Torah it is written that we should serve God, love him, have trust in him, believe that he runs the show and in return we are promised a share in the world to come - a world of eternal bliss. ...
2
votes
1answer
32 views

cleaning smooth shiny surfaces on shabbos

How may one clean a sticky shiny smooth surface on Shabbos? During the week one can simply wet a napkin and then wipe the surface, but on shabbos you're not allowed to wet a material due to a ...
7
votes
1answer
62 views

closing car doors on shabbos

Is there any problem involved in opening or closing a door of a parked car (without a battery) on Shabbos? Is a car muktzeh? Let's assume no keys are involved to avoid the problem of carrying. To ...

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