24
votes
8answers
635 views

Birthdays in Judaism

Is there any significance in Judaism attached to the day someone was born (aside for the 13th year)? Is there anything wrong with celebrating one's birthday? And is it more correct to celebrate the ...
24
votes
3answers
594 views

The Fanatic Badge

Here on Mi Yodeya, one can earn the "Fanatic" badge for visiting the site for 100 consecutive days. Is it halachically possible to earn the fanatic badge in the Diaspora?
24
votes
3answers
2k views

What are the sources for women to wear/ not wear pants?

I have heard that the argument is beged ish / kli gever, and I have heard people say that even if that was once a real reason for it it doesn't apply today for various reasons. I understand that the ...
24
votes
2answers
578 views

How does a son call up his father for an Aliyah?

Suppose a son is the Gabbai in a Shul and needs to call up his father for an aliyah (or his brother who is the son of his father). Does the son say his father's name? Does he say something else ...
24
votes
5answers
689 views

When blogging/emailing/etc., do I use “God” or “G-d”?

Is there a religious problem with typing out the name: "G-o-d"?
24
votes
1answer
2k views

You accidentally broke your fast. Now what?

What are you supposed to do if you inadvertently broke your fast*? Do you: keep going; extend it (if so, how long); cancel it (if so, do you make it up a different day)? *This question is for ...
24
votes
2answers
390 views

Is unmasking an anonymous author addressed by Halacha?

If an individual writes a document for public consumption anonymously or pseudonymously and either explicitly or presumably desires to remain anonymous, is there a Halachic issue with publicly ...
23
votes
2answers
2k views

Abbreviations before/after names

What are the more common abbreviations one might see printed before or after a person's name, and what do they mean? Please include honorifics (R'=Rabbi) as well as memorial - or prayerful - suffixes ...
23
votes
3answers
4k views

Hebrew document found in grandfather's attic—what does it state?

I found this document in my grandfather's attic and would be thankful if someone could tell me (a) what this document is, (b) whether there are any names written, and (c) which, if any, religious ...
23
votes
3answers
5k views

Questions about Polygamy in Jewish Law and Culture

I've recently been looking into polygamy (having more than 1 wife), and had a few cultural questions. Was polygamy accepted at the time of David and Solomon? Were there any laws about it? Was ...
23
votes
2answers
5k views

Would a mermaid be kosher?

Tonight at religious school we were discussing Kosher laws and how to build/keep a kosher kitchen. While we were discussing different meats, one of the jokers in school asked if you could eat a ...
23
votes
5answers
734 views

Am I allowed to give my kid a non-Hebrew (non-Jewish?) name?

I'd seen some poster that said it's horribly wrong to ever give your kid a non-Jewish/non-Hebrew name. Is that the norm?
23
votes
5answers
692 views

If kings were supposed to be from Shevet Yehuda, why was Shaul from Binyamin anointed?

If kings were supposed to be from Shevet Yehuda, why was Shaul from Binyamin anointed?
23
votes
9answers
1k views

Is Rashi really pshat?

If Rashi on Tanach is a purely pshat oriented commentary, as professed several times, why do many of his comments originate from midrashim that most other "pshat" meforshim dismiss as "derech drash"? ...
23
votes
3answers
1k views

Premature birth contradicting science

I am a teacher at a private all-girls Jewish high school. There are two science teachers in the school, and both of us are Christian. I was talking with my fellow science teacher recently, and she ...
23
votes
4answers
608 views

Maintaining Tzniut in Uncomfortable Social Situations

How can a teenage girl, who recently started practicing the laws of tzniut as well as feasible, balance those laws with the prohibition against embarrassing her family members, who are embarrassed to ...
23
votes
5answers
342 views

Glasses and Shema

The Shulhan Aruch records the custom of placing one's hand over his eyes in Shema in order to increase concentration. What about someone who wears glasses? Must he move them or remove them?
23
votes
5answers
2k views

What is it about pigs that's so despised vs. other non-kosher animals?

We all hear about pigs being so much more reviled than other forms of non-kosher. This is true in general culture; I believe such a minhag was recorded with regards to using soap rendered from ...
23
votes
2answers
389 views

Matza on 14 Iyar

I have seen a custom (it seems to me primarily among Chassidim) to eat matza on 14 Iyar (known as Pesach Sheni). What is the earliest source for this custom? What are the reasons given for following ...
23
votes
2answers
2k views

If a woman converts to Judaism while pregnant, will her child be a Jew?

If a woman converts to Judaism while pregnant, will her child be a Jew once born?
23
votes
2answers
406 views

Is it a mitzva to escape the death penalty?

If someone is being led to his death by bes din (a Jewish court), is he supposed to try to escape, since, in general, saving one's own life is paramount? More: normally, we say that if someone is out ...
23
votes
1answer
239 views

What do you do if you made a Tzedaka pledge and now the organization folded?

Recently a friend of mine asked me the following question. He pledged $500- to a Yeshiva, yet before he paid the pledge the Yeshiva closed. Does he still have to pay his pledge to another Tzedaka or ...
22
votes
1answer
2k views

Did Jews in Arab countries ever rely on Islamic calls to prayer?

It just occurred to me that Jews in Arab/Islamic countries would most likely have heard the adhan call the populace to prayer five times a day. Upon looking at an Islamic time-table and doing some ...
22
votes
6answers
792 views

Looking for more information about a story of positive atheism/heresy

In a 2006 article (original link no longer available), Rabbi Jonathan Sacks tells the following story: “DO YOU believe,” the disciple asked the rabbi, “that God created everything for a purpose?” ...
22
votes
5answers
3k views

Why is the Jewish Population so small?

Judaism is one of the oldest religions, but there aren't many Jews compared to Muslims and Christians. What are main reasons behind that?
22
votes
4answers
879 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: ...
22
votes
2answers
501 views

If I injure a bug, should I kill it?

I'm sure this has happened to lots of people: you somehow injure a bug (or some other animal). I have always heard that this is a case of Tzaar Baalei Chaim, and that you should kill the bug to ...
22
votes
2answers
620 views

Voting in a church?

Are you allowed to vote inside a church? (Answers supplying sources would be preferred, as always.)
21
votes
5answers
6k views

What does Judaism think about homosexuality?

Is being gay a sin? Can one be a Jew and a gay person at the same time? How does the Jewish community think about gays?
21
votes
6answers
692 views

After chumashim with notes and Rashi, what's the next torah commentary I should acquire and study?

When I read the torah text (parsha or otherwise) I currently use a couple of chumashim with notes, and Rashi. I know some Hebrew but am not fluent. I'm ready to stretch beyond what I'm reading now ...
21
votes
4answers
607 views

Saying “I love you” during nidda

While a woman is nidda and she and her husband are observing harchakot, is it permitted for them to tell each other, "I love you," or is that too suggestive of a statement for the nidda period?
21
votes
8answers
672 views

Is one allowed to smoke?

Nowadays, since there are studies that show that smoking is dangerous to health, is one allowed to smoke or is it violating "Venishmartem Meod Lenafshosechem"?
21
votes
7answers
949 views

Why the vast difference of opinion about the age of the Universe?

5770 and 13,000,000,000 is a big difference! I am looking for a good explanation to the difference opinion of the age of the universe. Please help me out!
21
votes
3answers
522 views

Must a jew-by-choice who is a firstborn observe the fast of the firstborn

I'm interested in the question of whether a ger who is firstborn (of both parents, say, to keep things simple) must follow the rules for Ta'anit B'khorot. There are some remarks on the wikipedia page, ...
21
votes
2answers
2k views

Riding the Subway on Shabbat

Assuming that there are no problems regarding paying for it (either you entered the system before Shabbat, or a non-Jew paid for you): What are the halakhic issue with riding the subway on Shabbat? ...
21
votes
4answers
2k views

Shaking hands with the opposite gender?

What's the story: Can a man shake hands with a woman (or vice versa) in a business setting?
21
votes
3answers
939 views

Can you bowl on shabbos?

In the movie the Big Lebowski Walter explains that he is shomer shabbos and that he can't "roll" (meaning bowl) on shabbos. My question is, if he were able to get to the alley without violating ...
21
votes
2answers
273 views

Scrolls on door frames - what are they called and what should I do?

I've moved into a new flat (apartment). It has these small scrolls in containers on door frames outside and inside the apartment. I am not Jewish. I do want to be respectful of other people's ...
21
votes
4answers
2k views

How does one explain God to little kids?

As I understand it, the ability to understand abstract concepts develops gradually in kids and is certainly not all there when they first start having conversations. This comes into play when kids ...
21
votes
4answers
2k views

Is practicing Yoga against Torah?

What does Halacha and Halachic Authorities have to say about the permissibility of a Jew practicing Yoga? Is it Avodah Zarah? If it is problematic, are there methods of doing it where it would be ...
21
votes
3answers
275 views

Must EMTs and others rend Kriyah each time they see a patient die?

I was looking at Yoreh De'ah 40:5 (יו"ד סימן ש"מ ס"ק ה) and Moed Katan 25b (כה עמוד ב), which require Kriyah (garment-rending) for all who are there at the time of death. It would seem to me that an ...
21
votes
3answers
607 views

What kind of kippah is this?

This photo of my great great grandfather was taken around 1900. He's a Lubavitch Jew from Belarus. His name is Zalman Malkin. He is from Liozna. The story of his life is here. I was wondering if his ...
21
votes
2answers
701 views

What is the source for the tradition that the philtrum is formed by an angel before birth?

Physiological context: The philtrum is the dip or groove in the middle of the upper lip below the nose (link). It is a feature of most mammals, thought to draw water from the mouth to the nose to keep ...
21
votes
1answer
459 views

Is there any source for not sharing a baby's name before the bris?

For some reason, I have it ingrained in me that a baby boy's name before the bris is a secret and should not be shared. Are there any sources for this, or is it something made up?
20
votes
8answers
6k views

What does Judaism think of math? [closed]

Is it permissible according to halacha to do math? If so, are all kinds of math OK? This question and its answers are Purim Torah and are not intended to be taken completely seriously. See the ...
20
votes
10answers
703 views

What are the most essential Jewish websites?

What websites are essential bookmarks on a Jew's internet browser? I am thinking broadly of resources like a place to get online texts or a particularly good blog etc... Please include links as well ...
20
votes
17answers
716 views

SE Challenge: Halachot in which rulings range from permissible to Torah violation?

Inspired by my previous question regarding heating up soup on Shabbat, I present a challenge to the Judaism StackExchange community -- List halachot which have halachic decisions ranging from ...
20
votes
8answers
3k views

Conversion: If G-d really wanted me to be a Jew (and observe mitzvot), why was I not born into a Jewish family

This question pertains to the issue of conversion, and if it makes sense in the Jewish context of some people being Chosen specifically by God. Before beginning, this poster is aware of the long, and ...
20
votes
9answers
7k views

Men: how do you control your reactions to women in immodest dress if you can't avoid them?

A question on The Workplace from a man uncomfortable with the dress of some of his new, female coworkers got a highly-voted answer saying that you get used to it and he should just wait it out. As a ...
20
votes
5answers
4k views

Is it a discouraged or an unacceptable practice for a Gentile to keep the Sabbath?

According to Jewish Law and tradition, is it acceptable, discouraged or totally unacceptable for a Gentile to keep the Sabbath according to the regulations spelled out in the Torah and the Talmud and ...

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