20
votes
2answers
279 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 ...
20
votes
1answer
180 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 ...
20
votes
1answer
353 views

Setting aside Shabbat to answer the President's call

In an old MSNBC news story about Jack Lew, a Shabbat-observant Jew who was just appointed to be the new White House Chief of Staff, there's a story about his getting a call from President Clinton when ...
19
votes
7answers
2k views

Is one allowed to smoke Marijuana?

Not taking into account Dina D'malchusa, what are the Halachic problems with smoking marijuana? Is it allowed?
19
votes
7answers
2k views

Washing hands for eating pizza

How many slices are required to make you responsible to wash on Pizza?
19
votes
6answers
1k views

Are you allowed to save a non-Jew's life on shabbos?

Is a Jew allowed to violate shabbos to save a non-Jew's life?
19
votes
2answers
408 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 ...
19
votes
2answers
1k 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? ...
19
votes
4answers
923 views

Can a Jew lose their Jewish Status?

Can a Jew lose their status as being a Jew by performing any action (example: performing idolatry, disavowing core beliefs, converting to another religion, etc)? Or once a person is a Jew then they ...
19
votes
2answers
489 views

Voting in a church?

Are you allowed to vote inside a church? (Answers supplying sources would be preferred, as always.)
19
votes
2answers
380 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: ...
19
votes
2answers
387 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 ...
19
votes
2answers
240 views

Why the custom to switch around negative-sounding numbers, such as שד?

Often in sefarim we find that if the number of the siman spells out something negative, such as siman 304 which has a letter value of שד, we switch it around so it no longer reads as a "bad" word. ...
18
votes
16answers
496 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 ...
18
votes
5answers
1k views

Surviving the zombie apocalypse? [closed]

One of Maimonidies 13 principles of faith is believing in the resurrection of the dead wherein the dead will arise from their graves. My question is have chazal provided any guidelines for how we are ...
18
votes
5answers
551 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 ...
18
votes
6answers
2k 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 ...
18
votes
6answers
611 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!
18
votes
6answers
246 views

how to survive if you are hanging on to some aveiros

Is there a strategy or saying / quotation (chasidish, chazal, etc.) that addresses what to do if there are some aveiros that one is not ready to give up on but wants to feel good about doing the other ...
18
votes
3answers
482 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?
18
votes
2answers
1k 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?
18
votes
2answers
309 views

Naming after the living. Why is it considered bad?

This is a fairly straight forward question. I am under the impression that this is bad. This is why you don't see many Moishe Abromowitz, III. Why is this bad, and why isn't that practice carried ...
18
votes
4answers
625 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: ...
18
votes
3answers
439 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"?
18
votes
1answer
200 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 ...
18
votes
2answers
506 views

Is a Jew allowed to participate on Christianity.SE?

I was browsing meta.Christianity.SE recently when I noticed a question with a rather obvious (and good) answer that had not been posted. I was about to go ahead and answer it when I realized there ...
17
votes
5answers
1k views

Why is Judaism not Racism?

I am only asking this question to educate myself, not because I am anti-semitic or for any other hidden agenda. I do not what to turn this forum into an ugly place. I realize this question is ...
17
votes
10answers
701 views

How can I make a long summer shabbat a delight?

Where I live, shabbat ends at nearly 10PM at the peak of summer, and I find it challenging to get to the end of that without starting to develop some negative feelings. I try to spend most of Shabbat ...
17
votes
6answers
3k 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?
17
votes
5answers
692 views

Halachic Restrictions not in the Torah, and “shall not add”

How can halachic restrictions that are not in the Torah be reconciled with the Deuteronomy 4:2 passage, which says, "Ye shall not add unto the word which I command you, neither shall ye diminish from ...
17
votes
2answers
428 views

Where did “shabat shalom” come from?

What is the source for the greeting "שבת שלום"? Where is it earliest attested in print? What does it mean?
17
votes
6answers
585 views

When did Avraham Avinu become Jewish

Avraham Avinu is often called "the first Jew". When did he become Jewish. Was it when: He recognized G-d? G-d spoke to him for the first time? Covenant Between The Parts? When G-d changed his name? ...
17
votes
5answers
412 views

Why do Jews physically resemble members of their “host” nationalities?

Why do Jews often so closely resemble the members of the nationalities amongst whom they have been living for only a few hundred years? How do features spread through such an exclusive population so ...
17
votes
1answer
211 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 ...
17
votes
2answers
419 views

Are there other extant Chabad groups besides Chabad-Lubavitch?

Wikipedia lists a number of different Chabad groups including: Chabad-Lubavitch Chabad-Bobroisk Chabad-Kapust Chabad-Liadi Chabad-Nezhin Chabad-Strashelye I was told that these different groups ...
17
votes
2answers
913 views

When did we start counting the Year since Creation?

This year is 5772 / תשעב (Taf-Shin-Ayin-Bet) on the Hebrew Calendar. What is the earliest reference to the Year counting from the Creation of the world?
17
votes
2answers
215 views

Why Not Eight Days Until a Convert's Circumcision?

Why doesn't a convert dip in the mikveh and then wait eight days until he gets his circumcision? The gemara (Yevamot 97b) says ger shnitgayeir kekatan shenolad dami (A convert is like a newly-born ...
17
votes
2answers
274 views

Are you allowed to recite the Pledge of Allegiance?

Is the US Pledge of Allegiance a form of oath or vow, and if so may one recite it? If one has recited it has one incurred any new halachic obligations?
17
votes
2answers
456 views

When (if ever) are converts still related to their relatives?

It is my understanding that when a person converts to Judaism, certain halachic relationships are severed. So I have a couple questions about this. Which relationships are severed? Is a convert ...
17
votes
1answer
257 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?
17
votes
3answers
277 views

Anonymous glosses in the Shulchan Aruch

The Rama wrote a series of glosses to the Shulchan Aruch to reflect standard Ashkenazi practice, as the Shulchan Aruch was weighted towards the Sephardim. These glosses have been reprinted in almost ...
17
votes
3answers
543 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 ...
17
votes
1answer
589 views

Critical Jewish analysis of the Ipuwer papyrus

I just stumbled across information about the Ipuwer papyrus, and I was wondering how many Jewish Egyptologists have had an opportunity to review and study it at length. Other than this very brief ...
17
votes
3answers
265 views

Why is a present day convert not obligated to read the Torah passage about the sacrifice he will have to bring in the future?

Rambam, Hilchot Issurei Biah 13:2 (English) tells us that a convert must do 3 things to complete the conversion process: circumcision immersion in a mikvah bringing a burnt offering The Rambam ...
17
votes
3answers
262 views

Will Tisha B'Av be pushed off in the future?

We have a tradition that Tisha B'Av will become a holiday in the time of Moshiach. Will that holiday also be nidcheh if it comes out on Shabbos?
17
votes
3answers
352 views

Is it a sin to escape the death penalty?

If someone is sentenced to death by a Jewish court and is being held prisoner until the sentence can be carried out, if he escapes, is that a sin for him?
16
votes
9answers
593 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 ...
16
votes
6answers
890 views

First steps for someone considering conversion

I am 25 years old and I am truly interested in converting. I too also only believe in G-d. I live my life to certain rules that others I see aren't strong enough to live by. I want to know what I ...
16
votes
8answers
1k views

Why are angelic icons not prominent in Judaism?

I learned that the song Shalom Aleichem is all about welcoming the Shabbat angels, and clearly angels are celebrated in Judaism. However I've noticed that images of angels are not very widespread in ...
16
votes
8answers
444 views

How do I get myself to yearn for moshiach if I'm comfortable in the diaspora?

Intellectually I know that we're supposed to yearn for the coming of the mashiach and the in-gathering in Eretz Yisrael. I know that one of the Rambam's 13 principles calls for this. We pray for ...

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