3
votes
1answer
86 views

Has Judaism succeeded or failed at being a light unto the nations? [on hold]

In Isaiah 42:6 we read I the LORD have called thee in righteousness, and have taken hold of thy hand, and kept thee, and set thee for a covenant of the people, for a light of the nations I have ...
28
votes
9answers
2k views

How do we know that God exists?

Simple enough question, and very much related to the topic. According to traditional Jewish sources, on what basis should people believe that there's a God?
2
votes
1answer
26 views

Shin of tefillin mentioned in the Gemara originally a reference to the division of the compartments of the Shel Rosh?

The source for [at least one of] the Shins on the tefillah shel rosh is the Gemara (b.Menahoth 35a): ואמר אביי שי"ן של תפילין הלכה למשה מסיני וצריך שיגיע חריץ למקום התפר רב דימי מנהרדעא אמר כיון ...
-1
votes
0answers
50 views

Slavery Reparations [on hold]

Do the major Jewish organizations (ADL, YIVO, Jewish World Congress, etc.) have an official position on the question of Jewish reparations towards the descendants of slaves in the Americas? The ...
2
votes
4answers
123 views

what is good teshuva book

Elul and Yom Kippur are flying by fast. I am looking for something uplifting. Books on teshuva are usually quite depressing; too much talk about gehinom. Not that it's not good, just that it doesn't ...
3
votes
2answers
112 views

Big-picture commentary on the siddur

There are many commentaries on the siddur. However, most of them focus in detail on the words of the prayers. I'm looking for a commentary which looks at the "big picture" of each prayer. That is, ...
4
votes
0answers
42 views

Is a wooden knife מקבל טומאה?

I know that פשוטי כלי עץ טהורים (wooden vessels that are flat [without a receptacle] cannot become טמא [ritually impure]). (כלים ב:א) What about a wooden knife? It has a function, but doesn't have a ...
4
votes
1answer
131 views

In the Forgiveness Petition of the Amidah, How Should One Strike the Chest?

When praying the Amidah, each Siddur I own mentions striking the chest at key points. However, neither tells how. I tend to make a loose fist and strike the left breast with a moderate force (not ...
3
votes
2answers
49 views

(When) should skipped parts of davening be made up?

If someone skips parts of shacharit in order to say shemoneh esrei with the congregation, (when) should the skipped paragraphs be made up?
1
vote
2answers
90 views

The disappearance of וסת קבוע and הרגשות

At some point in history, Jewish women used to have very regularly scheduled Monthly cycles, and used to have some sensation that accompanied the onset of menstruation. Both of these play important ...
13
votes
5answers
520 views

Why doesn't Tefilat Geshem have a verse referring to Miriam?

The "Tefilat Geshem" ("Prayer for Rain") recited on Shemini 'Atzeret contains six verses. Each verse refers to a different person (except the last, which refers to a nation) and makes various ...
3
votes
0answers
110 views

Learn more about the Ramchal's plays

Apparently the Ramchal wrote several plays. What are they about? Where can I find full text (I found Migdal Oz here - preferably translated? Have Gedolei Yisroel discussed how to approach these ...
7
votes
0answers
35 views

Do you have to consider neighbors when building a shul?

Are there any halachic obligations to consider the averse effects that building a shul may have on Jewish neighbors? This may include things like lowering property value, noise and other disturbances, ...
3
votes
0answers
13 views

Leaving and coming back while still eating

There is a halacha that a change of location necessitates a new beracha. However, if one is in the middle of eating something while they change location, they can finish that item without making a ...
3
votes
1answer
98 views

Antiquarian Safrut

Is there any resource for looking at examples of the old forms of safrut from before the Second World War? I have seen un-sourced photos of strikingly different variations within the Ashkenazi and ...
3
votes
7answers
245 views

Can you recommend an alternative outer talit bag?

I need to replace my outer talit bag - the one that most people have as a brittle, transparent, zippered bag with gold piping (e.g.). I am tired of having these bags break on me, and I don't have a ...
11
votes
5answers
451 views

Should I be shuckling?

I was told that shuckeling (sp?) is an indication of the love-fear relationship that we have with God. You move forward showing that you want to be close to God and then backward out of fear of his ...
15
votes
2answers
562 views

Is one allowed to drink alcohol on regular weekdays?

Is it permissible to drink alcohol in any circumstance other than Holidays and Shabbat? Please cite sources. CYLOR.
14
votes
4answers
267 views

A practical joke that leads to a mitzvah

When I was in Yeshiva, someone somewhere in Klal Yisrael played a practical joke. Sometime during the week of Parshas Vayeishev, a text message went around saying something to the effect of "a 17 ...
0
votes
3answers
115 views

Looking for Sefer שלחן המערכת by Rav Yishak Yosef Shelit"a

I've been searching for the book שלחן המערכת by Rav Yishak Yosef Shelit"a, but can't seem to find it. I hope you can help me find it (with a link). Thank you.
2
votes
0answers
55 views

What book do these notes synopsize?

I picked up a (IIRC ArtScroll) sidur (prayer book) in my synagogue one day. It had no indication of ownership in it, but it had some handwritten notes (all in the same hand). Among them were: ...
2
votes
1answer
35 views

How do we learn “Taamei HaMitzvos”?

The Rambam famously believed that sacrifices were given to ween people off idolatry. Therefore, it can be assumed that when Mashiach comes, there won't be a need for sacrifices. Yet, the Rambam ...
3
votes
2answers
56 views

Why is driving on Chol Hamo'ed allowed?

Meleches Uman, skilled labor, is not permitted on Chol Hamo'ed even for the needs of the mo'ed (M.B. 540:1). Common practice indicates that driving on Chol Hamo'ed is allowed. However, driving is a ...
8
votes
2answers
199 views

How can I identify which dates Jewish holidays/special days fall on?

Not being Jewish I scheduled an event this year, only to learn shortly before it occurred that the date was a Jewish Holiday and so I had essentially excluded Jews. I live in the United States, and ...
3
votes
2answers
41 views

Waving the lulav

Why do we wave the lulav forward by הודו, right by כי, back by טוב, left by כי, up by לעולם and down by חסדו?
2
votes
1answer
66 views

when is shushing in a shul permited, when forbiden and when obligated

In my shul there is someone who shushes people that talk. He believes that he is obligated to do this. I understand that there is a prohibition against embarrassing people publicly and that sometimes ...
2
votes
1answer
36 views

Looking for a good online book for shemira einayim

anyone know of a good reliable online book for studying the matter of shemiras einayim (guarding the eyes)? (halachas/mussar. something like the chafetz chaim's book on shemira halashon)
3
votes
4answers
677 views

Matrilineal Descent

I have heard that matrilineal descent (i.e. having Judaism passed down through the mother) comes from the Roman period when women were raped by Roman soldiers and the babies were then said to be ...
6
votes
6answers
157 views

Looking for a sefer to help prepare for smicha

I am currently learning hilchos taaroves and will soon be moving on to basar bechalav and melicha etc. in preparation for getting smicha. I have looked around and found countless (literally countless) ...
2
votes
4answers
100 views

Sefardic and Ashkenazic main halacha book for Even Haezer, Yoreh Deah and Choshen Mishpat?

Besides the Mishna Berurah (Orach Chaim) for ashkenazim and the Kaf Hahaim (Orah Chaim and parts of Yoreh Deah) for Sefardim, what is used to complete the scope of Shulchan Aruch ?
3
votes
2answers
139 views

Satmar and Mishnah Berurah

Do Satmar hassidim follow the Mishnah Berurah? If this is not the case, what sefer or sefarim do they use?
1
vote
3answers
103 views

What is the sephardi equivalent to the Mishna Berura?

What is the sephardi equivalent to the Mishna Berura ? Do some sephardim follow the mishna berura ?
2
votes
2answers
88 views

where to buy Sefer Ohr Yitzchak

Where can I buy a copy of the sefer Shailos and Tshuvos Ohr Yitzchak of Rabbi Yitzchak Abadi? No seforim stores carry it anymore ,out of stock.
12
votes
9answers
522 views

What is the source for the “Upsheirin”?

In some families/communities, little boys do not get their hair cut until they are three, and then there is a gathering for cutting their hair. The haircut is called an "upsheirin" or "chalakeh." ...
6
votes
8answers
478 views

Sefarim to learn in Elul

Which sefarim are traditionally learned in Elul*, because they have a special significance to the mood and message of the month? *Or even without a tradition, which sefarim are good to learn during ...
2
votes
0answers
48 views

Ayin hora - evil eye

I have observed a Phenomenon among older Eurpoean Jewry ( i.e. Yiddishe mammes and bubbes) not to display pictures of their children or grandchildren ( eineklach) in open areas for fear of ayin hora. ...
7
votes
1answer
299 views

Origin of Reform/Conservative “scarf” talleisim

I've noticed that Reform and Conservative often use small "scarf" talleisim (here's an image). Where did this practice originate? (Is there any connection to the scarves that some Christian priests ...
7
votes
0answers
75 views

Loshon Hara against public Jewish and non-Jewish figures

Both American and Israeli politics, and of course those of other democracies, can include a lot of personal attacks, both true and untrue, including inuendo about possible adultery, gay or straight, ...
10
votes
1answer
126 views

Why does the torah give us exact dates for the flood?

This question asks why the flood didn't end on the 18th of Cheshvan (one year after the start). My question is more basic: why does the torah give us precise dates here at all? Bereishit 7:11 tells ...
2
votes
3answers
110 views

Do Jews Believe Dinosaurs Lived in the Same Time Period as Humans?

According to the book of Genesis, animals and humans were created on the 6th day. I am wondering what Jews think of dinosaurs. When tested for dating (radioactive decay), their bones appear to be ...
0
votes
1answer
67 views

Is there a problem with “Mar'it ayin” by attending a company picnic?

Theoretical: Let's say that a company plans a picnic in a "semi-park" area. I.e. - it is a tree-lined public thoroughfare that many people including Jews, walk through. (I added this fact b/c I have ...
3
votes
1answer
60 views

Is there a commentary on tehillim that maps perakim to episodes in David's life?

Sometimes it's fairly easy to tell when David is writing about a particular event such as לדוד בשנותו את טעמו לפני אבימלך At other times it's less obvious, but you get a 'lightbulb moment' when ...
0
votes
1answer
131 views

Having a girlfriend

Is there anything wrong with a young man who is not looking to get married having a girlfriend? Assume that he would not touch her or have sex with her.
3
votes
2answers
88 views

Why do we throw kids in the air on Simchas Torah?

Why on Simchas Torah do we through our kids into the air when saying, "משה אמת ותורתו אמת"? Is this is a minhag or some nonsense that someone made up?
3
votes
1answer
43 views

source for a story: man who went to milk a lion

When I was a kid I heard the following story at least a few times in grade school from the school headmaster (probably around Rosh Hashanah time). It's based on a Jewish legend or midrash, and I'd ...
7
votes
2answers
117 views

42 camps and 42 non-refuge Levite cities (Masei)

What is the significance of the numerical correspondence between the 42 camps or waypoints mentioned in the recounting of the forty years of wandering (Bamidbar 33) and the fact that 42 of the 48 ...
3
votes
1answer
54 views

Why does Chabad do hakafot erev Shemini Atzeret

Growing up, I typically went to a Chabad and I have noticed that they have hakafot on erev Shemini Atzeret (meaning the night of Shemini Atzeret). What is the reason and why do they do this?
2
votes
1answer
54 views

Why don't we wear tefillin on Yom Tov sheni?

In Hilkhoth Tefillin 4:10, the Rambam states the basic and well-known halakhah that "...shabbathoth wi-yamim tovim enan zeman tefillin..." (Translation: "Shabbat and Yom Tov are not times for ...
7
votes
1answer
449 views

Leaving cities during plagues

Over the Yomim Tovim I happened to skim through a copy of Rav Hirsh's sefer "Horeb". In one section he discussed a directive from Chazal to leave a city struck with plague. With Ebola having been ...
3
votes
1answer
47 views

Notched 2x4 for maamid?

Let's assume that there is a lechatchila to not use metal object that are mekabel tumah (susceptible to tumah) for something that supports the s'chach ("maamid"), which can be avoided by using ...

15 30 50 per page