21
votes
8answers
3k views

Do gentiles have neshamot?

As I have seen here, some say that only Jews have a neshama, others say that all humans have one. There was a reference there only of the former opinion (Jews only), and I know from elsewhere that ...
21
votes
6answers
968 views

Anyone who says these people sinned is mistaken. For real?

The Gemara (Talmud Bavli Shabbos 55b-56b) relates that several Biblical figures who, from the text itself, seemed to have sinned, in reality did not. These statements take the form of "כל האומר פלוני ...
21
votes
6answers
15k views

Is there a problem with Triangle K? If so, what?

I want to know what the OU's or any other Orthodox kashrut agency's problem is with Triangle K. I have read about the Ralbag family which founded and runs the Triangle K and they are clearly Orthodox. ...
21
votes
6answers
2k views

Moshe's age and the timeline of the exodus

Moshe was 80 when he approached Par'o before the makos, and the makos lasted a year, so he turned 81 in the Adar before the Jews left Mitzrayim. As he turned 120 in the Adar before the Jews entered ...
21
votes
2answers
287 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
5answers
3k 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
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
3answers
298 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
670 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 ...
21
votes
3answers
727 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
1k 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
555 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?
21
votes
2answers
249 views

What happened to the Yeshivas Shem v'Aiver?

What happened to the Yeshiva of Shem v'Aiver and all who learnt there?
20
votes
17answers
790 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
13answers
2k views

Why is techeles not universally accepted?

The Machon Ptil Tekhelet has (to my mind) some pretty compelling arguments as to why the Murex Trunculus is very likely the genuine chilazon from which techeles (blue dye) for the mitzva of tzitzis is ...
20
votes
7answers
2k views

Sheidim: are they fact, or fiction?

Are there really such thing as sheidim? If so, what are they? Please include sources.
20
votes
6answers
3k views

How should a werewolf celebrate Pesach? [closed]

Werewolves are known for their transformation at the full moon. Unfortunately, for Jewish werewolves, this poses problems with holidays such as Pesach, Sukkot, (Shushan Purim, Pesach Sheini, Tu ...
20
votes
7answers
570 views

How do you maximize your aravot's period of freshness?

Every Sukkot any aravot that I start the holiday with tend to get dried up by the end of the holiday, if not to the point of being unfit for service, at least enough to be ugly. What do you do to ...
20
votes
2answers
603 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?
20
votes
5answers
952 views

Understanding the story of Rabba and Rav Zeira

The Gemarah (Megillah 7b)describes how Rabba and Rav Zeira celebrated Purim together. While intoxicated Rabba kills (slaughters) Rav Zeira. The next day he resurrects him. The next year Rabba invites ...
20
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 ...
20
votes
9answers
3k views

If Christianity is avodah zarah and Islam is not, why has the Christian world triumphed over the non-Christian, and why do Jews prefer to live among Christians and not Muslims?

The Rambam quite clearly considered Christianity to be avodah zarah. He did not feel the same way about Islam, however, going so far as to condone praying within a mosque, and many Orthodox Jewish ...
20
votes
3answers
2k views

Can a man remove hair?

May a man remove hair from his body through any of the following methods: Electrolysis Tweasing Plucking I am asking specifically about hair between the eyes (unibrow) but I would be interested if ...
20
votes
3answers
3k views

Why can't electricity be manipulated on Shabbat?

Why can't we use and change electricity on Shabbat and YomTov? By this I mean why can't we turn on and off lights...? I'v heard Rabbis say that its because you can't complete a circuit on Shabbat, ...
20
votes
1answer
302 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 ...
20
votes
3answers
545 views

What is a woman's obligation when it comes to T'fillah?

In Orthodox practice it is commonly thought that women are not obligated in T'fillah (parts of it anyway) due to its time-bound nature. However, what is a woman's obligation? Which prayers must she ...
20
votes
2answers
2k views

Can a non-Jew don tefillin?

May a non-Jew or a person who is in the conversion process don tefillin? If not, what are the reasons that they cannot?
20
votes
2answers
671 views

Why are none of the Pharaohs in the Torah identified by name?

Throughout the Torah, the various Egyptian Pharaohs are always referred to as simply "Pharaoh" or "the king of Egypt" (or both), but never with any other parts of their official titulary. By ...
20
votes
2answers
1k views

Can an ecommerce website remain open on Shabbat?

This question is more general and doesn't apply specifically to ecommerce sites even though the discussion mentions them a little. Specifically, we know we can't do business on Shabbat. So what is ...
20
votes
2answers
243 views

Source of non-verse in Selichot

In Ashkenazi Selichot, the following set of verses from Tanach (patterned around the opening verb ז.כ.ר.‏ to remember) appears towards the end of the Selichot service (there may be some slight ...
20
votes
2answers
279 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. ...
19
votes
5answers
2k 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 ...
19
votes
7answers
1k views

does one have to take a Midrash/Aggadah literally?

Does one have to take a Midrash/Aggadah literally?
19
votes
4answers
1k views

What is the basis for eating in someone's house without a kashrut certificate?

No one asks for a kashrut certificate to eat in someone's house; they just make a rough judgement based on the host's reputation (the way they dress or behave, the circles they move in, etc.). That ...
19
votes
6answers
2k 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 ...
19
votes
2answers
1k views

Can one throw out a Menorah?

Is it an issue to discard a menorah that has been used for the mitzvah of Neros Chanuka? What if the menorah is made from something not usually used for a menorah? For example,bottles, cans, ...
19
votes
7answers
2k 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 ...
19
votes
3answers
4k views

Is it acceptable under kashrut to eat tyrannosauridae meat?

Theoretically speaking, if tyrannosaurs were still present these days, or in some way or another brought back, would they be kosher? Let's assume that they are properly slaughtered and prepared.
19
votes
3answers
899 views

Does an ivory spoon make hot tea non-kosher?

Both the handles of cutlery and entire spoons have been made of elephant ivory, which is from a tusk (a tooth) of an elephant. Elephant is of course not a kosher animal. Presumably, then, these spoons ...
19
votes
4answers
2k views

Why are Shabbat loopholes a good thing?

I'm not Jewish but do know that strict observance of religious laws is important in Judaism. I recently visited one of our suppliers in Israel and the hotel and office block had sabbath elevators. ...
19
votes
4answers
832 views

When did Ruth convert?

In the book of Ruth it never openly states that she converts and in fact she is referred to as Ruth the Moabite throughout the text. At what point, chronologically, did she in fact convert?
19
votes
5answers
1k views

Minimum Age to Learn Kabbalah?

How old do you have to be to learn Kabbalah? (I think its 60 ) but it seems everyone learns it anyway (Maharal, Chassidus). Is there a defense or is it just done?
19
votes
2answers
602 views

What are the consequences of Vashti’s dual nature? [closed]

In Esther 1:9 we read, “ושתי המלכה עשתה משתי נשים” Vashti the queen was made of two women. Aside from being biologically surprising, what are the consequences of this in our understanding of the ...
19
votes
6answers
899 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? ...
19
votes
3answers
1k views

Am I allowed to fly from Australia on Motzei Shabbos?

If I take off from Melbourne on Motzei Shabbos, I will hit the Date-Line, loose a day, and end up flying on Shabbos for a short period of time until the sun catches up again. Am I allowed to do this? ...
19
votes
4answers
643 views

Does a Food Mashgiach have to Sacrifice his Life?

Suppose a Mashgiach of a food establishment is threatened to "keep quiet" about some of the questionable behaviors [for purposes of the question, consider both actual non-kosher, and possibly ...
19
votes
6answers
3k 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. (This question is not about the newer ones with touch screens.) If left unused it ...
19
votes
3answers
376 views

Do I have to forgive a repeat offender?

If somebody has repeatedly wronged me (in the same way) in the past, am I obligated to keep forgiving him if he asks? On the one hand, maybe this time he finally is really doing teshuva; on the other ...
19
votes
4answers
1k views

What is the machlokes between the Gra and Ba'al HaTanya?

What is the famous argument between the Vilna Gaon and the Ba'al HaTanya in understanding the Sod HaTzimtzum? And what are some ma'areh mekomos in their works where this Machlokes is seen?
19
votes
2answers
406 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 ...

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