18
votes
2answers
424 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 ...
18
votes
2answers
532 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 ...
18
votes
2answers
342 views

Mushrooms in a Vineyard

The bracha on a mushroom is "shehakol" because the Talmud (Berachot 40b) correctly (I think) states that mushrooms do not derive their nutrients from the ground. If a mushroom is growing in a ...
17
votes
9answers
611 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 ...
17
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 ...
17
votes
5answers
758 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
6answers
1k 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 ...
17
votes
4answers
685 views

Why do people frequently change tunes toward the end of Lecha Dodi?

Frequently, perhaps even most of the time, I've noticed that the chazan (prayer leader) for Kabalat Shabbat switches tunes for the last four verses of Lecha Dodi. Is there any reason for this, or are ...
17
votes
7answers
320 views

Am I allowed to answer my friend's Halacha question?

Preface: Assume I am not an ordained Rabbi. Suppose I'm having lunch with my friend and he asks me "do I have to say a bracha on this dessert?" or "when's the last time I could daven mincha today?" ...
17
votes
3answers
656 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? ...
17
votes
4answers
538 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 ...
17
votes
8answers
416 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 ...
17
votes
6answers
351 views

Is it considered stealing to look at mi.yodeya while at work?

More generally, doing personal things like phone calls, emails, etc. while on company time. How far does the "everybody does it" rationale go? I believe there is some category in halakha that accounts ...
17
votes
4answers
756 views

Moshe's age and the timeline of the exodus

Moshe was 80 when he first approached Par'o 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 Israel, the ...
17
votes
2answers
1k views

Why does the Hebrew alphabet not have letters representing vowels?

(Re-asking this question in a way more suited to SE.) The Hebrew alphabet is actually an abjad rather than a "true" Western-style alphabet, in that every letter represents a consonant, and vowels, if ...
17
votes
2answers
706 views

Why doesn't the OU put DE on food packages anymore?

The OU used to put DE next to the OU symbol when a product was Dairy Equipment. Such a product can not be eaten with meat but can be eaten right afterwards (you don't need to wait the amount of time ...
17
votes
4answers
816 views

Orthodox Visits to Other Denomination Sanctuaries

Why is it that some people won't set foot in another's sanctuary, even if it was for a non-prayer function? Can an orthodox person be in a reform style temple sanctuary for a lecture or concert? I ...
17
votes
3answers
227 views

What is the source that Parshas Parah is from the Torah?

I have read in many places that Parah could be a bliblical requirement to read. Why is that? Zachor makes sense (as it says so in the Torah here). Why Parah?
17
votes
8answers
1k 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 ...
17
votes
4answers
2k views

Can you drink a beer (such as Miller or Budweiser) at a bar?

Can you buy and drink a beer (such as Miller or Budweiser) at a bar owned by non-Jews?
17
votes
3answers
420 views

Can you become “more tamei”? If not, why do we worry about it today?

Without the temple and access to the ritual of the red heifer, we're all tamei (ritually impure) today with no way to fix it. Yet we work to avoid situations that would make us tamei (e.g. kohanim ...
17
votes
4answers
512 views

How does an outsider know how to dress for a particular Orthodox community?

Standards of dress (at least for women) aren't nearly as consistent within Orthodoxy as we might wish. Wearing exactly the same halachically-correct clothing I have been under-dressed in some places ...
17
votes
2answers
3k views

Bracha for Quinoa

What Bracha do you make on Quinoa?
17
votes
5answers
809 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 ...
17
votes
2answers
1k 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, ...
17
votes
2answers
448 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
1k 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
361 views

Order of the Tanach

In Nevi'im and Ketuvim, why is the order of the books that we use today different from the order given in Bava Batra 14b, and Rambam Hilchot Sefer Torah 7:15?
17
votes
2answers
159 views

The custom of adding a candle for each child

Many people, including myself, added or will add a candle on Friday night for each child that is born. Where and when did this custom originate?
17
votes
3answers
262 views

תהלת ה' ידבר פי - what's the origin?

In between the 'Shir HaMaalot' that precedes birchat hamazon and the the blessings themselves, there are a few psukim beginning תהלת ה' ידבר פי . Some people add these, and some don't. What's the ...
17
votes
2answers
226 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
6answers
2k 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. If left unused it enters a sleep mode, and you can return to reading by moving a ...
17
votes
1answer
239 views

Saying Hashem's name when studying

I learned somewhere that when you are learning, if you are going to read an entire pasuk without interruption you can say Hashem's name, however if you are going to only say part of the pasuk (for ...
17
votes
2answers
211 views

Rockets from Gaza while praying

I live in Beer Sheva, Israel where there are presently ongoing rockets fired at us from Gaza. We are warned of an impending rocket by a loud siren that gives us less than a minute to run to a bomb ...
17
votes
2answers
494 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
286 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 ...
17
votes
2answers
203 views

Can you walk and chew gum at the same time?

Rambam (Hil. Edus 11:4) writes (translation from here): ...base people are disqualified as witnesses by Rabbinic decree. This refers to people who walk through the marketplace eating in the ...
17
votes
3answers
294 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
1answer
561 views

How should we respond to objectionable content in a public forum?

The blessing and curse of sites like StackExchange is that everything happens in public. Sometimes someone will post something objectionable and it isn't possible to take the person aside for a ...
17
votes
1answer
222 views

Why, in double parshiyos, are the aliyos not simply combined in pairs?

Consider for example the double parshah Vayakhel-Pekudei. The aliyos from the two individual parshiyos are combined as follows: 2, 3, 1, 2, 1, 2, 3. (Meaning: the first two aliyos are combined into ...
17
votes
1answer
379 views

Should someone tell a Jewish doctor about a tattoo of G-d's name?

Background: I am not Jewish. I have a tattoo containing G-d's name. I have been in the process of removing this tattoo using laser treatment. There seems to be some disagreement on whether or not ...
17
votes
1answer
606 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
4answers
304 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
270 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?
16
votes
7answers
353 views

How would Har Sinai without the Torah have been enough?

In the Hagada of Peasach it says "even if he brought us to Har Sinai but didn't give us the Torah it would have been enough." What would be the purpose of going to Har Sinai if we didn't get the ...
16
votes
4answers
1k views

Is there a list of Mitzvot and their corresponding body parts?

The Talmud (Makkot 23B)and the Zohar (1:170B - unverified English translation here) say that the 248 positive commandments correspond to the 248 limbs of the human body. (The Mishna (Ohalot 1:8) lists ...
16
votes
4answers
618 views

Are Animal Crackers depicting non-kosher animals non-kosher?

Are animal crackers that depict animals such as swine, lions, and camels treif?
16
votes
9answers
1k views

Archeological proof of Exodus?

Is there empirical proof that the exodus from Egypt and related happenings (like Har Sinai etc) did in fact occur (i.e: Archeological proof)? I believe in the Torah, but how would you prove to someone ...
16
votes
2answers
916 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, ...
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 ...

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