5
votes
4answers
402 views

What color is Yarok?

Yarok ירוק in modern Hebrew means green. What color does it refer to in Mishnaic Hebrew? I have heard that it refers to yellow and not green because the Mishna in Sukkah (on 34b) discusses a citron ...
5
votes
1answer
509 views

If chametz is batel before Pesach

If chametz can be batel before Pesach, why don't we buy (before Pesach) any commercially produced product with year-round (i.e., not Pesach-specific) kosher certification which does not list chametz ...
4
votes
2answers
196 views

Who Commanded Us, and For What?

Whenever a Jew performs an activity that is mandated by the Torah, s/he recites the blessing that acknowledges God, "אשר קדשנו במצוותיו" (who sanctified us with his commandments), and who commanded us ...
4
votes
1answer
284 views

What is the significance of the Mishcan in Judaism?

A good part of Sefer Shemos discusses the tedious details of the construction of the mishcan (tabernacle). To the layman, these commandments seem very illogical. Aside from the fact that God ...
4
votes
2answers
818 views

What are the Halachic boundaries of Eretz Yisroel?

What are the Halachic boundaries of Eretz Yisroel?
3
votes
2answers
204 views

What happened to Tohorot?

As I understand it, all of Tohorot has been reduced, in modern practice, to Niddah and some hand washing. The entire structure of transmittable 'uncleanliness' is inoperative. Why is it inoperative? ...
1
vote
1answer
238 views

What parts of the service do you say when late to Shacharit?

According to the Shulchan Aruch (please cite Saeef and Siman so I can read further): What should one do when he's late to Shachrit? What should he skip and what must he say?
-5
votes
3answers
1k views

When did the switch to matrilineal descent occur?

Does anyone know when the switch the matrilineal descent took place? I've seen other information about the potential impetus, but when did it become so? Was there even a switch?
15
votes
4answers
1k views

How can we be sure that Judaism is true/the truth?

I borrowed (with permission) a question from Ahmed Han, which is: People of every religion claim that they are the ones in the right path. Even the people of sects in these religions think that ...
33
votes
6answers
4k views

Which alphabet were the original Torah scrolls in?

I've assumed that the Torah scrolls we read today as the same that Moses wrote. I always assumed it's been the same alphabet. However lately I came across documents explaining the evolution of the ...
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?
25
votes
22answers
754 views

Experience-based advice for focusing and slowing down prayers?

I tend to daven (pray) without sufficient focus and very quickly. In particular, I find that most of the time that I'm praying, my mind is on things other than the words that I'm saying. And, not that ...
22
votes
10answers
2k 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 ...
44
votes
7answers
958 views

Did any Achronim comment on the American Revolutionary or Civil Wars?

I've heard that for instance, in the 1800s, the American rabbis in the South were pro-slavery, and the American rabbis in the North opposed to it. But what were the views towards America of the ...
27
votes
6answers
959 views

Where does the concept of Gilgulim (reincarnations) in Judaism come from?

What is the source of Gilgulim (reincarnations) in Judaism? Are there people who disagree with its existence? Who was the first to mention it? What I am asking essentially is what is the historical ...
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 ...
17
votes
2answers
1k views

Different traditions in Hebrew pronunciation

The theme of Hebrew pronunciation is one that facinates me and, as such, I want to get some feedback on some issues I've been thinking about for years. I have already discussed some of these issues ...
68
votes
3answers
1k views

Does “reputation scoring” make “the Torah a crown to magnify yourself with”?

Is "reputation scoring" against the spirit of Pirkei Ovos 4 (5) "Rabbi Tzaddok would say: <snip> Do not make the Torah a crown to magnify yourself with, ...."
20
votes
3answers
546 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
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 ...
15
votes
8answers
948 views

Answering Atheist about Torah miracles

How do we explain our belief in the story of Yonah living in a Fish, the Splitting of a sea, and all the other fantastic Miracles described in the Torah to a person who was not brought up religious; ...
13
votes
4answers
2k views

Where can I find examples of R. Yishmael's 13 talmudic rules?

We read Rabbi Yishmael's 13 principles of interpreting torah in the shacharit service and many of the explanations seem fairly straightforward, but I am not a very advanced student and I find I don't ...
12
votes
1answer
273 views

What determines the sorts of cases in which one can deliberately not know the facts?

Halacha depends on the facts of a situation. Generally, when one cannot know the exact facts, he is expected to assume that they are as usual (rov), or as they were when last checked (chazaka). When ...
11
votes
3answers
883 views

Why are people going back to paskining like the Rambam?

I have heard personally (and seen in chat) people (who are not Teimanim [for whom there is a tradition to rule like the Rambam]) ruling like the Rambam. I have heard that he has the authentic ...
9
votes
1answer
586 views

Belief that a dead man will be the Messiah - Kfira?

Are there any documented halachik authorities that rule that the belief in a dead Messiah is beyond the pale of permitted Jewish belief and therefore would qualify as Kfira? If there are halachik ...
9
votes
7answers
302 views

All the many, many details

I understand a number of reasons why the Jewish community keeps so many rules to the level of minutiae. But why SUCH a level of intricacy in some of these laws? I looked through a large book on the ...
7
votes
5answers
387 views

Why does evil exist?

I realize this is a very common question, but the problem of evil is an important one, and as far as I can tell, has not been asked here. In short, why does G-d allow evil to exist?
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 ...
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.
16
votes
1answer
563 views

Why don't we bow “correctly” during tefillah anymore?

According to the Gemara (Megillah 22b), and according to the RaMBa"M (Hil. Tefillah 5:13) (and apparently R' Avraham ben HaRaMBa"M was adamant), when we pray we are supposed to bow down ON our knees ...
16
votes
6answers
504 views

G'dolim or Rabbis Owning Pets

Are there any g'dolim (or rabbis of major influence) - past or present - who are known to have owned pets/kept animals for non-agricultural purposes?
13
votes
4answers
482 views

Why is the torah so misleading without the oral law

In parsha ki tetze (Devarim 22) it says if a man takes a wife, hates her, accuses her of not being a virgin, etc. Then the elders spread out the bedsheet to see if there is blood of virginity. If not, ...
12
votes
7answers
25k views

Nefesh, neshama and ruach as words for “soul”

All three words can mean something like "soul", e.g., neshama in גלגול נשמות, and ruach in וַתְּחִי רוּחַ יַעֲקֹב אֲבִיהֶם (Bereshit 45:27). So, what is the difference?
12
votes
4answers
389 views

Voting for a person that will not uphold Torah values

It is well known that Rabbi Avigdor Miller Zatzal strongly condemned those that voted for candidates that would not uphold Torah values. Yet there were many Gedolim that had no problem voting for such ...
11
votes
2answers
732 views

What is the conceptual definition of tzniut?

When the concept of tzniut is discussed it is defined as 'modesty' and used overwhelmingly in regard to sexuality. However we know there are other uses for the term such as from the gemarah (Megillah ...
11
votes
2answers
687 views

Is there any issue with using aerosols on Shabbos?

I've heard from many people that you shouldn't use aerosols (such as air fresheners, disinfectants or deodorants) on shabbos, usually citing some vague reason of changing the form from liquid to gas, ...
11
votes
2answers
1k views

Giving gifts to non-Jews at Christmastime

Is it okay at Christmastime to give a gift to a boss or for kids to give gifts to teachers if they are not Jewish?
11
votes
4answers
511 views

what are the limits of “mesira”?

It seems that most people have an idea that you cannot report a Jew to the non-Jewish authorities (police, government, etc) except for extreme circumstances (imminent danger, abuse, etc). However, ...
10
votes
4answers
781 views

Is it permissible to name one's child with a name from the opposite gender?

Is a person allowed to name a boy with a girl's name and vice versa? I remember seeing that one musn't, although in Nach one finds these things a lot. I understand it is not best practice for ...
10
votes
1answer
677 views

Married woman covering hair

Is it strictly necessary for a married woman to keep her hair covered in the following situations? If not, how important is it? 1) When alone in the house 2) When alone (or with husband) in the ...
10
votes
4answers
2k views

Non-Jews (Gentiles) in Olam Haba (Jewish Afterlife)?

Are there non-Jews in Olam Haba (the world to come), either in Gehenom (Hell) or Gan Eden (Heaven)?
8
votes
7answers
281 views

Resources for learning about the foundations of Judaism

I recently met an intelligent Soviet immigrant interested in learning more about Judaism. He would like to start with understanding the basics. Such as: How do we understand G-d? What are the ...
8
votes
2answers
552 views

לשון הקדש: the oldest language?

Rashi to B'reshis 2:23 says that the language Adam spoke was one that Rashi calls לשון הקדש, lashon hakodesh (or l'shon hakodesh), and that contains the words אִשָּׁה and אִישׁ. Keeping to Rashi's ...
7
votes
9answers
815 views

Kabala in Halacha

Which of the major authors or codifiers of halacha. . . a) refer directly to or quote from kabala in their legal discussions? b) employ conclusions based only on kabala in their legal argumentation ...
6
votes
1answer
838 views

Being a houseguest in a non-frum or non-Jewish home

I'm Jewish, so I have to keep many laws in mind. Kashrut, tefillin, yichud, kol isha, and more. When staying as a houseguest in a non-frum or non-Jewish home, what are some of the issues I might ...
4
votes
3answers
269 views

Why do we pray for G-d to smash down our fellow Jews?

My question refers to the twelfth blessing of the Amida, which seems to contravene the Biblical mitzva of ahavas yisroel*: "And for the slanderers let there be no hope; and may all wickedness perish ...
4
votes
1answer
276 views

Borer and Grinding on Yom Tov - and other Melachoth that are Ochel Nefesh

Which Melachoth are prohibited on Shabbath but are permissible to perform on Yom Tov because of the exception of Ochel Nefesh? Famously, cooking and carrying in the public domain are allowed, yet ...
2
votes
1answer
738 views

How many prophets were there and who were they?

How many prophets are recognized by Judaism, and what were their names? I found a website that claims the number of prophets is 124000. Is this true? Are all of their speeches or writings ...
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 ...
15
votes
2answers
1k views

What happens to the family of a Kohen today if his wife is a victim of rape?

What happens to the family of a Kohen today if his wife is a victim of rape? What are the steps taken and how does this come to be resolved according to halachah and in the most constructive way for ...

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