9
votes
2answers
370 views

Are Jews permitted to martyr themselves?

Are Jews permitted to martyr themselves? For example, if it is a question of converting or being killed, is the Jew permitted to sacrifice himself rather than convert? Separately: which would be ...
7
votes
3answers
1k views

Do Jewish people have a collection of books which are the equivelant of the Christian Old Testament?

One claim that is made in our Christian Church is that the Jewish people use the Old Testament and that Christians use both the Old Testament and the New Testament. How correct is this statement? Do ...
17
votes
5answers
591 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 ...
17
votes
12answers
1k 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 ...
16
votes
4answers
557 views

Why is Sha'ar Ha'Yichud of Chovos Ha'Levavos so “controversial”?

I have heard that Sha'ar Ha'Yichud of Chovos Ha'Levavos is controversial, and that one needs a rebbe in order to learn it. What does the author say that is so difficult to understand?
16
votes
2answers
2k views

Mikvah - Non Jewish Husband

Can a woman use a Mikvah if her Husband is not Jewish (She is currently on the road to becoming a BT)
15
votes
2answers
855 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 ...
14
votes
2answers
255 views

How big, and what exactly, is “Kedei Kelipah”?

{Kedei Kelipah is a term used in Kashruth for the amount of something that needs to be removed in order to allow one to treat the remnant as Kosher. (This only applies under certain conditions, which ...
14
votes
3answers
3k views

Putting on tefillin late

For whatever reason, I was unable to put on tefillin while davening shacharit this morning. However, I have access to tefillin now, and the sun has not yet set. After I put on the tefillin, what ...
12
votes
4answers
715 views

The Ability to Pasken

What gives someone the ability to Pasken? At what point do we say that he is knowledgeable enough to decide questions on a topic? Does this have to do with "Semicha"? Does it have to do with being a ...
11
votes
2answers
568 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
959 views

Is downloading pirated music stealing?

Either way, it should be frowned upon as not a nice thing to do, but would it actually be assur?
11
votes
5answers
665 views

Do Jews believe in Heaven and Hell?

In yeshiva I was always told about gan eden and gehinnom, and how the good go to the former place while the bad go to the latter. However, in popular culture, Jews are always said to not believe in ...
11
votes
6answers
698 views

40 Days Before Conception

It is written somewhere (I don't remember exactly where) that 40 days before conception, it is called out in Heaven who that person will marry. However, if the person gets married multiple times how ...
11
votes
11answers
398 views

How do you improve your Kavvanah [concentration]?

Building on my blog post here, I ask: How do you improve your concentration when davening?
10
votes
1answer
238 views

Electronic communication immediately before wedding

Is it permissible to chat with your future spouse during the week before the wedding when you are not supposed to see each other face to face? Are any, all, or none of the following permissible: ...
10
votes
2answers
605 views

Is the material permitted to learn on Tisha B'av available online?

From Aish.com: Other prohibitions include...Learning Torah, since this is a joyful activity. It is permitted to learn texts relevant to Tisha B'Av and mourning -- e.g. the Book of Lamentations, ...
10
votes
37answers
2k views

words often mispronounced [closed]

What are some words commonly mispronounced? (Not by elision/reduction (like ה׳‎→אדְני‎) or assimilation (like תזכרו‎→תשׂכרו‎), but rather words that are pronounced wrong ...
10
votes
8answers
801 views

Why are there eight days of Chanukah if there were only seven miracles?

There is a famous question asked by the Beis Yosef (R' Yosef Karo): Why do we celebrate eight days of Chanukah if the miracle lasted only seven? The jug of oil contained enough to be lit for one day, ...
9
votes
2answers
206 views

Free will a prerequisite for punishment?

I read that the angel Metat was subjected to 60 pulsei de-nura (Aramaic: פולסא דנורא "lashes of fire"). I have been taught that angels do not have free will. Did this angel act from free will or did ...
9
votes
1answer
155 views

Second day of Shavous

The main reason for the second day Yom Tov is because in the times of the Beis Hamikdash when we decided to declare months based on the seeing the new moon there where certain places that the ...
8
votes
2answers
1k views

If the label says O-U D, but the warning label for allery sufferers says “no dairy”, do we consider the product dairy or not?

I attended a fantastic lecture on kashrus and dairy products by Rabbi Zushe Yosef Blech, shlita, who was asked an interesting question: Can you eat Oreo cookies after a fleishig meal? It was pointed ...
8
votes
3answers
300 views

Making a Siyum on major sections of learning but not a codified unit

If someone completes a major section of Talmud Torah that is not a formal unit (eg., Basar BeḤalav), may/should one make a Siyum?
8
votes
2answers
239 views

How could the numerals יה and יו be used irreverently?

I was told that in the sequence of numerals with Hebrew letters, the numbers 15 and 16 are rendered with טו and טז instead of יה and יו to prevent the tetragrammaton from being formed irreverently. ...
8
votes
4answers
784 views

Walking by an Automatic Door on Shabbos

Is one allowed to walk by an automatic door on Shabbos, if he/she has no benefit of the door opening (i.e. not walking in)? How does this case compare/contrast to the walking by an automatic light on ...
8
votes
4answers
555 views

tap water on Pesach

The New Croton Reservoir supplies much of New York City's tap water, and people are allowed to — and do — go out on boats and fish. I'd venture a guess that almost every Saturday and Sunday, a piece ...
7
votes
2answers
1k views

Is it appropriate for a Gentile to attend and/or participate in a Seder?

The context: last year, I saw this sign that announced the time and place that a Jewish Seder (probably Yom Kippur) would happen. I was definitely curious and considered going and at least observing ...
7
votes
3answers
470 views

Why does a Hamentash have three sides? [closed]

All Hamentashen that I've seen have three sides and all Hamentashen have filling. Why is that? This question is Purim Torah and is not intended to be taken completely seriously. See the Purim ...
7
votes
3answers
308 views

Saving a Life During Tefillah

If one is in middle of Shemoneh Esrei (which is the only part of Tefillah, I could think of where there might be a problem), and there is a life to be saved, is he/she allowed to interrupt the ...
7
votes
5answers
284 views

Can you use Liquor to fulfill Ad Dlo Yoda?

Can you use liquor instead of wine for the mitzvah of Ad Dlo Yoda? Is there any Posek who allows you to be yotzeh specifically with Liquor?
6
votes
2answers
271 views

Will Moshiach know that he is Moshiach?

I am not asking how I will know who Moshiach is. My question is how will he know to do those things which will let me know who he is. And specifically, will he know long before his revelation that ...
6
votes
3answers
371 views

Who says the Ribbono shel Olam in Birkas Kohanim?

I've "seen" many Talmidei Chachamim not saying the Ribbono shel Olams following each bracha of Birkas Kohanim. At least, I hear them chanting with the Kohanim from start to finish. Are these tefilos ...
5
votes
2answers
117 views

Is there such a thing as a Kaddish L'vatola?

In this answer there is a reference to a Kaddish that is better left unsaid as it is a Kaddish L'vatola. Kaddish does not seem to have anything in it which cannot be said in a vacuum. Is there any ...
5
votes
4answers
1k views

Advice for Lighting in a Sukkah

I'm seeking advice for safe, cost-effective lighting inside a Sukkah. My goals are: Minimize risk of fire. Even florescent lights can get hot enough to spark dry kindling in certain circumstances. ...
5
votes
1answer
665 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 ...
5
votes
1answer
290 views

Shabbat in the arctic

If I were to travel to Barrow, Alaska in the summer, when there is no sunset, when should I light the Shabbat candles? (This is not a hypothetical question; I work remotely for an Alaskan corporation ...
3
votes
3answers
237 views

Does God benefit from our keeping of the Mitzvos?

Does Hashem benefit from mankind doing the commandments of the Torah?
3
votes
1answer
253 views

Sheimos in newspapers and parsha sheets

How should one dispose of Jewish newspapers, newsletters, children's parsha sheets, etc. that contain Divrei Torah? I believe some poskim require/allow it to be double wrapped and then left outside to ...
2
votes
2answers
128 views

Belief in medrashim

The ramban in sefer havikuach asserts with regard to medrash " mi shemaamin bo tov, mi shelo maamin bo lo yazik" whoever believes in it, good, he who does not believe it, will not be harmed. Are ...
2
votes
7answers
1k views

Among the gentiles, why Job and Bilaam were recognized as prophets whereas Muhammad was not?

Being a Muslim and a student of comparative religion, I am interested to know what is the Jewish notion of prophethood particularly pertaining to gentiles. I have come to know that Job and Bilaam were ...
2
votes
2answers
259 views

Will A Non Jew who did not keep the Noachide Laws be Held Accountable?

Will A Non Jew who did not keep the Noachide Laws be Held Accountable on yom hadin? After all, he can claim he didn't know anything about them. Maybe there is a difference between a gentile in ...
23
votes
1answer
220 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 ...
22
votes
5answers
650 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?
17
votes
8answers
933 views

How does “eilu v'eilu” work out with an absolute truth?

I'm under the impression that religious Judaism believes in absolute truths. That being the case, how does the concept of "eilu v'eilu divrei elokim chaim" (Eruvin 13b) work out? When two scholars ...
15
votes
4answers
2k views

If masturbation is so bad, why is it not in list of 613 Mitzvos?

If masturbation is, as stated in the Shulchan Oruch (Even HaEzer 23:1), "the worst sin in the Torah", then why is it not listed in any of the various lists of 613 Mitzvos and why is there no verse in ...
14
votes
5answers
447 views

Why do we still do chazarat hashatz?

This question assumes that the purpose of chazarat hashatz is to allow for those who were unable to say their own shmoneah esrei (assumedly due to Hebrew illiteracy) to fulfill their obligation to ...
14
votes
7answers
550 views

How did the moon shrink?

The Bavli, Chulin 60:2, says (in my own loose translation): Rabbi Shim'on ben Pazi noted a contradiction: [B'reshis 1:16] says, "God made the two big luminaries" and "the big luminary… and ...
14
votes
2answers
343 views

Answering Multiple People Saying Kaddish Out-Of-Sync

Many times there is more than one person saying Kaddish in shul. Unfortunately, because people say things at different speeds, and have trouble hearing each other across long distances, the Kaddish ...
14
votes
10answers
490 views

Yaakov Marrying Two Sisters

According to those that say the Avos kept the Torah beforehand (here), how was Yaakov allowed to marry two sisters? (Yes, I'm aware that there are many answers)
13
votes
4answers
222 views

Who is the voice of Tosafoth?

Tosafoth were the sons-in-law, grandchildren, and students of Rashi (and their students), and "they" wrote a commentary on the Talmud that is often at odds with Rashi's earlier commentary. Sometimes ...

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