15
votes
1answer
890 views

Meaning of “bidi-bidi-bum”

In Fiddler on the Roof, in Tevye's song "If I Were a Rich Man," there is a line "all day long I'd bidi-bidi-bum." According to Wikipedia this is a reference to prayer. A repeated phrase ...
15
votes
8answers
3k views

Is there a short Daf Yomi shiur online in English?

There is a short, 10-minute daf yomi shiur in Hebrew here: http://www.sinai.org.il/ and I was wondering if there is anything comparable in English. I'm looking for a Daf Yomi shiur online that is ...
15
votes
4answers
1k views

Shaking hands with the opposite gender?

What's the story: Can a man shake hands with a woman (or vice versa) in a business setting?
15
votes
2answers
154 views

Why did Yonatan arrange the secret arrow sign with David?

In Shmuel Alef (20, 20-22) Yonatan arranges a whole scheme to secretly inform David whether or not it's safe for him to return. However, after the sign is given that it's not safe (20, 40), Yonatan ...
15
votes
4answers
517 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 ...
15
votes
6answers
393 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?
15
votes
1answer
1k views

You accidentally broke your fast*. Now what?

What are you supposed to do if you inadvertently broke your fast*? Do you: keep going; extend it (if so, how long); cancel it (if so, do you make it up a different day)? *This question is for ...
15
votes
4answers
324 views

How to reconcile the possibility that Rashi had a slightly different text of the Torah

In the Parshah of Chayei Sara, in Bereishis 25:6, there is a Posuk that refers to הפילגשים - "the concubines". Rashi expounds that since the word is missing a Yud, it must be a reference to the fact ...
15
votes
7answers
552 views

Eating Meat: What Changed?

Adam wasn't allowed to eat meat. After the mabul (Flood) we were suddenly permitted to eat (Bereshit 9:3). What changed (ie what was the reason we weren't allowed to before, why are we allowed to now ...
15
votes
2answers
953 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 ...
15
votes
3answers
307 views

Adoptee a Cohen or Levi?

If a Cohen or Levi adopts a non-Jew, upon their conversion are they a Cohen or Levi as well or are they a Yisroel?
15
votes
4answers
601 views

Is there any evidence that Rabbi Akiva's students fought alongside Bar Kochba?

Various sources say that "12,000 pairs" of Rabbi Akiva's students died between Pesach and Shavuos because they did not treat each other with respect. See Genesis Rabba 61:3, Ecclesiastes Rabba 11, ...
15
votes
3answers
309 views

Can I cause a Melacha to happen in a place where Shabbat has already started?

For example, if I live in New York, could I send a fax (causing the machine to print a document) to Israel on Friday afternoon, before it is Shabbat for me, but after Shabbat has started there?
15
votes
3answers
391 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 ...
15
votes
4answers
577 views

Gezeira of Rabbeinu Gershom text

Does anyone know where I can find the actual text of the Gezeira of Rabbeinu Gershom? It keeps popping up in my learning, but only as being referenced, I would like to read that actual text.
15
votes
2answers
1k views

Apologetics for marriage at 3 years old

Are there contemporary apologetics for the Mishnah (Niddah 44b) that a girl of the age of 3 can be married by sexual relations? (It seems difficult to accept that such a thing is even allowed in ...
15
votes
2answers
388 views

Halachot of Shul Mechitzas

What are some good books, articles, websites, or seforim for learning about the Halachot of constructing and maintaining a Shul Mechitza (the barrier between the men and women sections)? Issues ...
15
votes
8answers
1k views

Phrasing of refuah prayer when praying for a non-Jew

How would you phrase a refuah (recovery from illness) tefillah (prayer) for a sick gentile? "Thomas ben [=son of] Mary"? "Thomas Smith"? Is it appropriate to include the name during the ...
15
votes
3answers
629 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 ...
15
votes
1answer
286 views

Is a convert obliged to honor his parents?

Is a convert obliged to honor his parents? I understand that a convert loses all halakhic relationship to his parents upon being "reborn." Therefore, does the mitzvah of kibud av va'eim still apply?
15
votes
1answer
296 views

The new TSA airport scanners and tznius

Is it OK as per Halacha to go through the new TSA scanners where they see you as if you are naked?
15
votes
5answers
706 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 ...
15
votes
3answers
244 views

The Mitzva of Peru U'Revu (Reproduction) - when does it start?

The first commandment in the Torah is Peru U'Revu, the commandment to "be fruitful and multiply" (Bereshit 1:28). When does the obligation to fulfill this commandment begin? Does the Mitzva of Peru ...
15
votes
3answers
612 views

What Bracha should you say on a Hurricane?

What Bracha should you say on a hurricane? Oseh Ma'aseh Vereishis? You say Birchas Gomel if you travel over the sea; do you also say it if the sea travels over you?
15
votes
1answer
290 views

Why don't people bentch on a kos nowadays?

Bentching with a kos (recite Grace after Meals with a cup of wine) was clearly a popular thing to do in the times of the gemara. Additionally many Ashkenazi rishonim (Rosh, Ri, and many other ...
15
votes
1answer
293 views

Who is Moshiach?

How do I know that someone is Moshiach? Will I just know? Are there requirements? If someone tells me that he is the Moshiach, is he to be believed. It would seem seem strange to say so.
15
votes
4answers
1k 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 ...
15
votes
4answers
363 views

Train ticket not collected: destroy?

Assuming a train line where single-ride tickets are normally collected or cancelled manually by train crew circulating among seated passengers, and it is physically possible to use them later if they ...
15
votes
2answers
198 views

Making the Kohen's Gesture

Is it forbidden for a non-Kohen to form the hand formation that Kohanim use during their priestly blessings?
15
votes
1answer
392 views

Under what conditions may a Jew participate in the Biblical Hermeneutics SE site if it says it's doctrine-neutral?

Stack Exchange has a Biblical Hermeneutics site, which is "for anyone who wants to know what a Biblical text means (exegesis) using the techniques or rules of interpretation (hermeneutics)". From the ...
15
votes
3answers
309 views

Can I lend out a Library Book?

I just borrowed a wonderful book from the local library (let's assume Jewish library - but does it matter?). My friend sees the book and wants to read it. My library lets me keep the book for a week, ...
15
votes
1answer
159 views

Why do we open the ark for important prayers?

What is the origin of the custom of opening the ark for important prayers (not connected with the need to take out the Torah scroll)?
15
votes
2answers
315 views

Can anyone explain the meaning of this amulet / inscription?

Right before my grandfather went away to fight in WWII, a rabbi in Munkács (מונקאטש) gave him a small cloth container that had a piece of parchment in it, as a kind of amulet. The piece of paper has ...
15
votes
1answer
431 views

Blessing the Children on Friday Night

I have noticed that many families (including my own) have the custom for the father to bless all the children on Friday night before kiddush. When and where did this custom originate, and by whom, ...
15
votes
1answer
306 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 ...
15
votes
2answers
140 views

What defines a country to be a legitimate country?

There are a few Halachas that apply to a Jew's relationship with his country. For example, Dina Dmalchusa, another is not to rebel (although its Halachic strength is disputed, all agree that under ...
15
votes
2answers
382 views

How do you pray for a sick baby who has not yet been named?

Is it possible to say a Mi SheBerach for a sick baby who has not yet been named? If so, how is it done? And if one cannot say a Mi SheBerach, is there another prayer that can be said? What if there ...
15
votes
1answer
683 views

What was daily life like for Jewish women living in al-Andalus in the 10th/11th centuries?

The emir of Al-Andalus (approximately the Iberian peninsula) declared himself a new caliph, breaking off from the caliphate in the east, circa 950 CE. I have read that the next couple hundred years ...
15
votes
1answer
177 views

Yichud in a dorm like situation

I was wondering if yichud is an issue in a situation like one that might arise on a college campus in an all girls dorm (apartment style- the building is mixed but each apartment is separate) if one ...
15
votes
1answer
367 views

When did Matza become dry?

It's pretty commonly accepted that Matza used to be soft (sort of like a tortilla) and was used by Hillel to make a wrap (not a sandwich). When did this change in various geographic locations which ...
15
votes
1answer
112 views

Is the hadran a shevua?

When you say the hadran after finishing a mesechta are you making a promise to do so? Should you omit the hadran if you have no plans of ever returning to study that gemara again?
15
votes
2answers
440 views

What was wrong with the word Talmud?

The Wikipedia article on The Talmud says: and Pope Pius IV commanded, in 1565, that the Talmud be deprived of its very name. The convention of referring to the work as "Shas" (shishah sidre ...
15
votes
4answers
703 views

How can pigs and shellfish be kosher for bnei Noach?

As a ben Noach, I watch what meat I eat. I eat kosher or halal cut meat only. However, I think that bnei Noach aren't forbidden from eating pig meat or shellfish. How would I make sure that such meat ...
15
votes
9answers
1k views

How are pre-creation >4000 BCE human civilization and pre-flood >2300 BCE civilizations that continued reconciled with Judaism?

How does human history fit in with the Torah's timeline? Not even worrying about why the universe and Earth look so old, there is extensive evidence of a human population and human civilizations from ...
14
votes
7answers
1k views

How does Judaism deal with God and paradoxes?

How does Judaism deal with paradoxes relating to the omnipotence of God? For example: Can God create a rock that he himself cannot lift?
14
votes
6answers
953 views

Is there “Torah Inerrancy”?

Is there Torah inerrancy? In other words, does the Torah contain no factual errors: the Noah flood did occur, Garden of Eden did exist, Adam and Eve did live there and were subsequently expelled, etc ...
14
votes
13answers
761 views

About what were rabbis ahead of the times?

I have heard claims that experts in the world of Torah were significantly ahead of their counterparts in the world of natural science (or mathematics, or psychology, or…) in that they knew X ...
14
votes
2answers
3k views

All people in world are Jews?

According to the Book of Genesis, Noah saved his family and representatives of every animal from a flood by constructing a boat. So since all of humanity should be descended from Noah, does that mean ...
14
votes
4answers
610 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 ...
14
votes
3answers
417 views

Saying “I love you” during nidda

While a woman is nidda and she and her husband are observing harchakot, is it permitted for them to tell each other, "I love you," or is that too suggestive of a statement for the nidda period?

15 30 50 per page