18
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. (This question is not about the newer ones with touch screens.) If left unused it ...
18
votes
4answers
640 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 ...
18
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?
18
votes
2answers
4k views

Bracha for Quinoa

What Bracha do you make on Quinoa?
18
votes
3answers
2k 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, ...
18
votes
2answers
502 views

Why do we say Mazel Tov? Shouldn't we thank Hashem?

Why do we say "Mazel Tov" when something good happens to a person? Doesn't that mean "good luck?" Are we saying that what happened, happened because of luck?
18
votes
1answer
439 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?
18
votes
3answers
1k views

What halachic issues are involved in turning off a mobile phone while praying the quiet Amidah?

A person realises during his quiet Amidah, that he has not turned off his mobile phone. He is worried lest it ring while he is praying. On the other hand, turning it off will interfere with his ...
18
votes
1answer
359 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?
18
votes
2answers
822 views

Is it forbidden to wear a snap-brim Borsalino fedora on Shabbos?

The Talmud, at Shabbos 138b, presents the opinion that one may not wear a siyana -- which Rashi defines as a wide-brimmed hat — on Shabbos if it has a brim that is one tefach (hand-bredth) wide ...
18
votes
2answers
222 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?
18
votes
3answers
1k views

Bli Neder Loophole

Who came up with the Bli Neder loophole of: Bli neder I will help you do X Or Bli neder I will etc... And the list can go on and on. Who came up with addingBli Neder which basically means ...
18
votes
1answer
310 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 ...
18
votes
2answers
686 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 ...
18
votes
3answers
758 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 ...
18
votes
2answers
248 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 ...
18
votes
2answers
290 views

Does Jewish Law Recognize Bankruptcy?

If someone borrowed money and then declared bankruptcy, does he still have a halachic obligation to pay it back? If the lender was a corporation (bank, etc.). If the lender was a friend. Do we say ...
18
votes
1answer
685 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 ...
18
votes
1answer
479 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 ...
18
votes
1answer
379 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
10answers
8k views

What is the Torah preferred brand of cell phone? [closed]

I have heard of Kosher phones. What do the classic sources (preferably Rishonim or earlier) say about the preferred type and brand of cell phone? This question is Purim Torah and is not intended ...
17
votes
6answers
507 views

Silent letter in Yisachar

Why don't we pronounce the second ש in יששכר?
17
votes
6answers
2k 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 ...
17
votes
6answers
1k views

does one have to take a Midrash/Aggadah literally?

Does one have to take a Midrash/Aggadah literally?
17
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 ...
17
votes
6answers
663 views

Is the observance of Jewish law/tradition “all or nothing”?

Sometimes my job gets in the way of my observance of Jewish holidays. I often need to work on Saturdays or late on Fridays, inhibiting my ability to attend synagogue on Shabbat. Sometimes I am ...
17
votes
11answers
3k views

Talmud Study, Where to start

I would like to start to study Talmud, BUT do not know how, where to start. My Jewish training is basically non-existent. I learned how to read the Hebrew words in the Siddur, Machzor, and Chumash - - ...
17
votes
9answers
924 views

Why did Avraham take gifts from Pharaoh, but not the King of Sodom?

In Bereshit 12:11-16, we see that Avraham was willing to receive gifts from Pharoah: 11 And it came to pass, when he was come near to enter into Egypt, that he said unto Sarai his wife: 'Behold ...
17
votes
8answers
1k 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 ...
17
votes
5answers
501 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 ...
17
votes
4answers
4k views

Why are women unclean longer after giving birth to a girl?

I read that women are unclean for two weeks after giving birth to a girl and seven days after giving birth to a boy. What does it tell us?
17
votes
6answers
405 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 ...
17
votes
7answers
963 views

Am I liable to be stoned for my devotion to Hashem and the Jewish people?

I have spent over 2 years to this day praying for the Jewish people from the Koren Siddur and Machzorim. I have with my Rebbe's help tried to follow Jewish customs and laws, to my best ability. ...
17
votes
4answers
997 views

Why Yehoshua **Bin** Nun and not Yehoshua **Ben** Nun

The Torah refers to Yehoshua as Yehoshua Bin Nun. (See here for an example). Why Bin Nun and not Ben Nun? Are there any places in Tanach where he is referred to as Ben Nun? Is there anyone else in ...
17
votes
1answer
1k 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 ...
17
votes
7answers
522 views

What justifications are there for not moving to Eretz Yisrael?

The Gemara in many places is clear that there is some level of mitzvah to live in Israel. This is also the accepted consensus among the rishonim. In the past, it was very difficult to move to Israel, ...
17
votes
4answers
460 views

Did courts ever execute?

The laws of capital crimes elucidated in Sanhedrin and elsewhere make conviction very unlikely. Makkot 1:10 famously tells us that a court that executes once in seven years is bloodthirsty, R. ...
17
votes
13answers
1k views

What are the oldest Jewish songs (tune plus words) that are still popular today?

When I say "song", I mean the combination of tune and words; and yes I'm probably thinking Ashkenazically here. It seems like any European old-timer I've met knows the "good old fashioned" tune for ...
17
votes
3answers
606 views

Is Pork, Camel, and the like Fleishig?

If one somehow consumed meat of a non-kosher species such as camel or pork (e.g. life-threatening illness, or by accident), does s/he become Fleishig? Why or why not?
17
votes
4answers
420 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 ...
17
votes
4answers
555 views

Is it permissible to use an escalator on Shabbos?

Escalators: Are they allowed to be used on Shabbos or not? (and the reasons behind it)
17
votes
6answers
907 views

Halakhic International Date Line issues

According to halakha, where is the international date line? More specifically, I have heard that some people say you should observe Shabbat on Sunday in Japan & New Zealand and/or on Friday in ...
17
votes
5answers
304 views

What is the nature of the numeral “ashtei-asar” (11)?

What is the nature of the numeral ashtei-asar (meaning 11) as in (BeMidbar 29:20, Parashat Pinchas): וּבַיּוֹם הַשְּׁלִישִׁי פָּרִים עַשְׁתֵּי-עָשָׂר What is the basic word? Is this using ...
17
votes
7answers
1k views

Why are women exempt from (many) time-bound mitzvot?

I have heard two reasons for women being exempt from time-bound mitzvot and both seem problematic, so either there are additional explanations or I am not properly understanding these two: Women ...
17
votes
5answers
520 views

Can we argue with gedolim when we are sure that we are right?

I recently saw a teshuva by Rabbi Moshe Feinstein, Ohrach Chaim Volume 1 Teshuva 109, that quotes a letter from Rabbi Menashe Klein asking a question on Rabbi Moshe's psak but saying that he does not ...
17
votes
5answers
583 views

Why do music tapes and CDs warn about playing on Shabbos?

I have seen written on almost every music CD and Cassette Tape that I have in my house the line: Please do not play on Shabbos and Yom Tov I've always wondered if this is really necessary. Does ...
17
votes
2answers
2k 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
3answers
380 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?
17
votes
8answers
2k 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 ...
17
votes
3answers
265 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?

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