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
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
351 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
5answers
11k views

Is there a problem with Triangle K? If so, what?

I want to know what the OU's or any other Orthodox kashrut agency's problem is with Triangle K. I have read about the Ralbag family which founded and runs the Triangle K and they are clearly Orthodox. ...
18
votes
2answers
220 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
2answers
669 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
737 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
243 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
1answer
673 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
466 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
372 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
493 views

Silent letter in Yisachar

Why don't we pronounce the second ש in יששכר?
17
votes
6answers
1k 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
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
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
897 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
491 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
400 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
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
4answers
926 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
7answers
929 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
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
4answers
412 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
535 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
878 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
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
507 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
3answers
373 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
262 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
5answers
568 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
2answers
837 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
1answer
422 views

What are the consequences of Vashti’s dual nature? [closed]

In Esther 1:9 we read, “ושתי המלכה עשתה משתי נשים” Vashti the queen was made of two women. Aside from being biologically surprising, what are the consequences of this in our understanding of the ...
17
votes
4answers
621 views

What is the source of the Magen Dovid (Star of David)?

What is the source of the Magen Dovid (Star of David) in Rabbinic Judaism? When was it first used, and for what?
17
votes
2answers
486 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?
17
votes
2answers
572 views

Is one allowed to have a tattoo of G-d's name removed?

Inspired by Dan's question , and requested by DoubleAA... If one got a tattoo of G-d's name, either in ignorance or in spite of the prohibition against tattooing, may one have it removed? Would this ...
17
votes
2answers
504 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
4answers
340 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
3answers
581 views

Should one induce vomiting upon realizing s/he just ate non-kosher?

I've heard several stories of people who ate something, realized it was non-kosher, and therefore induced vomiting. Is this halachically required? Recommended? Does it accomplish anything? (If not, ...
17
votes
2answers
185 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
2answers
269 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
2answers
2k 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
480 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
796 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 ...
17
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 ...
17
votes
1answer
297 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 ...

15 30 50 per page