17
votes
2answers
407 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
167 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
247 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
3answers
282 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
2answers
207 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?
17
votes
1answer
267 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 ...
17
votes
2answers
601 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 ...
17
votes
2answers
222 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 ...
17
votes
3answers
319 views

Anonymous glosses in the Shulchan Aruch

The Rama wrote a series of glosses to the Shulchan Aruch to reflect standard Ashkenazi practice, as the Shulchan Aruch was weighted towards the Sephardim. These glosses have been reprinted in almost ...
17
votes
1answer
579 views

How should we respond to objectionable content in a public forum?

The blessing and curse of sites like StackExchange is that everything happens in public. Sometimes someone will post something objectionable and it isn't possible to take the person aside for a ...
17
votes
1answer
230 views

Why, in double parshiyos, are the aliyos not simply combined in pairs?

Consider for example the double parshah Vayakhel-Pekudei. The aliyos from the two individual parshiyos are combined as follows: 2, 3, 1, 2, 1, 2, 3. (Meaning: the first two aliyos are combined into ...
17
votes
1answer
623 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 ...
17
votes
4answers
324 views

Why is a present day convert not obligated to read the Torah passage about the sacrifice he will have to bring in the future?

Rambam, Hilchot Issurei Biah 13:2 (English) tells us that a convert must do 3 things to complete the conversion process: circumcision immersion in a mikvah bringing a burnt offering The Rambam ...
17
votes
3answers
293 views

Will Tisha B'Av be pushed off in the future?

We have a tradition that Tisha B'Av will become a holiday in the time of Moshiach. Will that holiday also be nidcheh if it comes out on Shabbos?
16
votes
16answers
2k views

How can I curb my sexual desire?

I am looking for the best and most practical suggestion as to what a man can do to curb his yetzer hara (evil inclination) for sexual desire. Please provide sources for why your answer should be ...
16
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 ...
16
votes
6answers
441 views

Silent letter in Yisachar

Why don't we pronounce the second ש in יששכר?
16
votes
15answers
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
7answers
366 views

How would Har Sinai without the Torah have been enough?

In the Hagada of Peasach it says "even if he brought us to Har Sinai but didn't give us the Torah it would have been enough." What would be the purpose of going to Har Sinai if we didn't get the ...
16
votes
11answers
2k 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 - - ...
16
votes
4answers
2k views

Is there a list of Mitzvot and their corresponding body parts?

The Talmud (Makkot 23B)and the Zohar (1:170B - unverified English translation here) say that the 248 positive commandments correspond to the 248 limbs of the human body. (The Mishna (Ohalot 1:8) lists ...
16
votes
8answers
874 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 ...
16
votes
4answers
682 views

Are Animal Crackers depicting non-kosher animals non-kosher?

Are animal crackers that depict animals such as swine, lions, and camels treif?
16
votes
6answers
1k views

Why do some people wear their tzitzis out for people to see, and others don't?

Why do some people wear their tzitzis strings out for people to see, and others don't?
16
votes
8answers
1k views

Why are angelic icons not prominent in Judaism?

I learned that the song Shalom Aleichem is all about welcoming the Shabbat angels, and clearly angels are celebrated in Judaism. However I've noticed that images of angels are not very widespread in ...
16
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 ...
16
votes
6answers
931 views

Fish eaten with milk?

Is there any halachik problem with eating fish and milk together? (A classic example is a bagel with lox and cream cheese)
16
votes
4answers
3k 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?
16
votes
2answers
166 views

Hagalah in Denver?

In high-altitude cities, water boils at a lower temperature than the standard 212 degrees Farenheit. For example, in Denver the boiling point is about 203 degrees. Can one kasher utensils with hagalah ...
16
votes
5answers
745 views

Anyone who says these people sinned is mistaken. For real?

The Gemara (Talmud Bavli Shabbos 55b-56b) relates that several Biblical figures who, from the text itself, seemed to have sinned, in reality did not. These statements take the form of "כל האומר פלוני ...
16
votes
4answers
533 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
3answers
663 views

Does an ivory spoon make hot tea non-kosher?

Both the handles of cutlery and spoons entire have been made of elephant ivory, which is from a tusk (a tooth) of an elephant. Elephant is of course not a kosher animal. Presumably, then, these spoons ...
16
votes
4answers
2k views

Why are Shabbat loopholes a good thing?

I'm not Jewish but do know that strict observance of religious laws is important in Judaism. I recently visited one of our suppliers in Israel and the hotel and office block had sabbath elevators. ...
16
votes
8answers
4k 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 ...
16
votes
4answers
324 views

Kashrus status of turkeys

From what I have heard there were those that did not eat turkey (such as Rabbi Yaakov Kamenetzky Zatzal) due to a question whether we have a Mesorah as to the Kashrus of this bird. I know that many ...
16
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?
16
votes
1answer
885 views

Killing somebody with the keys to the synagogue

In Yoreh Deah 339:1, the mechaber brings a variety of things that one is not permitted to do to a goses (a person on the brink of death), since each of these things causes the goses to die sooner. ...
16
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 ...
16
votes
3answers
303 views

Do I have to forgive a repeat offender?

If somebody has repeatedly wronged me (in the same way) in the past, am I obligated to keep forgiving him if he asks? On the one hand, maybe this time he finally is really doing teshuva; on the other ...
16
votes
6answers
423 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?
16
votes
4answers
237 views

First time lighting Chanuka candles is on second night

If one didn't light Chanuka candles until the second night, how many candles should he light? According to the reason that we add a candle a night is "Maalin Bakodesh" (we always add in holiness), ...
16
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 ...
16
votes
7answers
623 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 ...
16
votes
3answers
581 views

Why must prophets be wealthy?

I was studying in Sefer Ha-Aggadah with a chevruta this morning and we came across a passage about prophets having to have certain qualities, including wealth. I followed the reference to Nedarim ...
16
votes
4answers
676 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.
16
votes
3answers
835 views

Why do we bow down in the direction of the ark?

This is a question I've had for many years, to which I've never received a satisfactory answer: In Hebrew school, we were taught that idolaters bowed to a idol of their god. They would claim that ...
16
votes
3answers
273 views

the aggadic concept of a finite number of words to speak

Is there any truth to the common claim that each person has a predetermined number of words that he can speak in his life? Source, please. If so, then how does it work? In particular (with sources or ...
16
votes
2answers
2k 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 ...
16
votes
2answers
587 views

Is one allowed to drink alcohol on regular weekdays?

Is it permissible to drink alcohol in any circumstance other than Holidays and Shabbat? Please cite sources. CYLOR.
16
votes
2answers
487 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 ...

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