15
votes
11answers
827 views

Garments that unintentionally require tzitzit

Have you ever encountered in the wild (i.e. owned, considered purchasing in a store, seen worn by an observant Jewish man) a garment that requires tzitzit but that was not made for them (i.e. not a ...
13
votes
1answer
819 views

How is gender halachically determined?

I apologize if this is a sensitive topic, but it seems that this question is foundational to some of the discussions that appear here. I hope that my wording is appropriate. If I understand ...
13
votes
1answer
423 views

Understanding discouragement of converts

Why do we discourage converts? I know that Naomi did so with Rus, but Moshe doesn't seem to do so with Yisro. Why wouldn't Judaism want to encourage converts? Furthermore is it a responsibility merely ...
11
votes
4answers
367 views

All you need is love?

I once had a Hebrew professor state with absolute determination that "Ahavah" (the Hebrew word for "love") does not, in fact, mean love. His proof was twofold: 1. G-d could not have commanded us to ...
11
votes
3answers
961 views

Maaser Deductibles

Are there any expenses that one is allowed to "deduct" from his income before calculating the amount of Maaser one must give? For example, if one makes a hundred thousand dollars a year, but his ...
11
votes
9answers
1k 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, ...
11
votes
6answers
947 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 ...
10
votes
4answers
860 views

Is cross-dressing permitted on Purim and if so why?

As part of dressing in costume on Purim is a person allowed to put on clothes normally worn by the opposite gender? If so, where does this heter come from in the face of the biblical prohibition ...
9
votes
4answers
403 views

Continuing to drink a Beverage after Birchas HaMazon?

Perhaps this is a simple matter that I should be embarrassed not to know (which I am even if it isn't because I need to learn hilchos b'rachos better and always forget to look this question up) ...
9
votes
2answers
242 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
6answers
2k views

Good books for non-Jews who are interested in understanding Judaism, especially branches of Orthodox judaism

I have found that the first thing to do when you want to learn something about a subject, is to start with the idea that you know absolutely nothing. I understand, for example, that Judaism has ...
8
votes
4answers
466 views

Relations with messianists

Do any rabbis comment on how to relate to members of the subset of Chabad who believe that the Rebbe Menachem Mendel Schneerson zt"l was the Messiah? For example, do non-messianist Orthodox rabbis ...
8
votes
3answers
396 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
3answers
3k views

Rainbow as a bad omen

There is a popular idea that seeing a rainbow is a bad sign, as if the world is deserving of a deluge (c"v) and the only reason Hashem does not do so is because of His promise. Is there any source for ...
8
votes
1answer
337 views

A Lubavitch custom of reciting zecher and zeicher in “Ashrei”?

My cousin, a Lubavitcher, says both zecher and zeicher (that is, both זֶכֶר with a segol and זֵכֶר with a tzeire) in "Ashrei". I noticed this when I visited him a good few years ago, and assumed it ...
7
votes
3answers
459 views

Is there any precedent to read the first 11 chapters of Genesis as metaphorical?

I believe this will be related to a similar question about a statement by Rabbi Sacks. Rabbi Jeremy Wieder said in a lecture titled Non Literal Interpretation of Scripture in Jewish Tradition (and ...
7
votes
3answers
1k views

Is maaser calculated pre-tax or after-tax?

I have heard different opinions concerning whether taxes can be deducted before calculating maaser. It is logical to me that if you cannot deduct your expense to live in your house, you shouldn't be ...
7
votes
3answers
674 views

Rambam on Olam Haba, Mashiach, and Techiyat haMeitim

Could somebody explain to me briefly what the Rambam's opinion is about the sequence of events with Olam HaBa, the Mashiach and Techiyat haMeitim? It seems that he's saying that when a person dies ...
6
votes
3answers
724 views

Can a prophet add to or change the Torah?

Is it possible for a prophet to add to the Torah, or change any of it? Can a prophet say that God has told him that certain parts no longer apply or are wrong? How do we know?
6
votes
1answer
366 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 ...
6
votes
3answers
325 views

“Amen” to informal blessings and wishes

There are various strict rules regulating the manner and timing of saying "Amen" following a blesing. In fact, the Gemara (Berachot 47a) lists some pretty severe punishments for people who violate ...
6
votes
4answers
11k views

Rules for Cutting Nails

My question about nail-cutting is whether each of the following is halacha, minhag, or old-wives' tales. Not cutting both fingernails and toenails on the same day. Not cutting nails at night (is ...
4
votes
4answers
1k views

Matrilineal Descent

I have heard that matrilineal descent (i.e. having Judaism passed down through the mother) comes from the Roman period when women were raped by Roman soldiers and the babies were then said to be ...
21
votes
6answers
15k 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. ...
19
votes
5answers
953 views

Did the Rambam believe in magic?

If you read through Chapter 11 of the Rambam's laws on Idol Worship, you'll see what seems to be the Rambam forbidding anything that even resembles magic, all while calling such practices foolish and ...
15
votes
2answers
2k views

How many of the 613 Mitzvos can we do only in Israel?

There are many Mitzvos we can not do in today's generation. For example there are no Korbonos, no slaves, etc. Per the Chofetz Chaim, there are 77 positive Mitzvos and 194 negative Mitzvos which can ...
14
votes
2answers
487 views

Stacking Seforim

Are we allowed to place less holy seforim on top of more holy seforim? I believe that the consensus is that you are only allowed to stack seforim in chronological order from top to bottom (e.g., ...
14
votes
1answer
337 views

Woman and Zimun: What is the requirement?

What is a woman's requirement to say Bircat Hamazon with a Zimun of women? What is a woman's requirement to say Bircat Hamazon with a Zimun of men?
14
votes
4answers
457 views

Commencing Shabbos: Shkiya behind a mountain

It is common practice nowadays for Shuls to publish the zmanim (times) to begin Shabbos (the Sabbath) and other activities. These times, it would seem, are based upon standard calculations of sunrise ...
13
votes
4answers
1k views

Sources For Listening To/Not Listening to Non-Jewish Music

What are sources for it being allowed to listen to non-Jewish music and sources for it being prohibited?
13
votes
5answers
625 views

Is one allowed to have a Thanksgiving Meal?

Is celebrating Thanksgiving with a formal sit down meal against Halacha?
12
votes
3answers
476 views

Yerushalmi Versus Bavli in Halacha

The halacha we have today is mostly sourced in Talmud Bavli(the Babylonian Talmud),Medrash and Zohar. I would like to know what Halachot in which we rule according to the Yerushalmi (the Jerusalem ...
12
votes
5answers
1k views

Why does the Tefilin Shel Yad have a protective cover?

When you purchase Tefilin, the Tefilin Shel Yad has a protective cover. Why? Is it Halachically necessary?
12
votes
6answers
832 views

Mezonos ? Bread

Is there such a thing as Mezonos bread?
11
votes
2answers
416 views

Tevilat Keilim on a gift

If I buy a food-utensil from a gentile to give as a gift to a Jew, can I tovel it before giving it to him, or must he do it himself as the final intended owner? Is there a difference between glass and ...
11
votes
1answer
1k views

how does one do hechi kedusha?

I am interested in two cases: 1) the congregation is davening mincha in a rush, and doing a "hechi kedusha" (btw, what is the etymology of this phrase) 2) an individual arrives late for mincha and is ...
11
votes
2answers
388 views

Jewish definition of a charity

I know that Jews are supossed to give 10% of their income to charity, but what constitutes a charity? I know that Shuls, jewish schools and poor people in your community count, but what about secular ...
10
votes
7answers
487 views

Is there a resource that shows all uses of a Tanach verse in the Talmud?

Is there a website or book that can tell me all the places in Shas where a certain pasuk is mentioned or referenced? (Preferably website, and preferably can show places in Midrash, too.)
10
votes
1answer
246 views

Group coordination for a siyum

My understanding is that a siyum should be made on the last bit of the text being studied. Thus, if the entire Mishna (all six "orders") is studied for someone's yahrzeit, the last mishna (individual ...
10
votes
2answers
177 views

Dealing with Other Minyanim

Many times I find myself davening in one Minyan while another is taking place within earshot. What is the proper way to handle such a situation (in terms of answering Amens, Kedusha, etc.)?
10
votes
2answers
173 views

verb + its infinitive

Many, many times in Tanach, including Chumash, a verb has its infinitive nearby. Examples include B'reshis 2:16 מִכֹּל עֵץ הַגָּן אָכֹל תֹּאכֵל (I think that's the first example in Chumash) and ...
9
votes
2answers
423 views

Do photocopies of torah need to be put in shaimos?

Do photocopied sheets (such as chumash or gemara) need to be put in sheimos or can they be thrown straight into the garbage?
7
votes
1answer
291 views

Davening in front of a picture of 'Avodah Zarah

This afternoon I found myself Davening in a classroom. It must have been a comparative cultures type of class, judging by the items that were hanging on the walls - posters and artwork and such. As I ...
7
votes
3answers
745 views

Being Shaliach Tzibbur in a Congregation with a different Nusach

In Yalkut Yosef OC 101:10 rules that a Sephardi who is davening in an Ashkenazi minyan should not daven Nusach Ashkenaz as shaliach tzibbur. He can only be shaliach tzibbur if the minyan agrees to let ...
6
votes
2answers
468 views

How can I know a rav has daas Torah

I have been privileged to know rabbis of great wisdom and knowledge who could address my issues with unique and helpful insights through the prism of Torah. I always understood them to have "daas ...
5
votes
3answers
2k views

Why are Jews so meticulous about not saying/writing “god”?

Why are Jews so meticulous about not saying/writing "god"? I see all sorts of words around, like "G-d", "lord", etc., but they all mean exactly the same thing. It's not like the halacha has a list of ...
5
votes
5answers
721 views

Chabad custom of not allowing water to touch matzah on Pesach

What is the origin of this custom? This must be fairly recent and "Lubavitch-specific", because my grandparents, who were very observant, always had matzah ball soup and fried matzah with eggs for ...
5
votes
3answers
7k views

Why isn't eating milk with chicken kosher?

I remember learning that the reason you don't eat milk with beef is because you shouldn't cook a calf in its mother's milk. However, when you are dealing with two different species, this same logic ...
4
votes
2answers
168 views

Who were members of Beth Shammai?

I know Rav Eliezer was one, but do we know other members of Beth Shammai?
4
votes
2answers
763 views

Source for long payos

Where is there a source for having long payos ,and if there are sources what is the oldest source.? I am talking about the extra length besides for the halachic necessity. Like behind the ears or ...

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