12
votes
3answers
308 views

Understanding of Ps. 137 before the exile

Psalm 137 starts (in my own translation) On Babylon's rivers, there, we sat, also cried, in our remembering Zion. and continues to describe the scene. Ibn Ezra cites some who hold that David ...
12
votes
3answers
462 views

Nose Job in Halacha

Is a nose job allowed Hallachicly? Not all cosmetic surgeries, but rhinoplasty in particular, as I heard that rhinoplasty is allowed because we see by a Kohen that having an abnormally long nose is a ...
12
votes
1answer
573 views

Food in bathroom

Is one allowed to take food into the bathroom? I heard that the prohibiton is only on the type of bathroom used years ago.
11
votes
2answers
325 views

Why is Moshiach a “fundamental belief” (iqar)?

In what sense is belief in the eventual coming of Moshiach fundamental to Judaism? Rambam famously includes it as the twelfth in his list of iqarim, but why? Considering the other iqarim, Judaism ...
11
votes
1answer
260 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
2answers
483 views

What is the conceptual definition of tzniut?

When the concept of tzniut is discussed it is defined as 'modesty' and used overwhelmingly in regard to sexuality. However we know there are other uses for the term such as from the gemarah (Megillah ...
11
votes
2answers
318 views

What is a woman's obligation when it comes to T'fillah?

In Orthodox practice it is commonly thought that women are not obligated in T'fillah (parts of it anyway) due to its time-bound nature. However, what is a woman's obligation? Which prayers must she ...
11
votes
5answers
465 views

Existence of Heaven and Hell

I heard from a Jewish colleague that the concept of Heaven and Hell were not originally part of Judaism. I couldn't find references to these concepts in the Old Testament. So Were these part of ...
11
votes
3answers
509 views

Talis Gadol for Unmarried Individuals

In my minhag (and I believe it's minhag Ashkenaz), unmarried men do not wear a Talis Gadol (only a Talis Katan). Why is this so?
11
votes
11answers
344 views

How do you improve your Kavvanah [concentration]?

Building on my blog post here, I ask: How do you improve your concentration when davening?
11
votes
1answer
689 views

Drinking cold kosher beverages in a non-Jewish relative's house

Let's say you're staying at a non-Jewish relative's house. He bought you kosher food because he knows you keep kosher. He buys you a drink such as milk. You see him pour the drink for himself into his ...
10
votes
4answers
306 views

Why is the torah so misleading without the oral law

In parsha ki tetze (Devarim 22) it says if a man takes a wife, hates her, accuses her of not being a virgin, etc. Then the elders spread out the bedsheet to see if there is blood of virginity. If not, ...
10
votes
4answers
524 views

Why do men or boys have to cover their hair, but not unmarried women?

Whatever the reasons for covering hair (e.g. fear of heaven), they seem to equally apply to men and women. So why don't unmarried women have to cover their hair?
10
votes
1answer
155 views

Why are some bakashot made on Shabbat?

As I understand it, we don't make prayers of request (bakashot) on Shabbat (cf Rambam Shabbat 30:12). For that reason, we omit so many liturgical requests because of shabbos - e.g., Avinu Malkeinu, ...
10
votes
1answer
216 views

Electronic communication immediately before wedding

Is it permissible to chat with your future spouse during the week before the wedding when you are not supposed to see each other face to face? Are any, all, or none of the following permissible: ...
10
votes
2answers
287 views

Reading secular books on shabbat?

Which prominent halakhic authorities permit (or forbid) the reading of secular books, magazines, and newspapers from Friday evening until Saturday nightfall? Why? Is it uvda dechol? What if it is ...
10
votes
7answers
515 views

Why did G-d not stop the holocaust?

Why did G-d not stop the holocaust? Is there anything written to explain why He would not have stopped it? or why He would have allowed it?
10
votes
4answers
378 views

what are the limits of “mesira”?

It seems that most people have an idea that you cannot report a Jew to the non-Jewish authorities (police, government, etc) except for extreme circumstances (imminent danger, abuse, etc). However, ...
8
votes
2answers
581 views

If the label says O-U D, but the warning label for allery sufferers says “no dairy”, do we consider the product dairy or not?

I attended a fantastic lecture on kashrus and dairy products by Rabbi Zushe Yosef Blech, shlita, who was asked an interesting question: Can you eat Oreo cookies after a fleishig meal? It was pointed ...
8
votes
2answers
215 views

How could the numerals יה and יו be used irreverently?

I was told that in the sequence of numerals with Hebrew letters, the numbers 15 and 16 are rendered with טו and טז instead of יה and יו to prevent the tetragrammaton from being formed irreverently. ...
8
votes
5answers
335 views

Learning Hebrew on my own?

I am trying to learn Hebrew on my own. I currently am not in a position to be attending Hebrew classes, and I tend not to do so well in a classroom environment. I wish to learn biblical Hebrew ...
8
votes
4answers
671 views

Walking by an Automatic Door on Shabbos

Is one allowed to walk by an automatic door on Shabbos, if he/she has no benefit of the door opening (i.e. not walking in)? How does this case compare/contrast to the walking by an automatic light on ...
8
votes
3answers
189 views

What is the reason for שנים מקרא ואחד תרגום?

What is the reason for שנים מקרא ואחד תרגום? Why must it been done in that form of twice reading the verse and once reading the תרגום? The Gemara in ברכות דף ח states that one who does שנים מקרא ...
8
votes
3answers
245 views

Meforshim Nick"names

It has become common practice to refer to most meforshim by acronyms of their name (eg Rashi, Rosh, etc.). When and why did this practice start, and is it proper?
7
votes
2answers
970 views

Is it appropriate for a Gentile to attend and/or participate in a Seder?

The context: last year, I saw this sign that announced the time and place that a Jewish Seder (probably Yom Kippur) would happen. I was definitely curious and considered going and at least observing ...
7
votes
1answer
183 views

Origin of Spilling Wine by 10 Plagues

The custom among all Jews (as far as I know) is to spill a drip of wine for each of the plagues as they are mentioned in a list in the haggadah. This custom is not mentioned anywhere in the Talmud (as ...
7
votes
1answer
227 views

Does a tallis have to be of a certain color?

Are there any halachos which require a tallis to be of a certain color? I've seen talleisim of many different colors, but are there any actual rules with regard to the color as opposed to the ...
7
votes
2answers
298 views

Why when washing for bread do we splash twice?

Is there any particular reason the procedure for washing hands for bread includes pouring the water twice on each hand? Isn't once enough?
7
votes
4answers
262 views

Can you use Liquor to fulfill Ad Dlo Yoda?

Can you use liquor instead of wine for the mitzvah of Ad Dlo Yoda? Is there any Posek who allows you to be yotzeh specifically with Liquor?
7
votes
3answers
1k views

Mehadrin vs. Non Mehadrin

What's the difference between mehadrin and non-mehadrin certifications. (e.g. at http://www.kosherinjerusalem.com/where_to_eat/kosher-hotels)
7
votes
3answers
271 views

Double Yud as G-ds Name

What is the significance of the double Yud used as a stand-in for G-d's name?
6
votes
4answers
715 views

Why use Babylonian calendar instead of our own?

Why did the Hebrews not create their own calendar system instead of copying the pagan Babylonians'? I find it interesting that they use a pagan calendar which often honours pagan gods. Why is this ...
6
votes
1answer
450 views

How to Tear Kriyah

What is the proper procedure for tearing Kriyah (e.g. for Aveilus* or visiting the Kosel)? * May we never have to do so
6
votes
6answers
832 views

Is it forbidden for a woman to learn Gemara?

Is it forbidden for a woman to learn Gemara?
5
votes
3answers
876 views

How much is 2 Zuz worth in current USD?

As mentioned in the Passover Hagaddah, how much is "2 Zuz" worth in March 2013 US Dollars? Please note there may be different types of Zuz: "זוזי פשיטי" and "זוזי ממש" (Gemara Ketuvot 67a). This may ...
5
votes
3answers
418 views

Food cooked by woman during Niddah?

If according to my Bible translation - please correct me if it is wrong - anything a woman in niddah or a state of tumah, or 'impurity', touches or sits on becomes 'impure', can food cooked by her be ...
4
votes
2answers
205 views

Shachris in the Dark

When do people who live in places where it is dark for days Daven Shachris and put on Tefillin? Please provide a source (Mareh Makom).
3
votes
3answers
222 views

Does God benefit from our keeping of the Mitzvos?

Does Hashem benefit from mankind doing the commandments of the Torah?
3
votes
4answers
749 views

Advice for Lighting in a Sukkah

I'm seeking advice for safe, cost-effective lighting inside a Sukkah. My goals are: Minimize risk of fire. Even florescent lights can get hot enough to spark dry kindling in certain circumstances. ...
3
votes
2answers
291 views

Who says the Ribbono shel Olam in Birkas Kohanim?

I've "seen" many Talmidei Chachamim not saying the Ribbono shel Olams following each bracha of Birkas Kohanim. At least, I hear them chanting with the Kohanim from start to finish. Are these tefilos ...
3
votes
1answer
231 views

Sheimos in newspapers and parsha sheets

How should one dispose of Jewish newspapers, newsletters, children's parsha sheets, etc. that contain Divrei Torah? I believe some poskim require/allow it to be double wrapped and then left outside to ...
2
votes
2answers
236 views

Will A Non Jew who did not keep the Noachide Laws be Held Accountable?

Will A Non Jew who did not keep the Noachide Laws be Held Accountable on yom hadin? After all, he can claim he didn't know anything about them. Maybe there is a difference between a gentile in ...
17
votes
2answers
1k 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?
16
votes
2answers
435 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 ...
16
votes
5answers
481 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 ...
15
votes
3answers
612 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 ...
15
votes
7answers
447 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, ...
13
votes
3answers
25k views

Difference between Torah and the first five books in Christian bible [closed]

I know that basically, the first 6 5 books in Christian's Bible forms the Torah. However are there any subtle difference between torah and those books?
12
votes
4answers
458 views

Did the prophets practice magic?

The Torah clearly prohibits all forms of magic, which we might define as the achievement of any supernatural phenomenon. Yet we find many neviim, most blatantly Eliyahu and Elisha, achieving many ...
12
votes
3answers
1k views

Why is chicken “meat” (with regards to basar bechalav) and an egg not?

Why is chicken considered meat but fish is not? Also, why is an egg considered pareve? And if we can eat chicken eggs, why can't we eat caviar (fish eggs)?

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