7
votes
2answers
2k 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
3answers
482 views

Why does a Hamentash have three sides? [closed]

All Hamentashen that I've seen have three sides and all Hamentashen have filling. Why is that? This question is Purim Torah and is not intended to be taken completely seriously. See the Purim ...
7
votes
3answers
928 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
311 views

Saving a Life During Tefillah

If one is in middle of Shemoneh Esrei (which is the only part of Tefillah, I could think of where there might be a problem), and there is a life to be saved, is he/she allowed to interrupt the ...
7
votes
5answers
291 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?
6
votes
2answers
281 views

Will Moshiach know that he is Moshiach?

I am not asking how I will know who Moshiach is. My question is how will he know to do those things which will let me know who he is. And specifically, will he know long before his revelation that ...
6
votes
3answers
610 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
3answers
378 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 ...
5
votes
2answers
119 views

Is there such a thing as a Kaddish L'vatola?

In this answer there is a reference to a Kaddish that is better left unsaid as it is a Kaddish L'vatola. Kaddish does not seem to have anything in it which cannot be said in a vacuum. Is there any ...
5
votes
4answers
1k 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. ...
5
votes
1answer
677 views

Being a houseguest in a non-frum or non-Jewish home

I'm Jewish, so I have to keep many laws in mind. Kashrut, tefillin, yichud, kol isha, and more. When staying as a houseguest in a non-frum or non-Jewish home, what are some of the issues I might ...
5
votes
4answers
8k 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
1answer
362 views

Did Rashbi Write the Zohar?

In my experience, many religious Jews think that Rabbi Shimon Bar Yochai wrote the book we have today called the Zohar. The Zohar is a Jewish work of mysticism that was published in the 13th century. ...
4
votes
2answers
213 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
238 views

Does God benefit from our keeping of the Mitzvos?

Does Hashem benefit from mankind doing the commandments of the Torah?
3
votes
1answer
260 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 ...
3
votes
3answers
817 views

Attending non-frum event

Is it permissible to attend a non-frum event, such as a wedding or bar/bat mitzvah of a family member or friend?
2
votes
2answers
264 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 ...
23
votes
1answer
225 views

What do you do if you made a Tzedaka pledge and now the organization folded?

Recently a friend of mine asked me the following question. He pledged $500- to a Yeshiva, yet before he paid the pledge the Yeshiva closed. Does he still have to pay his pledge to another Tzedaka or ...
22
votes
5answers
675 views

Am I allowed to give my kid a non-Hebrew (non-Jewish?) name?

I'd seen some poster that said it's horribly wrong to ever give your kid a non-Jewish/non-Hebrew name. Is that the norm?
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
8answers
981 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 ...
15
votes
4answers
2k views

If masturbation is so bad, why is it not in list of 613 Mitzvos?

If masturbation is, as stated in the Shulchan Oruch (Even HaEzer 23:1), "the worst sin in the Torah", then why is it not listed in any of the various lists of 613 Mitzvos and why is there no verse in ...
14
votes
5answers
459 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 ...
14
votes
7answers
563 views

How did the moon shrink?

The Bavli, Chulin 60:2, says (in my own loose translation): Rabbi Shim'on ben Pazi noted a contradiction: [B'reshis 1:16] says, "God made the two big luminaries" and "the big luminary… and ...
14
votes
2answers
347 views

Answering Multiple People Saying Kaddish Out-Of-Sync

Many times there is more than one person saying Kaddish in shul. Unfortunately, because people say things at different speeds, and have trouble hearing each other across long distances, the Kaddish ...
14
votes
7answers
643 views

What is the source for the “Upsheirin”?

In some families/communities, little boys do not get their hair cut until they are three, and then there is a gathering for cutting their hair. The haircut is called an "upsheirin" or "chalakeh." ...
14
votes
10answers
495 views

Yaakov Marrying Two Sisters

According to those that say the Avos kept the Torah beforehand (here), how was Yaakov allowed to marry two sisters? (Yes, I'm aware that there are many answers)
13
votes
4answers
225 views

Who is the voice of Tosafoth?

Tosafoth were the sons-in-law, grandchildren, and students of Rashi (and their students), and "they" wrote a commentary on the Talmud that is often at odds with Rashi's earlier commentary. Sometimes ...
13
votes
2answers
324 views

Are Rabbeinu Tam's Tefillin really Rabbeinu Tam's Tefillin?

I once heard from a Sofer the shocking revelation that Rabbeinu Tam's Tefillin do not actually follow Rabbeinu Tam's opinion. Is that correct? Did I misunderstand? Are there any Soferim in our ...
12
votes
5answers
357 views

Plural of “Nafka Minah”

(Inspired by HodofHod's commment here: Four Holy Cities) What is the proper plural for the common Aramaic phrase Nafka Minah נפקא מינה which means something along the line of "practical differences"? ...
12
votes
3answers
451 views

Limits to Dina Dmalchusa Dina

What are the specifications of Dina Dimalchusah? A more targeted question to answer would be: If I ripped off the label of my mattress — the label that says its removal is punishable by federal ...
12
votes
4answers
467 views

Why is the idea of sefirot not shituf?

Why are the sefirot not considered a problem of Shituf? Is there anything wrong with believing in sefirot?
12
votes
5answers
860 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
4answers
979 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?
12
votes
5answers
508 views

Is one allowed to have a Thanksgiving Meal?

Is celebrating Thanksgiving with a formal sit down meal against Halacha?
11
votes
4answers
480 views

In regards to writing, can soda bottles be opened on Shabbos?

Specifically, when the writing - such as an expiration date - is printed in dot matrix style across the line between the bottle cap and the bottle cap's ring, what are the issues involved in opening ...
10
votes
2answers
716 views

Would a baalat teshuva need a get from each previous sexual relationship?

Would a baalat teshuva need a get from each previous sexual relationship? In light of the idea that marriage can be contracted solely through bi'ah/public knowledge of the couple's relationship (as ...
10
votes
2answers
860 views

Can the child of two converts marry a Cohen?

Can the child of two converts marry a Cohen? How does the situation differ if only the mother, or only the father, is a convert? (I have read that "ideally" the child of two converts should not ...
10
votes
2answers
341 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 ...
10
votes
4answers
373 views

Jewish names that are not common

Why is it that many names of Tanoim and Amoroim are not commonly used? These were big Tzadikkim yet their names are almost unheard of. For example Tarfon, Chisda, Pupa, Avtalion, etc.
9
votes
2answers
142 views

What level of understanding is required in “learning” for purposes of making a siyum?

When learning as part of a coordinated group siyum, what level of understanding of the material is expected/required? How do you know if you've done enough to fulfill the mitzvah? Is it about effort ...
9
votes
1answer
648 views

Halachic justification to not pray the amidah before zman t'filah?

Some Chassidic courts are not makpid (careful) to daven the morning Amidah before z'man tefilah, although this seems to be a clear halacha. Are there any opinions they are relying on? I was once told ...
9
votes
1answer
376 views

Do married men stop saying a bracha on their *tallit katan*?

This question concerns the Ashkenazic practice. I was always told that the tallit katan (worn under clothing, every day, starting in preschool years) got the bracha of al mitzvat tzitzit, but the ...
9
votes
4answers
400 views

Was Eisav Jewish?

Was Eisav Jewish? Eisav was born to the same father and mother as Yaakov. It may be possible to say that Yaakov was not Jewish either as it was before Matan Torah, however if Yaakov was Jewish, then ...
9
votes
2answers
287 views

Berachos over food mixtures

My breakfast regularly presents me with a beracha conundrum. It usually consists of a bowl of bran flakes (mezonos), often sprinkled with raisins (etz) and/or sunflower seeds (adama), and ...
9
votes
2answers
1k views

What is Maris Ayin?

What is the precise definition of Maris Ayin, and to what cases does it apply? (i.e. what are the parameters for applying it)
9
votes
2answers
306 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?
8
votes
1answer
288 views

*Asher Bamayim* (אשר במים) in kashrus halacha

To find the kashrus status of an organism, we first need to correctly classify it as plant, animal, bird, or asher bamayim*, as each group has its own distinct requirements. E.g., animals need to chew ...
8
votes
3answers
2k views

Sefira Restrictions During Chol Hamoed Pesach

For those who hold sefira from the first day until the thirty-third, are the restrictions in effect during chol hamoed? While you are not allowed to cut your hair even during chol hamoed Succos, can ...

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