17
votes
1answer
198 views

Why do we open the ark for important prayers?

What is the origin of the custom of opening the ark for important prayers (not connected with the need to take out the Torah scroll)?
17
votes
3answers
326 views

Can I lend out a Library Book?

I just borrowed a wonderful book from the local library (let's assume Jewish library - but does it matter?). My friend sees the book and wants to read it. My library lets me keep the book for a week, ...
17
votes
3answers
369 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
2answers
223 views

What defines a country to be a legitimate country?

There are a few Halachas that apply to a Jew's relationship with his country. For example, Dina Dmalchusa, another is not to rebel (although its Halachic strength is disputed, all agree that under ...
17
votes
1answer
596 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
260 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
2answers
279 views

Does Jewish Law Recognize Bankruptcy?

If someone borrowed money and then declared bankruptcy, does he still have a halachic obligation to pay it back? If the lender was a corporation (bank, etc.). If the lender was a friend. Do we say ...
17
votes
2answers
493 views

What was wrong with the word Talmud?

The Wikipedia article on The Talmud says: and Pope Pius IV commanded, in 1565, that the Talmud be deprived of its very name. The convention of referring to the work as "Shas" (shishah sidre ...
17
votes
1answer
276 views

Can you learn from seforim written by someone who believed in Shabbetai Tzvi?

During the times of false messiah Shabbetai Tzvi, and for several decades afterwards, many well established rabbanim [1] believed him to be Moshiach. Some even maintained this belief after his ...
17
votes
4answers
347 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
301 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
19answers
3k 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
7answers
1k views

How does Judaism deal with God and paradoxes?

How does Judaism deal with paradoxes relating to the omnipotence of God? For example: Can God create a rock that he himself cannot lift?
16
votes
7answers
4k views

PTIJ: If a tree falls in a forest and no one is around to hear it, does it make a sound? [closed]

The classic philosophical question: If a tree falls in a forest and no one is around to hear it, does it make a sound? So, according to Purim Torah Judaism, does it? Sources please. ;) This ...
16
votes
10answers
1k views

Baal Teshuva — Interested in both Chabad and Breslov, now what?

I became a baal tshuva quite some time ago through the "yeshivish" derech, but for the last number of years have been becoming less and less religious, and losing enthusiasm and interest in Judaism. ...
16
votes
6answers
970 views

does one have to take a Midrash/Aggadah literally?

Does one have to take a Midrash/Aggadah literally?
16
votes
2answers
2k views

Does Judaism have a concept of holy text literalism?

Apologies if this is an ignorant, foolish or offensive question. I am not Jewish, and am asking to satisfy my curiosity. Some time ago, on a political forum online, I was discussing religious ...
16
votes
7answers
411 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
6answers
653 views

Is the observance of Jewish law/tradition “all or nothing”?

Sometimes my job gets in the way of my observance of Jewish holidays. I often need to work on Saturdays or late on Fridays, inhibiting my ability to attend synagogue on Shabbat. Sometimes I am ...
16
votes
4answers
788 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
7answers
1k views

Sheidim, fact or fiction?

Are there really such thing as sheidim? If so, what are they? Please include sources.
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
7answers
443 views

What do you do with Kos Shel Eliyahu

The Minhag is to fill up an additional cup towards the end of the seder known as Kos Shel Eliyahu. I was just wondering what the various minhagim are as to what to do with it after the seder is over.
16
votes
3answers
4k views

Is it acceptable under kashrut to eat tyrannosauridae meat?

Theoretically speaking, if tyrannosaurs were still present these days, or in some way or another brought back, would they be kosher? Let's assume that they are properly slaughtered and prepared.
16
votes
7answers
515 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, ...
16
votes
4answers
449 views

Did courts ever execute?

The laws of capital crimes elucidated in Sanhedrin and elsewhere make conviction very unlikely. Makkot 1:10 famously tells us that a court that executes once in seven years is bloodthirsty, R. ...
16
votes
6answers
1k 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
652 views

Shape of the Luchot

According to the Talmud in Bava Batra 14a, the Luchot HabBerit were square. Where did the common "tablet" shape come from, with rectangles and a rounded top? Besides in pictures, I see it in ...
16
votes
5answers
832 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
2answers
174 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
4answers
618 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
4answers
2k views

Is it muttar to whistle?

Is it allowed for a Jew to whistle? If yes, is it even allowed on Shabbos? If no, why not? Has anyone ever heard that if one whistles at night, that it attracts sheidim and mazikin? And what are the ...
16
votes
5answers
1k views

Minimum Age to Learn Kabbalah?

How old do you have to be to learn Kabbalah? (I think its 60 ) but it seems everyone learns it anyway (Maharal, Chassidus). Is there a defense or is it just done?
16
votes
2answers
177 views

Why did Yonatan arrange the secret arrow sign with David?

In Shmuel Alef (20, 20-22) Yonatan arranges a whole scheme to secretly inform David whether or not it's safe for him to return. However, after the sign is given that it's not safe (20, 40), Yonatan ...
16
votes
3answers
585 views

Is Pork, Camel, and the like Fleishig?

If one somehow consumed meat of a non-kosher species such as camel or pork (e.g. life-threatening illness, or by accident), does s/he become Fleishig? Why or why not?
16
votes
3answers
698 views

Shomer Negiah without direct contact?

An interesting thought crossed my mind: does shomer negiah specifically only relate to direct, physical contact, or does it additionally extend to cover cases where there is no direct touch? Though ...
16
votes
5answers
808 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
2answers
1k views

Is this the Chofetz Chaim?

What is the story behind this picture being known as the image of the great Rabbi Yisrael Meir Kagan(Chafetz Chaim)? Is it him in fact? Where does it come from? The only true picture (that I am ...
16
votes
3answers
852 views

Inviting a non-observant Jew on Shabbat or Yom Tov

Can I invite a Jew for a meal on Shabbat or Yom Tov if I know they will drive to my house?
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
6answers
461 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
6answers
2k views

If a pig was genetically modified to chew its cud, would it be kosher?

If they were to genetically modify a pig to chew its cud, would it be kosher?
16
votes
1answer
903 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
4answers
244 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
3answers
325 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
2answers
543 views

What is the oldest manuscript of Torah Shebaal Peh?

We don't have (and more's the pity!) R' Yehudah Hanassi's autograph copy of the Mishnah (well, okay, it's a controversial issue whether he actually wrote it or only arranged it orally), or Ravina and ...
16
votes
4answers
3k views

Can you drink a beer (such as Miller or Budweiser) at a bar?

Can you buy and drink a beer (such as Miller or Budweiser) at a bar owned by non-Jews?
16
votes
7answers
687 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
647 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
2answers
586 views

Halachot of Shul Mechitzot

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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