14
votes
7answers
344 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.
14
votes
7answers
393 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, ...
14
votes
8answers
609 views

Why did Avraham take gifts from Pharaoh, but not the King of Sodom?

In Bereshit 12:11-16, we see that Avraham was willing to receive gifts from Pharoah: 11 And it came to pass, when he was come near to enter into Egypt, that he said unto Sarai his wife: 'Behold ...
14
votes
7answers
414 views

why half-believe the Torah?

(I'm not sure this is on-topic, and feel free to close it if it's not, of course.) I understand some who study the Bible claim natural reasons for things we recognize as miracles, from the plagues of ...
14
votes
7answers
2k views

Conversion: If G-d really wanted me to be a Jew (and observe mitzvot), why was I not born into a Jewish family

This question pertains to the issue of conversion, and if it makes sense in the Jewish context of some people being Chosen specifically by God. Before beginning, this poster is aware of the long, and ...
14
votes
4answers
314 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. ...
14
votes
4answers
806 views

Lego on Shabbos

Is Lego Muktzeh? and can Adults use it too?
14
votes
11answers
918 views

What are the oldest Jewish songs (tune plus words) that are still popular today?

When I say "song", I mean the combination of tune and words; and yes I'm probably thinking Ashkenazically here. It seems like any European old-timer I've met knows the "good old fashioned" tune for ...
14
votes
8answers
478 views

Why is “Shalom Aleichem” always plural?

Why do we say Shalom Alaichem to one person if Alaichem is plural? Is it saying you and all of the Jews? Is that why it's plural?
14
votes
6answers
535 views

Dairy that you have to wait 6 hours after eating it

Which dairy is considered sharp and requires you to wait 6 hours afterwards, prior to eating meat?
14
votes
5answers
744 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?
14
votes
5answers
409 views

Saying “Laberiut” “God bless you” or “Gesundheit”

Is there are source for saying "Laberiut" "God bless you" "Gesundheit" or any other response to a sneeze? In other words, are there posekim who mention it in Halacha?
14
votes
6answers
394 views

Is one allowed to smoke?

Nowadays, since there are studies that show that smoking is dangerous to health, is one allowed to smoke or is it violating "Venishmartem Meod Lenafshosechem"?
14
votes
2answers
466 views

May (or should) a convert recite kaddish after his biological parents' deaths?

May (or should) a convert recite kaddish after his biological parents' deaths? I think the answer is that yes, he may do so out of respect for them (even though, in a strict halachic sense, he is no ...
14
votes
3answers
297 views

Humming during shmoneh esre

On shabbat for shacharit and mussaf, I am usually still davening shmoneh esre by the time the chazzan gets to kedusha. In this situation, can I hum to the tune of kedusha? This essentially boils down ...
14
votes
7answers
441 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
4answers
198 views

How to say go-al Yisroel before Shacharis Amida

When the leader gets to just before the Shacharis Amida, how should he say the blessing go-al Yisroel: aloud or saying the word Yisroel so the end of it cannot be heard?
14
votes
3answers
362 views

Was it ever the norm for children to get married?

The Gemara describes many Halachos that apply when someone gets married at very young ages, many under 12, and even a few for the age of 3. There are stories of people who did get married at such ages ...
14
votes
5answers
376 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
4answers
212 views

Why did Avraham name his son before the Bris (circumcision)?

Why does the Torah seem to imply that Avraham named his son before the bris? First: וַיִּקְרָא אַבְרָהָם אֶת שֶׁם בְּנוֹ הַנּוֹלַד לוֹ אֲשֶׁר יָלְדָה לּוֹ שָׂרָה יִצְחָק And Abraham called ...
14
votes
3answers
2k views

Taking a concubine (pilegesh) today

Moderator's note: As with all discussions of Jewish law on this site, any information included in this question or its answers is presented only for the purpose of understanding the relevant ideas, ...
14
votes
6answers
994 views

Do gentiles have neshamot?

As I have seen here, some say that only Jews have a neshama, others say that all humans have one. There was a reference there only of the former opinion (Jews only), and I know from elsewhere that ...
14
votes
1answer
320 views

Riddle: when would a couple be forced to break their engagement? [closed]

Riddle: Chaim and Shprintza got engaged. They, their entire families, and their rabbis were all totally happy about the engagement. They didn't hide any information from one another. Chaim and ...
14
votes
2answers
804 views

What should I be aware of when using the term “Jew”?

As a gentile who finds himself writing about Judaism in the ancient world, I've found myself reluctant to use the word "Jew". I tend to use phrases like "Jewish people" and "Hebrew" when it makes ...
14
votes
3answers
383 views

Escalator on Shabbos

Escalators: Are they allowed to be used on Shabbos or not? (and the reasons behind it)
14
votes
2answers
1k views

Mikvah - Non Jewish Husband

Can a woman use a Mikvah if her Husband is not Jewish (She is currently on the road to becoming a BT)
14
votes
3answers
253 views

What happens if the non-Jew the chometz was sold to dies?

I can't imagine it has never come up before: Someone sells their chometz before Pesach to a non-Jew. On Pesach the non-Jew dies. What happens now?
14
votes
5answers
1k views

Is using a Kindle on Shabbat permitted?

A Kindle is an e-book reader that uses "e-ink" rather than an LCD screen. It has physical controls to turn pages. If left unused it enters a sleep mode, and you can return to reading by moving a ...
14
votes
2answers
925 views

Can a non-Jew don tefillin?

May a non-Jew or a person who is in the conversion process don tefillin? If not, what are the reasons that they cannot?
14
votes
3answers
772 views

The laws behind the separation of men and women

In Israel there is a hot debate because of instances on some communities where extra steps are taken to separate men and women in every day life. For example in some bus lines women seat in the back ...
14
votes
8answers
2k views

If Christianity is avodah zarah and Islam is not, why has the Christian world triumphed over the non-Christian, and why do Jews prefer to live among Christians and not Muslims?

The Rambam quite clearly considered Christianity to be avodah zarah. He did not feel the same way about Islam, however, going so far as to condone praying within a mosque, and many Orthodox Jewish ...
14
votes
4answers
1k views

Need to treat a kippah respectfully?

Do we need to treat a kippah with more respect than a normal hat? I frisbeed a couple of kippahs across the room to a friend and he became indignant at me throwing them on the floor. I remember as ...
14
votes
2answers
354 views

Called to the Torah before wedding

I recently received an invitation to a friends wedding and I noticed that it said he would be "Called to the Torah" with a date and time approximately 1 week before the wedding. I am not Jewish, so ...
14
votes
2answers
759 views

Is Exercise on Shabbos Allowed?

Is one allowed to do exercises on Shabbos? Are any types allowed? Some examples of different types: Lifting weights or heavy items Jumping jacks Taking a walk (long, but without Techum issues) ...
14
votes
4answers
333 views

When did kosher bakeries, restaurants, etc. start requiring supervision?

If my neighbor Shmerel keeps kosher and otherwise appears to be observant to the best of my knowledge, then I'd be allowed to eat in his house (assuming I'm invited), eid echad ne'eman b'issurin, his ...
14
votes
1answer
253 views

What's the leading medical explanation for the “woman whose husbands keep dying” (“katlanit”) phenomenon?

The Gemara says that if a woman gets married, then her husband dies; then marries another guy and is widowed from him; then once more; we then assume something about her is causing her husbands to die ...
14
votes
3answers
258 views

Why do we still say sections of davening in aramaic?

I am pretty sure the aramaic sections of davening were written in aramaic because it was considered necessary for people to understand what they were saying. If this is true, why don't we say those ...
14
votes
3answers
422 views

Why aren't Tefillin called Totafot?

They're called Totafot in the Torah, so why do we call them Tefilin?
14
votes
3answers
232 views

May a Katan (minor) perform Melachah (“work”) on Shabbath?

In my experience, I've noticed that many people take for granted that if one needs a Melachah to be performed on Shabbath, one may have a minor, especially one under the age of 3, perform what is ...
14
votes
4answers
178 views

Why is Lag Baomer celebrated the way it is (or at all)?

Why do we celebrate lag baomer with bon-fires and bow-and-arrow. Why do we celebrate lag baomer at all?
14
votes
2answers
278 views

Can one join an army?

Is one allowed to join an army (let's say not the Israeli one) as doing so is putting oneself in a place of sakana? If one is not allowed to join an army in general, is one allowed to join an army ...
14
votes
1answer
148 views

Is God swayed by popular appeal?

When we pray for someone to be healed, we pray this individually in the Amidah but we also often have a community misheberach list. I assume that there is a theological reason for the public prayer, ...
14
votes
3answers
360 views

Is ad-blocker software permissible?

Kalashnikover_Rebbe at hashkafah.com asks: Isn't blocking ads stealing??? The people put them on the sites for a reason.... He elaborates: On one hand the argument can be made that [forum ...
14
votes
2answers
307 views

What does “the Talmud” mean in the Talmud?

The G'mara Bavli says in Shabas 63: אמר רב כהנא, "כד הוינא בר תמני סרי שנין, והוה גמירנא ליה לכוליה תלמודא, ולא הוה ידענא דאין מקרא יוצא מידי פשוטו..." Rav Kahana said, "When I was 18 years ...
14
votes
1answer
227 views

What Happens to People Who Don't Have a Portion in Olam Haba?

The last perek of Sanhedrin lists some people who have no share in Olam Haba. Other people who forfeit their share are discussed in the answers to this question: No Olam Habah for these? My question ...
14
votes
3answers
479 views

Can an ecommerce website remain open on Shabbat?

This question is more general and doesn't apply specifically to ecommerce sites even though the discussion mentions them a little. Specifically, we know we can't do business on Shabbat. So what is ...
14
votes
1answer
206 views

If a woman had more than one husband, to which would she be united at the Resurrection?

Ezra Stiles was a Congregationalist minister in Newport, Rhode Island in the late 18th century. He was a frequent visitor to the Newport Synagogue and there met Rabbi Raphael Hayyim Issac Carregal, a ...
14
votes
1answer
287 views

Is kneeling and bowing down in Kung Fu an idolatry (Avoda Zarah)?

I am exercising at Kung Fu's dojo and wonder whether kneeling and bowing down is an idolatry (Avodah Zarah)? The floor has soft mats. The reason explained to me is that it's done as a form of greeting ...
14
votes
1answer
356 views

Why don't we bow “correctly” during tefillah anymore?

According to the Gemara (Megillah 22b), and according to the RaMBa"M (Hil. Tefillah 5:13) (and apparently R' Avraham ben HaRaMBa"M was adamant), when we pray we are supposed to bow down ON our knees ...
14
votes
1answer
1k views

Mixed swimming in a pool?

What are the issues with mixed swimming, from a tzniut point of view? Does it make a difference if the swimmers are or aren't Jewish? For example, are there issues with me swimming with my wife and a ...

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