17
votes
6answers
5k views

Why are women unclean longer after giving birth to a girl?

I read that women are unclean for two weeks after giving birth to a girl and seven days after giving birth to a boy. What does it tell us?
17
votes
4answers
520 views

What are the essential books which every religious Jew should own?

What Jewish religious books should one consider when starting a Jewish Library in their home? A set of Shas (Talmud) and the Shulchan Orech (Code of Jewish Law) are the obvious ones, What else should ...
17
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.
17
votes
1answer
1k views

Meaning of “bidi-bidi-bum”

In Fiddler on the Roof, in Tevye's song "If I Were a Rich Man," there is a line "all day long I'd bidi-bidi-bum." According to Wikipedia this is a reference to prayer. A repeated phrase ...
17
votes
4answers
1k views

Why Yehoshua **Bin** Nun and not Yehoshua **Ben** Nun

The Torah refers to Yehoshua as Yehoshua Bin Nun. (See here for an example). Why Bin Nun and not Ben Nun? Are there any places in Tanach where he is referred to as Ben Nun? Is there anyone else in ...
17
votes
7answers
549 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, ...
17
votes
8answers
5k 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 ...
17
votes
4answers
477 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. ...
17
votes
13answers
2k 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 ...
17
votes
3answers
645 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?
17
votes
6answers
989 views

Halakhic International Date Line issues

According to halakha, where is the international date line? More specifically, I have heard that some people say you should observe Shabbat on Sunday in Japan & New Zealand and/or on Friday in ...
17
votes
4answers
613 views

Is it permissible to use an escalator on Shabbos?

Escalators: Are they allowed to be used on Shabbos or not? (and the reasons behind it)
17
votes
4answers
2k views

Fast days and time zones

If I fly westward on a fast day, and travel through one/several time zone/s, thereby going back in (clock) time, must I then fast until it ends in my current time zone? What if I fly eastward, thereby ...
17
votes
5answers
328 views

What is the nature of the numeral “ashtei-asar” (11)?

What is the nature of the numeral ashtei-asar (meaning 11) as in (BeMidbar 29:20, Parashat Pinchas): וּבַיּוֹם הַשְּׁלִישִׁי פָּרִים עַשְׁתֵּי-עָשָׂר What is the basic word? Is this using ...
17
votes
2answers
605 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 ...
17
votes
7answers
2k views

Why are women exempt from (many) time-bound mitzvot?

I have heard two reasons for women being exempt from time-bound mitzvot and both seem problematic, so either there are additional explanations or I am not properly understanding these two: Women ...
17
votes
5answers
609 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 ...
17
votes
2answers
2k views

Why does the Hebrew alphabet not have letters representing vowels?

(Re-asking this question in a way more suited to SE.) The Hebrew alphabet is actually an abjad rather than a "true" Western-style alphabet, in that every letter represents a consonant, and vowels, if ...
17
votes
3answers
850 views

Is the winding פ in this sefer torah kosher?

Leaving aside all other issues with the text as displayed, are the pehs acceptable, or do they actually need an inverted vav on the inside (instead of these whirls).
17
votes
5answers
540 views

Can we argue with gedolim when we are sure that we are right?

I recently saw a teshuva by Rabbi Moshe Feinstein, Ohrach Chaim Volume 1 Teshuva 109, that quotes a letter from Rabbi Menashe Klein asking a question on Rabbi Moshe's psak but saying that he does not ...
17
votes
3answers
389 views

Adoptee a Cohen or Levi?

If a Cohen or Levi adopts a non-Jew, upon their conversion are they a Cohen or Levi as well or are they a Yisroel?
17
votes
8answers
2k views

Phrasing of refuah prayer when praying for a non-Jew

How would you phrase a refuah (recovery from illness) tefillah (prayer) for a sick gentile? "Thomas ben [=son of] Mary"? "Thomas Smith"? Is it appropriate to include the name during the ...
17
votes
1answer
464 views

What are the consequences of Vashti’s dual nature? [closed]

In Esther 1:9 we read, “ושתי המלכה עשתה משתי נשים” Vashti the queen was made of two women. Aside from being biologically surprising, what are the consequences of this in our understanding of the ...
17
votes
3answers
268 views

What is the source that Parshas Parah is from the Torah?

I have read in many places that Parah could be a bliblical requirement to read. Why is that? Zachor makes sense (as it says so in the Torah here). Why Parah?
17
votes
2answers
951 views

Why doesn't the OU put DE on food packages anymore?

The OU used to put DE next to the OU symbol when a product was Dairy Equipment. Such a product can not be eaten with meat but can be eaten right afterwards (you don't need to wait the amount of time ...
17
votes
5answers
700 views

Train ticket not collected: destroy?

Assuming a train line where single-ride tickets are normally collected or cancelled manually by train crew circulating among seated passengers, and it is physically possible to use them later if they ...
17
votes
2answers
520 views

Does a convert have a clean slate?

When a non-jew converts to Jusaism, must he still do teshuva from past sins, or does the "reborn" concept stretch far enough to consider him "sinless"?
17
votes
2answers
561 views

Why is practical kabbalah not considered kishuf?

To preface I know next to nothing about so called 'practical kabbalah'. But from the few things I have read about, things like face or palm reading, making a golem (essentially an android) or any ...
17
votes
4answers
684 views

What is the source of the Magen Dovid (Star of David)?

What is the source of the Magen Dovid (Star of David) in Rabbinic Judaism? When was it first used, and for what?
17
votes
2answers
635 views

Is one allowed to have a tattoo of G-d's name removed?

Inspired by Dan's question , and requested by DoubleAA... If one got a tattoo of G-d's name, either in ignorance or in spite of the prohibition against tattooing, may one have it removed? Would this ...
17
votes
2answers
570 views

Are there other extant Chabad groups besides Chabad-Lubavitch?

Wikipedia lists a number of different Chabad groups including: Chabad-Lubavitch Chabad-Bobroisk Chabad-Kapust Chabad-Liadi Chabad-Nezhin Chabad-Strashelye I was told that these different groups ...
17
votes
4answers
2k views

What is the original halachic source for a woman covering her collarbones out of modesty (tznius)?

Many contemporary instructions on women's modesty (tznius) say that necklines have to be high enough to cover the collarbones. I can certainly accept that if this is the communal standard, it should ...
17
votes
3answers
655 views

Should one induce vomiting upon realizing s/he just ate non-kosher?

I've heard several stories of people who ate something, realized it was non-kosher, and therefore induced vomiting. Is this halachically required? Recommended? Does it accomplish anything? (If not, ...
17
votes
2answers
204 views

The custom of adding a candle for each child

Many people, including myself, added or will add a candle on Friday night for each child that is born. Where and when did this custom originate?
17
votes
2answers
1k views

Relationship between Samekh and Sin

What is the relationship between the letters samekh and sin? Did they ever have distinct sounds? Why do they exist as separate letters?
17
votes
2answers
293 views

Why Not Eight Days Until a Convert's Circumcision?

Why doesn't a convert dip in the mikveh and then wait eight days until he gets his circumcision? The gemara (Yevamot 97b) says ger shnitgayeir kekatan shenolad dami (A convert is like a newly-born ...
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
2answers
544 views

Order of the Tanach

In Nevi'im and Ketuvim, why is the order of the books that we use today different from the order given in Bava Batra 14b, and Rambam Hilchot Sefer Torah 7:15?
17
votes
2answers
423 views

Does Down Syndrome make one a Shoteh?

I had a very strange experience and I would like to know what halacha thinks. I was in shul on Shabbos, and an adult with Down Syndrome ripped by opening the box of tissues. I was not going to say ...
17
votes
1answer
214 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
392 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
251 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
619 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
270 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
511 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
3answers
523 views

The Origins of the Zohar - Why is it accepted as being true?

I've read arguments and counter arguments for the origins of the Zohar and I'm perplexed. I personally accept the truths in kabbalah and chassidut, but I didn't realize how the Zohar sort of just ...
17
votes
3answers
326 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
6answers
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
14answers
1k views

Reliable Ask-a-Rabbi Websites

There are some times on this site where questioners will be directed to "ask their Rabbi." While it's always optimal to have such people discuss the question with their own Rabbi (and such action ...
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. ...

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