11
votes
5answers
3k views

How Do I Know If it's a Hebrew Leap Year?

How can I tell if a given year is a Hebrew Leap Year? The simpler, the better. [Assuming we are using a fixed calendar, not like the "olden days".]
10
votes
1answer
652 views

Married woman covering hair

Is it strictly necessary for a married woman to keep her hair covered in the following situations? If not, how important is it? 1) When alone in the house 2) When alone (or with husband) in the ...
10
votes
9answers
615 views

Why do we sing “Echad Mi Yodeya”?

Why do we sing the song "Echad Mi Yodeya" at the seder?
10
votes
1answer
2k views

Why isn't the book of the Maccabees part of the Jewish canon?

I believe they are in the Christian canon... why not Jewish?
8
votes
3answers
1k views

Do Jewish people have a collection of books which are the equivelant of the Christian Old Testament?

One claim that is made in our Christian Church is that the Jewish people use the Old Testament and that Christians use both the Old Testament and the New Testament. How correct is this statement? Do ...
7
votes
6answers
404 views

Saying words of prayer or Torah while an immodest photo or drawing is in your field of vision?

The halachah is clear (Shulchan Aruch, Orach Chaim 75) that one may not recite Shema, or any other words of Torah or prayer, while in the presence of parts of the human body that should be covered. ...
3
votes
2answers
910 views

Tzar Balay Chaim- Killing Pests?

Are you allowed to kill flies and other pests (mice, mosquitoes, etc.) or would that go under the prohibition of Tzar Balay Chaim?
1
vote
3answers
286 views

Did G-d create evil? [closed]

Did G-d create evil? Scripture says that G-d created everything, right? So then if G-d indeed created everything, does that mean He created evil? Is there Old Testament evidence for why He did or ...
18
votes
4answers
2k views

Is there a list of Mitzvot and their corresponding body parts?

The Talmud (Makkot 23B)and the Zohar (1:170B - unverified English translation here) say that the 248 positive commandments correspond to the 248 limbs of the human body. (The Mishna (Ohalot 1:8) lists ...
16
votes
4answers
682 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
2answers
2k 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)
15
votes
3answers
378 views

Is it heresy to follow secular dating on the destruction of the first Temple?

There is a discrepancy between rabbinic and secular sources regarding when the first Temple was destroyed -- a difference of some 165 years or so, which are called the "Missing Years." My question is ...
15
votes
6answers
6k views

Are there any Jewish people alive today who can identify themselves as coming from a particular tribe?

The Christian "New Testament" claims Paul (Saul) was of the tribe of Benjamin. Since Roman times have there been any people who can validly claim they were from a particular tribe? At least at that ...
14
votes
2answers
279 views

How big, and what exactly, is “Kedei Kelipah”?

{Kedei Kelipah is a term used in Kashruth for the amount of something that needs to be removed in order to allow one to treat the remnant as Kosher. (This only applies under certain conditions, which ...
14
votes
4answers
3k views

B'siyata D'shmaya or Baruch Hashem

Often, at the top of written work, Jews write either ב"ה, which stands for Baruch Hashem =blessed is the Name i.e., God, or בס"ד, which stands for b'siyata d'shmaya =with Heavenly help. What is the ...
14
votes
3answers
4k views

Putting on tefillin late

For whatever reason, I was unable to put on tefillin while davening shacharit this morning. However, I have access to tefillin now, and the sun has not yet set. After I put on the tefillin, what ...
13
votes
6answers
424 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"? ...
13
votes
4answers
597 views

What's a good technique for a not-so-strong person to do [Ashkenazi] Hagbaha?

I've seen many people shy away when asked to do Hagbaha (‏הגבהה‏), thinking themselves too weak. I know for a fact that it doesn't take that much strength to do it correctly, so I'd love to ...
12
votes
1answer
886 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
5answers
578 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
6answers
1k views

Is it forbidden for a woman to learn Gemara?

Is it forbidden for a woman to learn Gemara?
11
votes
7answers
931 views

Do Jews believe in Heaven and Hell?

In yeshiva I was always told about gan eden and gehinnom, and how the good go to the former place while the bad go to the latter. However, in popular culture, Jews are always said to not believe in ...
11
votes
9answers
1k views

Why are there eight days of Chanukah if there were only seven miracles?

There is a famous question asked by the Beis Yosef (R' Yosef Karo): Why do we celebrate eight days of Chanukah if the miracle lasted only seven? The jug of oil contained enough to be lit for one day, ...
11
votes
11answers
442 views

How do you improve your Kavvanah [concentration]? [duplicate]

Building on my blog post here, I ask: How do you improve your concentration when davening?
10
votes
1answer
817 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 ...
10
votes
3answers
761 views

What are the authoritative Jewish documents?

When I'm reading through answers on this site I often see users make references like - Baba Batra 75A Or Chagiga 12A I don't understand what these mean. What are the documents that ...
10
votes
1answer
282 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
1answer
628 views

Knife sharpening - can it be done anywhere?

Can you take a Challa knife to any knife sharpener or would you have to Kasher it after it is sharpened? Would there be a difference if it is a meat or cheese knife?
10
votes
37answers
2k views

words often mispronounced [closed]

What are some words commonly mispronounced? (Not by elision/reduction (like ה׳‎→אדְני‎) or assimilation (like תזכרו‎→תשׂכרו‎), but rather words that are pronounced wrong ...
10
votes
1answer
193 views

Second day of Shavous

The main reason for the second day Yom Tov is because in the times of the Beis Hamikdash when we decided to declare months based on the seeing the new moon there where certain places that the ...
9
votes
2answers
234 views

Free will a prerequisite for punishment?

I read that the angel Metat was subjected to 60 pulsei de-nura (Aramaic: פולסא דנורא "lashes of fire"). I have been taught that angels do not have free will. Did this angel act from free will or did ...
9
votes
4answers
947 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
2answers
2k views

If the label says OU-D, but the warning label for allergy 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
276 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
2answers
311 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 ...
8
votes
1answer
714 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
8
votes
4answers
672 views

tap water on Pesach

The New Croton Reservoir supplies much of New York City's tap water, and people are allowed to — and do — go out on boats and fish. I'd venture a guess that almost every Saturday and Sunday, a piece ...
7
votes
3answers
452 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 ...
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
499 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
647 views

Rambam on Olam Haba, Mashiach, and Techiyat haMeitim

Could somebody explain to me briefly what the Rambam's opinion is about the sequence of events with Olam HaBa, the Mashiach and Techiyat haMeitim? It seems that he's saying that when a person dies ...
7
votes
3answers
331 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
299 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
146 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 ...
6
votes
3answers
446 views

Is there any precedent to read the first 11 chapters of Genesis as metaphorical?

I believe this will be related to a similar question about a statement by Rabbi Sacks. Rabbi Jeremy Wieder said in a lecture titled Non Literal Interpretation of Scripture in Jewish Tradition (and ...
6
votes
3answers
435 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 ...
6
votes
1answer
3k views

When is the earliest time you can daven ma'ariv during the week?

When is the earliest time you can Daven Maariv on a weekday?
6
votes
2answers
483 views

Quorum for chazaras hashatz

How many people are needed in order to start chazaras hashatz?
5
votes
1answer
419 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. ...
5
votes
4answers
2k 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. ...

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