9
votes
2answers
240 views

Beginners' Seder Advice

I'm going to be at a seder this year with young children who are familiar with the basic structure of the haggadah. Some will likely have some of the classic divrei torah prepared for them to say. I'm ...
9
votes
2answers
253 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 ...
9
votes
2answers
118 views

What is the provenance of Maseches Sofrim

Who wrote Maseches Sofrim and when did he live. Is it accepted by everyone? The Rashba in Brachos 34a writes that is one of the minor masechtes that were authored by the early sages. He reiterates in ...
9
votes
1answer
356 views

Intermarriage Attendance

Is there a Halachic problem with being in attendance to an intermarriage preformed in a regular hall meaning not a problematic location? What is the source in the Halachic literature if there is an ...
9
votes
1answer
173 views

Group coordination for a siyum

My understanding is that a siyum should be made on the last bit of the text being studied. Thus, if the entire Mishna (all six "orders") is studied for someone's yahrzeit, the last mishna (individual ...
9
votes
2answers
237 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
443 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 ...
8
votes
1answer
134 views

Do the customs in regards to *Yud Av* apply to *Yud-Aleph Av* on a year when the fast is pushed off?

I know that people have the custom (I don't know how universal it is), to keep a lot of the restrictions of the nine days until Chatzos on Yud Av. Such as not eating meat or doing laundry. This year ...
8
votes
2answers
364 views

What are the sources of Jewish law?

What are the sources for the Jewish law or "Halacha"? Is there any priority among these sources? In common practice, when a law is described, is the citation given form the main sources or derived ...
8
votes
2answers
101 views

Hefsek (interruption) between the blessing on food and eating the food

Is it considered a hefsek to play with one's fingers or silverware or such while waiting for the challah to be passed around on shabbat, after the blessing made on it? Even though it isn't talking, it ...
8
votes
1answer
308 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 ...
8
votes
4answers
250 views

What is the practical difference between nebelah and terefah?

The second mishna on Chullin 32a explains that if an animal is rendered invalid by any death which does not occur through proper ritual slaughter it is nebelah while if it is rendered invalid for some ...
8
votes
4answers
366 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 ...
8
votes
2answers
244 views

Kiddush Levanah - Saying Aleichem Sholom with the other person?

As discussed here, while doing Kiddush Levanah, we say "Shalom Aleichem" to 3 other people, and they respond back with "Aleichem Shalom". I've seen some people saying "Aleichem Shalom" together with ...
8
votes
2answers
254 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 ...
7
votes
2answers
112 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 ...
7
votes
1answer
446 views

Naming after the Patriarchs/Matriarchs and Biblical heroes

Nowadays it is very common for Jews to name their children after the Patriarchs, Matriarchs, and Biblical heroes. But it doesn't seem (to me) as though this was very common until well into the period ...
7
votes
3answers
842 views

How much does one have to eat to become Fleishigs?

Is there a minimum amount of meat or chicken required to be eaten in order to change one's status to being "fleishig" (i.e. so that he would have to wait before eating dairy)? [same question can be ...
7
votes
4answers
292 views

Kol Mekadesh - sung Friday Night - המאחרים לצאת מן השבת וממהרים לבא

In Kol Mekadesh that is sung Friday night it says המאחרים לצאת מן השבת וממהרים לבא which seems out of order. Do we not first rush into Shabbos and then delay its departure? Then why do we sing it in ...
7
votes
1answer
356 views

Tallis gadol with white stripes

An interesting question has been posted on the signification of tallis' stripes : Stripes on a Talis About stripes color the Rambam position's noticed as black being closer to techeiles color. My ...
7
votes
3answers
388 views

Is human blood treif?

OK, I know it isn't kosher, but what is the shiur? And do we hold "chetzi shiur assur min haTorah"? For an application, what if you get a cut while hiking in the woods; is it assur to clean the wound ...
7
votes
2answers
542 views

Mixed Minyan in a Shiva House

What to do when helping make a minyan for mourners in a shiva house when at prayer time they insist on davening conservative style, men and women sitting together?
6
votes
6answers
613 views

Is there any benefit for a gentile to convert through one denomination versus another?

Despite being raised Conservative, it has been my impression that the only conversion that "counts" is an Orthodox one. I suspect this is the case for making aliyah, but under what other ...
6
votes
2answers
766 views

A Convert taking on customs of ashkanazim or sephardim

When someone converts is there any determining factor on what minhagim (customs) they will take upon themselves in terms of Ashkanazim or Sephardim? Should it be dependent on the Beis Din they ...
6
votes
4answers
136 views

How did Rivkah give Yackov Eisav's clothing? Isn't borrowing without permission tantamount to stealing?

How did Rivkah give Yackov Eisav's clothing without asking? וַתִּקַּח רִבְקָה אֶת בִּגְדֵי עֵשָׂו בְּנָהּ הַגָּדֹל הַחֲמֻדֹת אֲשֶׁר אִתָּהּ בַּבָּיִת וַתַּלְבֵּשׁ אֶת יַעֲקֹב בְּנָהּ הַקָּטָן ...
6
votes
1answer
715 views

How did the Ten Martyrs actually die?

On Yom Kippur and Tisha B'av we read about the Ten Martyrs who were gathered and killed by Emperor Hadrian to atone for the Sale of Yosef HaTzadik. In addition to the idea that the Ten Martyrs didn't ...
6
votes
2answers
549 views

How were Achiman, Sheshai and Talmai “Sons of Giants”?

In Bamidbar 13:22, the Torah tells us that the spies saw Achiman, Sheshai, and Talmai, the sons of Giants. Rashi tells us they were the descendants of Shamchazai and Azael, angels who fell from heaven ...
6
votes
5answers
306 views

K'zayis as a weight measurement

The label of the one-pound box of Cohen Halperin Shmura Matza reads: משקל כל מצה כשיעור כזית In English (with some Hebrew thrown in, in transliteration, of necessity), that's: The weight of ...
6
votes
2answers
845 views

Washing Hands post Funeral

What is the proper way to wash after a Funeral or a visit to the Cemetery?
6
votes
3answers
367 views

Is Yom HaAtzma'ut a Chag?

Is Yom Ha-Atzma'ut (Israeli Independance Day) considered a Chag (Jewish Holiday)? I have been to three types of Shuls (Synagogues) on this day: Those that have added the saying of Hallel but without ...
6
votes
1answer
499 views

Why does the Torah forbid interest only on loans to Jews?

Why aren't we allowed to charge a Jew interest but we're allowed to charge a non-Jew?
5
votes
2answers
509 views

Do the Gemara and the Rema prohibit, or encourage, women putting on talit and/or tefillin?

An article in Ynet Judaism (in Hebrew) addresses the resent controversy regarding the prayer of Women of the Wall at the western wall. And claims the following claims: אף אחד גם לא הקריא להן את ...
5
votes
2answers
234 views

The tree of life if adam was already immortal

What's the point of creating the tree of life if Adam was already immortal when created? I can understand the tree of knowledge of good and evil, since Adam was lacking in this knowledge and if he ...
5
votes
6answers
1k views

Which surnames are exclusively Kohanim's and why?

It is well known that is a person has a certain surname (last name) they are more likely to be a Kohen. Examples: Cohen - for obvious reasons Kahn Katz - stands for "Kohen Tzedek" What are some ...
5
votes
0answers
132 views

Eating out Friday night of Chanukkah

If one is lighting Chanukkah candles inside (for whatever reason) relying on the publicization to himself and his family, then what should he do on Friday night if he is eating out? Must he make the ...
5
votes
3answers
198 views

Is there any issue except for Dina Dmalchusa in counterfeiting money?

If someone were to find a way to make exact forgery of currency (in such a way that it would be impossible for anyone to find that it's counterfeit), would there be any prohibition to do so (except ...
5
votes
1answer
231 views

If Ketura wasn't Hagar, who was she?

The Torah tells us (Bereshit 25:1) that "Abraham took another wife, and her name was Keturah." The Yalkut Shimoni (Iyov 904) says that Ketura was from Yafet (english from here): "Abraham married ...
5
votes
2answers
187 views

What is the meaning of Davar Shebakedusha?

How does something become a Davar Shebakedusha? What is the criteria? This question was inspired by the discussion over here. People half-standing for אלקינו in zimun
5
votes
5answers
239 views

Chodosh - where does it apply?

Does the prohibition against consuming new grain ("Chodosh") before the second day of Passover (Leveticus 23:14) apply only in the Land of Israel or in the Diaspora as well? (Sources appreciated)
5
votes
12answers
420 views

What is the most widespread Israeli Minhag?

What is the single most widely practiced minhag among Jews in Israel today? By "widely practiced" I mean practiced by the most people.
5
votes
3answers
163 views

Saying Mashiv HaRuach in the Southern Hemisphere

In the Southern Hemisphere (Brazil, Australia, South Africa, etc.) in October they are heading into the summer. Do they say Mashiv HaRuach at this time of the year or do they say it from Pesach to ...
4
votes
1answer
175 views

Are children whose mother converted after bearing them Jewish?

If a Jewish man and non-Jewish wife have a child, and the mother completes her Orthodox conversion to Judaism after the child is born, must the child also convert to be considered Jewish, if they were ...
4
votes
2answers
162 views

Time for t'filah and you don't have a siddur: better to daven from memory or wait (and possibly miss the time)?

If the set time comes to daven (on a weekday, let's say) and you unexpectedly don't have a suitable (or any) siddur,1 does halacha call for you to wait (and possibly miss that amidah entirely), or ...
4
votes
2answers
182 views

May one say the letters of Hashem's name i.e. “Yud hei vov hei”?

We know we cannot pronounce the 4-lettered name of Hashem. Is it allowed to say the letters of Hashem's name ie “Yud hei vov hei” as in the meditation before counting the Omer or must one say “Yud ...
4
votes
1answer
161 views

9 be-Av on Shabbos

When 9 be-Av falls on Shabbos, it is moved to the following Sunday. Are there any restrictions on Shabbos because of 9 be-Av (maybe tashmish is forbidden)?
4
votes
4answers
257 views

Is there a Mitzva to speak Loshon Kodesh?

Is it a Mitzva to speak Loshon Kodesh? (sources)
4
votes
1answer
117 views

6 chapters of Avos in 7 weeks

Some study pirke Avos weekly through the summer, from Pesach to Rosh Hashana. Others do so only for the six Shabasos between Pesach and Shavuos, one chapter a week. I've heard the latter custom ...
4
votes
5answers
1k views

Are Europeans Edomites?

I had always thought that Europeans descended from Yafet, not Shem, and certainly not Shem, Avraham and Yitzhak. I am aware that it was common in the past to equate Rome with Edom, but I always ...
4
votes
1answer
488 views

What would be an example of permitted vs prohibited cross-grafting with fruit trees?

I haven't studied Tractate Kilayim. I know you can't plant grapes with wheat. What about, say: Jazz apple = Royal Gala apple X Braeburn apple ? Nectarine = Peach X Plum ? Nectaplum = Nectarine X ...
4
votes
4answers
6k 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 ...

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