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
5answers
441 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
4answers
1k views

Time Travel and Judaism

Has time travel ever been discussed before in terms of Judaism? According to Judaism would (should) it be possible to travel through time?
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
7answers
1k views

Do Chasidim avoid wearing ties?

Do Chasidim not wear ties as a rule? If so, is this by design or an accident of history? If by design, where can I find said intended reason in print?
14
votes
3answers
3k 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
4answers
510 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
3answers
317 views

Understanding of Ps. 137 before the exile

Psalm 137 starts (in my own translation) On Babylon's rivers, there, we sat, also cried, in our remembering Zion. and continues to describe the scene. Ibn Ezra cites some who hold that David ...
12
votes
3answers
490 views

Nose Job in Halacha

Is a nose job allowed Hallachicly? Not all cosmetic surgeries, but rhinoplasty in particular, as I heard that rhinoplasty is allowed because we see by a Kohen that having an abnormally long nose is a ...
12
votes
1answer
631 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.
12
votes
4answers
245 views

How do we know what the Chazzan should say aloud?

In many siddurim, the text indicates a position, toward the end of each normal paragraph of prayer, where the Chazzan is supposed to start reading aloud, so that everyone knows when it's time to go on ...
11
votes
2answers
348 views

Why is Moshiach a “fundamental belief” (iqar)?

In what sense is belief in the eventual coming of Moshiach fundamental to Judaism? Rambam famously includes it as the twelfth in his list of iqarim, but why? Considering the other iqarim, Judaism ...
11
votes
1answer
279 views

Understanding discouragement of converts

Why do we discourage converts? I know that Naomi did so with Rus, but Moshe doesn't seem to do so with Yisro. Why wouldn't Judaism want to encourage converts? Furthermore is it a responsibility merely ...
11
votes
2answers
345 views

What is a woman's obligation when it comes to T'fillah?

In Orthodox practice it is commonly thought that women are not obligated in T'fillah (parts of it anyway) due to its time-bound nature. However, what is a woman's obligation? Which prayers must she ...
11
votes
5answers
489 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
3answers
555 views

Talis Gadol for Unmarried Individuals

In my minhag (and I believe it's minhag Ashkenaz), unmarried men do not wear a Talis Gadol (only a Talis Katan). Why is this so?
11
votes
1answer
756 views

Drinking cold kosher beverages in a non-Jewish relative's house

Let's say you're staying at a non-Jewish relative's house. He bought you kosher food because he knows you keep kosher. He buys you a drink such as milk. You see him pour the drink for himself into his ...
10
votes
4answers
346 views

Why is the torah so misleading without the oral law

In parsha ki tetze (Devarim 22) it says if a man takes a wife, hates her, accuses her of not being a virgin, etc. Then the elders spread out the bedsheet to see if there is blood of virginity. If not, ...
10
votes
4answers
622 views

Why do men or boys have to cover their hair, but not unmarried women?

Whatever the reasons for covering hair (e.g. fear of heaven), they seem to equally apply to men and women. So why don't unmarried women have to cover their hair?
10
votes
1answer
173 views

Why are some bakashot made on Shabbat?

As I understand it, we don't make prayers of request (bakashot) on Shabbat (cf Rambam Shabbat 30:12). For that reason, we omit so many liturgical requests because of shabbos - e.g., Avinu Malkeinu, ...
10
votes
1answer
227 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
2answers
307 views

Reading secular books on shabbat?

Which prominent halakhic authorities permit (or forbid) the reading of secular books, magazines, and newspapers from Friday evening until Saturday nightfall? Why? Is it uvda dechol? What if it is ...
10
votes
7answers
552 views

Why did G-d not stop the holocaust?

Why did G-d not stop the holocaust? Is there anything written to explain why He would not have stopped it? or why He would have allowed it?
10
votes
6answers
986 views

Is it forbidden for a woman to learn Gemara?

Is it forbidden for a woman to learn Gemara?
10
votes
4answers
395 views

what are the limits of “mesira”?

It seems that most people have an idea that you cannot report a Jew to the non-Jewish authorities (police, government, etc) except for extreme circumstances (imminent danger, abuse, etc). However, ...
9
votes
1answer
120 views

embarassing an anonymous person online

There is a prohibition to embarass other people (Sanhedrin 99a). Does this apply also to anonymous online people despite that nobody knows their identity and therefore they should not feel embarassed ...
9
votes
2answers
1k views

What makes a wine valid for Kiddush?

Where do we draw the line to define what drinks are valid to do Kidush (Shabbat)? Does it matter if it says so on the bottle? I saw that some bottle say "valid for kiddush" or something like this. I ...
8
votes
4answers
898 views

Why use Babylonian calendar instead of our own?

Why did the Hebrews not create their own calendar system instead of copying the pagan Babylonians'? I find it interesting that they use a pagan calendar which often honours pagan gods. Why is this ...
8
votes
5answers
312 views

Learning History on Shabbos

Is there a Halachic problem to read and or learn the topic of History on Shabbos for enjoyment purposes? and why?
8
votes
5answers
361 views

Learning Hebrew on my own?

I am trying to learn Hebrew on my own. I currently am not in a position to be attending Hebrew classes, and I tend not to do so well in a classroom environment. I wish to learn biblical Hebrew ...
8
votes
4answers
758 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
3answers
191 views

What is the reason for שנים מקרא ואחד תרגום?

What is the reason for שנים מקרא ואחד תרגום? Why must it been done in that form of twice reading the verse and once reading the תרגום? The Gemara in ברכות דף ח states that one who does שנים מקרא ...
8
votes
1answer
293 views

A Lubavitch custom of reciting zecher and zeicher in “Ashrei”?

My cousin, a Lubavitcher, says both zecher and zeicher (that is, both זֶכֶר with a segol and זֵכֶר with a tzeire) in "Ashrei". I noticed this when I visited him a good few years ago, and assumed it ...
8
votes
3answers
249 views

Meforshim Nick"names

It has become common practice to refer to most meforshim by acronyms of their name (eg Rashi, Rosh, etc.). When and why did this practice start, and is it proper?
7
votes
2answers
1k 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
1answer
188 views

Origin of Spilling Wine by 10 Plagues

The custom among all Jews (as far as I know) is to spill a drip of wine for each of the plagues as they are mentioned in a list in the haggadah. This custom is not mentioned anywhere in the Talmud (as ...
7
votes
1answer
241 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 ...
7
votes
2answers
315 views

Why when washing for bread do we splash twice?

Is there any particular reason the procedure for washing hands for bread includes pouring the water twice on each hand? Isn't once enough?
7
votes
4answers
265 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?
7
votes
3answers
2k views

Mehadrin vs. Non Mehadrin

What's the difference between mehadrin and non-mehadrin certifications. (e.g. at http://www.kosherinjerusalem.com/where_to_eat/kosher-hotels)
7
votes
3answers
285 views

Double Yud as G-ds Name

What is the significance of the double Yud used as a stand-in for G-d's name?
6
votes
4answers
281 views

Are there unnecessary words in torah?

I've been taught, often enough that I thought it was universal, that there are no unnecessary words in torah (chumash) — every word is there to teach us something. I've seen plenty of discussions in ...
6
votes
1answer
492 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
5
votes
3answers
1k views

How much is 2 Zuz worth in current USD?

As mentioned in the Passover Hagaddah, how much is "2 Zuz" worth in March 2013 US Dollars? Please note there may be different types of Zuz: "זוזי פשיטי" and "זוזי ממש" (Gemara Ketuvot 67a). This may ...
5
votes
3answers
442 views

Food cooked by woman during Niddah?

If according to my Bible translation - please correct me if it is wrong - anything a woman in niddah or a state of tumah, or 'impurity', touches or sits on becomes 'impure', can food cooked by her be ...
5
votes
4answers
1k 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. ...
4
votes
2answers
208 views

Shachris in the Dark

When do people who live in places where it is dark for days Daven Shachris and put on Tefillin? Please provide a source (Mareh Makom).
3
votes
3answers
373 views

What can a Jew draw? [duplicate]

The Torah prohibits making certain images, (Deuteronomy 4:15-19). It includes males and females, animals, planets, and stars. It seems from these verses that a person's options when drawing the world ...
3
votes
3answers
229 views

Does God benefit from our keeping of the Mitzvos?

Does Hashem benefit from mankind doing the commandments of the Torah?
3
votes
4answers
710 views

Matrilineal Descent

I have heard that matrilineal descent (i.e. having Judaism passed down through the mother) comes from the Roman period when women were raped by Roman soldiers and the babies were then said to be ...

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