16
votes
2answers
443 views

Halachot of Shul Mechitzas

What are some good books, articles, websites, or seforim for learning about the Halachot of constructing and maintaining a Shul Mechitza (the barrier between the men and women sections)? Issues ...
16
votes
5answers
483 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 ...
15
votes
3answers
621 views

Does an ivory spoon make hot tea non-kosher?

Both the handles of cutlery and spoons entire have been made of elephant ivory, which is from a tusk (a tooth) of an elephant. Elephant is of course not a kosher animal. Presumably, then, these spoons ...
15
votes
7answers
451 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, ...
13
votes
3answers
25k views

Difference between Torah and the first five books in Christian bible [closed]

I know that basically, the first 6 5 books in Christian's Bible forms the Torah. However are there any subtle difference between torah and those books?
12
votes
4answers
472 views

Did the prophets practice magic?

The Torah clearly prohibits all forms of magic, which we might define as the achievement of any supernatural phenomenon. Yet we find many neviim, most blatantly Eliyahu and Elisha, achieving many ...
12
votes
3answers
1k views

Why is chicken “meat” (with regards to basar bechalav) and an egg not?

Why is chicken considered meat but fish is not? Also, why is an egg considered pareve? And if we can eat chicken eggs, why can't we eat caviar (fish eggs)?
12
votes
5answers
688 views

Why does the Tefilin Shel Yad have a protective cover?

When you purchase Tefilin, the Tefilin Shel Yad has a protective cover. Why? Is it Halachically necessary?
11
votes
4answers
454 views

In regards to writing, can soda bottles be opened on Shabbos?

Specifically, when the writing - such as an expiration date - is printed in dot matrix style across the line between the bottle cap and the bottle cap's ring, what are the issues involved in opening ...
11
votes
2answers
718 views

Wearing Watches on Shabbat

What is a watch one can wear on shabbat? There are the analogue quartz watches with just one crown to adjust the time that (as far as I'm aware) most people would wear on shabbat (especially an ...
11
votes
5answers
592 views

Mezonos ? Bread

Is there such a thing as Mezonos bread?
10
votes
1answer
271 views

What are the halachot when finding a Sefer Torah on the floor?

Recently, 6 Torah Scrolls that were stolen from the Tzemach Tzedek shul in Yerushalaim were found on the floor of a cave. I am curious what the halachic differences are (if any) between finding a ...
10
votes
4answers
222 views

Why didn't Mordechai keep Mitzvos — serious edition

It says in the Megilla "ויאמרו עבדי המלך אשר בשער המלך למרדכי מדוע אתה עובר את מצות המלך" - "The servants of the King (who were in the King's gates) asked Mordechai 'Why do you go against the command ...
10
votes
2answers
268 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 ...
10
votes
2answers
176 views

ribis and foreign currency conversion

I am afraid that I have only recently started to study this kind of thing and I completely unlearned compared to most of the contributors here, so I apologize if my question is somewhat ...
10
votes
2answers
599 views

Is hamsa allowed?

Does the Halacha allow the use of a hamsa as a good luck charm, considering that it originated as a Muslim symbol?
10
votes
4answers
229 views

Not falling on hands for Tachnun

How come Sepharadim do not "fall on their faces" during Tachanun as Ashkenazim do, if the prayer is called "nefilat apa'im" (literally the falling of the faces)? The Shulchan Aruch seems to hold of ...
10
votes
5answers
543 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 ...
10
votes
5answers
397 views

Thanksgiving Meal Allowed?

Is celebrating Thanksgiving with a formal sit down meal against Halacha?
10
votes
1answer
783 views

how does one do hechi kedusha?

I am interested in two cases: 1) the congregation is davening mincha in a rush, and doing a "hechi kedusha" (btw, what is the etymology of this phrase) 2) an individual arrives late for mincha and is ...
9
votes
2answers
230 views

Rabbinic speculations on history

Sometimes in the Rabbinic literature traditions are related about what happened in history, with multiple different opinions. For example, there was a historical development in the script used by ...
9
votes
4answers
314 views

All you need is love?

I once had a Hebrew professor state with absolute determination that "Ahavah" (the Hebrew word for "love") does not, in fact, mean love. His proof was twofold: 1. G-d could not have commanded us to ...
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
119 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
366 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
175 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
262 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 ...
9
votes
2answers
340 views

מרדכי = Mord'chi?

When learning with Jews of the Syrian community, I noticed that they pronounced מרדכי (the name of the halachic commentary on the g'mara) as "mord'chi", as if the final vowel were a chirik. Why is ...
9
votes
2answers
250 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
146 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
373 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
1answer
324 views

Tattling on fellow Mi Yodeyans

We are currently in the beginning of the 2012 Mi Yodeya Moderator Election. To what extent can one avail oneself of the exception of "to'elet"="for a purpose" to the standard rules of Lashon HaRa' ...
8
votes
2answers
113 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
120 views

Animals vs. plants: kashrus

Why did God make all plants, but only some animals, kosher? Sources, please.
8
votes
4answers
254 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
369 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
248 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 ...
7
votes
2answers
761 views

Covering eyes when saying Shema Yisrael

When saying Kriyas Shema many have the custom of covering their eyes when saying Shema Yisrael. What is the reason this is done?
7
votes
2answers
114 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
450 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
891 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
301 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
362 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
400 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
551 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
669 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
813 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
2answers
198 views

Tallit Katan and Tallit brachot

Why is that when you wake up you put on a Tallit Katan and then you go to shul and put on a Tallit Gadol? How is it that you can say two different brachot? If it is in fact, that each peice of ...
6
votes
4answers
138 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
784 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 ...

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