14
votes
2answers
778 views

Are you allowed to benefit from an electrical appliance turned on during shabbos?

If a jewish person were to accidentally turn on the light in their bedroom, or if the television were accidentally turned on (for these purposes, let's assume that the person in question woke up, ...
14
votes
3answers
620 views

Were our symbols for trope and nekudos created by the Masoretes, or transmitted by them?

It is commonly said in secular sources that the shapes of the trope and nekudos we use today were invented by the Masoretes (7th to 11th Century CE), but I cannot find any source in our mesorah to ...
12
votes
2answers
2k views

Why don't Israeli women fast?

More than one Israeli has told me that women in Israel don't fast. More specifically, that a large percentage of otherwise observant (healthy, non-pregnant, non-nursing) Jewish women in Israel do not ...
11
votes
1answer
689 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 ...
11
votes
4answers
527 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, ...
10
votes
9answers
754 views

Why do we sing “Echad Mi Yodeya”?

Why do we sing the song "Echad Mi Yodeya" at the seder?
9
votes
4answers
2k views

From where do we know that sexual intercourse with a non-jewish woman is forbidden?

From where do we know that a jewish man cannot have sexuel intercourse with a non-jewish woman? What say the Kabbala about this ? Is it related to dark forces, "qelipoth"?
8
votes
3answers
523 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
3answers
432 views

What is the status of the psak of a Maharat?

If an orthodox male Rabbi bestows semicha on a woman (dubbed Maharat), what is the status of her halachic decisions? This question is irrespective of whether or not the male Rabbi should confer ...
2
votes
1answer
758 views

How many prophets were there and who were they?

How many prophets are recognized by Judaism, and what were their names? I found a website that claims the number of prophets is 124000. Is this true? Are all of their speeches or writings ...
19
votes
2answers
766 views

When (if ever) are converts still related to their relatives?

It is my understanding that when a person converts to Judaism, certain halachic relationships are severed. So I have a couple questions about this. Which relationships are severed? Is a convert ...
18
votes
4answers
3k 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 ...
17
votes
4answers
713 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
3answers
410 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
923 views

Dairy that you have to wait 6 hours after eating it

Which dairy is considered sharp and requires you to wait 6 hours afterwards, prior to eating meat?
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 ...
14
votes
2answers
291 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 ...
13
votes
1answer
443 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 ...
13
votes
4answers
627 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 ...
13
votes
6answers
439 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"? ...
12
votes
3answers
3k views

Sefira Restrictions During Chol Hamoed Pesach

For those who hold sefira from the first day until the thirty-third, are the restrictions in effect during chol hamoed? While you are not allowed to cut your hair even during chol hamoed Succos, can ...
11
votes
4answers
877 views

Is cross-dressing permitted on Purim and if so why?

As part of dressing in costume on Purim is a person allowed to put on clothes normally worn by the opposite gender? If so, where does this heter come from in the face of the biblical prohibition ...
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, ...
10
votes
4answers
543 views

Jewish concept of angels

Judaism does not believe in the free will of angels. What is the scriptural evidence for that and since when has such belief been held within the Jewish community?
10
votes
1answer
741 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
1answer
244 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 ...
10
votes
1answer
298 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
890 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 ...
9
votes
4answers
1k 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 ...
9
votes
6answers
2k views

Good books for non-Jews who are interested in understanding Judaism, especially branches of Orthodox judaism

I have found that the first thing to do when you want to learn something about a subject, is to start with the idea that you know absolutely nothing. I understand, for example, that Judaism has ...
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
3answers
3k 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)
8
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?
8
votes
2answers
390 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?
8
votes
2answers
281 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. ...
7
votes
3answers
585 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
338 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
4answers
12k 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 ...
6
votes
2answers
155 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
2answers
565 views

Quorum for chazaras hashatz

How many people are needed in order to start chazaras hashatz?
6
votes
3answers
464 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 ...
5
votes
2answers
280 views

Is Hashem 'involved' in everything that happens?

The view in current Haredi thought seems to be that Hashem actively runs the world down to the most minute occurrences. I have seen discussions allude to the fact that there are many Rishonim who did ...
5
votes
1answer
453 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
1answer
497 views

Beracha on lighting yom tov candles : before or after?

There are two minhagim concerning the time the beracha should be said on lighting yom tov candles for a woman, before or after (like shabbos neros). I've read arguments like these : before, because ...
5
votes
4answers
903 views

Do permanently unmarried women need to go to the mikvah?

Is the purpose of a woman's going to the mikvah so that she can permit herself to a man (be he her husband or any potential husband), or is it for her own sake? The nafqa mina is that of a woman who ...
4
votes
3answers
95 views

Bracha achrona stipulation

The question here Continuing to drink a Beverage after Birchas HaMazon? is a good question. Unfortunately it's been deflected with a bracha she'eino tzricha svara. Here's a different case. Someone is ...
4
votes
2answers
323 views

Why don't we distribute Ma'aser Rishon or Ma'aser 'Ani nowadays?

Produce grown in the Land of Israel has to have Teruma, two of three different kinds of Ma'aser, and Terumat Ma'aser removed, as described in this OU Kosher article. Of these five separations, three - ...
4
votes
1answer
172 views

What to do with stolen objects which are impossible to return?

If an object was stolen in one's childhood or teenage years, without knowledge of the laws regarding stealing (or not caring), if this object is impossible to return, either because the person has ...
4
votes
2answers
229 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
1k views

Attending non-frum event

Is it permissible to attend a non-frum event, such as a wedding or bar/bat mitzvah of a family member or friend?

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