7
votes
2answers
297 views

Do “most leading Orthodox rabbis” really hold that brain-stem death is death?

According to a recent NYTimes piece on the new organ donation law in Israel, Most leading Orthodox rabbis -- as well as Israeli law -- agree that a person dies when his brain-stem stops ...
6
votes
7answers
192 views

Cherubim on top of the ark

Jews are forbidden to create any graven images of anything in the heavens yet Hashem commanded the ark be adorned with cherubim. Is this an exception or a contradiction?
6
votes
3answers
127 views

Noahide laws and mitzvot

Can a Non Jew who performs the Noahide laws attain the highest levels of connectedness to G-d as a Jew who performs mitzvot?
6
votes
1answer
2k views

If a woman, whose husband is away, becomes pregnant, is she assumed to be adulterous?

If a woman's husband is away (e.g. for more than 9 months) and she is found to be pregnant (e.g. Tamar & Yehudah), is that sufficient grounds to declare that infidelity occurred?
6
votes
4answers
174 views

Why is kabbalah so secretive?

The basic information of Jewish mysticism is readily available online and in print today. Yet kabbalah continues to be treated as knowledge that is secret and is only appropriate for people to learn ...
6
votes
1answer
87 views

What is considered a picture for not davening in front of it

I heard that you can't daven in front of a picture What does this included? A mogen Dovid? A flag of israel? A lion? What if it is part of the paroiches or Aron kodesh .... Similar Davening in ...
6
votes
4answers
623 views

Can you buy a beggar non-Kosher food, or chometz on Pesach?

If I am asked for money by a beggar on the street, or see a homeless person with a sign, I try and give them food as it is usually more useful than money (which will probably be used for alcohol or ...
6
votes
1answer
256 views

Questions regarding unusual trope combination

I am relaying a question that my friend emailed to me, last night. (It's a mitzvah to credit others): There are two places in the Torah that have an unusual dual trope note combination on a single ...
6
votes
4answers
71 views

If we carelessly cause suffering to ourselves does that mean that G-d is punishing us?

Say a person accidentally trips because he wasn't being careful while walking. Should he blame himself or is G-d behind this incident as a way to punish the person?
6
votes
4answers
271 views

Cutting Challah on Shabbos

Is there a source for why many people (Ashkenazim) use a knife to pre-mark the challah where they will cut it before making the bracha on Shabbos?
6
votes
1answer
348 views

Is there a halachic problem with saying “Christ” as a name?

Since (according to the Gra (YD 157:3), cited in this answer), there is no issue in saying the name "Jesus," would there be an issue in saying the name "Christ"? This name might be more problematic ...
6
votes
3answers
447 views

Women using tampons before marriage

Is there any issue with women using tampons before marriage? I would appreciate sourced answers discussing this either saying it's ok or not ok. My thought is that since the use of a tampon requires ...
6
votes
1answer
254 views

Davening maariv occasionally without minyan

The maariv prayer service was originally established as a reshut and that has ramifications in halacha. Does it affect the obligation to pray maariv with a minyan? Perhaps similar to how we can skip ...
6
votes
2answers
66 views

What if, when the Kohanim washing their hands, less than ten remain?

Before Birkas Kohanim, the Levi'im wash the Kohanim's hands. In many communities, this occurs during the chazzan's repitition of Shemoneh Esrei, and in a room outside the main shul. Normally, there ...
6
votes
2answers
341 views

Do I need to wear a different tallit katan when I sleep?

If I wear a tallit katan during the day and also to bed, can I wear the same one during the day and also to bed? Or must the one I wear to bed be a different one than the one I wore during the day? ...
6
votes
1answer
120 views

The lack of “ch” sound in Hebrew

As far as I know, there is no tradition of Lashon HaKodesh pronunciation in which there is a sound that matches the "ch" (IPA: t​͡​ʃ) of English. Is there any significance to this ...
6
votes
1answer
175 views

History of the two versions of the Ritva

I recall from my time in Yeshiva that the version of the Chiddushei HaRitva in use in the 19th century was clearly not the original (as proved from quotations in the Shita Mikubetzes), and that the ...
6
votes
1answer
109 views

If a vegetable is eaten raw only if it is in a salad, what bracha should I make on it if eating it plain?

If a vegetable is eaten raw only if it is in a salad, what bracha should I make on it if eating it plain? As one example, cabbage is usually eaten raw only when it is mixed with mayo, as in cole slaw, ...
6
votes
1answer
390 views

Igrot Kodesh of the Lubavitcher Rebbe zt'l

There is a practice among Chabad chasidim to ask questions via the "Igrot Kodesh" (a collection of published correspondence from the seventh Lubavitcher Rebbe). The procedure involves writing a ...
6
votes
1answer
73 views

Mentioning our sins on Shabbos Rosh Chodesh

During every Shemoneh Esrei of mussaf, we pray that the Beis Hamikdash be rebuilt. However, only on Yom Tov do we mention that it was destroyed due to our sins - ומפני חטאינו. On Shabbos, and on Rosh ...
6
votes
4answers
503 views

Seeking a German Siddur

I was wondering if there is a 'Minhag Ashkenaz' siddur presently in print. I have an older one at home, but it has sentimental value and as a university student, I would rather avoid using such a ...
6
votes
2answers
220 views

Can you use carbonated water for washing?

Inspired by this question but I believe different because its not related to drinking. Can you use carbonated, and even flavored clear water (seltzer) to do things that require water such as washing ...
6
votes
3answers
459 views

What defines a non-kosher restaurant for purposes of maarit ayin?

There is a known halacha that one shouldn't eat in a non-kosher resteraunt due to Maaras Ayin, even though they serve kosher food also. What defines a non-Kosher restaurant? McDonald's is probably ...
6
votes
1answer
263 views

Honorific for a non-Jew

My question is somewhat simple: is there an honorific for particularly righteous, deceased non-Jews? Related: is זכרונו לברכה ever used for non-Jews? I don't recall ever having seen this. EDIT: I ...
6
votes
1answer
235 views

Replacing a lost cover for a tefillin shel yad

My tefillin shel yad had a cover that could slip on and off but the cover is lost and needs replacement. Is there a way I can determine the size so I can ask for a replacement? Are there standard ...
6
votes
0answers
188 views

The Torah scrolls written by Jewish kings

The Torah commanded Jewish kings to write their own Torah scroll from a master in the possession of the Levites, and to read it every day of their life so that they should not become haughty and so ...
6
votes
2answers
354 views

Why is one permutation of the name of God backwards?

If you spell out each letter that makes up the name of God, then add up the gematria (numerical value) of each letter of each fully spelled out letter you get various values. The value depends on how ...
6
votes
2answers
375 views

Better for Man to Not have Been Created

The Talmud in Eruvin 13b concludes that it were better for a man not to have been created than to have been created. How can we understand this given that God is absolutely benevolent. Wouldn't it ...
6
votes
3answers
293 views

How is one allowed to live in Israel?

When Yehoshua came to Israel, he conquered it and divided it among the Jews. This land belongs to them and their descendants. When the Jews were exiled many years later and came back (by the 2nd Beis ...
6
votes
2answers
406 views

Not interlacing fingers in prayer

I have heard from an unauthoritative source that one should not interlace his fingers while praying, because, l'havdil, Christians do. Is there any authoritative source for the claim that it's ...
6
votes
3answers
902 views

Why is kosher wine or grape juice rare alone but less so as an ingredient?

My understanding is that wine or grape juice is s'tam yenam and forbidden if handled by non-Jews without having been cooked. (See, e.g., an explanation on chabad.org.) The practical result of this, ...
6
votes
2answers
284 views

Are there recordings of Rav Elyashiv ztz'l learning with his unique melody?

Rav Elyashiv apparently utilized a distinctive melody when learning. Are there any extant recordings, either audio or video, of this melody?
6
votes
3answers
180 views

Can you fulfill the obligation to pray if you can't hear the leader?

The gemorah in Sukkah daf 51b explains that, in the enormous shul in Alexandria, in order for everyone to know when to answer Amen when the shliach tzibbur (prayer leader, aka sha"tz) was davening, ...
6
votes
2answers
142 views

A fence within a fence

There is a well known dictum that a lot of rabbinic enactments were created to 'create a fence' around the major sin; the idea being that if someone does something that would be Biblically permitted ...
6
votes
2answers
415 views

How should I choose a mezuzah klaf?

I've moved into a new apartment and need to buy some mezuzot. Looking around, each seller seems to offer a range of options in terms of price. It seems like the way it works is the bigger the klaf, ...
6
votes
1answer
149 views

Are marriages on yom tov recognized if all other halacha is observed?

I attended a reform Jewish wedding on Shavuot and was wondering if the marriage is acknowledged and what the status of the children of that union are?
6
votes
3answers
938 views

Do JONAH and similar organizations successfully help those with same-gender attractions?

Wikipedia's article on homosexuality and Judaism talks about Jewish organizations which aim to help people change. The article mentions JONAH, an organization which works on "prevention, ...
6
votes
2answers
224 views

Changing the spelling of “G-d” and Halachic erasure

Is there a problem of "erasing the name of HaShem" if you erase the English word spelled G-o-d, and if so, is there then a problem of erasing it in order to spell it in a more acceptable way (such as ...
6
votes
2answers
462 views

Ceremony to take a woman as a concubine (pilegesh)?

This question sparked a lively discussion and debate on this rather sensitive issue. One piece of the original question was: What ceremony / ritual must be performed (if any) to formally ...
6
votes
2answers
484 views

Shituf and Avodah Zara

While the various opinions about shituf have been discussed already. Somewhat recently, however, I heard a Rav speak on the topic who seemed to take it for granted that shituf was only permitted when ...
6
votes
3answers
148 views

First it says everyone had their own language; but then it says all spoke one before being split

First, in Noach, pasuk Chof perek Yud, it says אֵלֶּה בְנֵי חָם לְמִשְׁפְּחֹתָם לִלְשֹׁנֹתָם; then again a few pasukim later, pasuk Lamed Aleph, אֵלֶּה בְנֵי שֵׁם לְמִשְׁפְּחֹתָם לִלְשֹׁנֹתָם. So ...
6
votes
2answers
362 views

Keilim Mikva design

I live in a neighborhood where it is difficult to find a Keilim mikva. Are there any designs available for how to build one? Is it as hard to build as a human mikva?
6
votes
1answer
562 views

Why does Lubavitch eat in the Sukkah when it rains?

I have always heard that while we do not eat in the Sukkah while it rains, those of Chabad do. Why is this so? Found it on wikipedia too: Though the halakha doesn't obligate one to eat or sleep ...
6
votes
1answer
383 views

When does a chosson free the congregation from saying tachanun?

A chosson frees the congregation with whom he davens from saying tachanun. What sources are there for this in the following tefillos: Shacharis on the day of the wedding Mincha before the chuppah ...
6
votes
3answers
133 views

Why do we Daven for (יראת שמים) fear of heaven twice?

In the Birchas HaChodesh that we say monthly the Shabbos prior to Rosh Chodesh we say as follows: Chaim Sheyesh Bohem Yiras Shomayim V'Yiras Chet and then in the same paragraph we later say Chaim ...
6
votes
7answers
3k views

Why isn't “Adam” a traditional Hebrew name?

I can't think of many people who go by the Hebrew name Adam. Any guesses why?
6
votes
4answers
405 views

Are Jews permitted to work out?

Are Jews allowed to pump their muscles? What if the intent is to make yourself look good?
6
votes
4answers
3k views

The power of saying tehillim

When I was starting to become observant, at the end of shacharis one day, someone asked me "are you finished with tehillim?". I told them I don't know what that is. They told me "if we knew what was ...
6
votes
3answers
398 views

What's the difference between כשב and כבש?

What's the difference between כשב and כבש? Why does the Torah use both?
6
votes
2answers
170 views

Noach with seven mistakes [closed]

There is a pithy Yiddish description for a simple matter that has been massively bungled: "Noiach mit zibn greizen" -- [The two-letter name] Noach (נח) spelled with seven mistakes. Does anyone know ...

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