12
votes
1answer
245 views

What determines the sorts of cases in which one can deliberately not know the facts?

Halacha depends on the facts of a situation. Generally, when one cannot know the exact facts, he is expected to assume that they are as usual (rov), or as they were when last checked (chazaka). When ...
12
votes
6answers
860 views

“Chabad” Gemara learning?

Is there a specifically "Chabad" way of learning Gemara? Is there a Chabad commentary on the Gemara?
11
votes
6answers
458 views

Why is God so hidden from us

Why did God institute a natural order so that His presence would be hidden. I know so many people who are hopelessly convinced of the scientific perspective that the world is basically a machine ...
10
votes
2answers
3k views

Who is the last prophet in Judaism?

Who is the last person regarded as a true prophet in Judaism? What was his time frame?
8
votes
3answers
450 views

Teaching Written Torah to Christians

There is an idea mentioned by the Rambam, but not in the Mishneh Torah as I recall, that it is permissible to teach Wrtitten Torah to Christians because they accept it as Divine and don't study it in ...
4
votes
7answers
908 views

Things we do not do because of Danger

What are things Brought down in Halacha that we do not do because of Danger?
22
votes
2answers
370 views

Matza on 14 Iyar

I have seen a custom (it seems to me primarily among Chassidim) to eat matza on 14 Iyar (known as Pesach Sheni). What is the earliest source for this custom? What are the reasons given for following ...
19
votes
5answers
5k views

What does Judaism think about homosexuality?

Is being gay a sin? Can one be a Jew and a gay person at the same time? How does the Jewish community think about gays?
17
votes
3answers
3k views

Is it acceptable under kashrut to eat tyrannosauridae meat?

Theoretically speaking, if tyrannosaurs were still present these days, or in some way or another brought back, would they be kosher? Let's assume that they are properly slaughtered and prepared.
16
votes
7answers
1k views

How does Judaism deal with God and paradoxes?

How does Judaism deal with paradoxes relating to the omnipotence of God? For example: Can God create a rock that he himself cannot lift?
16
votes
4answers
773 views

Are Animal Crackers depicting non-kosher animals non-kosher?

Are animal crackers that depict animals such as swine, lions, and camels treif?
15
votes
4answers
443 views

Did courts ever execute?

The laws of capital crimes elucidated in Sanhedrin and elsewhere make conviction very unlikely. Makkot 1:10 famously tells us that a court that executes once in seven years is bloodthirsty, R. ...
14
votes
2answers
637 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
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?
12
votes
6answers
548 views

Why is there so much space and matter,etc. in the universe?

If the point of all of creation is for the Jewish people to accept and carry out the torah [I realize this is not axiomatic and may be a point of contention - see Shabbat 88a] what is the need for the ...
10
votes
1answer
840 views

Can a live video feed remove the prohibition of Yichud?

I was wondering if and how a public videostream could affect a potential yichud situation. For example, may a single guy and girl be secluded if they set up a continuously broadcasting camera and ...
10
votes
1answer
1k views

Why isn't the book of the Maccabees part of the Jewish canon?

I believe they are in the Christian canon... why not Jewish?
9
votes
5answers
205 views

Are there sources that any minute not learned Torah is a sin?

I was recently referred to the Even HaEzel on the Rambam in the 3rd chapter of Hilchos Melachim. Reb Isser Zalman Meltzer (the author) writes there that there is no sin of Bittul Torah for a regular ...
9
votes
1answer
439 views

Mentioning Yeshu's name?

Is there a source for not verbally (or in writing, for that matter) mentioning the name of Yeshu (the father of Christianity)? If there is such a source, what exactly is forbidden to say? Is it only ...
9
votes
5answers
460 views

Is the passage describing an approximation of pi or is it one of the miracles of Bais Hamikdash?

In Sepher M'lakhim we read how different measurement was taken. I wonder if this passage (Ⅰ M'lakhim 7:23) is describing an approximation of PI (3.1415...), or was this one of the hidden miracles? ...
8
votes
6answers
529 views

Rationalist Position on Bible Ancients' Long Lives

How would a rationalist interpret the long lives of the ancient people enumerated in the Bible, from Methuselah on down? Virtually no person lives more than 120 years today, even with the assistance ...
7
votes
4answers
312 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 ...
7
votes
6answers
357 views

Saying words of prayer or Torah while an immodest photo or drawing is in your field of vision?

The halachah is clear (Shulchan Aruch, Orach Chaim 75) that one may not recite Shema, or any other words of Torah or prayer, while in the presence of parts of the human body that should be covered. ...
6
votes
1answer
445 views

Belief that a dead man will be the Messiah - Kfira?

Are there any documented halachik authorities that rule that the belief in a dead Messiah is beyond the pale of permitted Jewish belief and therefore would qualify as Kfira? If there are halachik ...
6
votes
2answers
880 views

Reasons for different minhagim regarding if and when to put tallit gadol over head?

I'm curious about the reasons and sources for the different customs about if and when to cover one's head with the tallit gadol during davenen. For example: cover head from after bar'chu until after ...
5
votes
5answers
320 views

Why does evil exist?

I realize this is a very common question, but the problem of evil is an important one, and as far as I can tell, has not been asked here. In short, why does G-d allow evil to exist?
4
votes
5answers
809 views

ALL Names of God

Where can I find an exhaustive list of all of the names of Hashem (preferably שמות and כינוים) in Tanach and elsewhere? Is this too ill-defined a topic to have an exhaustive answer? Do the 70 in the ...
4
votes
4answers
517 views

Make for yourself a website?

Can a site like mi.yodeya.com be used for one to fulfill our sages mandate of "Make for yourself a Rav"? Obviously I meant this facetiously. Of course a website cannot take the place of a rav, but ...
3
votes
2answers
709 views

Tzar Balay Chaim- Killing Pests?

Are you allowed to kill flies and other pests (mice, mosquitoes, etc.) or would that go under the prohibition of Tzar Balay Chaim?
1
vote
3answers
264 views

Did G-d create evil? [closed]

Did G-d create evil? Scripture says that G-d created everything, right? So then if G-d indeed created everything, does that mean He created evil? Is there Old Testament evidence for why He did or ...
28
votes
3answers
853 views

Keeping Kosher at a secular company

How you do deal with keeping Kosher while working at a secular company? It's easy enough to bring my own lunch everyday; what I'm not sure how to handle are events like company lunches and other ...
27
votes
11answers
898 views

Seder advice when with people who aren't interested?

This may have some things in common with beginner's seder advice, but it's different enough that I'm asking separately. For family-obligation reasons, I sometimes find myself at a seder where most of ...
19
votes
2answers
263 views

Why the custom to switch around negative-sounding numbers, such as שד?

Often in sefarim we find that if the number of the siman spells out something negative, such as siman 304 which has a letter value of שד, we switch it around so it no longer reads as a "bad" word. ...
19
votes
3answers
499 views

Can I cause a Melacha to happen in a place where Shabbat has already started?

For example, if I live in New York, could I send a fax (causing the machine to print a document) to Israel on Friday afternoon, before it is Shabbat for me, but after Shabbat has started there?
19
votes
4answers
1k views

Orthodox Visits to Other Denomination Sanctuaries

Why is it that some people won't set foot in another's sanctuary, even if it was for a non-prayer function? Can an orthodox person be in a reform style temple sanctuary for a lecture or concert? I ...
17
votes
4answers
403 views

How to reconcile the possibility that Rashi had a slightly different text of the Torah

In the Parshah of Chayei Sara, in Bereishis 25:6, there is a Posuk that refers to הפילגשים - "the concubines". Rashi expounds that since the word is missing a Yud, it must be a reference to the fact ...
17
votes
4answers
2k 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
4k views

Why are women unclean longer after giving birth to a girl?

I read that women are unclean for two weeks after giving birth to a girl and seven days after giving birth to a boy. What does it tell us?
16
votes
3answers
685 views

Shomer Negiah without direct contact?

An interesting thought crossed my mind: does shomer negiah specifically only relate to direct, physical contact, or does it additionally extend to cover cases where there is no direct touch? Though ...
16
votes
7answers
497 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, ...
16
votes
2answers
215 views

People half-standing for אלקינו in zimun

When conducting a zimun with ten or more men, the nusach is to say "...ברוך אלקינו שאכלנו משלו". I have noticed that many people, when saying the word "אלקינו", get up from their seats at least a ...
15
votes
4answers
935 views

How can pigs and shellfish be kosher for bnei Noach?

As a ben Noach, I watch what meat I eat. I eat kosher or halal cut meat only. However, I think that bnei Noach aren't forbidden from eating pig meat or shellfish. How would I make sure that such meat ...
15
votes
5answers
473 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?
15
votes
2answers
251 views

How and when does a prophet know that it's God who's speaking to him?

When God addressed Moshe there was an accompanying miracle (and there's midrash about Avraham's case being special too), so it was pretty clear what was happening, but how did the other prophets come ...
15
votes
2answers
355 views

Computer working on Shabbos

Can I leave my computer on downloading over Shabbos?
14
votes
5answers
3k views

Are there any Jewish people alive today who can identify themselves as coming from a particular tribe?

The Christian "New Testament" claims Paul (Saul) was of the tribe of Benjamin. Since Roman times have there been any people who can validly claim they were from a particular tribe? At least at that ...
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
5answers
1k views

Werewolf in the Torah

I have been told that there are Pirushim on the Torah who speak of werewolves. Can anyone locate them?
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?
13
votes
3answers
706 views

Eating on someone else's untoveled dishes

One must tovel (immerse in a mikve) various kinds of dishes before first use, and may not eat from his own dishes until they are toveled. Is it likewise forbidden to eat from someone else's untoveled ...

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