5
votes
2answers
515 views

Do the Gemara and the Rema prohibit, or encourage, women putting on talit and/or tefillin?

An article in Ynet Judaism (in Hebrew) addresses the resent controversy regarding the prayer of Women of the Wall at the western wall. And claims the following claims: אף אחד גם לא הקריא להן את ...
5
votes
2answers
242 views

The tree of life if adam was already immortal

What's the point of creating the tree of life if Adam was already immortal when created? I can understand the tree of knowledge of good and evil, since Adam was lacking in this knowledge and if he ...
5
votes
7answers
1k views

Which surnames are exclusively Kohanim's and why?

It is well known that is a person has a certain surname (last name) they are more likely to be a Kohen. Examples: Cohen - for obvious reasons Kahn Katz - stands for "Kohen Tzedek" What are some ...
5
votes
0answers
135 views

Eating out Friday night of Chanukkah

If one is lighting Chanukkah candles inside (for whatever reason) relying on the publicization to himself and his family, then what should he do on Friday night if he is eating out? Must he make the ...
5
votes
3answers
198 views

Is there any issue except for Dina Dmalchusa in counterfeiting money?

If someone were to find a way to make exact forgery of currency (in such a way that it would be impossible for anyone to find that it's counterfeit), would there be any prohibition to do so (except ...
5
votes
1answer
233 views

If Ketura wasn't Hagar, who was she?

The Torah tells us (Bereshit 25:1) that "Abraham took another wife, and her name was Keturah." The Yalkut Shimoni (Iyov 904) says that Ketura was from Yafet (english from here): "Abraham married ...
5
votes
2answers
191 views

What is the meaning of Davar Shebakedusha?

How does something become a Davar Shebakedusha? What is the criteria? This question was inspired by the discussion over here. People half-standing for אלקינו in zimun
5
votes
5answers
240 views

Chodosh - where does it apply?

Does the prohibition against consuming new grain ("Chodosh") before the second day of Passover (Leveticus 23:14) apply only in the Land of Israel or in the Diaspora as well? (Sources appreciated)
5
votes
12answers
424 views

What is the most widespread Israeli Minhag?

What is the single most widely practiced minhag among Jews in Israel today? By "widely practiced" I mean practiced by the most people.
5
votes
3answers
163 views

Saying Mashiv HaRuach in the Southern Hemisphere

In the Southern Hemisphere (Brazil, Australia, South Africa, etc.) in October they are heading into the summer. Do they say Mashiv HaRuach at this time of the year or do they say it from Pesach to ...
4
votes
1answer
184 views

Are children whose mother converted after bearing them Jewish?

If a Jewish man and non-Jewish wife have a child, and the mother completes her Orthodox conversion to Judaism after the child is born, must the child also convert to be considered Jewish, if they were ...
4
votes
2answers
173 views

Time for t'filah and you don't have a siddur: better to daven from memory or wait (and possibly miss the time)?

If the set time comes to daven (on a weekday, let's say) and you unexpectedly don't have a suitable (or any) siddur,1 does halacha call for you to wait (and possibly miss that amidah entirely), or ...
4
votes
2answers
186 views

May one say the letters of Hashem's name i.e. “Yud hei vov hei”?

We know we cannot pronounce the 4-lettered name of Hashem. Is it allowed to say the letters of Hashem's name ie “Yud hei vov hei” as in the meditation before counting the Omer or must one say “Yud ...
4
votes
1answer
162 views

9 be-Av on Shabbos

When 9 be-Av falls on Shabbos, it is moved to the following Sunday. Are there any restrictions on Shabbos because of 9 be-Av (maybe tashmish is forbidden)?
4
votes
4answers
266 views

Is there a Mitzva to speak Loshon Kodesh?

Is it a Mitzva to speak Loshon Kodesh? (sources)
4
votes
1answer
119 views

6 chapters of Avos in 7 weeks

Some study pirke Avos weekly through the summer, from Pesach to Rosh Hashana. Others do so only for the six Shabasos between Pesach and Shavuos, one chapter a week. I've heard the latter custom ...
4
votes
5answers
2k views

Are Europeans Edomites?

I had always thought that Europeans descended from Yafet, not Shem, and certainly not Shem, Avraham and Yitzhak. I am aware that it was common in the past to equate Rome with Edom, but I always ...
4
votes
1answer
514 views

What would be an example of permitted vs prohibited cross-grafting with fruit trees?

I haven't studied Tractate Kilayim. I know you can't plant grapes with wheat. What about, say: Jazz apple = Royal Gala apple X Braeburn apple ? Nectarine = Peach X Plum ? Nectaplum = Nectarine X ...
4
votes
4answers
7k 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 ...
4
votes
2answers
910 views

What makes something “chukat goyim?”

One of the most famous examples I have heard is that one should not even tie one's shoes like the non-Jews do in times of persecution. That seems rather excessive. What if the Jews started doing some ...
3
votes
1answer
276 views

Must Mashiach have Jewish ancestry, or just Davidic?

So I recently found out that the rulers of Ethiopia claim descent from Shlomo. Since Mashiach needs to come from David, if this is true they fulfill that requirement. However, it is unlikely (or at ...
3
votes
2answers
134 views

Who Commanded Us, and For What?

Whenever a Jew performs an activity that is mandated by the Torah, s/he recites the blessing that acknowledges God, "אשר קדשנו במצוותיו" (who sanctified us with his commandments), and who commanded us ...
3
votes
2answers
196 views

What's the most efficient method for learning biblical Hebrew?

I have gone through some basic schooling at a modern yeshiva. For 10 years I haven't touched a Chumash, but would like to get back into it. I have started reading the Artscroll Chumash--reading the ...
3
votes
4answers
137 views

What advice do the sages give for improving one's concentration in prayer?

Following up on Isaac's question seeking experience-based advice to improve his prayer:, I am seeking something a bit different. I remember reading some advice on the subject given (I think) by Rav ...
3
votes
1answer
229 views

What to do with the candles during Havdalah

What is the proper procedure after saying the Brocho בורא מאורי האש? I understand you "look," but at what?
2
votes
1answer
529 views

will the Messiah be the greatest torah scholar of the generation?

Besides that the Messiah must be of Davidic lineage, must he also be the greatest torah scholar of the generation (of Davidic lineage)?
2
votes
1answer
170 views

Following minhagim when praying in a different community?

Say you go to a minyan of a different community than your own, how should you behave? When being hazan do you use their pronunciation or yours? Do you pray your nusach or theirs? Do you put on talit ...
2
votes
2answers
454 views

Upper limits of “kovea itim”

It is known from the gemara (Shabbos 31a and cited in maamar Toras HaBayis ch. 1, among other places) that when a person dies, he is asked if he had set times for learning. I know that these times can ...
2
votes
2answers
231 views

Must I take maaser from my income nowadays?

I heard that we don't have to give maaser from our income nowadays because we are outside of Israel and without the Beit Hamikdash. Is this true?
1
vote
1answer
153 views

What are signs of a prophet mentioned in Tanach

Does the tanach provides us some guidelines to Identify a future prophet?
1
vote
2answers
133 views

What happened to Tohorot?

As I understand it, all of Tohorot has been reduced, in modern practice, to Niddah and some hand washing. The entire structure of transmittable 'uncleanliness' is inoperative. Why is it inoperative? ...
0
votes
1answer
113 views

Does Moshiach have to be a king?

Partially based on this question, I would like to know what the source is that Moshiach will be a king.
74
votes
3answers
2k views

Implications of Samoa skipping a Friday

This week, the island of Samoa is switching time zones, causing it to skip from Thursday directly to Saturday. Out of simple curiosity, what implications might this have on any Jews on the island? ...
18
votes
16answers
530 views

SE Challenge: Halachot in which rulings range from permissible to Torah violation?

Inspired by my previous question regarding heating up soup on Shabbat, I present a challenge to the Judaism StackExchange community -- List halachot which have halachic decisions ranging from ...
15
votes
5answers
835 views

Minimum Age to Learn Kabbalah?

How old do you have to be to learn Kabbalah? (I think its 60 ) but it seems everyone learns it anyway (Maharal, Chassidus). Is there a defense or is it just done?
25
votes
2answers
914 views

So you ate dairy after meat. Now what?

Whatever your tradition for waiting between meat and milk, let's say you forgot you were fleishig, and now realize that you have just eaten milk within your traditional waiting period. What are you ...
23
votes
1answer
410 views

Setting aside Shabbat to answer the President's call

In an old MSNBC news story about Jack Lew, a Shabbat-observant Jew who was just appointed to be the new White House Chief of Staff, there's a story about his getting a call from President Clinton when ...
22
votes
9answers
578 views

How do I get myself to yearn for moshiach if I'm comfortable in the diaspora?

Intellectually I know that we're supposed to yearn for the coming of the mashiach and the in-gathering in Eretz Yisrael. I know that one of the Rambam's 13 principles calls for this. We pray for ...
18
votes
2answers
548 views

Is a Jew allowed to participate on Christianity.SE?

I was browsing meta.Christianity.SE recently when I noticed a question with a rather obvious (and good) answer that had not been posted. I was about to go ahead and answer it when I realized there ...
14
votes
10answers
2k views

How to learn gemara independently

Is there an organized path that a Ba'al Teshuva can follow to learn Gemara and prepare the Daf by himself? I mean after he is able to learn with Artscroll.
58
votes
2answers
902 views

Does “reputation scoring” make “the Torah a crown to magnify yourself with”?

I apologise in advance if this is not the place to ask this question. Is "reputation scoring" against the spirit of Pirkei Ovos 4 (5) "Rabbi Tzaddok would say: Do not make the Torah a crown to ...
22
votes
5answers
969 views

Is there any evidence that Rabbi Akiva's students fought alongside Bar Kochba?

Various sources say that "12,000 pairs" of Rabbi Akiva's students died between Pesach and Shavuos because they did not treat each other with respect. See Genesis Rabba 61:3, Ecclesiastes Rabba 11, ...
17
votes
5answers
2k views

Why is Judaism not Racism?

I am only asking this question to educate myself, not because I am anti-semitic or for any other hidden agenda. I do not what to turn this forum into an ugly place. I realize this question is ...
14
votes
2answers
325 views

Inhaling prayers?

Elsewhere I ask whether it's sufficient to pray in a whisper. See there, please, for a description of whispering and how it differs from speaking quietly. Answers to that question indicate that ...
14
votes
1answer
451 views

What is the meaning of psak?

I have asked many people this question, and not yet got a comprehensive answer: What is psak? Like, let's say I have a certain piece of food of uncertain status. If I ask my 6 year old kid if it's ...
13
votes
4answers
531 views

What does “to confuse the Satan” mean and why does it work?

There are several things we don't do in order "to confuse the Satan", like not blowing Shofar on Erev Rosh Hashana. How does it help? Does Satan not realize that Rosh Hashana didn't pass yet? He ...
12
votes
1answer
235 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 ...
11
votes
7answers
294 views

Experience-based advice for focusing and slowing down prayers?

I tend to daven (pray) without sufficient focus and very quickly. In particular, I find that most of the time that I'm praying, my mind is on things other than the words that I'm saying. And, not that ...
9
votes
2answers
2k 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?
7
votes
2answers
375 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 ...

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