9
votes
3answers
146 views

Does learning Torah or doing Mitzvos protect others from enemies?

I know from the gemarah Bava Basra 7b-8a that learning (being a talmid chacham) or doing many mitzvos can protect oneself from enemies (such that when a city is taxed for a wall that was built to ...
9
votes
3answers
287 views

Visiting sites previously used for idol worship

Given the prohibition on entering a place of idol worship (Rambam, Peirush ha-Mishnayos, Avodah Zarah 1:3), when, if ever, is one permitted to visit a historical site that has been used as a place of ...
9
votes
3answers
3k views

Is it ok to pray for a non-religious friend that he become religious?

Is it ok to pray for a non-religious friend that he should become religious? In the end, he has to make the decision for himself, so can the prayer influence somehow his free will?
9
votes
7answers
414 views

What is the best way to keep bugs out of the sukkah?

What is the best way to keep bugs, specifically mosquitoes, out of a sukkah on Yom Tov? I've looked into various candles, tiki torches, etc., but they won't last through both days of Yom Tov.
9
votes
1answer
125 views

Can non-Jews utilize the princple of bittul berov?

The concept of bittul berov means that in certain cases, if some non-kosher food gets mixed up in as much kosher food of the same type such that nobody knows which piece is the non-kosher part, the ...
9
votes
1answer
239 views

Can one trust the Kashrut of Alcoholic Beverages in bars?

Kosher Organizations, like the CRC (Chicago Rabbinical Council, supply lists of alcohol recommended for purchase and consumption. May one purchase these alcoholic beverages from a bar (where the ...
9
votes
2answers
428 views

Are males with older sisters “firstborn” for the purposes of the Fast of the Firstborn?

Assuming you follow the tradition that only first-born males are obligated to fast the day before Passover, do the males who have an older sister count as first-born or not? Wikipedia doesn't seem to ...
9
votes
1answer
310 views

Is a Jewish farmer allowed to raise animals for non-kosher slaughter?

Is a Jewish farmer allowed to raise animals for non-kosher slaughter? Does it make a difference whether it is a non-kosher animal (e.g. pig), vs. a kosher animal? Does it make a difference whether the ...
9
votes
5answers
312 views

What's a floor?

There are certain laws pertaining to a floor. For example, if a Sefer Torah is dropped on the floor, one is supposed to do some sort of atonement (eg., most famously, fasting for 40 days). What is ...
9
votes
1answer
146 views

Years and years and years of Yishmael

Genesis 25:17 says: וְאֵלֶּה שְׁנֵי חַיֵּי יִשְׁמָעֵאל מְאַת שָׁנָה וּשְׁלשִׁים שָׁנָה וְשֶׁבַע שָׁנִים וַיִּגְוַע וַיָּמָת וַיֵּאָסֶף אֶל עַמָּיו׃ And these are the years of the life of ...
9
votes
2answers
382 views

Does one make a blessing if preparing to die al kiddush Hashem?

If one is reasonably sure that he is about to die al kiddush Hashem does he make a blessing before fulfilling this mitzvah? What would the nusach (text) of this blessing be? Note: I realize that even ...
9
votes
2answers
292 views

Where does the concept of “shirayim” come from?

Please explain the concept of shirayim (literally, leftovers) wherein the followers of a chassidic Rebbe will receive portions of his food to it, these leftovers are considered holy or special in some ...
9
votes
1answer
378 views

The “Miracle” of Hagar's giving birth

This question, coupled with some math I did today leads me to a question. Yishmael was born (according to the Jewish Timeline Encyclopedia) in the year 2034 from creation, the same year that Avraham ...
9
votes
7answers
5k views

why do jewish women wear so much black?

Usually, the color white is associated with purity (as indicated by the kittle). I don't know if the opposite color in the spectrum represents the opposite of purity (yes, I know it's not technically ...
9
votes
2answers
620 views

Saying “Shehecheyanu” on Mitzvot on the second day of Yom Tov

The two days of Rosh Hashanah are considered as one day (Yoma Arichta), so why do we say Shehecheyanu when we blow the Shofar on the second day? Moreover even if we somehow view it as two days, why ...
9
votes
3answers
445 views

Can the daughter of two people who could not marry a Cohen marry a cohen?

Can a woman whose father's father isn't Jewish, but whose father's mother is a regular Jew, and whose mother is the child of two converts marry a Cohen? On the one hand she isn't purely from ...
9
votes
2answers
229 views

Can a woman drink the Kos Shel Bracha?

After saying Birkat HaMazon with a cup of wine, the Shulchan Aruch rules in OC 190:3, that at least a cheekful of wine must be drunk. If this was at a zimmun and the leader of the zimmun does not want ...
9
votes
1answer
777 views

What are the conditions for bread earning the bracha of HaMotzi?

I've seen bread made with juice on airplanes and the insert says these are "mezonos" rolls. And, as we know, matzah is "HaMotzi." In the first instance, it looks like bread but we treat it like ...
9
votes
2answers
346 views

bracha on tefillin while sitting

The shulchan aruch apparently writes (by hilchos tzitzis) that one should stand while reciting birchas hamitzvah. Tefillin are a mitzvah. So why is the Sfardic minhag to sit while putting them on and ...
9
votes
1answer
201 views

Why didn't Mordechai keep Mitzvos? [closed]

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 ...
9
votes
2answers
254 views

Pronunciation guide by a Gerer Rebbe?

I heard from a friend years ago that one of the Rebbes from Gur (the S'fas Emes) wrote a book describing the proper pronunciation of Hebrew letters and words. I am not able to find any trace of such a ...
9
votes
3answers
670 views

Is Mossad Assasination allowed in Torah?

The Torah seems to allow many instances of killing. Genocide is sometimes okay if you give fair warning. So is the execution of a convicted murderer, or even those who break the Sabbath. It does ...
9
votes
1answer
208 views

Origin of Haggadah Section Titles (Kadesh Urchatz, etc.)

What is the historical origin of the section titles of the Haggadah? (Inspired by discussion in comments on this answer to the question: Translation of haggadah section titles)
9
votes
1answer
111 views

Can you rely on the cashier?

If a cashier or other low level employee makes a financial decision in your favor ("keep the change" or "I'll let you use that coupon even if it expired" etc.), without checking with a manager/owner, ...
9
votes
3answers
206 views

Beracha upon seeing a friend on a webcam

The Shulchan Aruch (OC 225:1) rules: שולחן ערוך אורח חיים הלכות ברכת הפירות סימן רכה הרואה את חבירו לאחר שלשים יום, אומר: שהחיינו, ואחר י"ב חדש מברך: מחיה מתים, והוא שחביב עליו הרבה ושמח ...
9
votes
1answer
309 views

How come Sepharadim say “Boreh peri haGEFen” but “Shelo Asani AVed”

I think Hacham Ovadia has a footnote in Hazon Ovadia on Pesach (and probably elsewhere) in which he discusses why we don't use the pausal form of gafen instead of gefen. He writes (if i remember ...
9
votes
1answer
221 views

Why was Rabbi Yitzchok Alfasi known as the Rif - rather than the Ria? (הרי"ף - רבי יצחק אלפסי)

Rabbi Yitzchok Alfasi was known as the Rif. The Roshei Teivos of his name is רי"א, and as far as I know there is no other historic figure known as the רי"א. Then why was he known as the Rif?
9
votes
3answers
717 views

Baby boy's MOTHER as the sandek(et)

I have recently come upon historical evidence of the mothers of baby boys serving as the sandek(et) during the brit milah. From page 18 of The Orthodox Jewish Woman and Ritual: Options and ...
9
votes
2answers
659 views

Siyum on Tanach

A friend of mine recently did a siyum on Nevi'im. However, his Trei Asar did not have a text in the back for a siyum (a "Hadran"; see an example at the bottom here). Does anyone know of a text for a ...
9
votes
1answer
482 views

May one chew gum in the bathroom?

As per this post - Food in bathroom - one may not eat in the bathroom. May one chew gum in the bathroom? Is it considered eating? Connected to this post - Can you walk and chew gum at the same time?
9
votes
3answers
396 views

Why does Rashi not comment on the repetition of the word “shono” in the age of Yishmoel?

Rashi comments on the repetition of the word “shono” in the ages of both Soroh Braishis 23 (1) and Avrohom Braishis 25 (7). Why is there no comment for the age of Yishmoel which also repeats “shono” ...
9
votes
5answers
737 views

Can you fold a tallis on Shabbos?

What melachah is transgressed by folding a tallis? Is there some way to fold it which is permitted?
9
votes
2answers
248 views

Avram-Avraham; Yaakov-Yisroel; Yitzchok-?

Why from the three Avos, Avraham and Yaakov had their name changed, and not Yitzchok?
9
votes
1answer
167 views

The midos by which the Torah is expounded. Rabbi Eliezer the son of Rabbi Yosi haGelili's are not in the siddur. Rabbi Yishmoel's are. Why?

Rashi on Braishis 2(8) refers to the 32 midos of Rabbi Eliezer the son of Rabbi Yosi haGelili by which the Torah is expounded. These are less familiar than the 13 of Rabbi Yishmoel that we say every ...
9
votes
1answer
476 views

Sukka in a covered balcony

I live in an apartment with a balcony that is fully covered by the balcony two floors above (the balconies are zig-zagged). This means that I cannot build a kosher sukka in my balcony. I don't have ...
9
votes
3answers
303 views

Eating before Davening with a Minyan, or Davening at home and not eating till later?

You wake up in the morning and are famished. In order to have strength to go to Shul you need to eat prior to Davening. However, if you were to Daven without a Minyan at home you would not have to eat ...
9
votes
1answer
255 views

Chamisha Asar B'Av - when did the Minhag stop?

The Gemara Taanis 31. says אמר רבן שמעון בן גמליאל לא היו ימים טובים לישראל כחמשה עשר באב וכיוה"כ שבהן בנות ירושלים יוצאות ... וחולות בכרמים ומה היו אומרות בחור שא נא עיניך וראה מה אתה בורר לך אל תתן ...
9
votes
2answers
282 views

Reincarnation vs. resurrection of the dead

Some Jews believe in reincarnation. They are also supposed to accept the Resurrection of the Dead, where actual bodies are resurrected. In that case, for each soul, which body is resurrected?
9
votes
3answers
619 views

Did Rabbi Dovid Feinstein of Uzda wear tefilin that were Ktav Ari or Ktav Beit Yosef? What about his son?

The biographical sketch of Rabbi Moshe Feinstein that appears in the beginning of Igrot Moshe volume 8 states that his father, Rabbi Dovid Feinstein of Uzda, was born and raised Hassidic, but took on ...
9
votes
2answers
4k views

Etymology of the Name Feivel

Where does the Jewish name Feivel (or Feivish) come from? What does it actually mean?
9
votes
2answers
232 views

Shoivavim Tat significance

What is Shoivavim?What is Shovavim Tat? what is its significance and how is it for lack of a better term celebrated?
9
votes
3answers
121 views

Do our sources address the question of intellectual property vs the public good?

The NYTimes recently ran a piece about a malnourishment treatment that could save lives in Africa, but one company owns the recipe and controls it tightly. (See the article, I apologize if I'm not ...
9
votes
5answers
339 views

Sonogram (ultrasonography) on Infant for Gender

It seems there are some people who specifically don't want to know their baby's gender before birth. Is there any halachic basis to this, or is it just superstition?
9
votes
2answers
214 views

Davening for someone to end a painful life

Are you allowed to daven for a person to die because he is in a lot of pain?
9
votes
2answers
275 views

Should one drink from the leader's cup after kiddush?

Inspired by the upcoming holiday of Pesach, where many minhagim seem to have each person drink from his own cup, I was wondering about the custom of drinking wine from the cup upon which kiddush is ...
9
votes
3answers
893 views

What is the appropriate use of the shamash on an oil menora?

It seems that with wax candle menoras, the shamash is generally lit first and used to light the other candles, but with an oil menora this is not possible. So should you light the shamash before the ...
8
votes
2answers
85 views

Is there a halachic time limit for sending an organization its charity box money?

Many Jewish organizations distribute tzedaka (charity) boxes. A few that I know tell people, "collect the money and at some point, empty the money and mail us a check." Let's say someone leaves this ...
8
votes
1answer
85 views

May one beautify his Payos?

Rashi (B'reshis 37:2) calls it an "an act of immaturity [to fix one's] hair (...) so he would look good". Obviously, payos are made from hair, but they are not considered regular hair within kabbala ...
8
votes
1answer
164 views

How did Jacob manage to have 12 children in 7 years?

Did Leah manage to have 6 sons and 1 daughter in the space of 7 years or was it over a longer period of time? In general it seems difficult to fit all of Ya'akov's children into a 7 year period. ...
8
votes
3answers
90 views

Why is there an accusation in our Confession litany?

In the alphabetical vidui confession, we begin with Ashamnu -- we are guilty, and we list off a series of mistakes we have made. This makes sense -- a confession requires that we own up to our sins. ...

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