6
votes
4answers
475 views

Why was the Gemara written in Aramaic?

The Gemara (the Bavli and Yerushalmi) are the fundamental texts that we possess of the Oral law. Why were they written in Aramaic? At first glance, Ravina and R' Ashi probably knew that this will be ...
6
votes
3answers
269 views

Did anointed kings of Israel have contact with their parents?

This answer to another question makes me wonder: Did anointed kings of Israel have any contact with their parents? David was dead when Shlomo succeeded him, and Shlomo ruled until his own death. But ...
6
votes
4answers
158 views

Asara Haruge Malchut (Ten Martyrs), why were 10 Rabbis killed?

In Vayigash, Rabenu Bahya (also the Zohar) comments and says that the reason we had Asara Haruge Malchut because the brothers sold Yosef. However, Reuven didn't sell Yosef, so why should the ...
6
votes
1answer
81 views

Benyamin's reward

Benyamin, while being quite young at the time, is notably missing when Yosef is sold. Does he deserve a reward for not participating or was he simply not included and therefore is incidental in the ...
6
votes
2answers
386 views

Learning Kabbalah from other students of the Arizal?

It says in Sforim that one shouldn't learn Kabbalah from any of the students of the Arizal except for R' Chaim Vital (as they didn't understand the Arizal properly). I have never seen such a worry ...
6
votes
5answers
280 views

Was the world created with din or with rachamim?

I remember Chazal saying somewhere that the world could not survive, had it been created with din/harsh judgement/strictness. However, in Bereshis, at the very beginning, it says: בְּרֵאשִׁית ...
6
votes
1answer
103 views

Hashem calls people twice and Hinneni

In many places in the Tanach Hashem uses a name twice (ie Avraham, Avraham in Breshit 22:11; Jacob Jacob in Breshit 46:2; Shmuel shmuel in Shmuel Aleph 3:10 and more). Rashi says that this is an ...
6
votes
3answers
420 views

Saying Kadish for someone else

The Kadish is a declaration of praise and recognition that God is great. As I understand it, a mourner says Kadish to declare that despite his loss he still praises God and understands that this was ...
6
votes
1answer
111 views

All these verses to say before havdala

Before saying the blessings relevant to havdala on motzei shabbos, we (Ashkenazim) include a bunch of p'sukim: "הִנֵּה אֵל יְשׁוּעָתִי אֶבְטַח וְלֹא אֶפְחָד כִּי עָזִּי וְזִמְרָת יָהּ יְהוָה וַיְהִי ...
6
votes
2answers
234 views

No yetzer hora of idolatry, so no nevuah?

I remember learning in a shiur (sorry, can't think of the reference) that Chazal was able to essentially destroy the yetzer hora of avodah zora but with the side effect that there wouldn't be nevuah ...
6
votes
2answers
364 views

Is repeating the chorus in Lecha Dodi problematic?

Some tunes for Lecha Dodi are conducive to repeating the chorus ("Lecha dodi ...") twice each time. I've noticed that some people, when using one of these tunes, repeat, while others avoid repeating ...
6
votes
3answers
157 views

What was the purpose of the Temple's destruction?

There are plenty of explanations about which sins led to the destruction of the Temple. My question is not about which sins they were, but what does the destruction of the Temple do to solve the ...
6
votes
2answers
191 views

Go in Peace - why are we sending the Angels away

On Friday night we welcome the angels by singing Shalom Aleichem the question is why do we tell them: צֵאתְכֶם לְשָׁלוֹם מַלְאֲכֵי הַשָּׁלוֹם מַלְאָכֵי עֶלְיוֹן Essentially sending them away ...
6
votes
1answer
108 views

Pounding the pavement WITH LEAVES?

Is hitting the Hoshanos on the ground a universal practice? And what is the source for this custom?
6
votes
2answers
191 views

How to pronounce the name of the sefer “Bnei Yso(s)cher”

How does one pronounce the name of the sefer בני יששכר ? I've heard people pronounce both sins -- so it is Ysoscher. (There is also a common custom to pronounce the name יששכר with both sins the ...
6
votes
2answers
609 views

Taking down Sukkah decorations before the end of holiday

I know that if I am going to be traveling during Chol Ha'Moed, I know that I can not halachically take down my Sukkah or the Schach early. Does the same prohibition apply to the decorations?
6
votes
2answers
192 views

Avinu Malkienu on Shabbos

Why do we not say Avinu Malkienu on Shabbos and why is the Teffilah of Neilah the exception to this very rule?
6
votes
2answers
181 views

Shochen Ad, HaKail, HaMelech - why?

Why does the Shaliach Tzibbur start Shacharis on Shabbos from Shochein Ad, on Yom Tov from HaKeil, and on Rosh HaShana/Yom Kippur from HaMelech?
6
votes
1answer
270 views

What to do when which side of the door to put the Mezuza on is unclear?

If someone has a house which has a room, and this room has two doors without a "heker tzir" (1) (like salon doors, or sliding doors, or no doors at all) and people walk into this room through one door ...
6
votes
2answers
175 views

Audio/Video Recordings of Tefilloth/Prayers

Is there any concern with listening to audio/video recordings of Tefilloth (prayers)? If someone hears a recording of a Berachah (blessing), does he have to say 'Amen'? Is he prohibited from saying ...
6
votes
2answers
303 views

Where do Ashrei's intro sentences in the liturgy before Psalm 145 (Ashrei) come from?

The sentences "Joyful are the inhabitants of Your House, constantly praising You. Joyful are the people for whom this is so" preface Ashrei. They aren't in the psalm that David wrote, 145, but a ...
6
votes
2answers
257 views

What is the origin of the shofar sounds?

There are 4 major shofar sounds, or notes, sounded on Rosh Hashana: Tekiah: A long, continuous blast. Shevarim: Three short "broken" blasts. Teruah: A rapid series of nine or more very short blasts. ...
6
votes
2answers
298 views

Saying Baruch HaShem L'Olam without a minyan

Should one say Baruch HaShem L'Olam when davening without a minyan? What if one is davening not in a synagogue but in a home? What if one is davening alone? Practically speaking, the prayer was ...
6
votes
1answer
197 views

who says “baruch hu uvaruch sh'mo” before birkas hamazon

Ashk'nazi prayer books generally include the line ברוך הוא וברוך שמו after the zimun (invitation to say birkas hamazon and before the actual birkas hamazon. It generally (in my experience) is ...
6
votes
2answers
302 views

How many T'fachim make up an Ama?

Is it possible to convert between Torah measurements? Specifically, T'fachim & Amot, (cubits) so I can figure out the size of the luchot (tablets) within the Aron Hakodesh (ark). (The Luchot are ...
6
votes
1answer
283 views

Did the Sefer Torah written by the Maharam of Rottenberg survive the Holocaust?

There is a famous story of the Maharam copying a Sefer Torah written by Moshe Rabbeinu. Before passing, he threw it in the river by the castle in which he was arrested. This Sefer Torah reached ...
6
votes
3answers
2k views

Do Jews think that all the unbelievers would go to hell someday?

I wonder whether Judaism teaches that those unbelievers or those who are Jews but nevertheless lead a sinful life would go to hell someday when judgement time comes.
6
votes
2answers
528 views

Why do the laws of kitniyot still apply today to Ashkenazi Jews on Passover?

How did the tradition start? Why is it still around today? What is the basis for this Halacha (הלכה)?
6
votes
1answer
1k views

Why does a girl become Bat Mitzvah at 12 years old?

We learn that a Bar Mitzvah is at age 13, since it says in Bamidbar 5:6: Tell the children of Israel: When a man (אִישׁ) or woman commits any of the sins against man to act treacherously against ...
6
votes
3answers
836 views

Choking on a Fish Bone

I remember learning once that the גמרא says to perform a certain procedure / say certain words when someone is choking on a fish bone. I also remember hearing that this is the one cure mentioned in ...
6
votes
1answer
199 views

Shiluach haKen and character

A number of reasons are given for sending away the mother bird before taking her eggs/young. The Rambam says it is for the mercy on the mother bird. The Ramban says it is to perfect our own mercy. ...
6
votes
3answers
236 views

Birchas HaTorah - everyone was awake all night

Suppose everyone in the Shul remained awake the whole night of Shavuos. What do you do regarding Birchas HaTorah?
6
votes
1answer
145 views

“Hayom yom X b'shabas” or “bashabas”?

A sidur I used this morning had the introductory line of the shir shel yom as "hayom yom sheni b'shabas". When I checked the two sidurim I trust the most for excatitude in these matters, one had ...
6
votes
1answer
149 views

Why does parshat bamidbar repeat census information?

It seems that the 3rd aliyah in Bamidbar needlessly repeats the information given in the 1st and second aliyah First Aliyah: Lists the leaders of each tribe Second Aliyah: gives us the census ...
6
votes
3answers
886 views

Hebrew for ice - and other “new” words

After reading MB OC 301:17:65 (thanks, YDK!) I am baffled by a nagging question regarding Modern Hebrew and Biblical Hebrew. Eliezer Ben-Yehudah is known to have revitalized Hebrew, in part by taking ...
6
votes
3answers
254 views

Orla: are the leaves of the plant included in the prohibition?

I have recently planted a grape vine. The nursery insists that it is at least 1 year old (and the size of the plant suggests no less than 2 years old). It was planted with it's roots entirely ...
6
votes
2answers
130 views

Check that did not clear

If I give a check in payment of an obligation or purchase and the check never cleared. The recipient never called me to say he lost it or misplaced it. Do I have to call the recipient and give him ...
6
votes
2answers
153 views

Us'shuva us'fila utz'daka maavirin… so what?

Why is so much emphasis given to the line "us'shuva us'fila utz'daka maavirin..." in the Rosh Hashana and Yom Kipur prayers? It seems to be the most emphasized line of all, with people shouting it and ...
6
votes
4answers
183 views

Commemorating Death

What are some sources about when it is appropriate - if ever - to celebrate the death of an enemy? My question is inspired by last night's news of the death of Osama Bin Laden, naturally, as well as ...
6
votes
1answer
132 views

Why Start Pirkei Avos With Kol Yisroel?

Why do we start off saying Pirkei Avos by first saying the Mishna from Sanhedrin "Kol Yisroel"?
6
votes
1answer
204 views

Washing Kohen's Hands

Following kedusha during mussaf on a day when there is birchas kohanim (duchening), the Leviyim and Kohanim assemble at the sink and a Levi washes each Kohen's hands. What procedure of hand-washing ...
6
votes
2answers
589 views

Sucking Candy and Chewing Gum

Two questions: One is not allowed to eat in a restroom. Does this apply to actually putting food into one's mouth or merely having food in one's mouth? If I am chewing gum and want to go to the ...
6
votes
2answers
412 views

No Olam Habah for these?

At the end of Gemorah (Tractate) Sanhedrin, there is discussion of people who are not Zocheh to get into Olam Haba (Gan Eden). Is there a comprehensive list somewhere of people mentioned throughout ...
6
votes
6answers
570 views

Bedikas Chometz - 10 pieces of bread

In Shulchan Aruch Orach Chaim 432:2 the Rama says that the Minhag is to place bread in such a place that the searcher can find it. Both the Be'er Hataiv and the Mishna Berura say that according to the ...
6
votes
3answers
119 views

Shnayim Umeya Va-elef - mi yodeya?

Who knows eleven hundred two? Please cite/link your sources, if possible. At some point at least twenty-four hours from now, I will: Upvote all interesting answers. Accept the best answer. Go on to ...
6
votes
4answers
160 views

Parshas Zachor Sfardi versus Ashkenazi

Can a Sefardi be Yotzeh Zachor with an Ashkenazi Laining and vice Versa?
6
votes
1answer
152 views

Owning stock in companies that operate on shabbat

It is my understanding that one may only have ownership in a business that operates on shabbat if you co-own with a gentile and have an explicit arrangement that all profits derived on shabbat belong ...
6
votes
4answers
527 views

Reading a newspaper on Shabbat

Is there any issues with reading a newspaper on Shabbat? Assuming you are not carrying the paper into the house without an eruv, I seem to remember hearing that you can not read a Saturday newspaper ...
6
votes
4answers
379 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
1answer
464 views

מֶה, מָה, מַה - Meh, Mah, Ma - What's the difference?

What causes the difference in vowelization of the Hebrew word for "what"? In some contexts it is מֶה, in others - מָה, and in yet others - מַה. The hypothesis that an acquaintance and I converged on ...

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