9
votes
1answer
111 views

We're not supposed to point at stars?

I'm an Israeli Jew living in Israel. I often give "sky tours" where I show children and adults different stars and a view through a powerful binocular at objects of interest. Recently a young boy ...
2
votes
3answers
83 views

What should a woman think about during candle lighting?

I often see women closing their eyes and concentrating after lighting Shabbos or Yom Tov candles. I was told that this is an auspicious time to pray. I would like to know if any commentators discuss ...
9
votes
1answer
69 views

Trying to understand Kol Hanearim

Where does the custom of Kol Hanearim, were all children stand near the person getting an aliah and are covered with a tallis-canopy, come from? What, if anything, is it a segulah for? Why is it done ...
3
votes
0answers
32 views

Can a Shul collect payment from one who does not follow specific rules?

In Sources to encourage returning s'farim to their places it has a picture of a sign saying that usage of seforim is on condition that one obligates himself to pay $18 to the synagogue fund if ...
2
votes
2answers
145 views

Das Torah regarding taking notes during Shiurim

I wanted to know what the Seforim for Bnei Torah say about writing notes during a shiur. Should one listen without writing anything and only later listen to a recorder while writing notes?
5
votes
2answers
188 views

Israel Am v.s. Goy

Is Israël an Am or Goy or both? whats the Torah definition and best translation of both terms? Because it seems that Israël is being called both Am as a Goy. (Am Kadosh: Devarim 26:19 and Goy ...
1
vote
1answer
33 views

what Difference between Shamash and eved

Why is the servant-candle on the menorah called “shamash” (meaning servant) instead of “eved” which is the word for servant in Hebrew
14
votes
5answers
2k views

Polite way to break up with a chavrusa?

I've been learning with someone for quite some time, but it just hasn't seem to be working out. There are too many interruptions, he seems to space out a lot, and not much progress is made with the ...
5
votes
5answers
336 views

Sources to encourage returning s'farim to their places

Hanging signs saying the above was not enough to make people in my synagogue put back the s'farim they have used into the bookcases. What other mitzvos could I bring on my next edition of the signs? ...
4
votes
0answers
32 views

Meaning of the verses ana hashem hoshia/hatzlicha na?

In Hallel (and in Havdala for Sefardim) the following verses are recited: Ana Hashem hoshea na. Ana Hashem hatzlicha na. The simple translation would be: Please, O Lord, save now! Please, O ...
4
votes
2answers
62 views

Learning while the Chazzan recites piyutim

During the Chazzan's repetition of the Shemoneh Esrei, one is generally required to pay absolute attention and avoid learning etc. What about when the Chazzan is reciting piyutim during his ...
1
vote
0answers
53 views

How should a shul determine its hashkafa?

How should a shul determine its hashkafa? Is it the hashkafa of the community at large, or the rabbinate - even if they do not always seem to be identical?
6
votes
2answers
72 views

Did Cain and Hevel have דעת?

Kayin and Hevel were born before Adam and Chava sinned and ate from the Tree of Knowledge. (See Rashi to 4:1.) Did Kayin and Hevel ever receive the understanding that their parents got from the ...
2
votes
1answer
33 views

Shin of tefillin mentioned in the Gemara originally a reference to the division of the compartments of the Shel Rosh?

The source for [at least one of] the Shins on the tefillah shel rosh is the Gemara (b.Menahoth 35a): ואמר אביי שי"ן של תפילין הלכה למשה מסיני וצריך שיגיע חריץ למקום התפר רב דימי מנהרדעא אמר כיון ...
3
votes
0answers
50 views

is it ok to use the walls of the sukka as a hanger

Is it ok to have a nail in (sticking out of) the wall of the sukka from before sukkot and use it to hang a jacket during sukkot? Will it make a difference if the nail is facing in or out? A possible ...
1
vote
0answers
42 views

The Vilna Gaon and Tefillah

The Vilna Goan explains that while tefillah and teshuvah for a a sin are accepted by Hashem as an atonement, the sin still exists. However, a korban would completely eradicate the sin, as if it had ...
-1
votes
1answer
49 views

Does everyone say the piyut addressing Af beri?

According to the opinion that Machnisei Rachamim should not be said as we don't pray to angels, is there a problem to address Af Beri? I haven't heard of anyone skipping that piyut.
10
votes
1answer
54 views

Is there a malach taking care of rain or not?

The Gemara in Taanis 2a mentions rain as one of the items that Hashem never gives the key of which over to a messenger. אמר ר' יוחנן ג' מפתחות בידו של הקב''ה שלא נמסרו ביד שליח ואלו הן מפתח של ...
3
votes
2answers
121 views

Big-picture commentary on the siddur

There are many commentaries on the siddur. However, most of them focus in detail on the words of the prayers. I'm looking for a commentary which looks at the "big picture" of each prayer. That is, ...
3
votes
0answers
16 views

Leaving and coming back while still eating

There is a halacha that a change of location necessitates a new beracha. However, if one is in the middle of eating something while they change location, they can finish that item without making a ...
1
vote
1answer
67 views

The blessing שהחינו‎ for a new wrist watch?

If you acquire a new wrist watch, do you make the blessing Sheheheyyanu?
7
votes
0answers
40 views

Do you have to consider neighbors when building a shul?

Are there any halachic obligations to consider the averse effects that building a shul may have on Jewish neighbors? This may include things like lowering property value, noise and other disturbances, ...
2
votes
0answers
52 views

Machlokes Hatanaim when Kriat Shema should be said

The first Blat of Berachot tells us about a Mahlokes when Krias Shema should be recited. There are almost 10 shitos there. What is the Machlokes-is there a Sevara for each shita? For instance, the ...
7
votes
2answers
157 views

Why does the Mishnah/Gemara begin with Masekhet Berakhot?

As mentioned (link 1, link 2) and I've seen on the ArtScroll Talmud series (though I don't have a picture to support the fact), the Mishnah/Gemara "begin" with Masekhet Berakhot. Why was this order ...
5
votes
3answers
653 views

Okay to address a rabbi with “you”?

I find it awkward to constantly say "Rabbi" instead of "you" while in a conversation. For example: "Hello Rabbi. I once spoke with the Rabbi regarding X. The Rabbi said Y. I think that the ...
3
votes
1answer
89 views

Has Judaism succeeded or failed at being a light unto the nations? [closed]

In Isaiah 42:6 we read I the LORD have called thee in righteousness, and have taken hold of thy hand, and kept thee, and set thee for a covenant of the people, for a light of the nations I have ...
2
votes
1answer
37 views

How do we learn “Taamei HaMitzvos”?

The Rambam famously believed that sacrifices were given to ween people off idolatry. Therefore, it can be assumed that when Mashiach comes, there won't be a need for sacrifices. Yet, the Rambam ...
5
votes
0answers
47 views

Why don't we say “Misod” for Geshem and Tal?

On Rosh Hashana and Yom Kippur, the Shat"z says a short paragraph at the beginning of his repetition that starts with the words "מסוד חכמים ונבונים," which is an explanation for the insertion of extra ...
9
votes
2answers
161 views

Is a wooden knife מקבל טומאה?

I know that פשוטי כלי עץ טהורים (wooden vessels that are flat [without a receptacle] cannot become טמא [ritually impure]). (כלים ב:א) What about a wooden knife? It has a function, but doesn't have a ...
6
votes
1answer
78 views

Simchas torah and drinking

I have seen that is prohibited to daven while drunk (Drinking during davening). How does chabad justify so much drinking on simchas torah while davening? I have seen shul sanctioned drinking to the ...
10
votes
5answers
3k views

Why does belief in Judaism require irrationality?

In conversations with Rabbis, and in watching debates between Rabbis and atheists, I have often found that the response to questions which attack Judaism either on the basis of some of its perceived ...
4
votes
2answers
55 views

Why did the dor hamabul earn a painless death?

There are, apparently, 903 levels of death, and the term vayigva is one of them. According to some, it refers to the simple act of expiration -- the creation of a corpse. Others, like the Rashi ...
1
vote
1answer
25 views

Aseres Yemai Teshuva passages in the Chazzan's repetition

From Rosh Hashanah to Yom Kippur, four passages are added to Shemoneh Esrei. In many congregations, during the Chazzan's repetition, each passage is first recited by the congregation, then the ...
0
votes
1answer
50 views

Source for Africans being Caananites?

In Alex's answer to Did any Achronim comment on the American Revolutionary or Civil Wars? he says that a certain Rav was opposed to the Emancipation Proclamation, because it goes against Noach's ...
6
votes
1answer
330 views

What was Avraham Avinu's mother's name?

What was Avraham Avinu's mother's name? Our shul received a paper with questions on Simhat Torah, with this question being one of the harder ones. Is there a midrash on her name?
3
votes
1answer
80 views

source for a story: man who went to milk a lion

When I was a kid I heard the following story at least a few times in grade school from the school headmaster (probably around Rosh Hashanah time). It's based on a Jewish legend or midrash, and I'd ...
4
votes
0answers
31 views

Naming after two people

Can one person be given one name (as opposed to a double name) which is meant to "correspond" to two different deceased individuals? I.e. Chaim and Shprintza have a daughter. Chaim's grandmother was ...
7
votes
1answer
474 views

Leaving cities during plagues

Over the Yomim Tovim I happened to skim through a copy of Rav Hirsh's sefer "Horeb". In one section he discussed a directive from Chazal to leave a city struck with plague. With Ebola having been ...
0
votes
0answers
21 views

Pshat in Pasuk of Velo Yavor

Chazal say that the reason why we don't read the Megillah on the 16 is because the passuk (Esther 9:27) says "velo yavor" - וְלֹא יַעֲבוֹר. Why is there a need for this Passuk? The Megillah said that ...
4
votes
1answer
61 views

Notched 2x4 for maamid?

Let's assume that there is a lechatchila to not use metal object that are mekabel tumah (susceptible to tumah) for something that supports the s'chach ("maamid"), which can be avoided by using ...
3
votes
0answers
41 views

Drinking during davening

I am not clear what the rule is for drinking and then davening in the following sense (can be considered a follow to Drunken Davening). On the one hand, in the SA 99 we have that someone is not ...
2
votes
1answer
55 views

Why don't we wear tefillin on Yom Tov sheni?

In Hilkhoth Tefillin 4:10, the Rambam states the basic and well-known halakhah that "...shabbathoth wi-yamim tovim enan zeman tefillin..." (Translation: "Shabbat and Yom Tov are not times for ...
4
votes
2answers
95 views

What time is sunset?

Is sunset (Shkiya) the time the sun hits the horizon or when it sunk completely below it? What about sunrise?
4
votes
1answer
50 views

Tefillin Gassot

According to this video, gassot have only been around for about a century. I know for a fact that when my father became bar mitzvah, his grandfather got him tefillin dakkot (his father got new ...
1
vote
1answer
46 views

Yeshiva Bochurim and Seforim [closed]

I was curious to know, what seforim do yeshiva bochurim learn in yeshiva? (i.e. Kovetz Mefarshim, Shita MiKubetzes and Chiddushei HaRan etc.)
1
vote
1answer
40 views

Writing the name of Hashem [duplicate]

When writing sheim Hashem, why do people replace one letter with a kuf/ as in קל, יקוק, ה', צבקות, שקי etc.?
3
votes
2answers
89 views

Why do we throw kids in the air on Simchas Torah?

Why on Simchas Torah do we through our kids into the air when saying, "משה אמת ותורתו אמת"? Is this is a minhag or some nonsense that someone made up?
0
votes
1answer
41 views

Saying Kaddish Yatom with Permission from Living Parents

If both of my parents are living and they give me a reshut to say kaddish yatom if there is no avel, however the rav wishes that I not say it due to possible issues of marit ayin, who do I follow? ...
0
votes
0answers
42 views

Is it permissible to post photos of pages of a siddur (containing YHVH) online?

I am planning to write a detailed blog post about the weekday Shacharit service, and I want to illustrate it with photos of pages from my ArtScroll siddur. Is this permissible, given that the pages ...
3
votes
2answers
53 views

(When) should skipped parts of davening be made up?

If someone skips parts of shacharit in order to say shemoneh esrei with the congregation, (when) should the skipped paragraphs be made up?

15 30 50 per page