14
votes
0answers
456 views

Can I make a mikvah using artificial rain?

If I have a mikva which needs filling, and there is no rain, can I use the following mechanism - I have a Mikva in a closed room. On top of this Mikva, there is a cooling system (let's say that this ...
10
votes
0answers
115 views

Can one have a favorite pasuk/parsha/masechta?

This closed question asks for a 'favorite pasuk', presupposing that such a thing is allowed. When it comes to sugyos or sections/topics of Torah, Chazal say on the one hand, (Eiruvin 64a) that a ...
10
votes
0answers
117 views

How are the two tales of dancing in vinyards on the 15th of Av related?

The Mishna tells us (Taanis 26b) that on the 15th of Av, unmarried girls would borrow clothes, dance in the vinyard, and invite the unmarried men to choose them for marriage. The Talmud (Taanis 30b) ...
9
votes
0answers
107 views

Request document Identification (Ancient Scroll?)

Hi I have a document from Tunsia that I can't identify. Can anyone help me with this?
9
votes
0answers
57 views

How to determine common practice for halachos that are impacted by it

Certain halachic issues are informed or even determined by the social standards of the (non-Jewish) society in which one lives. Examples include what falls under the prohibition of cross-dressing (see ...
9
votes
0answers
158 views

What is the source of the expression המבין יבין?

The Forward writer Philologos in his most recent column claimed that the earliest uses of the expression והמבין יבין are found in the Ra'avad and in the Radak. Based on the fact that both these ...
9
votes
0answers
120 views

Were there any sages who supported the Zealots during the seige of Jerusalem?

In Gittin 56a-b, we read how the sages warned the Zealots (a.k.a. the Biryonim) to not wage war with the Romans who were holding Jerusalem under seige, but that the Biryonim set fire to the store ...
8
votes
0answers
81 views

Tahara procedure for a body with an infectious disease

I've heard that one vector for the spread of Ebola is ceremonial contact that family members have with the body of their deceased relative. That led me to think about how Judaism deals with this ...
8
votes
0answers
73 views

Was there sentient life with free will in the worlds that G-d destroyed before making our world?

The midrash at B'reshis Rabba 3:7 states that G-d created a number of worlds and destroyed them before the creation of our world. Is the Midrash implying that the earlier worlds included sentient ...
8
votes
0answers
90 views

Selling Hametz on Ebay

Can I sell my chametz via eBAY? I have no expectation that I want to buy it back. I would pack it and ship it before Pesach, so it's definitely not in my posession during Pesach. Is this problematic ...
8
votes
0answers
110 views

What is the difference between (for example) “notein” and “hanotein”?

I was looking through the brachot this morning. Many are structured as identifying hashem as "one who __" such as "matir assurim" or "oteir yisro'el btif'arah." But the final three add in the letter ...
8
votes
0answers
176 views

Any good sources for Ashkenazi prayer modes and melodies for the whole year?

Anyone know of any good sources for Ashkenazi prayer modes and melodies for the whole year? I'm looking for traditional Ashkenazi nusach, but perhaps not embellished like concert chazzanut. A good ...
8
votes
0answers
203 views

May Hallel be said on Yom Nicanor?

I know that usually, Yom Nicanor is displaced by the Fast of Esther. But in years (such as 2013 / 5773) when the Fast of Esther is displaced due to Shabbat, may Hallel be said on the 13th of Adar, ...
8
votes
0answers
179 views

Is it acceptable to use software which incidentally blocks ads?

A question on this site on whether ad-blocking software is permissible suggests that the answer is that it probably, but not definitely, is acceptable. I don't use ad-blocking software myself, but I ...
7
votes
0answers
44 views

Can the Jewish people have a king while in exile?

Assuming a time where appointing a Jewish king is possible, if a proper Jewish king was anointed would he continue to retain the status of king if the Jewish people were exiled from the land of ...
7
votes
0answers
46 views

Is there any halachic problem with an ark having a “lazy susan” for the Sifrei Torah?

Our shul has a small ark. There is room for 4 Sifrei Torah with 2 on each row. As a Ba'al Kri'ah / Gabbai, I find it difficult, sometimes, to shuffle Sifrei Torah between the front and back row, esp. ...
7
votes
0answers
53 views

status of owned land after Moshiach comes

what will be the status of owned property in Israel when Moshiach comes. Will a person's apartment remain his? or perhaps the land will be redivided.
7
votes
0answers
126 views

Why does almost every community say Lecha Dodi?

The prayer Lecha Dodi was composed in the 16th century which is relatively recent as the general Nusach of prayer was founded between 516 BCE – 70 CE by the Anshei K'neset Hagdolah, and its rare that ...
7
votes
0answers
130 views

How does the kohein gadol's substitute wife work?

The first mishna of Yoma explains that before Yom Kippur, a substitute wife is prepared for the kohein gadol lest his wife die -- because the torah says he makes atonement for himself and "his house", ...
7
votes
0answers
120 views

How do we determine the nature of the reign of the kings when the numbers don't seem to add up?

In the book of 2 Kings, the kingdoms of Judah and Israel were separate. In Amaziah's (Judah) 15th year, Jeroboam (Israel) began to reign. In Jeroboam's (Israel) 27th year, Azariah (Judah) began to ...
7
votes
0answers
99 views

Proving Jewish identity through gravestone

What needs to be considered to show that under a grave marker lies a Jewish person?
7
votes
0answers
66 views

How do you weigh authority in halacha?

Are there any hard and fast rules as to how to assign relative importance of one authority over another in formulating a psak halacha? For example if the Rambam and the Rashba argue over a specific ...
7
votes
0answers
75 views

Loshon Hara against public Jewish and non-Jewish figures

Both American and Israeli politics, and of course those of other democracies, can include a lot of personal attacks, both true and untrue, including inuendo about possible adultery, gay or straight, ...
7
votes
0answers
127 views

Why is there a custom to join “Hashem” and “Elokenu” together in the line Al Taazvenu in Shema Kolenu in Selichot

In Shema Kolenu, based on the Posuk in Psalms 38:22 we say the phrase: Al Taazvenu Hashem Elokenu Al tirchak mimenu | Don't leave us Hashem Our God Don't distance yourself from us. The ...
7
votes
0answers
124 views

How were coins that were destined for the Dead Sea managed?

A mishna on Meila 11a talks about money that a nazarite set aside for his offerings; if he died before completing the term and had set money aside specifically for the sin-offering, those coins are ...
7
votes
0answers
107 views

Counting towards a Keriat HaTorah one who accidentally ate

We have Halacha that at least 6 people need to be fasting in order to read the Torah in a fast day. However, let's say there are 10 people and 5 are definitely fasting and one who accidentally ate ...
7
votes
0answers
190 views

What did a “don't-issue-rulings” semicha (ordination) look like?

Again from the biography of Rabbi Moshe Feinstein found in Igrot Moshe Volume 8 (emphasis added): Many approached [him] for ordination, and he was not difficult on them. Some ordinations were ...
6
votes
0answers
32 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, ...
6
votes
0answers
49 views

Beam for s'chach with wood glue + embedded screws

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 ...
6
votes
0answers
44 views

Is history Torah?

Does studying Jewish history count as Torah? For example, could one study it on Tish'a B'av or in an unclean place or before saying Birkas HaTorah? It seems clear that the stories included in the ...
6
votes
0answers
68 views

Understanding the Gemara and Ramban on the four one-siman animals

Vayikra 11:1-8 א וַיְדַבֵּר יְהוָה אֶל-מֹשֶׁה וְאֶל-אַהֲרֹן, לֵאמֹר אֲלֵהֶם. ב דַּבְּרוּ אֶל-בְּנֵי יִשְׂרָאֵל, לֵאמֹר: זֹאת הַחַיָּה אֲשֶׁר תֹּאכְלוּ, מִכָּל-הַבְּהֵמָה אֲשֶׁר עַל-הָאָרֶץ. ג ...
6
votes
0answers
28 views

Skipping parts of pessukei dezimroh to get to work on time?

Kitzur shulchan aruch states that if a person is afraid of being late to recite shmonei esreh with minyan, it is allowed to skip some parts of the pessukei dezimroh... Does this apply to a person that ...
6
votes
0answers
43 views

Giving to a “mission” collection

In some religions, people accept upon themselves some kind of "mission" to do whatever act to help others. In many cases, it involves collections to send to the poor, or to 3rd world countries. The ...
6
votes
0answers
28 views

Lashon Harah for anonymous to'eles

Necessary background: Lashon Harah (slander) is prohibited, unless it is for a to'eles (constructive purpose). Can I say Lashon Harah that would be available to everyone, would be beneficial for some ...
6
votes
0answers
86 views

Why are the names of some Masechtot in Aramaic while others are in Hebrew?

I noticed that the names of some Masechtot have an Aramaic plural ending - nun - such as "Gittin", while others have a Hebrew ending - mem - such as "Bikurim". Was there some pattern or logic in ...
6
votes
0answers
45 views

Participating in a non-Kosher food co-op

A food cooperative is a member-owned food store. It is typically set up that in order to shop there at discount prices, each person can become a member if they agree to volunteer a certain amount of ...
6
votes
0answers
64 views

Children's Names

I noticed a lot of times in the TaNaKh, how children were given specific names for a specific reason. Take Binyamin for example, his original name at birth was "Benoni" (son of my sorrow) but his ...
6
votes
0answers
90 views

Can dew really make an eggshell fly?

In פרשת בשלח 16:14, it says -- The layer of dew went up, and behold, on the surface of the desert, a fine, bare [substance] as fine as frost on the ground. On that verse, Rashi says ...
6
votes
0answers
62 views

Status of Paper Money as Currency

According to this question, Maasar Sheni cannot be redeemed using paper money. That certainly seems to be the common assumption, but is that discussed anywhere? Is paper money the same as banknotes, ...
6
votes
0answers
38 views

What is a megillah?

5 of the books of Kesuvim are called Megillas (Maseches Sofrim 14:3 identifies 4 of them, Rus, Shir Hashirim, Eicha, and Ester. Rishonim cite versions that add in Koheles - e.g. Mordechai Megilla ...
6
votes
0answers
58 views

(Ki) Ani Hashem Elokeihem

Twenty-seven times (by my count) in Torah and in Ezekiel, we find the phrase אני ה׳ אלקיכם or אני ה׳ אלקיהם at the end of a pasuk (for example, Lev 25:55). In eight of these cases, the phrase is ...
6
votes
0answers
93 views

“לְחֹדֶשׁ שְׁנֵים עָשָׂר” in al hanisim on purim this year

As I was reading Al Hanisim this year, something odd struck me "לְחֹדֶשׁ שְׁנֵים עָשָׂר" - the 12th month. What struck me was that this year is a leap year so we actually celebrated Purim in the ...
6
votes
0answers
140 views

Rishonim saying Ester took place during the second bayis

Elsewhere on this site, avi cited sources to the effect that, contrary to the Bavli (M'gila), the events recounted in the book of Ester took place after the second bes hamikdash was built. Do any ...
6
votes
0answers
94 views

Does halakha count primates as “almost human”?

I have read that the although the halakha requires koah gever (human strength/exertion) for pouring water over hands for n'ttilath yadhayim but it says explicitly in the Mishna that a qof (monkey) may ...
6
votes
0answers
114 views

Entering / Davening in a Karaite synagogue

Is one permitted to enter and/or daven in a Karaite synagogue nowadays (according to Rabbinite law)?
6
votes
0answers
251 views

Can a convert (ger) become a chabad shliach?

"A convert may not hold a position of Jewish communal authority." (Mishneh Torah, Hilchos Melachim 1:4) The Tzitz Eliezer ruled that a convert may not serve in a lone communal position but he may ...
6
votes
0answers
256 views

Origin of the allegory of the long spoons

A common version of the allegory of the long spoons tells how Rabbi Hayim Elhanan ben Yehudah Leyb Tsedek or Tzadikov (*1813, ✡1883) of Rumšiškės went to see the difference between Heaven and Hell. ...
6
votes
0answers
55 views

Historical Calendar Records

Are there any records of the Beis Din's decisions regarding the Hebrew Calendar (e.g. to add months, how long the month would be), before Hillel Hakatan established the fixed calendar?
6
votes
0answers
99 views

“Nahhat Ruahh l'Yotzro” source

At the end of מוסף לשבת in דרכי אבות השלם (p. 375), a quotation is written in the name of רבי יהודה: אמר רבי יהודה: אשרי מי שעמלו בתורה ועושה נחת רוח ליוצרו Can anyone help me find the exact ...
6
votes
0answers
204 views

Women and girls covering their heads when lighting candles

I'm not sure how widespread the following practice is, since, as a man - and even since I was a young boy - I have always taken little notice of other women and girls outside my immediate family as I ...

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