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12

Among those Rabbis that I know, if/when they are approached by someone who wasn't raised as a Jew but has a Jewish maternal grandparent, they welcome them with open arms as Jews, albeit Jews who have been estranged from their own religion. I have known this to have occurred on multiple occasions (although I was never personally involved in any). It may be ...


11

According to traditional Judaism, you are Jewish if and only if you yourself have converted to Judaism OR your mother was Jewish (ShA EH 7:17 and 8:5). To determine if your mother was Jewish apply the same rules: either she herself converted to Judaism OR her mother was Jewish. This process recurs indefinitely. NOTE that in order to prove any of these claims ...


10

No, the rabbi wouldn't find it strange. & Yes, he would accepted you at the spot as 100% jewish. And I can tell you from my own personal experience they would be even very happy!


10

Rabbi Berel Wein has suggested that long ago, there were a certain amount of anti-Sephardic animosity related to the fact that when during the Crusades, the Ashkenazic Jews forced to choose between the cross and the sword went to their deaths; whereas during the Spanish Inquisition, many Spanish (i.e. Sephardic) Jews chose to stay alive and outwardly profess ...


9

I am not sure what you mean by a "halachically 'Jewish' Atheist". If you mean that he is Halachically Jewish, the fact that he claims to be an atheist is irrelevant, he is a Jew (as it says in Talmud Bavli Sanhedrin 44a, a Jew remains such regardless of sins committed) and cannot violate Shabbos and others cannot ask him to do so just like any other fully ...


8

Malbim from ספר הכרמל entry for גוי: Goy is a gathering of individual entities, without any higher purpose. It is derived from גוה, a body or unit. It is also used as a reference to a large group, which is what it means when used in reference to the Jewish people. Am is a higher level, which references a unified group with a guided purpose, whether it be ...


6

I was in a similar situation a decade ago. The Rabbi of the orthodox shul looked into my background and accepted me and made me feel welcome. You never know where such things lead and I'm now on the shul's board and am an assistant gabbai. You're halachically Jewish and will be recognised as such. What you do with that is up to you.


5

The Palestinian Talmud (Taanis 21a) states that there is only verse in which the Jewish people are referred to as Zion. The verse is in Isaiah 51, 16: וָאָשִׂים דְּבָרַי בְּפִיךָ וּבְצֵל יָדִי כִּסִּיתִיךָ לִנְטֹעַ שָׁמַיִם וְלִיסֹד אָרֶץ וְלֵאמֹר לְצִיּוֹן עַמִּי אָתָּה Here is the quote from the Talmud: א"ר חיננא בר פפא חוזרני על כל המקרא ולא מצאנו ...


5

Shortly before the year 70, Jerusalem was surrounded by Roman troops. Raban Yochanan ben Zakai attempted to negotiate a surrender with the Romans. He recognized there was no realistic outcome in which Jewish self-rule remained over Jerusalem. He was opposed by Jewish religious terrorists known as the Sicarii (Latin for "dagger people") who wanted to force ...


5

I can't attest to the truth of this, but I once heard R' Orlofsky say that some Ashkenazi Yeshivos do not accept Sefardim (or limit their acceptance) for the sake of the Sefardim - they feel that the Sefardim should respect their own tradition, and should attend Yeshivos that encourage and support that tradition.


5

The atheist is still a Jew; his (non-)belief does not exempt him from the obligation not to violate Shabbat. This answer elsewhere by DoubleAA discusses benefitting from melacha done by a Jew. It stands to reason that if you can't benefit from the work anyway, there's no benefit to you in asking him to be your "Shabbat goy", so let's look first at the case ...


5

Let's say the average couple has six children in total, when the parents are about 20. Then, after 210 years, the population of 70 will increase to (6/2)^(210/20) * 70 = 7.16 million people. If the children were born when the parents were teenagers, then even five children per couple would lead to millions after 210 years. Thus, there's nothing so ...


4

They were a mixture from other nations that decided to join the Jews at the exodus (Oknkelos, Rashi and pretty much everyone I could find, although some identify them specifically as Egyptians). Rabbi Gansfried quotes various opinions as to their size, based on the idea that the 600,000 number represents one fifth of the total that left. Whether that ...


4

Presumably his family told him. In other words, what makes us think it was a secret? The Torah gives us this (paraphrased) timeline: Par'o's daughter finds Moshe, saying "this baby is a Hebrew!" So she knows and is doing nothing close to hiding it. Moshe's sister (who is known to Par'o's daughter) suggests finding a Hebrew nurse for him. The cat remains ...


3

There are a number of works about Acher, from the historical-fiction to the scholarly and Hebrew. In addition to the books I mentioned in the comments above, various books by Robert Chazan discuss the medieval figures you mention.


3

Four possible ways for Moshe to have known he was Jewish: His mother/family told him. The daughter of Pharaoh told him. He found out by supernatural means. It was just known, generally. (@WAF's answer covers the last possibility, as well as the first in more detail; I mention them here only for completeness, and am answering separately to add the middle ...


3

As many others have mentioned before, when creating laws, you HAVE to make certain distinctions. One of the biggest blindspots i've noticed with Christians trying to understand Judaism, is that they view everything from a theological perspective, and forget one very important point. Modern Christians are used to living in a society where the government is ...


3

The Torah, aka the 1st 5 books of "Old Testament" does not use the term "Jew" or in Hebrew, "Yehudi" anywhere. I think this term first appears in the book of Esther. Otherwise, the most common term in the Torah is "B'nei Yisra'el", meaning "Sons (or children) of Israel", with Israel being the name given to Jacob. At any rate, in the Torah, the term "Israel" ...


2

See here from the Lubavitcher Rebbe: לקבלת התורה הוצרכה ההקדמה דאהבת ישראל To receive the Torah requires the preface of Ahavas Yisroel The same idea is found from the Rebbe Rashab (see the end of the link). It seems to be a common theme in Chassidic thought. The basis is the Mechilta brought by Rashi on Shemos 19:2.


2

From the intro to chapter 5 in זרע ישראל by Rav Amsalem, he describes Zera Yisrael as: ויש להם לרוב צד יהדות ברור, שאביהם או סבם או סבתם וכדומה היו יהודים שנשאו נכריות So he does include a Jewish grandparent in his definition. In almost every example after that, the book seems to uses the case of a Jewish father, but it seems that Rav Amsalem views ...


2

The To'afos Re'em (Shu"t O.C. 22) cites a Teshuva of the Rema in which he says one must buy from the Jew even when it is more expensive. He argues, and limits the preference of buying from Jews to where there is no difference in cost. The Chikrei Lev (Shu"t Choshen Mishpat 139) vacillates between limiting it to small expenses or applying the rule to even a ...


2

Rashi to Shemot 1:7 writes: וישרצו: שהיו יולדות ששה בכרס אחד and swarmed: They bore six children at each birth. ( Chabad text and translation ) שפתי חכמים on that Rashi (citing שמות רבה) explains that this is learned from the fact that there are six different, apparently extraneous wordings that describe the growth of the Jewish people in Egypt. ...


2

If you were living in the time of the destruction of the Northern kingdom, you would have many options where to go. Certainly many individuals went south to join the Tribes of Yehuda and Benyamin. By the time of the exile of the North, many individuals had intermarried into different tribes. Once they left the North, there was no longer any reason to keep ...


2

As has been discussed in the comments on the question, I think your understanding of the word "l'havdil" is not quite accurate. "L'havdil" really just means a distinction between things that are comparable in a particular sense, but not in a general sense (because one of the items of comparison is "holier" for some definition of that word). For example, I ...


2

The Maharal from Prague wrote in גבורות ה' (chapter 61): כי אחר שהוציא הקב"ה את ישראל ממצרים ונתן אותם בני חורין, ולא עוד אלא אף מלכים שנאמר (שמות יט) "ואתם תהיו לי ממלכת כהנים וגוי קדוש" זה השם הוא לישראל בעצם, והמעלה והחשיבות שיש בזה לא נתבטל אף בגלותם שהוא במקרה, ולפיכך אומרים חכמי ישראל (שבת קיא ע"א) כל ישראל בני מלכים הם אף בגלותם... In other ...


2

Nice timing, Terri! A couple of weeks ago I was given a pile of books, and in it was one called Finding Our Fathers: A Guidebook to Jewish Genealogy by Dan Rottenberg. It has step by step instructions for finding out information about your Jewish relatives. It also has a list of over 2000 Jewish names in the back, with information about what families are ...


2

See Sanhedrin 5:5 - Each participant is written down in 2 of three sets of scrolls - divrei hamezakin, divrei hamechayavin, and divrei hakol (this last one may only be a das yachid). This documentation is important because in certain cases (mostly capital punishment), one cannot change his opinion from innocence to guilt. When "voting," they start from ...


1

Possibly it's an issue of hora'as sha'ah. See ... all of maseches Horayos for detailed discussion on how Beis Din handles broadcasting improper halachic rulings that cause the public to commit an aveirah. "Ein sheliach" works potentially in two different ways - 1) divrei harav vidivrei hatalmid, and 2) Chazal not giving the capacity for shlichus in the case ...


1

Plan A was that there was not supposed to be a need for a Jewish people at all. Adam was supposed to pass the test of jealousy, lust, and honor and that would have been it. He failed at all three. then humanity as a whole was given three chances to rectify these three. they failed at all three. Plan B, now it's no longer all of humanity that rectifies ...



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