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20

The Shulchan Aruch Even HaEzer 4:13 says that a ben or bat niddah is 'pagum' (defective). The Beit Shemuel, Chelkat Mechokek and Gra (the major commentaries there) all say that this is not to exclude them from a kohein.


14

You are to be commended for taking on a socially-challenging mitzvah. It's not always easy to be Jewish and be seen as different, whether it's through dress, food, or how you spend your Friday nights and Saturdays. With any observance that sets you apart from others, take care in how you talk about it. It's about you, not about them, especially for your ...


12

As I heard Rav Schacter say, many of the cherems of Rabbenu Gershom are already forbidden deOraysa. For example, to divorce a woman against her will is a betrayal that he cast as deOraysa of onaas devarim. (in this shiur, at 5:50 mark and on for a while). But, a cherem is an expression of the wish that the person should die because of this sin. So, it is a ...


8

Tznuit does not have to be "funny" looking clothes. When I was a teenager, I went through a modest dressing phase and actually eventually discovered a personally quirky style in it! While I'm not currently observing complete tznuit in dress... 1) Check out styles that might easily be modified for modesty. If you're more of an artsy, flowy type, you could ...


6

You mentioned dishes being washed together. Hacham Ovadia Yosef writes in Yabia Omer (Y"D 10:4) that you may wash meat and milk dishes together in a dishwasher as long as the first rinse contains soap (and not just hot water). Presumably, this would also work for non-kosher dishes because the laws of disqualified food (such as if it's mixed with soap) apply ...


6

JewFAQ does pretty much exactly what you're looking for, I think. They have nice writeups about all kinds of issues, from basic issues of belief to various areas of practice, categorized nicely and presented on different levels for people with different levels of experience. If the person is more comfortable reading Russian than English, he might do well ...


6

This is one of those areas where he really, really needs to be consulting his rabbi. As noted in the question, you can't just flip a switch and -- boom! -- you're observant; it's a process. But, per Avot 2:5, you also can't say "I'll do it later"; later may never come. Only your own rabbi can help you chart a path between these two extremes. (Which is ...


5

If we discuss tznius as a trait, as opposed to a minimum standard which must be met to avoid violating an issur, then I think your asking a good question to be successful. Part of the trait of tznius is trying not to make oneself conspicuous. Of course this isn't an absolute and cannot always be achieved, (head/hair coverings, traditional styles, hot days, ...


5

Kitzur Shulchan Aruch 134:9 clearly indicates that a Bas Kohain who has had relations with a non Jew prior to having a child with a Jew would do a Pidyon HaBen as the relationship is what makes her a Chalal. Shach Yoreh Deah 305:22 also says that a Bas Kohain who has had relations with a non Jew prior to having a child with a Jew would do a Pidyon HaBen.


5

R' Dovid Cohen (in Monsey, NY), who is a particular expert in areas of halacha concerning ba'alei teshuvah, rules that a ba'al teshuva (whose parents aren't observant and therefore has no minhag avot) may choose from among the accepted minhagim. I used this psak to choose Sepharadi minhagim, but one could just as easily use this psak to choose Ashkenazi, ...


5

The Rabanim Yosef's psak is based on the Halacha that once an authority has been established in any region that authority becomes the "Mara D'Atra" (the regional authority). All those living in, or joining, this area are then required to follow the Halachic rulings (psak) of that authority. The question then becomes is there a Mara D'Atra in Israel, and if ...


5

One possibility: see the opinion of R. Raphael Saffra cited in Shoshi's answer about the Tablet-K hechsher, that cheese made without real rennet is permissible. While this opinion isn't generally accepted (and indeed that's why, as mentioned in that answer and several other ones, neither is that hechsher), perhaps that might give you halachic wiggle room to ...


4

I echo (and up-voted) Isaac's recommendation of JewFAQ. For when he wants to take the next step (which I presume he will): these are the same foundational questions/topics that need to be addressed when somebody wants to convert to Judaism. Books I have seen rabbis have conversion candidates read include: To Be a Jew (Donin) The Nine Questions People Ask ...


4

It was HaRav Avraham Yosef. It was initially posted on his website in the Ask the Rav section. It caused quite the stir and wound up being carried by the YNet news organization. From there it spread to other news outlets.


3

There might be some wiggle room for you regarding nosein ta'am bar nosein ta'am. Keep in mind that these are intricate and complicated halachos, and subtle differences in the particulars of a case can have a profound impact on the applicable halacha. As can never be reiterated enough with respect to issur v'heter, CYLOR.


3

It is commendable that you want to help your friend improve her observance. However, I see some issues with the approach you're proposing here. How do you think she will react when she finds out what happened? "Is this the reward of torah, that I should lose my livelihood for it?" Yes working on Shabbat is a serious violation of halacha, but you will not ...


3

Hebrew names can be chosen for any of the reasons you mention; in the end it comes down to personal preference AFAIK. As to your last question, "Is there a reliable resource for determining one's Hebrew name?", yes: ask the person who named you. :-) Seriously, there's no other way besides guesswork: but note that many people have no Hebrew name (and can ...


3

I'll kick off with one of my experiences... One of the first times I went to a religious family for a shabbos meal, at the end of the meal they brought out the mayim acharonim. They didn't have a special mayim acharonim set; they just served it in a teacup. Being the guest, they put it in front of me first. I had no idea what this all meant, and I was ...


3

Check out these sites: http://www.ohr.edu http://www.aish.com http://www.simpletoremember.com http://www.beingjewish.com


3

A second circumcision-like procedure is definitely not required! It's better for the person to dunk in the mikva again as part of re-emergence into mainstream Judaism. This is quoted in Rabbi Aryeh Kaplan's The Real Messiah in regards to a born Jew who gets into Christianity and then (spiritually) comes back home. In discussing the emigration of Ethiopian ...


2

I would recommend the Aryeh Kaplan Anthology, Vol. l and Vol. 2. This is a collection of short works written for intelligent young people by the famous Rabbi Aryeh Kaplan on exactly the topics you are interested in. This includes works on Maimonides' Principles, how to think about God, and basic expositions on mitzvos. You might also want to get the Aryeh ...


2

In order: Shaare Teshuva (Rabenu Yona) Derech Hashem (Ramchal) (The translation by R' Aryeh Kaplan, published by Feldheim, is recommended becuase it because it explains a little of the text in parenthesis and in the back it has lots of source references e.g. Gemara, Zohar, and the Ari z"l.) Chovot HaLevavot (Rabenu Bechaye)


2

The Shulchan Aruch in Yoreh De'ah 249 סימן רמט - כמה חייב ליתן וכיצד יתננה says that the first year one decides to start keeping Ma'aser Kesafim, on separates 1/5 or 1/10 of one's capital. After that, every year one separates 1/5 or 1/10 of the profit on one's income. Since he starts with יִתֵּן עַד חֹמֶשׁ נְכָסָיו it would seem that he considers all one's ...


2

First of all, I can only mirror what people said before me: ask your LOR!!! Halachically (please don't take it as a psak for this case) it is okay. In Hilchos Geirus a well known Haloche is cited: that a Ger has to take upon himself all Mitzwos at the moment of Geirus. One of the Meforshim (I would have to look up exactly which one it was) adds that a Tinok ...


2

The Gemara (Berachot 34B, Sanhedrin 99A) states in the name of Rav Abahu that "in the place where Masters of Repentance ("Ba'alei Teshuva") stand, even complete and utter Tzaddikim do not stand": במקום שבעלי תשובה עומדין צדיקים גמורים אינם עומדין


1

According to this article, Rav Eliyahu Bakshi-Doron (Techumin 22:387) viewed the removal of a tattoo as a meritorious act to avoid remembering a previous sinful life. However, Dayan Weisz (Teshuvot Minchat Yitzchak 3:11) does not (seem to) agree that this is necessary. (This is aside from the opinion of Rav Ephraim Oshry (Teshuvot Mee’ma’makim 4:22) that ...


1

While I don't stand for everything, I can say that it helps me to pray more quickly. So if I am likely to fall behind during Psukei D'Zimrah, I will often stand. Baalei teshuva are likely to be more prone to falling behind and wanting to keep pace. It could be that it is a habit learned early in increasing observance which then sticks. At least, this has ...


1

There are no rules about this. But, usually people select Hebrew names that are similar to their previous names because they are used to their old names. Sometimes however, if there is no Hebrew similarly sounding name or because of personal preferences people select absolutely different Hebrew name.


1

Much of Chassidus (especially Chabad) is about explaining G-d, and the purpose of Mitzvos. I assume he cannot read Hebrew, so here are two English sfarim on this subject: Derech Mitzvosecha (MITZVAS HAAMANAS ELOKUS). Contains relatively difficult philosophical ideas but yet a good reading. Lesons in Tanya on the Unity of G-d. One could also go to ...



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