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25

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 does not exclude them from marrying a kohein.


15

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 ...


12

I don't have a lot of time now, but just a few thoughts: If he presented himself to the Rabbi as a non-Jew looking to convert, I would expect a lukewarm response at best. This is because Judaism does not proselytize, and is not interested in accepting converts unless they are strongly motivated to join the Jewish people and accept all of the responsibilities ...


11

According to Even HoEzer 26:1 there is no need for a divorce when the relationship was not for the purpose of marriage.


11

The vast majority of shuls self-identified as Orthodox are mainstream. So chances are, any Orthodox shul or community you approach will be mainstream. Sabbateans are non-existent, as far as I know. Karaites are very rare and will not pretend to be Orthodox. Any Orthodox shul without a mechitza (I hear there are a few left) is outside of the mainstream, ...


11

Yeah, especially when a diaspora yom tov is adjacent to Shabbat, it sometimes feels like a long slog. I sometimes feel like I'm fighting an uphill battle because I didn't do this from birth -- it isn't a life-long routine. Here are some things that help me. (Some of these are dependent on your family and community situations, which I don't know.) Board ...


9

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 ...


9

You wrote: I understand that mainstream Judaism says that all sinners can do teshuva and will be forgiven their sins. It's not only mainstream Judaism that belives in the concept of Teshuva! Teshuva is explicitly mentioned in the Torah - see the Rambam on Teshuva who documents various mentions of Teshuva in the Torah. In Chapter 4 the Rambam also ...


8

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 ...


8

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 ...


8

After the Return by Rabbis Mordechai Becher and Moshe Newman, a guidebook for baalei t'shuva, covers this. To summarize the discussion in Chapter 6: You should offer to do (and fund) the shopping to avoid placing an extra burden on them. The best case is that they agree to kasher the kitchen, and he says that some parents are actually willing to do that ...


7

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, ...


7

According to this article by Rabbi Dr. Ari Zivotofsky there is no requirement to remove a tattoo, although it could be considered a pious act to do so, especially if the tattoo depicts something immoral and idolatrous. He discusses four ways of removing a tattoo, two of which are permissible, and two of which are questionable. Removal via a cream or laser ...


7

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 ...


7

My understanding is that many people today will start off with the assumption that a woman who bacame baal teshuva after a certain age is just not kohen-eligible. As for your question -- it's not an easy matter, but if it's prohibited it's prohibited. ("Don't embarrass someone" doesn't mean I can ignore the serious possibility of halachic prohibitions.) As ...


7

The reality is that for many Baalei Teshuva they simply won't have the knowledge to really dynamically adapt to such a situation. Things like this can raise situations that can absorb the greatest Rabbis in discussions about exactly what to allow and what not, and anyone facing this situation for real should discuss the expected situation in advance with ...


7

Generally with other ulta-orthodox baalei t'shuva or other people with similar backgrounds. That is a good idea, regardless, as the compatibility is more likely to be there. (The only exception to your list is persons of color - my observation is that they tend to find a person of a different color who doesn't have a hangup about it). In addition, There are ...


7

I will start with the disclaimer that when I became religious, Yom Tov was a highlight for me, so I don't know how you will relate to what makes Yom Tov exciting for me. I am generally more of an intellectually-stimulated person, but something I found exciting about many mitzvos, but perhaps more so by Yom Tov, was understanding the meaning of the theme and ...


6

The Shulchan Aruch in Yoreh Deah 124:8 says that a yisrael mumar traifs up the wine when he touches it, but he's considered trustworthy when he says he's done teshuvah.


6

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 ...


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

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.


6

While there is a commandment for a Jew to not get a tatoo, Leviticus 19:28, B.T. Makkot 21a there is, however, a separate Torah prohibition - "Lo Yosif" - not to inflict a wound upon yourself, Deuteronomy 25:3. According to many poskim, removing a tattoo involves "wounding" yourself. Therefore, it is generally prohibited to a Jew to inflict pain upon ...


6

Your friend does not need to join the tribe, because he is already part of the Jewish people. I suggest that your friend read some introductory material to learn about Judaism. I am sure there are some good introductory books in German. The only good German books I know of are Horeb by Rabbi Shimshon Rafael Hirsch and 19 Letters, by the same author, but ...


6

My parents were observant from before I was born, and I have been Shabbat- and Yom-Tov-observant my whole life. I can honestly say that I don't believe I have ever intentionally violated either. So no, based on one counterexample from personal testimony, for what that's worth, not everyone cheats. I do find that observance of Shabbat and Yom Tov, especially ...


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 ...


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

To expand on Kordovero's answer, Victor Goldschmidt Verlag, based in Bâle, has a decent catalogue of works on Judaism, including the above mentioned works of R' Hirsch as well as translations of the Torah, Siddur (Sefat Emet - Rödelheim and Schma Kolenu), Machzorim, and other assorted works. They also carry ritual items, although those should wait until your ...



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