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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.


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 ...


8

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


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 ...


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

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 ...


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

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, ...


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

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

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 ...


6

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 ...


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

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

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.


4

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 ...


4

I know of a Chasidishe Rav in Antwerp that told a Baal Teshuva to adopt the Chasidishe Minhagim. I think it would be a more interesting Pesak if it came from an opposing side (A Sefardi rav saying "adopt Ashkenazi Minhag" and a Ashkenazi Rav saying "adopt Sefardi Minhag").


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.


4

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 ...


3

Having been through this before, trying to find leniences to use in my parents' home created a lot of friction that could have been avoided if I had simply stuck to my standards.


3

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


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

There is a story about the Gerrer Rebbe, when a fellow came to visit him. The Rebbe asked him "where are you learning"?, and he said "in Ohr Sameach, however I am not a Baal Teshuva". The Rebbe said "Why not"?


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 ...


3

I am unfamiliar with the Avos d'Rabi Natan that you seem to be referencing. However, the Rema says in Yoreh Deah 268:12 that an mummar (Apostate Jew) who does teshuvah need not immerse.


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.



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