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14

The Zohar uses the term "erev rav" quite extensively, and yes, usually meaning the people opposed to the Torah scholars of their period. (It parallels the usage of "am haaretz" in Pesachim 49a-b, where it also means people who are hostile to Torah (rather than just ignorant of it, as is the usual usage of "am haaretz") - like R' Akiva, quoted there as saying ...


13

Generally (without considering many other factors which may be involved) the closer the latitude is to the poles [i.e. the absolute value of the latitude is greater], the longer the sunset. (see table at this pdf (last page) and this piece of mail for more factors) Therefore: Latitude at NY, NY = 40.7 Latitude at Jerusalem, IL = 31.78 NY, NY is closer to ...


13

Mechilta Drav Yishmael - Yisro - Parsha 5 says that it was not given in Eretz Yisroel in order that the non Jews would not to be able to say that they did not accept it since it was given in the Jewish land. Another reason was to avoid a dispute between the Shevatim. ומפני מה לא ניתנה תורה בארץ ישראל? שלא ליתן פתחון פה לאומות העולם, לומר: לפי שנתנה תורה ...


13

Judaism doesn't have a current pilgrimage obligation the way I understand that Islam does (I believe every Muslim is required to go to Mecca once). However, Israel and, more specifically, Jerusalem is very important to Jews; Israel is our homeland, and Jerusalem is the site of the temples (past and future). Further, Jerusalem used to be a pilgrimage ...


12

Jewish: Is the person a Jew. According to halacha, this is defined by whether or not the person's mother was Jewish or they converted from another religion to Judaism (and according to some authorities, if the person did not convert from Judaism to another religion, since according to some this would mean that they are no longer Jewish). Zionist: Harder to ...


12

The Chinuch, in his introductory letter, breaks it down like this (apparently differently than the Chofetz Chaim): There are 613 Mizvot, 248 Positive and 365 Negative. (The Chinuch bases his sefer on the Rambam's enumeration of the Mitzvot.) The Total amount of Mitzvot that a person can do these days is 369, however 99 of them (78 Positive and 21 ...


12

The front is the seal of the State of Israel. The Hebrew on the back is a verse from Ruth (Ruth 3:10) which means "You are blessed to G-d, my daughter" which were words that Boaz said to Ruth when she asked him to marry her. It doesn't have an official name; it is a thoughtful trinket.


12

The English term for this tool is an entrenching tool. Here it is described as standard issue gear for a paratrooper in the IDF. As far as I know, it is pretty standard, when required, for soldiers in most any modern army. I suppose we could speculate if the Torah requires a soldier to carry one even if it isn't technically needed (just in case ...) or if ...


11

Quick Google brings http://twitter.com/kinbot The Kinneret Bot! Also see: http://savethekinneret.com/ (chart is a bit messy, though) http://www.israelweather.co.il/kineret.asp (in hebrew)


11

Ramban on the verse I mentioned (Ex. 3:8) offers two possibilities: It simply means that the land is "wide" enough to accommodate the entire Jewish people. (This is especially so in light of the Gemara's statement (Gittin 57a) that Eretz Yisrael "expands" when Jews are settled in it.) It is a land that contains "wide" plains and valleys and lowlands, ...


10

Here is every occurrence of the phrase in Tanach: Samuel I 13:19 Kings II 5:2 Kings II 5:4 Kings II 6:23 Ezekiel 27:17 Ezekiel 40:2 Ezekiel 47:18 Chronicles I 22:2 Chronicles II 2:16 Chronicles II 30:25 Chronicles II 34:7


10

There are two sets of boundaries that define "Israel" with respect to Halacha. Generally speaking, the Western border is well enough defined as the Mediterranean. (Though see the Gemara in Gittin Chapter 1, and Tosfos' commentary ...) The first set is the Biblical borders, as given in Numbers Chapter 34. The southern border is nahal mitzraim, generally ...


10

It's actually if Israel has the majority of the world's Jewish population, not just a plurality. The figures in your second link have 42.5% in Israel vs. 57.5% outside of it - so we're not quite there yet. (There is also, of course, the difficulty of determining who is a halachic Jew, ואכמ"ל.) Anyway, Yovel (and Shemittah, according to some posekim) depends ...


10

Is there anything wrong with this? Nope. The Rambam wrote a unique halacha (Melachim 5,10): "Great Rabbis would kiss the ground of Eretz Yisrael, and kiss its stones as well as roll in its dust as it states: because your slaves wanted its stones and begged for its dust." (from here) The Talmud records that Rabbi Abba would demonstrate his ...


10

Some broad outlines: As you allude to in your question, except possibly on certain joyous days, your tear your clothes the first time you visit the kosel hamaaravi; some do also when they first see the desolate cities of Judea; some only do this when seeing the actual ground of Har HaBayit. If you are leading the prayers (in most of Israel), expect birkas ...


10

No, and I'll explain why: First, as per this list, only 42.5% of world Jewry was in Israel in 2010, so "most" of the Jews are not in Israel. Second, the exile is a function of lost spirituality, not just physical presence. The return to Zion will end the exile when god decides we are on the spiritual level for the proper return. Simply moving there, while ...


9

Sifri states that the Cities of Refuge also serve people who live outside of the Land of Israel. According to Kesef Mishneh's first explanation, that means exactly what it sounds like: an accidental murderer from another country would have to run away to the nearest City of Refuge in Israel (or Transjordan), and until he does so he would be subject to attack ...


9

In Israel the custom is to duchen (perform the Priestly Blessing) every day. Outside Israel we Duchen only on Yom Tov.


9

Nitei Gavriel cites sources that say that in that case the people in Eretz Yisrael indeed start saying Pirkei Avos on Shabbos the 22nd of Nissan and continue from there, so that they recite the sixth chapter on the sixth Shabbos of the Omer. For the seventh Shabbos, then, they study the first chapter of Maseches Derech Eretz Zuta. (He actually says ויש ...


9

One reason taught to me is that there is still work to be done in the Diaspora. You must take into account the contribution you can make and are making to the Jews in your country of origin, and what effect its loss might have on them. I remember my Rosh Yeshivah pointing out to us that Yeshivah bochurim are special and valuable members of the community. ...


9

Bartenura (to Megillah 1:1) says that it is associated with Yehoshua because he was the first to wage war against Amalek. Indeed, G-d directs Moshe there to "write this as a memorial in the book and place it in the ears of Yehoshua" - the Gemara (Megillah 7a and 18a) explains that this phrase refers, among other things, to the Megillah.


9

http://chareidi.org/archives5761/korach/KRfeatures.htm While our rabbis tell us that davening at kivrei tzaddikim is a segulah for all types of help, the tradition of Amuka as an address for unmarried men and women is a relatively new one, according to experts in the field. It was "rediscovered" about fifty years ago by Rav Shalom Gefner of Meah ...


9

There is a concept from the Gemara (Pesachim 8a) known as שלוחי מצוה אינן ניזוקין - mitzva messengers are not harmed. When one is going on a trip that involves potential risks, some are of the custom is to give them a small amount of money to give to charity at their place of destination, so that they are effectively turned into "mitzva messengers" until ...


8

Celebrating Lag Baomer. Lighting bonfires and going to Meron. Going to Meron is definitely a custom (the whole celebration of Lag BaOmer is a custom), and according to this article, over 500,000 people were expected to make the pilgrimage in 2009. According to this, as of Iyar 2011 there were 5,837,000 Jews living in Israel, so that's a pretty large ...


8

Just as a first crack at this (and there is a lot more to say on the topic), we need to distinguish between different kinds of love. In human terms, a person loves their spouse, their children, and their close friends; but each of these is of a different type. Some of these may be "a love dependent on an external factor," others, "a love not dependent on ...


8

שמואל א: יג. יט. וחרש לא ימצא בכל ארץ ישראל כי אמר פלשתים פן יעשו העברים חרב או חנית מלכים ב: ה. ב. וארם יצאו גדודים וישבו מארץ ישראל נערה קטנה ותהי לפני אשת נעמן מלכים ב: ה. ד. ויבא ויגד לאדניו לאמר כזאת וכזאת דברה הנערה אשר מארץ ישראל מלכים ב: ו. כג. ויכרה להם כרה גדולה ויאכלו וישתו וישלחם וילכו אל אדניהם ולא יספו עוד גדודי ארם לבוא בארץ ישראל יחזקאל: ...


8

It's not really a contradiction. The ban wasn't everlasting (i.e. it didn't extend to the end of time and resurrection), but precluded Moshe Rabbeinu from entering Israel in his lifetime. The Midrash Rabbah tells us that Moshe did not enter the land for the sake of the generation that died in the desert. Midrash Rabbah V'Eschanan (words in brackets my ...


8

The Rambam states explicitly in Hilchos Melachim 5:7 that it is permissible to live in chutz la'aretz.


8

There is also the halachic opinion of Rav Yehudah, quoted in several places in the Gemara (Berachos 24b, Shabbos 41a, Kesubos 110b-111a) that it is in fact forbidden to move from Bavel to Eretz Yisrael. He bases this on his understanding of Jer. 27:22 ("they shall be brought to Bavel, and there they shall remain until the day I am mindful of them"), plus ...


7

Eating Sufgoniyot - jelly doughnuts on Chanuka



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