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33

Yes, conversion is possible. The Talmud discusses it, Maimonides' Code of Jewish Law (around the year 1200) discusses it, and there is a section on it in Shulchan Aruch, the main code of Jewish Law that was compiled in the 1500s. Besides the book of Ruth, see for instance Numbers 9:14: If a proselyte joins you, he must also prepare God's Passover ...


28

In Devorah and Barak's song (upon defeating Sisra), part of the song went as follows (Shoftim 5:23): 'Curse you Meroz,' said the messenger of the Lord, 'curse you bitterly (you) inhabitants thereof,' because they came not to the aid of the Lord, to the aid of the Lord against the mighty. The Talmud (Mo'ed Kattan 16A - English on page 59 here) brings ...


25

Yes. To quote R' Moshe Feinsten, "A refusal to treat a non-Jew on the Sabbath would be totally unacceptable... (Igrot Moshe, Orah Hayyim 4:79; Additional sources below for this ruling can be found below.) There are several reasons: The one that is most cited is "to prevent the Gentiles from hating and persecuting us (מישום איבה)," for if it happened that ...


24

I think your answer was exactly correct. Simply speaking, your religion doesn't permit you to engage in this activity. The fact that other people, who claim to follow the same religion, do engage in that activity, well, you'll have to ask them about that. You should not get into a discussion about the other person's level of observance. You can talk about ...


23

There are a lot of good answers here - I especially like @YDK's point about "taking a bullet" for someone really close to you, and not just anybody. I want to expand on this, because I feel this will cut to the heart of what @Seeker is asking. I think behind the questions of racism/nepotism/ethnocentrism, @Seeker has noticed a particular thing about Jews ...


23

There are many restrictions placed upon Jews on Shabbat that prevent them from doing even relatively simple things like switching on a light or heating up some food, etc. Although biblically there is no prohibition against a non-Jew doing something for a Jew on Shabbat, to keep the spirit of Shabbat, and as a safeguard against violating it, the Sages ...


19

As long as the glass is clean, yes, absolutely. You can even drink from one of his non-kosher glasses. You can use a non-kosher vessel for kosher food, with the following conditions: The vessel is completely clean The vessel and food are both cold (less than ~113 degrees Farenheit). We're talking about a bowl, plate, or cup; cutting or puncturing with a ...


18

"Nittle nacht" is the Yiddish reference to the night going into Christmas. (It was observed on different dates, depending on if you lived in a Catholic/Protestant country, or an Eastern Orthodox [Christian] country; the former have Christmas on December 25th, thus "nittel nacht" starting at sunset December 24th; the latter have a different calendar.). ...


18

I started preparing for conversion in 1999 during my undergraduate years, and finalized it in 2001. The hardest thing for me was to get an understanding of the legitimacy of different threads in Orthodoxy. I had a hard time accepting that Modern Orthodoxy could be legitimate, but eventually embraced what you might call right-wing MO. Finding a rabbi you ...


17

To answer your question clearly, Although the Pentateuch does not seem to make any mention of extraterrestrial life, some places in Nevi'im and Ketuvim may be understood to be making reference to Extraterrestrial life. One instance is in Shoftim 5:23, 'Curse ye Meroz', said the angel of the LORD, 'Curse ye bitterly the inhabitants thereof, because they ...


17

If a non-Jew slaughters an animal, it is not kosher. (Mishna Chullin 1:1 [English on p. 36 of this .PDF], Rambam Shechita 4:11 [English translation], Shuchan Aruch YD 2:1 In fact, I know of no authority who has ever argued on this point.)


16

According to the Shulchan Aruch (YD 114:1) it is forbidden to drink beer in the same place as non-Jews do, i.e. bars. This is not a kashrus concern, but rather is forbidden out of concern that Jews will come to socialize overly much with non-Jews and come to eat with them. The Rama there writes that the custom in ashkenaz was to be lenient on honey and ...


16

In Hayom Yom (17 Teves), the reason given (in the name of R' Shalom Dovber Schneersohn, fifth Lubavitcher Rebbe) is "to avoid adding vitality." The point is that the person whose birthday they're celebrating on this day was a Jew, and since on a person's birthday his mazal (spiritual source) is stronger, we don't want the spiritual benefits generated by our ...


16

Different people will argue different positions. But besides the derasha from a pasuk in chumash, a straightforward counter-claim can be made from Ezra perek 4: ב וַיַּעַן שְׁכַנְיָה בֶן-יְחִיאֵל מִבְּנֵי עולם (עֵילָם), וַיֹּאמֶר לְעֶזְרָא--אֲנַחְנוּ מָעַלְנוּ בֵאלֹהֵינוּ, וַנֹּשֶׁב נָשִׁים נָכְרִיּוֹת מֵעַמֵּי הָאָרֶץ; וְעַתָּה יֵשׁ-מִקְוֶה לְיִשְׂרָאֵל, ...


16

In Jewish Law, a Jew is a Jew and remains a Jew no matter what actions he or she takes. You could even say, "once a Jew, always a Jew". That means, if someone is born to a Jewish mother (because Jewishness is passed through the mother) and is never told that they are Jewish, they are still a Jew. Judaism is not a religion like Christianity or Islam is. ...


15

Seeker, there may be two separate answers to your question depending on the case. More than a religion, the bible refers to the Jewish people as a single unit. Just as when two people make a commitment through marriage, they are promising to take care of each other at a level that is higher than that toward others. That doesn't mean I'm not nice to ...


15

To add just a little to jake's excellent explanation of the relevant Halachic rules: It's important to remember that Jews are required to adhere to many commandments and restrictions that God set up to apply specifically to Jews. Roughly speaking, these particularistic commandments are not statements of universal ethics or morality; they're statements of ...


14

A couple of answers that I've seen: Charging interest is something quite normal in the business world; there's nothing immoral about it per se. However, you wouldn't charge interest on a loan to your brother or sister, because you relate to them as family rather than as business associates. The Torah expects us to treat every Jew like a sibling (which, ...


14

Yes. The Talmud (Sanhedrin 105a; Rosh Hashanah 17a; See also Tosefos on Sanhedrin 13b) states that the wicked people of all nations will go to Gehenom (Hell), and that righteous people of all nations, Jew and non-Jew alike, will got to Gan Eden (Heaven). The Rambam (Maimonides) writes that anyone who has acquired knowledge of God and follows the Sheva ...


14

A buffet-style standing meal, or wine-and-cheese mixer, or the like, in the office: Just don't eat. No one will notice, or, if anyone does, you can explain why you're not eating. (Presumably, if you work there for more than a short while, someone will eventually cotton on to the fact that you keep kosher anyway.) (Note: I don't see why it'd be impermissible ...


14

@H'Gabriel provided a lot of good resources. In this answer I'll try to address the conversion issue specifically. The conversion process is involved and long. You will go through the following steps, possibly more than once: Investigation and exploration: beginning to figure out what is attracting you, what alternatives there are (e.g. does being a ...


14

A person is a Jew if their mother is a Jew. If a jewish woman marries out of the faith and did not bring up her children as Jews they are still Jewish, even if they do not know it or practice it. And then her daughters children remain Jewish and at this point most likely they have no idea what it means to be a Jew.


14

A non Jew is not allowed to keep Shabbos. Those that are in the process of converting make sure to do at least one thing on Shabbos that would normally not be allowed. For example they might carry something in their pocket. משנה תורה לרמב"ם, ספר שופטים, הלכות מלכים ומלחמות, פרק י, יא - י"ב


13

Other possible proofs (though, admittedly, not as strong as Josh's): In Lev. 24:10ff, we have the story of "the son of an Israelite woman, who was also the son of an Egyptian man" who blasphemed Hashem's name and was executed judicially for this offense. Now it is true that, according to halachah, non-Jews are liable to death for this too (Rambam, Laws of ...


13

It is called a Mezuza. Contact the local Chabad House Rabbi and he will come pick them up and dispose of them appropiately. Depending on their composition and state, they might possibly be worth some money. If they're on paper, they're worthless. If they're on parchment, though, then it depends on whether they're still "valid", which the local rabbi should ...


13

Rav Moshe Feinstein, in a t'shuva about allowing children to say a generic prayer in public school (Orach Chayim II #24), refers to the Ramba"m's statement in Mishne Torah that Adam Harishon was given 6 commandments, including belief in God. No'ach and his descendants later got one more, adding up to 7. They both conclude that not only the negative aspect of ...


13

There is an interesting Gemara in Avodah Zarah (31b) which provides a partial answer to your question: אמר ליה שמואל לחייא בר רב בר אריא תא ואימא לך מילתא מעלייתא דהוה אמר רב אבוך הכי אמר אבוך הני ארמאי זוקאני דהוו שתו גילויא ולא מתו איידי דאכלי שקצים ורמשים חביל גופייהו Said Samuel to Hiyya bar Rav: "O son of a scholar, come let me tell you a ...


13

I can't speak for the Jewish community generally, but I, for one, do support the use of "Jew" in non-anti-Semitic contexts, consistent with my experience that this is, in fact, a standard use of the term to which Jews do not take offense and my general aversion to unjustified taboos. I have been an English-speaking observant Jew for over three decades now, ...


12

In the Vilna Gaon's commentary to a story in the Gemara (Bechoros 8b) about a debate between R' Yehoshua and the "Sages of Athens" (this commentary has been adapted into English, in The Juggler and the King, by R' Aharon Feldman), he explains that Hashem's reason for offering the Torah first to the nations was indeed to demonstrate that it doesn't "fit" with ...



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