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10

The Talmud (Berakhot 13b) is the original source for this custom. Here there is a mention of Rabbi Judah the Prince covering his eyes while he said the Shema to block out the distractions of the students around him. This behavior was codified in the Shulhan Arukh (OH 61:4-5). from ...


8

This practice is also brought down by Simla Chadasha (11:10); see the מטה אשר there (12) who brings from the פלתי that this practice is from ר' יהודה החסיד and was only a concern then, because in his time there were many who practiced כישוף (magic) on geese, but is now no longer a concern. אין להקפיד ע"ז, כי אז בימי ר"י החסיד היה הזמן גורם, כי רבו אז ...


7

To answer your question: It's been said in the name of Reb Chaim Kanievsky that one should not hide one's Peyot behind one's ears, but he never says to cut them. There are plenty well respected Rabbis who hide their Peyot behind their ears, and others who have trimmed Peyot . Just to put this in context, let's go back to basics - using classic sources. ...


6

Nefesh HaChaim Shaar Gimmel Perek Beis(1): אבל אדון כל ית"ש הוא מלא את כל העולמות והנבראי' ואינם חוצצים חלילה נגדו יתב' כלל באמת. ואין עוד מלבדו ית' ממש שום דבר כלל בכל העולמות. מהעליון שבעליונים עד התהום התחתון שבתהומות הארץ. עד שתוכל לומר שאין כאן שום נברא ועולם כלל רק הכל מלא עצמות אחדותו הפשוט ית"ש. Perek Gimmel(2): שאם ח"ו יקחנו לבנו לקבוע לנו ...


6

The Kehos annotated siddur says (p. 47): On days when Tachnun is said, gently strike the left side of your chest (over the heart) with a closed fist at the words חטאנו and פעשנו.


6

The Tzitz Eliezer has a famous responsum (שו"ת ציץ אליעזר ח"י סי’ כ"ה פרק כ"ו קטע ו) where he states that we go by the external organs in determining gender, and sex changes are effective in changing one's halachic gender. However, there are other opinions that sex changes do not change halachic gender; I assume that according to these opinions, gender is ...


5

Someone asked this question online to Rabbi Yitzhak ben Yosef (posek and rabbi of Ramat Gan) here, and he responded as follows: בהחלט שאלה נדירה ביותר. לכאורה כל תינוק הוא פטר רחם וצריכים שני הילדים פדיון צריך לבדוק האם הם פטר רחם דהיינו שלכול רחם יש פתח נפרד. This is an extremely rare case. Seemingly, each infant is the"opener of the womb" and ...


4

Tefilin, etc., can be made from animals that die on their own (see e.g. The source in the Talmud is Shabbos 108a). Thus even under a situation where killing animals wasn't possible, leather would still be available.


4

There are midrashim that speak of Adam and Chava being a single unit before Chava was separated from Adam. The cryptic nature of the pasuk could lead us to think of Adam and Chava as being one (Bereishit 1:27): וַיִּבְרָא אֱלֹהִים אֶת-הָאָדָם בְּצַלְמוֹ, בְּצֶלֶם אֱלֹהִים בָּרָא אֹתוֹ: זָכָר וּנְקֵבָה, בָּרָא אֹתָם. The next statement about separating ...


4

The phrase, "חפש כל חדרי בטן" comes from Proverbs 20:27: נר ה' נשמת אדם חפש כל חדרי בטן "The spirit of man is the lamp of the LORD, searching all the inward parts." (JPS 1917) The word, בטן, is often used simply to mean "belly" (and is therefore associated with pregnancy), but in this context it means the innermost aspects of the human being. ...


3

The Shulchan Aruch 61:5 writes: נוהגין ליתן ידיהם על פניהם בקריאת פסוק ראשון כדי שלא יסתכל בדבר אחר שמונעו מלכוין: And the Mishna Brurah 17 explains it as: ידיהם - ר"ל יד ימין The Rivevos Ephraim 4:44:97 brings two ideas one that one takes both hands the left in the right and covers their eyes so they cant see and be disturbed from their kavana. He also ...


3

The תניא מבואר compiled by Rabbi Avraham Alashvili quotes the Lubavitcher Rebbe as sourcing the statement in Tanya as follows: ראה ע"ח ש"נ פ"ד. ר"ח שער היראה פ"ג. ומקורו בזהר ח"ב קז, ב. וראה גם במדב"ר ספכ"ב. Zohar, part 2 107b says: אמר דוד בלבא אית תרין היכלין בחד דמא ובחד רוחא ההוא חד דמלייא דמא ביה דיורא ליצר הרע ולבי לאו הכי דהא ריקן איהו ולא ...


2

You could ask the same question about sacrifices and egla arufa and many mitzvos that involve killing animals. Rav Kook's point is that killing/eating animals is a temporary allowance, and the ideal will return to the way it was with Adam who did not have the right to eat (and possibly to kill) animals, and did not have tefillin. For now, it is certainly ...


2

The sefer חנוכת התורה here answers that this difference can be explained according to the halachah that it is permissible to benefit from broken pieces of an idol, but if one finds a hand or a foot by itself it is forbidden, because such things are worshipped by themselves. Thus with all the other parts of the body such as eyes and ears it says "they have" ...


2

The אגישמקע וורט on the Haggadah writes that both the Alshich and the Arugas HaBosem say this vort. And I saw in one of the commentaries that the explanation of this vort is that when it says in the Haggadah to blunt the teeth of the wicked son, it means to you should endeavor to remove from him his wickedness so that he becomes a Tzaddik.


2

There is a midrash in Beraishis Rabbah that says that Adam and Chavah did not have navels (i.e. bellybuttons.) One should wonder if Chazal meant for any such midrashim to be taken literally. After all, Chazal were interested in teaching Torah; not anthropology.


2

See this article from yeshiva.org.il which quotes השו"ע על פי הגמרא: שיהיו רגליו צמודות זו לזו עד שנראה כאלו שתיהן הן רגל אחת. מקור הלכה זו נלמד מספר יחזקאל, מתוך תיאור המלאכים בזמן עמידתם לפני ה', שכתוב עליהם "ורגליהם רגל ישרה", כלומר נראים כרגל אחת the Shulchan Oruch according to the Gemoro that the two feet have to appear as one foot. ...


1

I'm not sure about Rav Ben-Tzion Abba Shaul (I'd be very interested in hearing if anyone knows), but Rav Menashe Klein (Mishneh Halachos 7:121) quotes from R. Chaim Zvi Manheimer that people who grow their payos long and hide them behind their ears do look as if they're embarassed that they're performing a mitzvah, and that's a problem. Personally, I would ...


1

It says in the Eitz Chaim " ואמנם החצונים הם יושבין תחת המלכות וקרובים אליה בסוד רגליה יורדת מות". The reason is that (the bottom of) Malchus (of Atzilus) is enclothed within the lower world (of Briya).


1

The Divrei Chaim (Sanz) writes very emphatically about using only a feather from a Kosher bird, though this is an almost-universal practice even among contemporary sefardim (relatively few of whom still use reeds). However the halacha of "min hamuttar l'picha" only applies to the ink and parchment (Shulchan Aruch Orach Chaim 32:5-8) so even those who dispute ...


1

Gittin 6b, (original text), regards leaving this area ungroomed as a danger to the man, listing it as one of the reasons for the estrangement between the concubine at Gibeah and her husband. Sanhedrin 21a, (original text), gives more detail, explaining that there is potential for a man's organ to become entangled in this hair and mutilated.



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