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17

I recommend that you take a look at the commentary of R' Samson Raphael Hirsch on Leviticus 12, and in particular 12:5. I'll try to summarize the pertinent points here, but I won't do his beautiful thoughts and words justice. The "uncleanliess" you're referring to is "tum-a." According to R' Hirsch, tum-a is a mental condition that would prevent a person ...


14

Yes (Yevamos 78a, Bechoros 46a), the child is completely Jewish. However, slightly different Halachos may be applied in some cases. (For example, whether the child can marry a Kohen.) There is also a dispute over whether the fetus is considered a part of its mother or not, and therefore, whether the child was born Jewish, or is considered to have converted ...


13

This is from the Babylonian Talmud. Shabbat 135b says that we don't break Shabbas to save the life of a baby born in its eighth month of gestation. The idea was that there are 7-month babies and 9-month babies, and an 8-month baby was either an early 9-monther or a late 7-monther and if it were an early 9-monther, it probably wasn't going to make it. ...


12

There are definitely some specially celebratory ones other than age 13, such as when one surpasses the deadline for kares, as Rav Yosef did when he turned 60 and threw himself a party (Mo'ed Katan 28). The Kaf Hachayim, cited in this article by Rav Ari Enkin, also quotes sources for age 70 being an appropriate birthday to recite birkas shehechiyanu ...


11

Davening for someone else who is childless. We derive this from the juxtaposition of Avraham's prayer for Avimelech, and Sarah giving birth to Yitzchak (Gen. 20:17-21:1 and Rashi there, from Bava Kamma 92a).


11

The oldest source I could find is the Likutei MaHarich - (c. 1900). I recall hearing that the custom started, since the Halacha is that if the lady forgot to light one week she has to add a candle in future weeks, often when a lady gave birth they were busy and forgot. (Childbirth was not as easy years ago). Due to this they added a candle and today it has ...


11

First, you should remember how bad infant mortality was in those days. So what it says about how some infants were considered not viable (and thus could not be touched on Shabbos), no longer applies today when infant mortality is much lower. You should talk about the change in infant mortality with your students. The way you phrased your question implies ...


10

According to Shemos Rabba 1:13, Yocheved was three months pregnant with Moshe when Amram divorced her. רבי חנינא בר רב יצחק אמר: שפרה, שהעמידה ישראל לאלהים, שבשבילם נבראו השמים, שכתוב בהם (איוב כו, יג) ברוחו שמים. שפרה, פועה, שהופיעה פנים כנגד אביה, שהיה עמרם ראש סנהדרין באותה שעה, כיון שגזר פרעה, ואמר (שמות שם, כב) כל הבן הילוד. אמר עמרם: ולריק ...


9

The Torah specifically states the prohibition against prostitution, in order to prevent the land to be filled with licentiousness: ולא תזנה הארץ ומלאה הארץ זמה. Rambam seems to be deducing the underlying reason for that concern of the Torah, in his statement: For [ultimately], a father will marry his daughter and a brother his sister, [for in a ...


9

Shulchan Aruch OC 339:4 rules that one should not perform Kiddushin (betrothal) or Nissuin (marriage) on Shabbat or Yom Tov. However he notes that if one did so, even on purpose, it works and the couple is fully married.


8

Rav Kaduri ZTz"L used to tell people to recite Tehillim 102 and 103 everyday just before Shkia and then say this little prayer: ירמיאו''א שיהא חשוב ומקובל ומרוצה פרקי תהלים שקראתי לפנך, ובזכות אותיותיהם ונקודותיהם וטעמיהם והשמות היוצאים מהם מראשי תבות, ומסופי תבות וחלופי תבות ובזכות אבותינו הקדושים אברהם יצחק ויעקב משה ואהרן יוסף הצדיק ודוד המלך עלהם השלום ...


8

Try this lecture from Rabbi Bednarsh, entitled "the theology of shiduchim." Not surprisingly, there are many different opinions. The Gemara sounds like a first marriage is easy, because it's just the two people matching up as pre-destined. It's second (or later) matchmakings that are "as difficult as the Splitting of the Sea." The approach that's easiest ...


8

In the back of the Chumash Shai LeMorah, a list and hierarchy of the the people who are obligated to receive an Aliyah to the Torah. He adds parenthetically as follows: It is written in the Sefer Avodat Hakodesh of the Chida Z"l that there is a custom in Eretz Yisroel that someone whose wife enters her 9th month of pregnancy should be careful to do the ...


8

Excellent question. Leviticus Ch. 12 says that it's 7 days if the baby is a boy, and 14 if a girl; (but she has to then immerse in mikvah, a ritual bath). (Then there's a lengthier stretch of time that she can't enter the Temple, but is permitted to her husband.) However: Skip ahead to Leviticus Chapter 15. If a woman has a normal period (15:19) then she ...


8

The Ramban (B'reishis 30:9) comments that this was a means for Leah to ensure that the majority of Ya'akov's destined twelve sons would emanate from her or from her maidservant who was under her domain: ותרא לאה כי עמדה מלדת - לא ידעתי מה המעשה הזה ללאה, ולמה נתנה שפחתה לבעלה, והיא לא היתה עקרה שתבנה ממנה, ואין דרך הנשים להרבות נשים לבעליהן. אבל נצטרך ...


7

The Mishna Beroura (260, 6) quotes Gemara Nidda (17a) disapproving someone who would throw nails on the highway after cutting them. Indeed, a pregnant woman could step on them and lose her child. Gemara's conclusion : the one who burns his nails is a 'hassid the one who buries them is a tzaddik the one who throws them is a racha' The practical advice ...


7

As always, CYLOR, but I'll copy what the Shulchan Aruch says (as far as I see in 554:5): "Pregnant and nursing women fast on the ninth of Av as they complete the fast on Yom Kipur. On the three other fasts [the seventeenth of Tamuz, the fast of G'dalya, and the tenth of Teves —msh210], they are exempt from fasting. Nonetheless, it is appropriate that they do ...


7

The author of the Sefer Shaleiach Teshalach (English edition p. 98) writes that he was personally told by R' Elyashiv and R' Chaim Kanievsky that "there is no Midrashic or Rabbinic source whatsoever connecting the honor of kvatter with being blessed with children." He also cites R' Shlomo Zalman Aurbach to this effect (from the Sefer V'aleihu Lo Yibol). ...


7

One issue with taking such a test is tzovaya, as usually the test involves chemicals in the stick changing colors by reacting to the urine. R' Ribiat, in 39 Melachos, with regard to clinical test sticks used by diabetics to determine urine-sugar level, cites Sh'miras Shabbos K'Hilchasa (33:20), who is unsure about this (see footnotes 81-83 there), and ...


7

I see no reason why it should be any different than the general discussion about abortion. Until an embryo is implanted: of no halachic significance. You couldn't break shabbos to save a frozen embryo, for instance. From implantation till 40 days: Rabbi Moshe Feinstein vociferously opposed in virtually all circumstances, unless this baby is seriously ...


7

As heard from Rabbi Weiner, a student of Rabbi Elyashiv and a bio-halachist: When the morning-after pill is administered, we do not know if there is an embryo present. Hence it is permissible in the case of a rape. (He wouldn't go so far as to give it carte blanche for, say, the happily-married couple who are trying to space their pregnancies a bit better.) ...


7

For most halachic purposes, life begins at birth - to be exact, at the emergence of either most of the head for a normal birth, or most of the body if it's a breech birth (Niddah 28a). For that reason, if a pregnancy is endangering the mother's life, an abortion may be performed (see Shalom's answer here), whereas once the head has emerged we may not do so, ...


7

There is a Baal Shem Tov story (one version of it is here) where a couple who couldn't have children, had a child due to the Baal Shem Tov's blessing. When the child died on his second birthday, the Baal Shem Tov consoled the bereaved couple by explaining that their child was the reincarnated soul of a great convert who had to come back down in this world in ...


7

The Gemara says that if a pregnant woman is desperately craving food, she can eat it even on Yom Kippur if needed. The Rishonim there discuss that this is firstly out of concern for her own safety; furthermore, if not having this food may harm the fetus, it's a lot riskier to the mother to deliver a stillborn than it is a live baby. But beyond that, the ...


7

The Shulchan Aruch rules in YD 269:1 that a convert is permitted to marry his mother (who has since also converted) according to Biblical law, but it is prohibited rabbinically. Additionally, in 269:5 he rules the same way regarding marrying a female convert and her daughter. I'm not sure exactly what your test is for 'halachik parentage', but certainly as ...


7

Yes, someone born on a certain Hebrew-calendar date will have the same calendar date as his birthday every year. Thus, some one born on a red-letter day that is the same date every year, like the first day of Sukos, will have that as his birthday. (In fact, I have seen yahrzeit plaques that indicate "1st of Sukos" or the like instead of a date.) Some ...


6

There is no issue with them going to a zoo, the problem is they should not be staring at the animals. I asked this question to HaRav Betzalel Rudinsky years ago and he showed me from Rishonim issues to this effect. I do not remember the sources, other than that the Raavad was among them.


6

Yes, Zahava, the gemara in Moed Katan 18 says that walking over nails can cause a woman to miscarry. One reason given (Be'er Hetiv/Tola'as Ya'akov) is because Chava caused the loss of "full-body nails". As a consequence, women are put in danger by the nails which remained on the fingers and toes. The gemara gives options of how to dispose of them: ...


6

See Sotah 2a (summarized here). The pre-conception designation applied only to a first marriage. In subsequent marriages, one gets what one deserves, which is harder for God to arrange than the Splitting of the Sea.


6

Shiluach HaKan! The Midrash expounds the verse "v'es habanim tikach lach" (and take the children for yourself) in the passage that describes this mitzvah, as alluding to the person meriting to have his own offspring. For more details, see here in Sefer Shaleiach Tishalach and the next three pages. [Note: In case anyone thinks of suggesting the "segulah" of ...



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