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30

And the other critical caveat here: this is only if she wants him to marry her. If she'd rather never see him again, then the Torah never forces her into such a marriage. Additionally, if she wants a divorce, she is still entitled to one whenever she wants even after they wed. (Shulchan Aruch Even HaEzer 177:3) All I can say -- if this is a situation where ...


23

The Chinuch says (in 557) it's a deterrent. Knowing they'll have to marry their potential victims (and won't be allowed to divorce them, and have to support them, etc.), people won't rape. He adds (ibid.) that it's also a protection for the victim: once she's married she's unlikely to be raped again. (I guess people are more likely to rape someone already ...


15

In the Moreh Nevuchim, Rambam explains how God's attributes should be understood without compromising God's unchangingness. He compares God's mood to a fire. If you put ice in a fire, it melts, then evaporates. If you put clay in a fire, it hardens. If you put wood in a fire it burns... The fire causes many different and contrasting effects without changing ...


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, ...


11

The Talmud searches for Beit Shammai's reason on Kiddushin 11a. The first suggestion, that of Rav Zera, is that an average woman thinks she is important enough to not accept anything less an dinar for kiddushin. The gemara asks, according to this, it should be completely subjective based on the individual girl. The answer is that this rule applies in a case ...


10

Not necessarily. There is a misconception that Kosher food is more healthy than non-kosher. However, poisons can be kosher, while perfectly healthy salads with some dead bugs are not. The laws of Kosher ensure one's spiritual health rather than his physical one.


9

The Lubavitcher Rebbe said a sicha on this topic, and I really recommend reading it in full. Abridged and translated here. Original and unedited here. In summary, Rashi explains the concept of "confounding Satan" as follows: "So that he will not accuse; for when he hears how the Jewish people love the mitzvos, his words of accusation are stifled." ...


9

For the uninitiated I would start with Rav Yosef Karo's explanation for the placement of t'filin: One goes next to the brain to represent one's intellectual recognition and obedience of God and one goes next to the heart to represent one's emotional recognition and obedience of God. (Source - Orach Chayim 25:5)


9

Sefer Hachinuch 73 says (in my own loose translation, and with emphasis added): Among the bases for this command [of not eating an animal that was slaughtered and then found to have been close to death] is as follows. The body is a receptacle for the soul; through the body, the soul does its work. Without the body, the soul's work can never be completed. ...


9

Interestingly, the Torah itself doesn't mention anything special we are celebrating, nor does it give any specific Mitzvah to relate to (besides the special קרבן מוסף). The Yalkut Pinchas 782(ילקוט שמעוני פרשת פנחס רמז תשפב) brings a משל describing Sukot as a party a king has with many friends. When the party is over he asks his son to stay a bit longer to ...


9

Basically, we don't have the power to declare someone categorically exempt. Abudraham suggested one explanation, but our system of laws categorically says "all men are obligated", "all women are not." If a person is truly in a situation beyond their control, halacha recognize that. If it's five minutes before sunset and a single dad who hasn't yet prayed ...


8

The ceremony is pretty straightforward: If a man dies with no children, then his brother should marry the widow. If the brother chooses not to do so, then chalitza is a ceremony whereby the brother and the widow proclaim that he refuses to marry her; the widow removes his shoe and spits, and everyone acknowledges and proclaims accordingly. So the simplest ...


8

Lord Sacks addressed this in his weekly message not long ago. The Talmud explains that the Cohen Gadol bears some minute amount of responsibility; "as he should have begged for compassion." The simple explanation is that G-d gives people the free will and ability to do evil things, but this case concerns a mistake. Had the Cohen Gadol prayed more, perhaps ...


8

Firstly, we circumcise because it the sign specifically commanded in the Torah, by God to the Abraham and his descendants for entering the eternal covenant with God (Bereshit, 17). In return, God made Abraham the father of a multitude of nations. Made him exceedingly fruitful, into nations, and kings. God gave his decedents the entire land of Canaan for an ...


8

Extra watched: to make sure that no water touches it (except while it's being kneaded), because water is needed to start the fermentation process, which would make it chametz. The soul is connected to G-d, like a limb of the body is connected to the heart (for its blood supply) and the brain (for its functionality). "Cut off" means just that - that ...


8

In Chullin 27b, the Gemara points out that "animals, which were created from earth, are made kosher via two 'signs' [cutting the windpipe and the esophagus]; fish, which were created from the water, don't need anything to make them kosher; birds, which were created from the mud [containing both earth and water - Rashi], are made kosher via one 'sign.'" ...


8

(Source: Sefer HaChinuch 576 in the Venice edition, 560 in the Frankfurt edition) The commandment in that verse doesn't really refer to entering the temple — the language is that he can't enter the assembly. This is the way of saying that he can't marry into the nation. However, to live in the same cities as them, to trade and do business with them, etc., ...


8

Tosafot (Sanhedrin 59B) says that the commandment to "be fruitful and multiply" is not only a positive commandment, but a negative one as well. The prohibition aspect of the commandment is the injunction against masturbation. Based on this, we can say that the philosophical reason why masturbation is considered sinful is because one is taking the potential ...


7

A person who killed accidentally had to stay in the City of Refuge until the Cohen Gadol died. This could be 1 day or 80 years. If a person killed on purpose or in a completely faultless manner (Onnes), he does not have to stay in the City of Refuge until the Cohen Gadol dies. (Rambam Hilchot Rotzeach 6:3) Killing someone on purpose is black and white, ...


7

It is said in the name of Rabbi Akiva Eiger as follows: The Talmud states that if one repents due to fear of punishment, his sins are converted to unintentional sins. However, if one repents out of love, his sins are converted to Mitzvoth (good deeds). Rashi states that the extra shofar blasts show the love Jews have for Mitzvoth, this implies that their ...


7

Primarily, the torah was given to be a living document, subject to certain modes of understanding and application. In order to establish a system of that understanding, the chumash instructs the people to adhere to the particular teachings of those who, in each generation, are the authorities based on their learning and understanding. The torah is not in ...


7

Orthodox Judaism places canonical value on the Talmud's interpretation of the Law. The Talmud says that masturbation is wrong, in the beginning of the second chapter of Niddah. Obviously if one will inevitably do one of two improper things, one should choose the thing which is less improper. But that doesn't make it right.


7

Since I don't believe the question as stated is a dupe: The laws of Kosher fall into a category of commandments called "chukim". That is, that G-d gave them to us without explaining or giving a reason for them. Through the ages, certain sages wrote many pages giving possible rational explanations, but ultimately, we do not know the reason that G-d gave us ...


7

Chazal has said that if we begin a mitzvah that we cannot complete on our own, G-d will complete it for us. We could not part the waters at the Sea, alone, but we had to take the first step into the water. See, e.g. Rashi to Exodus 14:15. Moreover, we accept that as mortal humans, we may not be perfect, per se, but that if we make efforts to seek perfect ...


7

There are two main Regalim - Pesach and Sukkot. Each one has another one-day mini yom-tov without special mitzvos afterwards. They are each called an "Atzeret" since they have no special mitzvot and are a culmination of the previous holiday. 7 weeks after the beginning of Pesach is Shavuot/Atzeret, and the day after Sukkot is Shemini Atzeret. The ...


6

First and foremost it is a Chok without a reason. However, some see a symbolic reminder in the mitzva of Shaatnez to the first, terrible clash between brothers, that resulted in Kayin killing Hevel. Kayin's offering to G-d was from the produce of the ground and Hevel's was from his flock. Keeping wool and linen separate in garments reminds us of this ...


6

Yes. God commanded Avraham to circumcise his sons and future male descendants. The obligation was derived from that command to apply to all fathers of male children. The relevant sources are laid out by Ramba"m here. There are many mitzvos completion of which necessitates altering something's physical state. Here are some more examples: [binding and ...


6

Quoth Rabbi Kornfield (from http://www.shemayisrael.com/parsha/kornfeld/archives/vayikra58.htm): Although this practice may seem bizarre to the uninitiated, the early commentaries point out the profound and enduring effect that offering a sacrifice has on a sinner. Man, like animal, is a physical organism of flesh and blood. Both are driven by their ...


6

I found a German source in the Tur, Orach Chayyim 625: "...in the seventh month, when it's rainy, and people generally leave their summer shade huts and go into their houses, we leave our houses and sit in our huts so that everyone will see that it's because of the commandment of The King to do so." And a friend pointed me to a Mediterranean source in ...


6

R' Hirsch notes that the Big Three are echoed in the laws for the Altar that God gives as an "epilogue" to the Assembly at Sinai in Genesis 20:19-23: Whatever v. 20 comes to prohibit, (according to the Midrash cited by Rashi, various misuses of angelic icons are included) it clearly echoes idol worship. Not making the Altar of cut stones (v. 22) "lest you ...



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