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40

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 ...


29

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 ...


17

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, ...


17

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 ...


12

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. Worked-up version by the Rebbe 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 ...


12

No. Pigs are singled out by the Torah (Leviticus 11:7) as one of the unkosher animals that have a single kosher sign (they have split hooves but don't chew their cud), and as such, are Biblically prohibited. A Biblical prohibition cannot be overturned (Rambam's Laws of Foundations of the Torah 9:1). (According to some,) the kashrut laws were not instated ...


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 ...


11

wikipedia: A yad (Hebrew: יד‎) (Yiddish: האַנט), literally, "hand," is a Jewish ritual pointer, popularly known as a Torah pointer, used by the reader to follow the text during the Torah reading from the parchment Torah scrolls. Beyond its practical usage, the yad ensures that the parchment is not touched during the reading. There are several ...


11

God expects Jews to follow the torah and gentiles to follow the Noachide laws. Until you've converted you're still a gentile and don't have additional heavenly obligations. Perhaps you have heard of people in the process of conversion being required to do more. If so, it's likely a misunderstanding. Once you are studying with a rabbi he will guide you to ...


10

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)


10

There is an Agadic opinion brought in Or Hachaim in parshas Shmini 11:7 that after the arrival of Moshiach, the pig will begin to chew its cud, and will at that point be Kosher.* Until that day, the Torah clearly gave two signs which we base our dietary laws upon which cannot be ignored. Whether or not Rabbis throughout the ages have tried to make keeping ...


10

The woman can ask but the torah specifies that the man must write (order the writing of) the divorce document and deliver it to her. There are cases in which the court can order the man to write the get, but he must be the one to write it (or order it written) and it must be of his own free will. This is similar to the rules of getting married in which the ...


9

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 ...


9

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 ...


9

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

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 ...


9

A Medrash states that G-d offered the Torah to the children of Eisau. They rejected it, saying they could not accept this very commandment against murder. This begs the question: Eisau's descendants also have a law against murder! Why couldn't they accept G-d's law if it was already illegal by their own standard? Rabbi Yaakov Weinberg ZT"L answers as ...


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

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

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 ...


8

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 ...


8

If not for the prohibition, murder would carry no defined penalty in civil courts. The Torah prohibition makes murder always a capital crime. Same with stealing - if there was no explicit mitzvah, there would not be a set punishment entrusted to earthly courts.


7

To begin with, we blow the shofar on Rosh Hashana because God said so. See Numbers 29:1. וּבַחֹדֶשׁ הַשְּׁבִיעִי בְּאֶחָד לַחֹדֶשׁ מִקְרָא קֹדֶשׁ יִהְיֶה לָכֶם כָּל מְלֶאכֶת עֲבֹדָה לֹא תַעֲשׂוּ יוֹם תְּרוּעָה יִהְיֶה לָכֶם And in the seventh month, on the first day, there shall be a holy convocation for you; you shall not perform any mundane work. It ...


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

While this isn't exactly what you're looking for, it's close: the Rama's Toras Ha'Olah, which does go through just about every mitzvah/halakha in Seder Kodshim and explains the reasoning for their details in a super-cool-scientific-mystical way. It's not an encyclopedia in that it isn't in alphabetical order, but it is ordered systematically, by topic. ...



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