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22

I do not think it is a problem for a few reasons. Kin'as sofrim tarbeh chochmah (jealousy among scholars will increase wisdom - Baba Basra 21a). A certain extent of competition in Torah is a good thing. Having people compete for even something as minor as points helps increase Torah and wisdom. There is an issue of a person becoming haughty or seeking honor ...


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 ...


15

Sit with Jastrow's Aramaic dictionary and Frank's Practical Talmud Dictionary and look up every word and phrase until you start recognising you've looked this up before. This is the way I did it, but unlike every other person I know I enjoy finding words in the dictionary. If you have the opportunity then full-time learning in a Yeshivah would obviously be ...


14

The way I see reputation points on stack exchange is that they are useful for the people asking questions, not for the person getting the points. That is, when someone comes to the site and asks a question, seeing the points next to a person's name gives that name 'recognition status'. If there is a debate between two people, one has 1 point, and the other ...


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

Technically, yes. Everything you describe is an aspect of learning Torah. Even just reciting the Shema or a few psukim or one liners from Tanach or Talmud (both agadata and halacha) count for fulfilling the Mitzvah. However, just as we don't use the phrases said after the birchat Ha'Torah in the morning to absolve us from studying the rest of the day, so ...


13

The proper way to study Kabbalah is with prior knowledge of Tanach, Talmud, Yad HaChazaka, and Shulchan Aruch (not including the introduction books to Kabbalah- some of the Ben Ish Hai's books, some of the Ramak, a lot of Rav Ashlag, and Rav Frisch). Without a massive knowledge of the aforementioned, Kabbalah won't do you any good, quite the contrary it can ...


13

One of my rabbeim, who was a student of R' Elya Svei explained this to me as follows: The yeshiva curriculum includes masechtos from nashim and nezikin, such as Yevamos, Kesuvos, Gittin, Kiddushin, Bava Kama, Bava Metzia, Bava Basra etc. for two main reasons: There are classic commentaries on Talmud Bavli, and these masechtos include more of the ...


12

If you're just starting a Jewish library, and don't have a good idea already about what you need, then you probably weren't raised with enough Jewish background to fully sort out the list above. (And may not have such a good command of Hebrew.) In that case, a reasonable list would include (in approximate order): ArtScroll Chumash Siddur ArtScroll (Nusach ...


12

פירוש רש"י: פת במלח תאכל - לא על העשיר הוא אומר שיעמוד בחיי צער כדי ללמוד תורה, אלא ה"ק אפילו אין לאדם אלא פת במלח וכו' ואין לו כר וכסת לישן, אלא על הארץ, אל ימנע מלעסוק בה, דסופו ללמוד אותה מעושר׃ Rashi's commentary (Rough translation): "This is not speaking of the wealthy person who will suffer in order to learn Torah. Rather, what it means is that even ...


11

Rashi to Gen. 1:1 says that Hashem started the Torah with the account of Creation in order to demonstrate that He has the right to dispose of the world's territory as He wishes. Thus, we can validly claim the Land of Israel as ours (rather than being seen as interlopers who conquered the land from its rightful owners). Needless to say, this lesson is needed ...


11

Rabbi Haim Vital in his introduction to Sefer Eitz Haim gives three pre-requisites to learn Kabbalah, 1) A person must be married 2) A person must have learned Gemarra for five years 3) A person must be 20 years of age. Rav Ovadyah Hedayya(He was the Chief Kabbalist of Israel, as well as the Av Beit Din of Jerusalem, and Rav Ovadyah Yosef's Rav) in his seer ...


11

There is a Chabad way of learning Gemara, as described by the Rebbe Rashab, the 5th Lubavitcher Rebbe and founder of Yeshivat Tomchei Temimim. In his Kuntres Eitz Chayim, he explains why it is necessary to learn Chassidus in addition to learning Gemara properly. The entire text is available online in English. From the introduction to the english ...


11

With regard to Sh'kalim, I believe the answer does indeed rely on publication practices. The practice of printing (and therefore studying) Sh'kalim with the rest of Talmud Bavli Seder Moed can be traced as far back as the times of the Geonim. [The idea is that Sh'kalim is short and therefore relatively inexpensive to print with the rest of Seder Moed to ...


11

From the Kitzur Shulchan Aruch: ואפילו ללמוד אסור בשעה שהשליח צבור חוזר התפלה "And even learning is forbidden when the Chazzan repeats Shemoneh Esrei. From Daily Jewish Law One should not learn Torah during the repetition of the amidah. There are a few concerns: At least 10 men must pay attention to every word of the amidah; All of ...


11

Rabbi Chaim Clorfene writes in his popular (and heavily annotated) book, The Path of the Righteous Gentile (p. 42), that B'nei Noach should learn parts of the Torah relevant to their service of God, as well as to the Torah's view on God. He adds that this can be broadly applied, as many areas of Torah "can bring one to greater knowledge concerning the ...


10

There is a letter by the Lubavitcher Rebbe zt"l (original Hebrew text available online at chabadlibrary.org; an English translation is at chabad.org) in which he discusses this. (He also provides a list of places in Chabad Chassidic writings that talk about tzimtzum.) To summarize: The two key variables here are: (a) whether tzimtzum means "contraction" ...


10

If you can't find a partner with which to study, or prefer to go it alone, I recommend the ArtScroll Talmud. Its translation and explanatory notes are excellent. In terms of which tractate to start with, traditionally, children are initiated into Talmud study with the 2nd chapter of Bava Metzia, which deals with the laws of returning lost objects. Starting ...


10

There are videos of the Lubavitcher Rebbe encouraging whistling by his farbrengens. Edited to add some great links from the comments into the answer, as well as other sources: Here is a picture of the Rebbe's often-used hand motion to signal for whistling. Here is a link to a first-hand account of the Rebbe encouraging someone to sing, along with a ...


10

A solution is to use the Chabad online Rashi commentary to fuel Google searches. First, type site:http://www.chabad.org/library/bible_cdo/aid/ and then add your search terms after typing a space. Example: site:http://www.chabad.org/library/bible_cdo/aid/ אחרון אחרון חביב to find a Rashi from this week's parsha.


10

No, it is not assur. "As to your question with regard to a curriculum in a coeducational school, I expressed my opinion to you long ago that it would be a very regrettable oversight on our part if we were to arrange separate Hebrew courses for girls. Not only is the teaching of Torah she-be-al peh to girls permissible but it is nowadays an absolute ...


10

R' Hirsch (Isaac's suggestion) and Ramban (Hacham Gabriel's suggestion) are both widely available in English, and for good reason. Both are very easy to appreciate, both on the simplest of levels, as well as on much deeper planes. If your Hebrew improves or you can get a learning partner who is also capable of being a mentor, I highly, highly recommend ...


10

HodofHod gives a pretty good example and explanation as to why our tradition is important, but I'll try to expand on that a bit to explain what the tradition is and where it comes from (and explain it in a bit more of a straightforward way). Judaism relies heavily on generation-to-generation, teacher-to-student, parent-to-child tradition. This is known as ...


10

An Google spreadsheet with all that information (and more!) is available here. A screenshot of the more relevant part is clipped below:


10

Yes. You say the following blessing (Shulchan Aruch OC 223:2 with commentaries): ברוך אתה יקוק אלוקינו מלך העולם דיין האמת.‏ Furthermore, if the deceased was a scholar to the extent that one could ask him a question in all matters of Torah and he knew right away, then the Shulchan Aruch rules (YD 340:7) that one must rend one's clothing in mourning ...


9

The Radak that is mentioned is from Shmuel II 15:21. We find in the Talmud (Nedarim 37נ): אמר רבי יצחק מקרא סופרים ועיטור סופרים וקריין ולא כתיבן וכתיבן ולא קריין הלכה למשה מסיני R. Yitachak said: The textual reading, as transmitted by the scribes, their stylistic embellishments, [words] read [in the text] but not written, and words written but ...


9

I once heard Rav Shmuel Kaminetsky describing the life of a certain Rav in a little shtetel many years ago. The people of the village were unlearned, and the Rav, who was a big Talmid Chacham, had no one with whom to converse in Torah learning. What did he do? He would put his hat on the banister next to the Aron Hakodesh, and speak as if there was an ...


9

Yalkut Yosef vol. 3 pg 548-549: הלומד בש''ס ובמדרשי חז''ל, ופוגע בפסוקים שיש בהם אזכרות שם שמים, יש לו לקראם כקריאתן בתנ''ך בהזכרת שם שמים, ואין להחמיר בזה ולכנות ולבטאת ''אלוקים'' בקו''ף ולא בה''א, או לומר ''אדושם'', או ''המוני'', שהואיל ומדינא שרי, המחמיר יוצא שכרו בהפסדו, דהוי כמכנה שם כלפי מעלה. אולם אזכרות שבמטבע ברכות המובאים בש''ס ובמדרשי חז''ל ...


9

The Talmud (Megillah 21a) relates that from the days of Moshe through those of Rabban Gamliel the Torah was only studied while standing. After Rabban Gamliel's death, "sickness" descended to the world and people began to need to study while seated. It further relates (based on the verse Devarim 5:27) that a teacher should be on equal standing with his ...



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