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seen May 28 at 10:48

Oct
6
comment SE Challenge: Halachot in which rulings range from permissible to Torah violation?
Good suggestion, but we're looking for final halahic decisions. Since the halacha has long ago been decided in favor of Beit Hillel (except in a small number of cases), I think this may not count since there is no posek who follows Beit Shammai in this case.
Oct
6
comment SE Challenge: Halachot in which rulings range from permissible to Torah violation?
@SAH The Torah never commands a woman to wear a sheitel. While sephardim historically do not accept sheitlach, almost all poskim still require a hair covering such as a tichel/headscarf. Also, there is no Biblical prohibition for an unmarried woman to go to the mikveh. To find out what is Biblically prohibited, for starters it is recommended to open a Chumash.
Aug
17
comment Does artificial meat grown in a petri dish have the halachic status of meat?
'Beit Hillel' weighs in, though much of the same material: beithillel.org.il/blog.asp?id=61572#maamar61572
Dec
20
comment Does artificial meat grown in a petri dish have the halachic status of meat?
This is from a completely unofficial, tenative email conversation with the Star-K: <<Rabbi Heinemann has told me in the past that if they start with neveilah meat as the source material it will not be kosher, and, even if they start with kosher meat, the growth medium also needs to be kosher. I asked him whether starting with neveilah meat would be a problem if the source material was microscopic. He was skeptical that it starts off microscopic and invisible to the naked eye. I guess that we would need to know more about the process and circumstances before making any decision.>>
Nov
29
comment Which Hasidic rabbi has no beard, and what is the story?
(The Hebrew wikipedia entry, he.wikipedia.org/wiki/… , mentions that 'chemical experiments' were performed on him).
Oct
25
comment Why doesn't Tefilat Geshem have a verse referring to Miriam?
There's a wonderful site, piyut.org.il , which gathers liturgical poetry, music and essays from many different Jewish communities. One essay by Ruth Gan Kagan (Israeli leader in Jewish Renewal movement) asks this same question. While she doesn't have any good historical explanation, a number of years ago she decided to write her own poem featuring 5 significant water-inspired Jewish women (Sarah, Rivka, Rachel, Miriam, Devora). She reports of a number of shuls which have integrated her poem into their Tefilat HaGeshem. piyut.org.il/articles/578.html
Oct
18
comment Why doesn't Tefilat Geshem have a verse referring to Miriam?
And G-d said unto Abraham: 'As for Sarai thy wife, thou shalt not call her name Sarai, but Sarah shall her name be. And I will bless her, and moreover I will give thee a son of her; yea, I will bless her, and she shall be a mother of nations; kings of peoples shall be of her.' I think G-d couldn't be any more clear regarding Sarah's 'level of significance.' In fact, it seems to be very similar to that of Avraham's.
Oct
18
comment Why doesn't Tefilat Geshem have a verse referring to Miriam?
"Neither shall thy name any more be called Abram, but thy name shall be Abraham; for the father of a multitude of nations have I made thee. And I will make thee exceeding fruitful, and I will make nations of thee, and kings shall come out of thee. " and similarly, only 9 passages later, a directly parallel statement is made regarding Sarah (17:15-16): "  ויאמר אלהים אל אברהם שרי אשתך לא תקרא את שמה שרי כי שרה שמה וברכתי אתה וגם נתתי ממנה לך בן וברכתיה והיתה לגוים מלכי עמים ממנה יהיו"
Oct
18
comment Why doesn't Tefilat Geshem have a verse referring to Miriam?
Regarding Sarah, Scripture (see below) makes a clear parallel between her relevance/worthiness/choseness regarding G-d's blessing as much as Abraham. Sarah isn't simply a vessel for Abraham's blessing, rather she is worthy in her own right of being a founder of this nation that G-d is blessing. G-d renews His covenant with Avraham in 17:4-6 stating, אני הנה בריתי אתך, והיית לאב המון גוים. ולא יקרא עוד את שמך אברם, והיה שמך אברהם כי אב המון גוים נתתיך. והפריתי אתך במאד מאד ונתתיך לגוים ומלכים ממך יצאו.
Oct
18
comment Why doesn't Tefilat Geshem have a verse referring to Miriam?
@DoubleAA Our Sages of Blessed Memory say it explicity in Shmot Rabbah 1: "ויאמר אלהים אל אברהם: אל ירע בעיניך" וגו' (בראשית כא, יב ) מכאן אתה למד שהיה אברהם טפל לשרה בנביאות. "And G-d said unto Abraham: 'Let it not be grievous in thy sight [because of the lad, and because of thy bondwoman; in all that Sarah saith unto thee, hearken unto her voice]" (Genesis 21:12) from here we learn that Avraham was subordinate to Sarah in prophesy."
Sep
15
comment Are there any halachic authorities which relate to the non-mechitza, pre-1967 prayers which were held at the Kotel?
Thanks for the information. As per my question, I'm particularly interested in what they did during the period when there wasn't a mechitza. Any ideas?
Mar
30
comment What is the source for the “Upsheirin”?
The name of the Upsherin is unrelated to its origins, e.g. some claim that it was started as a result of influence by Muslims who cut their children's hair at sanctified gravesites, and later was brought to Ashkenazi Europe in the Middle Ages (to this day it is known among many Israelis as 'halaka', Arabic for 'shave'). At that time Ashkenazi Jews may have adopted a local name for it.
Mar
29
comment Commencing Shabbos: Shkiya behind a mountain
As a datapoint, Maaleh Adumim in Israel is only slightly east of Jerusalem, but is found below the mountain range surrounding Jerusalem. Perceived sunset is therefore about 20 minutes prior to perceived sunset in Jerusalem. The chief rabbis of the city therefore are stringent in Torah-related matters (דאורייתא) and consider Shabbat to arrive 20 minutes earlier for those matters (in deference to the ruling of Rabbi Nachum Rabinovitz as per his understanding of the Rambam). For all other matters, they rule sunset to be according to the horizon.
Mar
7
comment Burying on shelves, one on top of the other
There are two types of "dense" burial being offered: bhol.co.il/Article.aspx?id=35810 1) Machpelah -- in the ground, and two graves are on top of each other (for instance, husband and wife). 2) Sanhedrin -- above ground, in chambers built into the walls. (An additional aspect is 'Ramah' - burying in 'parking lot'-type structures, where on each 'floor' people will have the option of 'Sanhedrin' or 'Machpelah').
Mar
6
comment Halachically skipping Purim
Therefore, if a Jerusalemite is at home at Alot on the 14th, and in Tel Aviv on the 15th, then he will have no obligation. Tangentially, many people living in Jerusalem and its suburbs have the practice of visiting friends so that they can obligated for 2 days of Purim and enjoy twice the merriment.
Mar
6
comment Halachically skipping Purim
As one point of reference, Rav Melamed, head of the Yeshivat Har Bracha and an influential posek in Israel, explains here the issues of when to observe Purim and Shushan Purim: yeshiva.org.il/midrash/shiur.asp?id=7056 . He concludes that the majority opinion is that one's obligation is dependent on your location at the halachic time of Alot HaShachar on the day of Purim and Shushan Purim. Based on Rashi, Ritva, Ramban, Riyaz (R Yeshaya Matruni), Shulchan Aruch, the Jerusalem Talmud (Yerushalmi) and more. In fact, the Rosh is very much in the minority.
Feb
20
comment Is there a list of Nusach -> Shevet correspondence?
As noted, my source was the Wikipedia article listed above [en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Great_Assembly]. That Wikipedia article lists its source as the Jewish Virtual Library [jewishvirtuallibrary.org/jsource/Judaism/Great_Assembly.html] . There are few classical Midrashic and Talmud sources about the Great Assembly and many of them conflict regarding the details. It seems that there is quite a bit of confusion regarding the matter -- perhaps this could be a source for a new question? :)
Jan
31
comment Halachic/sociological basis to support the split-apart beds for a nida couple?
These types of beds are relatively common in stores in Israel; they're referred to as מיטה יהודית, a Jewish bed. You can see pictures here: google.com/…
Jan
25
comment does one have to take a Midrash/Aggadah literally?
accepted tradition, and this is not a command [to accept it as fact]."
Jan
25
comment does one have to take a Midrash/Aggadah literally?
He seems to be taking a 'safe' attitude to leave open the option to reject certain midrashim as long as they're not קבלה, an accepted tradition. Other examples: Genesis 22:4 hebrewbooks.org/… . "And our rabbis have said that Yitzchak was 37 at the time of the binding of Isaac (Akeida). If they are an accepted tradition then we will accept it. But logically this is not correct." Also see Genesis 11:29 (again the "long" version of Ibn Ezra) "Those who have said that Sara is Yiskah... this is a drash/explication or logical inference, not an