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Aug
19
comment Can אֲדֹנָי refer to a person or just to God?
Somewhat related: judaism.stackexchange.com/q/58945. Also, this title can sometimes be used (not as a divine name) to mean something like "sir(s)" (e.g. B'reishis 19:2; see Sh'vu'os 35b).
Aug
19
comment Are Orthodox Jews opposed to women singing in public, particularly if the woman is singing to a fussy baby in an attempt to soothe it?
As I recall, the S'dei Chemed said not to rely on the Divrei Cheifetz in practice, though that quote is correct that the S'ridei Eish (Rabbi Weinberg) included this as one factor to permit mixed youth groups singing Shabbat songs together. (Incidentally, I don't think "sensual love songs" is the most accurate translation for what the Divrei Cheifetz was talking about. He was seemingly referring to romantic songs in general, not only to especially sensual ones). Also, as @DoubleAA noted, not everyone accepts this leniency.
Aug
19
comment “But Rahab the harlot … dwelt in the midst of Israel, unto this day”
@Shamiach It may not be strictly forbidden for a non-Jew. Still, being מופקרת לכל (unlike the example in the Rambam) may be discouraged, and one gets a sense from the oeuvre of Tanach that it is incompatible with Torah values whether or not it is a formal prohibition upon non-Jews. Like the chronic gambler (also frowned upon by Chazal) who is not assumed to be cured of his gambling ways until he undergoes some type of reform (Sanhedrin 25b), it may have been appropriate for Rachav to undertake some form of repentance to rehabilitate herself from her previous way of life.
Aug
19
comment How common is Yichud?
I don't think most women would violate yichud. My reading of Rashi was that it is a situation where the husband already suspects her of being involved with Ploni. Let's say he decides he wants to divorce her at this point. If he warns her, she may heed his warning. This would mean she wouldn't forfeit her kesuba. If he doesn't warn her, she will likely continue her dalliance with Ploni, at which point her husband can catch her (with witnesses) and not have to pay her kesuba if he falsely claims that he gave her prior warning.
Aug
18
revised Sha’arei HaKedushah on Middos
added 137 characters in body
Aug
18
answered Sha’arei HaKedushah on Middos
Aug
18
comment Using oil lamps on Shabbas in old times
Note that there are more restrictions with using lamp light on Shabbos than there are with using electric light (e.g. restrictions on reading by the light), since there was a risk of absentmindedly tilting the lamp when the flame would start running low (see Shulchan Aruch OC 275‌​).
Aug
18
comment How can one kill the habit of speaking profanity?
Certain curse words would probably fall into the less severe category of not being לשון נקיה, but you are correct that they should probably still be avoided.
Aug
18
comment What was the status of the Pharisees, and their relationship with the Temple authorities in the early first century?
@WadCheber 1. It's important to note that the priests did not constitute a uniform or unified political bloc, and the Pharisees were not therefore opponents of the priests. In fact, a number of prominent rabbis mentioned in the Mishna were priests. 2. Temple procedures discussed in the Mishna (especially in Yoma) suggest that the rabbinic Pharisees had more influence over the priests' Temple service than vice-versa. 3. Some purification could be effected outside the Temple and didn't require sacrifices. 4. My citation to The Jewish War above should be corrected to Antiquities 13:5.
Aug
18
comment What was the status of the Pharisees, and their relationship with the Temple authorities in the early first century?
@WadCheber The priestly class was not by and large Sadducee, though some were. Often, Sadducees paid bribes to the Roman governors of Judea to acquire the office of High Priest, but even then they had to rein in public displays of Sadducee practice or risk the wrath of the public (such as the incident in Sukka 4:9, c.f. Josephus' The Jewish War, ch. 13). Regardless, priests only had a significant degree of control within their limited sphere of influence (namely, those Temple observances where a priest was necessarily involved), and not in the day to day observance outside the Temple.
Aug
17
comment In what sense did G-d live in the Temple, in the understanding of Jews prior to the Temple's destruction?
The Tabernacle and (later) both Temples were referred to as the dwelling place of the Omnipresent (e.g. II Samuel 7:5-7), but this was meant in an anthropomorphic sense, as indicated (for one example) by the rhetorical usage in Isaiah 66:1. See also Exodus 25:8, where "that I may dwell among them" (as opposed to "that I may dwell in it") can be interpreted likewise.
Aug
16
comment A Novi is the spokesperson of G-d
See Rashi on N'chemya 6:7: "נביאים - בעלי לשון כמו בורא ניב שפתים".
Aug
13
comment Why do we say כן יהי רצון in response to each blessing of Birkat Kohanim?
Related: judaism.stackexchange.com/q/27850 (Also, I get the sense that this is an exact duplicate of a question I have seen on MY before).
Aug
13
comment Why don't we rely on Anan Sahadi for murder cases?
See Shev Sh'maitsa (4:8, paragraph beginning with "אמנם"), who draws a distinction between performance of the act itself, which (per verses in the Torah) requires two witnesses to confirm, and the underlying reality that makes the act forbidden (such as the fact that the man is his father), which can be verified through a chazaka.
Aug
5
comment Is there any tradition of any Jews leaving Mitzrayim before the Exodus
+1. Note that this is based on an interpretation of I Divrei HaYamim 7:20-22 (and here's a link to Sanhedrin 92b).
Aug
4
comment G-d changing the past
Ta'anis 25a: "אלעזר בני ניחא לך דאפכיה לעלמא מרישא אפשר דמתילדת בשעתא דמזוני" ("El'azar my son, would you like me to start over the world from the beginning? Perhaps you will be born in a time of plenty").
Aug
3
revised The Zohar on Morning
added 179 characters in body
Aug
3
comment Why no ashrei in maariv?
@msh210 I don't know if some halachic authority ultimately supervises all Torah content posted on the OU site. Do you? If not, only sourced material or material known to be written by a known halachic authority would count as "cit[ing] an authority directly on the point." (You can move these comments to chat if you like. The "take extended discussion to chat" link hasn't popped up for me yet).
Aug
3
comment Why no ashrei in maariv?
@DoubleAA I wasn't suggesting that her gender matters. I was suggesting that, for all I know, she is an arbitrary person (without any particular halachic authority so far as I know) whose job it is to post various things on the OU's site. Some of these things are links to shiurim by OU rabbis, some are announcements, and some are Torah tidbits with an unknown immediate origin. Does she write the posts herself? I don't know. But I do know that she didn't cite the source for the information in this answer.
Aug
3
comment Why no ashrei in maariv?
@msh210 Is a woman who happens to work for the OU an authority? (Unless you assume that everything she posts is from an OU rabbi, which very well could be, I suppose).