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Jun
21
comment Why is a Haftorah recited on fast days?
My first thought was it's the same reason that individuals only recite Aneinu at Mincha; by Mincha time, you can be reasonably confident that people who are still fasting will complete their fast (Shulchan Aruch 565:3; alternatively, having fasted past chatzos has some significance in and of itself). But the sha"tz still says Aneinu, so why not just have him read the haftara in the morning, too, and thereby mitigate this concern by doubling down on the same person? (Note that on Tish'a B'Av, we do recite "Asof Asifeim" in the morning in addition to "Dirshu" in the afternoon).
Jun
21
comment What happens when food or vessels or a tent become Tumeh? Do they transmite Tumeh to others?
Related: judaism.stackexchange.com/q/31904
Jun
21
revised Laws regarding putting someone to death for violating the sabbath
added 437 characters in body
Jun
21
revised Laws regarding putting someone to death for violating the sabbath
expanded and added translation
Jun
21
comment Laws regarding putting someone to death for violating the sabbath
@DavidFeigen The source is Shabbos 96b: ת"ר מקושש זה צלפחד... דברי ר' עקיבא... In short, R' Akiva identifies the m'kosheish as T'zlofchad, and R' Y'huda ben B'seira criticizes this identification because it denigrates an innocent man if it is incorrect, and, even if it is correct, it reveals information that the Torah intentionally obscured (since R' Akiva's exposition is not based on an exegetical tradition for a g'zeira shava). (Presumably, R' Akiva could respond to this, but his response is not mentioned explicitly).
Jun
19
comment The Rebbe as a prophet — how?
Prophecy in general is supposed to return in the time of mashiach (Yo'el 3:1). A better question might be why the period of prophecy is thought to have returned (according to that belief), and whether other Jews nowadays are also thought to be prophets.
Jun
19
comment Did God acquire His good qualities?
The notion of HaShem acquiring qualities is anachronistic, as is even the notion of Him possessing independent qualities (despite the necessary anthropopathisms in Tanach). See the relevant discussion, for example, in חובות הלבבות (Sha'ar HaYichud, ch. 8-10, but especially ch. 10), in addition to the relevant passages from the Ramchal cited in yEz's answer below).
Jun
19
comment Teffilin during Shabat
Just to clarify: As indicated by @Mefaresh, we clearly follow the opinion that t'fillin simply does not apply on Shabbos (Eruvin 96a, M'nachos 36b). The S'mag was talking in a טעמי המצוות sense rather than a halachic sense, so I was suggesting along those lines either that women have "two eidim" in the collective sense that milah and t'fillin apply to the Jewish people, or that women have no individual need for "two eidim." Either way, the S'mag is speaking homiletically, as the "os" exposition of the Talmud does not extend exegetically to a need for two at once.
Jun
19
comment Teffilin during Shabat
A couple of possibilities: 1. Each Jew has two "witnesses" whenever there are two signs that collectively apply to the Jewish people. Women are included in the collective sign of milah even though it doesn't apply to them on an individual basis (per Mishna B'rura 187:9). 2. As women can't have two individual "witnesses" during the week, it seems the need for signs only applies to males.
Jun
19
comment If a lefty becomes ambidextrous
Interesting. It seems like he is probably agreeing with R' Dovid in the particular case of an amputee, though not with R' Dovid's extrapolation to other cases.
Jun
19
comment If a lefty becomes ambidextrous
Hmm. See the Mishna B'rura and Bei'ur Halacha (linked in my comment above). The Chafetz Chaim approvingly quotes poskim who appear to arrive at the opposite conclusion in the case described by R' Dovid.
Jun
19
comment What is the source of the expression מנהג ישראל תורה?
I don't think that's what the Y'rushalmi means by "וכי מנהג יהודה בגליל עדות תורה היא". According to the P'nei Moshe, this rhetorical question means that, since it is not the minhag to appoint shoshvinin in the Galilee, non-observance of this practice doesn't impeach a husband's טענת בתולים (i.e. since appointing shoshvinin is not a biblical prerequisite for a husband's claim, nonobservance in the Galilee does not impeach his claim). The Korban HaEida provides similar explanations.
Jun
19
comment If a lefty becomes ambidextrous
The Mishna B'rura (27:22), based on the Magein Avraham, says that artificially changing handedness is valid. See Bei'ur Halacha (s.v. ואיטר יד ימינו) for discussion.
Jun
18
comment If a lefty becomes ambidextrous
See Shulchan Aruch (OC 27:6), and commentaries ad loc.
Jun
18
comment Are the notorious reshaim punished in Gehinnom forever?
According to a b'raisa (Rosh HaShana 17a), certain exceptionally evil people are indeed punished eternally ("כגון ירבעם בן נבט וחביריו יורדין לגיהנם ונידונין בה לדורי דורות").
Jun
17
comment Did the Torah Sages discuss evolution
Related to your most recent comment: judaism.stackexchange.com/q/432
Jun
17
comment Where is this Radvaz?
For context, the Rabaz (here) was referring to a case where a person was considering breaking the engagement because he was afraid of danger resulting from marrying a woman with the same name as his mother. By way of discouraging the person from breaking a preexisting engagement for this reason, the Rabaz suggests that it is more dangerous to break an engagement.
Jun
17
comment Did the Torah Sages discuss evolution
Hmm. It never occurred to me to associate the notion of maternal impression with microevolution.
Jun
17
comment Multiple brochos for one food type?
Somewhat related: judaism.stackexchange.com/q/57762
Jun
17
comment Multiple brochos for one food type?
The Mishna B'rura (206:22) rules according to what (as you say) "one might have understood" (apparently due to ספק ברכות להקל resulting from a dispute among the poskim - see MB 211:32).