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Dec
30
awarded  Nice Answer
Dec
25
comment Nittle Nacht Meaning
The problem with Rabbi Leiman's suggestion (not having heard the lecture, myself) is that if it were merely a question of safety then a far better date for abstaining from these things would be Easter. The anniversary of Jesus's crucifixion was always a considerably more dangerous time to be a Jew in Europe than the celebration of his birth. Nativity plays were somewhat less incendiary than passion plays, for obvious reasons.
Dec
16
comment How could two prostitutes come to Solomon if prostitution was prohibited by the Torah?
This question would be improved if you provided a source in the Torah for prostitution being illegal in the first place.
Dec
16
comment Why did Samson's parents not see the incident with the lion?
Thankyou, Moshe! If you're interested in adding it to your answer, I had a bit of a look around and Qol Eliyahu (your source) was first published at the end of 1904. Although it's the most frequently quoted source for some of the Gra's hiddushim, the earliest one for this hiddush appears to be Likkutei Shoshanim, first published in 1837. It's in the end of that book, in a section titled "לקוטים מרבינו הגאון החסיד ז"ל". I don't know if it's available online, so it might not be as good as the link you provided.
Dec
15
comment May a Kohen become a doctor?
Why did this get voted down??
Dec
14
comment Source for the Mitzvah Tanz
What makes you think that there's a source? The most you can hope for with something like this is a text that mentions the custom. But customs precede texts, not the other way around.
Dec
11
comment What was the name of Tzipora's mother?
I agree, @msh210, I'm just being picky. And I didn't downvote, even if I don't think it's much of a source.
Dec
11
comment Dancing on Yom Kippur
Where's the mitzvah?
Dec
10
comment Correcting tav/sav
@DoubleAA - You're right that he mentions it, but he doesn't necessitate repeating the passuk on the basis of its being mispronounced. When he mentions the vocalisation, the Magen Avraham comments to the effect that a mispronunciation here may render one liable to reread. The only posek whom I saw mention the need to repeat the passuk if one erred in the trope was the Shulchan Atzei Shittim. Sorry if my previous comment was unclear.
Dec
10
comment Correcting tav/sav
@DoubleAA - Because the poskim I looked at didn't all mention all three of those things. The Rama, for example, mentions vowels; the Shulchan Atzei Shittim (as brought by the Mishne Berurah) mentions trope, and the Arukh haShulchan (and the Bet Yosef) mentions shva nach/na and aspirants.
Dec
10
comment Does halakha count primates as “almost human”?
Note that some sources (such as the Yerushalmi) think that adnei hassadeh is a reference to people who live in the wild.
Dec
10
comment The Abolition of Vidui Ma'aser
Thank you, Moshe! Between you and Yishai, who commented on the post, I have a satisfactory answer to my two questions. Much appreciated :)
Dec
10
accepted The Abolition of Vidui Ma'aser
Dec
10
answered Correcting tav/sav
Dec
8
comment Does a Jewish wedding involve bridesmaids or groomsmen?
It probably depends on what you define as "traditional". I've been to more weddings than I could estimate, and a very large number of them (at which orthodox rabbis have officiated, at which the witnesses are kosher and at which all is done in accordance with halakha) have had groomsmen and bridesmaids. What they've not necessarily had is a best man.
Dec
8
comment Is Hashem 'involved' in everything that happens?
Outstanding answer (and +1), but your translation of Sefer haChinukh (which, for the record, might have been attributed to Rav Aharon of Barcelona by some, though certainly not by all) is off the mark. "Such an understanding is very far from intelligent"!? That's not what he says! He says that וזה הדעת רחוק הרבה מן השכל - that such a conception is far from comprehension. I have never seen anybody refer to an idea or a concept as "intelligent" or "stupid"; they refer to those who hold these ideas in such a fashion, and judge the ideas on how easily they are to be understood.
Dec
8
comment What was the name of Tzipora's mother?
In fairness, the rav is not being asked the name of Yitro's wife, but whether or not there is a source for that name. For all I know, the person asking the question has a name in mind and wants to know if it can be substantiated. I doubt that's so, but since he only asked for a source, the rav's answer that "it is not known" is a reference to the existence of such a source and nothing else. As such, it can't be used to demonstrate that "the name of אשת יתרו is unknown", as you have said.
Dec
8
revised The Abolition of Vidui Ma'aser
added 2 characters in body
Dec
7
comment What is the earliest source of the story of Serach bas Asher and the harp?
The author is wrong to claim that it must have originated in the 16th century. It is a collection of aggadot. Similar collections (like Leqach Tov, Sekhel Tov, Yalqut Shimoni, etc) are mixed bags of midrashim. Some of them significantly predate the composition of the text, and unless you check the manuscript tradition you cannot even be sure about when that was. The Meiri's "Beit haBechirah" was first published in the 18th century, but he wrote it in the 13th. Mekhilta deRebi Shimon bar Yochai was first published in the 20th century, but much of it is tannaitic.
Dec
7
asked The Abolition of Vidui Ma'aser