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Jan
6
comment Rape for a girl and is looking to get married
@Anz12 In Rabbi Ovadiah Yosef's question, the husband said "hooray your first baby! We do a pidyon haben ceremony!" He knew she had a troubled past, but not that she'd had a baby years earlier and given it up for adoption. Rabbi Yosef replied that she could allow him to go on with the pidyon haben, even making the bracha, if breaking the news to him would ruin their relationship. (Personally I'd advise against hiding something that big from a spouse, but it doesn't have to be telegraphed before the first date either. It can wait till later in the dating process.)
Jan
6
comment Rape for a girl and is looking to get married
@Anz12 the key is -- at the time that it happened, could this couple theoretically have been married? If he is her brother or father, no. If she's married to someone else, no. [We don't care if he's married.] If he's not Jewish, no. But if he was a Jewish co-worker, boyfriend, stranger, and not a first-degree relative, then she is still kohen-eligible. If you have a specific question please ask it; or if it's too graphic or personal, please email yoatzot.org.
Jan
5
comment Interracial marriages : Has anyone ever forbid it?
@Afi "what about non-Jews", meaning what: can a non-Jewish man of one race marry a non-Jewish woman of another race?
Jan
3
comment Slavery, the Beautiful Captive, and Conversion
@ClintEastwood it was given in the desert for when they entered the land. But regardless -- it is a law pertaining to a national war, which has to be formally declared.
Jan
3
comment Rape for a girl and is looking to get married
@BabySeal I think "bas yisroel" here simply means there's an additional prohibition for a kohen to marry a non-Jewish woman. IIRC a woman with a non-Jewish father isn't a "zonah", it's a separate (rabbinic, I think) enactment. Have to track it down b'n.
Dec
31
comment Dealing with an asexual wife
I'd like to believe that in most communities, unless a young woman is 100% sheltered from ever encountering the opposite gender, that a person would be somewhat cognizant of their sexual inclination before actually being expected to consummate a marriage. (It could sadly be the case that the young lady had a feeling something was wrong, but didn't feel safe to discuss it with anyone in advance...)
Dec
31
comment Dealing with an asexual wife
@Emracool thank you. Therapy can help a person make sure they really understand their condition (and that they're not confusing it for something else), figure out how to best cope with it, and determine, given their priorities in life, strengths, and weaknesses, what goals are most essential in an desired outcome that may be sub-optimal. I didn't mean that a therapist can magically make problems disappear.
Dec
30
comment How did the plague of blood work?
@ShmuelBrin, approach the medrash as medrash. And learn from it about the Jews finally being in a position of power. But it upsets me that everyone knows the Little Medrish Says and doesn't realize that the verses spell out an alternative answer. Medrash works best as a structure built on a foundation of pshat.
Dec
29
comment How do you write Isaiah in Hebrew?
@JimThio they are prefaced by "speak to the children of Israel." We believe that the vast majority of the commandments -- sabbath, kosher, all of that -- was only addressed to the Jews. All that non-Jews are expected to keep, as has been said repeatedly here, is: #1 support a just society (e.g. vote, pay taxes), and don't: #2 worship idols. #3 kill people. #4 violate certain sexual taboos. #5 eat a limb torn off a live animal. #6 curse God. #7 steal.
Dec
26
comment What to do if the minhag of my ancestors changed
@DoubleAA, the point is that we don't know that someone said "my tradition was this, but I will now go and change it to that."
Dec
25
comment Nittle Nacht Meaning
@shimonbM good question, but things were more dangerous at night. I'd think Easter was a day observance.
Dec
24
comment Did Levi see Moshe and Aaron?
I'd have to see that Targum but off-hand that sounds wrong. The verse says first Yosef and all his brothers died, then the slavery began, then Moshe was born.
Dec
22
comment When was the last Korban Pesach done?
See the Netziv / Ha'amek Davar. "Vahashimosi es mikdesheichem, velo ariach bre'ach nichocachem." Destruction of the Temple ruled out any reiach nichoach sacrifices, but he says that they continued the Pesach (never uses that phrase) for some time afterwards. Check his language and his sources.
Dec
19
comment Is there really a distinct “Jewish soul”?
possible duplicate of Do gentiles have neshamot?
Dec
17
comment In what countries is chalav yisrael not required for milk?
@Avi it's some combination of regulation and availability/economics. If the magical island of Bovinia has cows but no pigs, camels, horses, etc., then you'd be good to go there without any government laws. On the flipside, plenty of governments have laws on the books that no one keeps. Someone challenged Rav Moshe -- "but I hear the USDA inspectors can be paid off!". Rav Moshe replied -- "even if that was so, a company only greases palms so it can act in self-interest. Why would an American dairy company want to bring in camel milk, then pay more to cover it up?"
Dec
17
comment Making up a synagogue calendar manually is tedious work. Which software can do the calculations automatically?
www.hebcal.com works nicely
Dec
11
comment How is “Jerusalem” pronounced when reading a Ketubah?
@DoubleAA more than you think -- I heard an mp3 from R' Hershel Schachter shlit'a -- can a ketubah be in a mix of two languages? Half in Hebrew half in English? Because the standard text we use is a mix of Hebrew and Aramaic! No, that's a language called "rabbinic."
Dec
4
comment Hand Cream Glycerin
@MichaBerger precisely my point. "Sicha ki-sh'siya" is a Talmudic principle limited to Yom Kippur and Terumah; Rabbi Genack and others have said it was a misunderstanding applying it to kashrus. (Just as R' Chaim observed that "Panim chadashos ba'u lechan" as the Gemara uses it about burning sacrificial meat doesn't mean burned meat is "panim chadashos" vis-a-vis sheva brachos!)
Dec
3
comment Is a person obligated to purchase life insurance?
@SethJ Rav Moshe writes it's "a good and appropriate thing." I'm done talking now.
Dec
3
comment Is a person obligated to purchase life insurance?
@SethJ מילתא דלא שכיחא לא גזרו ביה רבנן! A person can have that conversation with their financial planner. I think the RCA is saying that as a matter of public policy, the default should be for people to have life insurance, and the rabbi should promote it from the pulpit. I would also recommend a great deal of caution before saying "oh I'm special because I'm so rich."