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Dec
2
comment Does the person who lights the Chanuka candle at Shul make a Shehechiyanu the first night if it's a Friday?
It appears there was a separate enactment to light in shuls. (Heard from Rabbi Welcher.) Separate mitzva, separate bracha.
Dec
2
comment Donut and its deeper significance
It is a nice chance to remind people that we eat "sufganiyot", little spongy things; the Mishna talks about a baked good called "sufgenin", "spongy things."
Dec
2
comment Donut and its deeper significance
Does anyone, anywhere indicate that there is a deeper connection? I don't think the donuts thing is that old a custom!
Dec
1
comment Do we know of any opposition when the Hasmoneans decided to take the throne after the Chanukah story?
Devil's advocate -- there was absolutely no way they could get Yannai to let go of the crown. All they could realistically hope for was that he'd let go of the priesthood.
Dec
1
comment Which Amora is mentioned most often in the Gemara?
Could be R' Yochanan ben Zakai or R' Yishmael brabi Yochanan ... would have to check the numbers. My definition of "unmistakable" was fuzzy, I know.
Nov
30
comment Which Amora is mentioned most often in the Gemara?
mi.yodeya.com/questions/4308/…
Nov
29
comment Chanukah in the Mishnah
Per Alex's link above -- looks like this answer has in fact been given before, though in lesser-known (to me at least) sources.
Nov
29
comment Chanukah in the Mishnah
"Deflates the opportunity" -- make that "deflates the necessity"
Nov
29
comment Chanukah in the Mishnah
"Dangerous" because no one had said it previously, and because it deflates the opportunity for all these other wonderful shticklach toirah!
Nov
29
comment Chanukah in the Mishnah
It's not just "oh I'm mad 'cause you messed with my great-granddaddy." The Torah had mandated a separation between the political and religious authorities; the Hasmoneans, good-intentioned as they were, broke that. Within a few generations of the Hasmonean dynasty, we found that when priests try to be kings, they fail both as priests and as kings, as the later Hasmoneans made both egregious halachic errors, and political missteps that eventually led to the destruction of the Second Temple.
Nov
26
comment Do Chasidim avoid wearing ties?
Yahu, yes, even if doesn't derive from anything idolatrous or prurient, if it makes absolutely no sense whatsoever, why would you be doing it other than trying to look like a non-Jew? See the Igros Moshe on American clothing for more. The Maharik allowed a Jewish member of a doctors' guild to wear their exclusive cape because it's not senseless, it's a smart business move to identify your expertise. There are very few things I can think of today that fall into the "senseless" category. (Well there's one in R' Moshe, but that's a complicated discussion ...)
Nov
26
comment Do Chasidim avoid wearing ties?
Yahu, I'm saying some might say it's chukas akum. Your point is a good one, regardless.
Nov
24
comment Do Chasidim avoid wearing ties?
These days ties serve a fashion purpose, but not a functional one (as we have collar buttons). You could try to argue that therefore wearing a tie is something "senseless", and it's a problem for Jews to adopt senseless non-Jewish behaviors (why else would you be doing this if you weren't trying to act non-Jewish?). But R' Moshe Feinstein writes that American clothing styles are all about looking good (or trying?) and therefore not "senseless."
Nov
24
comment The new TSA airport scanners and tznius
Just to add my own experience: Rabbi Hershel Welcher, president of the Vaad HaRabbonim of Queens, was asked this question in front of his shul and said he didn't see the problem.
Nov
23
comment Placing stones on a grave
Concur, my Rosh Yeshiva told me this reason too.
Nov
23
comment Cremations for Jews?
@Yosef, furthermore, it's considered most respectful to leave the human body intact. We see this with the Talmud's assessments of how to carry out the death penalty while fulfilling "love your neighbor like yourself" -- the methods described are designed to not only minimize pain, but also to preserve dignity by leaving the body as intact as possible.
Nov
19
comment does one have to take a Midrash/Aggadah literally?
Yes. The Rabbi Hauer quote is from a podcast of his on Maharal, in fact.
Nov
18
comment How precisely oriented towards Jerusalem should we face for praying?
Dave, agreed. Just trying to be (too) clever.
Nov
18
comment How precisely oriented towards Jerusalem should we face for praying?
Sefer HaChinuch says you need to know "al-handasa."
Nov
18
comment How precisely oriented towards Jerusalem should we face for praying?
לא ניתנה תורה למהנדסים. I think the Arabic "al-handasa" meant geometry, and Hebrew eventually picked up the word as "engineering." See Sefer HaChinuch on לא תונו איש את עמיתו, a good Jew needs to know geometry so he can buy/sell land by its actual area, even if it's not shaped like a rectangle.