Questions tagged [current-events]

For questions about Judaism as it is practiced in, and relates to, the present-day world.

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1 answer
564 views

Did Jews have to support freeing Aaron Mostofsky

According to this article one of the people convicted of crimes for breaching the US Capitol on January 6th, 2021 and sentenced to prison is an Orthodox Jew. Would the mitzvah of Pidyon Shvuyim apply ...
12 votes
2 answers
496 views

The stolen maple syrup and kashrus

Does anyone know if there is going to be a kashrus problem with maple syrup next year? A rather large amount of maple syrup was stolen last year. The thieves did not keep it in the original casks, ...
0 votes
2 answers
234 views

What's Neturei Karta's response to the current situation? [closed]

Everyone knows that Neturei Karta has befriended Iranian and Palestinian leaders. Is there any published material from them (articles, videos, etc) on the genocide that has just occurred? Whose side ...
3 votes
0 answers
226 views

Have any Orthodox rabbis or rabbinic organizations called for a communal fast on Thursday, October 12, 2023?

In response to the current war in Israel, and the current situation (as I write this: hundreds of Israelis held hostage by terrorists, including children and the elderly), the organization Hadar has ...
2 votes
0 answers
42 views

Source for the practice of messianic interpretation of calamity

I seem to recall a Rashi somewhere in Nach which explains a Pasuk as praising B’nei Yisrael, who see every calamity that befalls them as heralding Mashiach. Can anyone source this?
9 votes
1 answer
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Who is pulled to safety first?

If a group of people are in mortal danger, all of the same gender (cf. Horayot 13a; some suggest that the Mishnah on Horayot is not discussing a case of rescuing from physical danger, cf. Tziz Eliezer ...
1 vote
2 answers
181 views

Is it an offensive stereotype that Jews tend to stick together? [closed]

I thought maybe this belonged on the Academia Stack Exchange, but then I thought I should ask the people directly, as I assume the highly ranked people on here are either Jewish or very familiar with ...
10 votes
1 answer
347 views

Do Jews have an obligation to support the effort to free Jonathan Pollard?

I am not entirely clear on all of the particulars of the mitzvah of pidyon shivuyim - redeeming Jewish captives. Nor am I positive that someone jailed by a democratic goverment for breaking secular ...
30 votes
2 answers
697 views

Rockets from Gaza while praying

I live in Israel where there are presently (late 2012) ongoing rockets fired at us from Gaza. We are warned of an impending rocket by a loud siren that gives us less than a minute to run to a bomb ...
5 votes
0 answers
124 views

KfP-for-Ashk'nazim rice cakes… now what if they're soaked?

A rabbi visited a ricecake factory, found that the rice never became wet in the process of manufacture (and was sifted well to be sure it's only rice), and decided that the ricecakes, which are anyway ...
2 votes
1 answer
80 views

Should One say Shehechyanu on world events?

The bracha of Shehechyanu (according to here) was instituted to be said "for uncommon or periodical occurrences and experiences, such as holidays and their mitzvot, fruits in their new season, ...
12 votes
4 answers
295 views

Does Beis Din have the authority to quarantine?

In light of the recent discussions about the legality of quarantining potential Ebola patients, I was wondering if Halacha has the mechanism for such a thing. In an autonomous Jewish society, in ...
9 votes
1 answer
493 views

Does Judaism appreciate the wanton destruction of idolatry done by Islamic groups?

Many of the idolatrous heritage sites like Bamiyan Buddha, Sufi shrines, and Hindu idols are being destroyed by Islamic fundamentalists around the globe. Does Judaism allow a non Jew to demolish such ...
1 vote
1 answer
105 views

During covid-related social distancing minyan is it better for one person to get all aliyot or multiple people at a distance?

During the current covid-19 outbreak all shuls in the United States have closed and minyanim are for the most part not being conducted. The OU recently released guidance to be used when minyanim in ...
13 votes
2 answers
407 views

Sending a Torah to the Moon

According to this article, there's an organization that wants to blast a Sefer Torah into space for safe keeping on the moon. Are there any halachik problems regarding such an endeavour (and if so, ...
14 votes
2 answers
2k views

(Why) May a Beit Din refuse to bury a body in order to coerce a man into giving a divorce?

I read recently of a case where a Rabbi (I assume as head of a Beit Din) instructed a Jewish burial society not to bury the body of a woman who is the mother of a man who refuses to give his wife a ...
2 votes
1 answer
85 views

Do communities set public fast days for hurricanes or other natural disasters?

I hear occasionally about fast days in Israel when there's no rain. Some examples are in this answer. From one of the links there, R' Mosheh Lichtenstein is not in favor of fasting for rain in a ...
1 vote
1 answer
256 views

The new book about the Lubavitcher Rebbe zt"l

What is the response of the Lubavitcher rabbinate (as in Lubavitcher rabbis in general, I am not referring to any specific rabbinical body) to the new book on the Rebbe zt"l by Josef Telushkin? Is it ...
6 votes
1 answer
132 views

Can a Judge Issue a Ruling After his Death?

In a recent decision (No. 18-272, Yovino v. Rizo, decided February 25, 2019 Per Curiam, properly cited as 586 U. S. ___ (2019)), the United States Supreme Court (SCOTUS) dealt with the matter of a ...
2 votes
2 answers
192 views

Should one wish for the destruction of buildings of idol worship?

Two sequential questions, prompted by the Notre Dame fire: Is one obligated to wish that places of idol worship are consumed if they already are on fire? (I would think so, given e.g. OC 224:2) If so,...
10 votes
1 answer
289 views

Are Jews allowed to contribute to the reconstruction of the Paris cathedral?

I assume most of you have already heard about the sad events that happened yesterday in France. One of the main symbols of Paris, a functioning cathedral caught on fire and caused huge damage to the ...
132 votes
4 answers
8k views

Implications of Samoa skipping a Friday

This week, the island of Samoa is switching time zones, causing it to skip from Thursday directly to Saturday. Out of simple curiosity, what implications might this have on any Jews on the island? ...
2 votes
2 answers
579 views

Does Jewish law forbid Internet usage?

The Ichud HaKehillos LeTohar HaMachane anti-Internet rally is coming up in a few weeks, on May 20, 2012. What do contemporary halakhic authorities say about the permissibility or prohibition of using ...
13 votes
3 answers
2k views

Lottery on Shabbos

Is one allowed to buy a lottery ticket if the lottery will be held on shabbos? Is it a problem of possibly making money on shabbos even though his chances are slim?
4 votes
2 answers
591 views

Handling Conflict between Jewish and Civil Law

This question is an offshoot from the one titled "Questions about Polygamy in Jewish Law and Culture" Taking under the knowledge that the previous question was well answered with an observation: It's ...
7 votes
2 answers
252 views

What is the correct emotion to feel upon hearing about enemy civilian casualties?

Recent missiles sent by Hamas landed in Hebron. When my neighbor told me about this, it was unclear whether they had hurt any Arab civilians. I said that I hoped not, while my neighbor basically said ...
7 votes
2 answers
165 views

Is Harav Shteinman's tzava'ah (last will) halachically binding?

The Rav Hakadosh Harav Shteinman zatzal wrote in his tzava'ah (last instructions) to the public, not to call him a Tzaddik or Yereh Shamayim, and not to write articles about him in the newspaper. Is ...
7 votes
0 answers
248 views

Charlie Gard's parents from a Halachic Perspective

As this question is somewhat extensive, I have divided the post into headers in order to make it easier to read and follow. Background Charlie Gard is a British baby who has a rare genetic disorder ...
8 votes
1 answer
461 views

Permission to Drive on Shabbat for the President's Daughter

A few news sources have been reporting on Ivanka Trump and Jared Kushner's having been granted rabbinic permission to drive on Shabbat after Ivanka's father's inauguration as president. (See, for ...
9 votes
3 answers
501 views

What is the appropriate response of someone outside Israel during a war?

During a war or large scale military operation what are some of the best things for a person living in chutz l'arertz to do? Is saying tehillim and doing extra chesed enough? Should a person run to ...
1 vote
0 answers
82 views

Operation Protective Edge and My Brothers Keeper [closed]

In light of current events are there what are the halachic resolutions surrounding Operation Protective Edge and Operation My Brother's Keeper? Issues include: firing at legitimate targets if it is ...
3 votes
1 answer
317 views

Medically treating a 'rodef' (/terrorist)

Although this is done routinely in Israel, is a doctor halachically allowed to treat a terrorist that has been injured, given that they would be considered a rodef. Or is rodef an 'in the act' status, ...
3 votes
1 answer
475 views

Rabbi Aharon Leib Shteinman's statement about waiting for Moshiach

Basically I am looking for more information from neutral or sympathetic sources about Rabbi Aharon Leib Shteinman's recent statement saying something along the lines of it was too hard for Bnei Torah ...
8 votes
3 answers
947 views

Does demolition of terrorists' homes have any basis in Judaism?

Israel is currently implementing a policy of demolishing the homes of terrorists, even after they have been 'eliminated', as a deterrent to others. Is this kind of action OK, according to halacha + ...
1 vote
0 answers
86 views

Flint, Michigan: Who would be HALACHICALLY Liable?

As a hypothetical scenario, we assume that the events of the Flint water crisis are taking place in a location where Beis Din and Jewish law are ascendant. Here's a quick summary of the facts: The ...
5 votes
1 answer
241 views

Frozen clothes during the Nine Days

Recently, some have advocated freezing clothing, particularly blue jeans, instead of washing them to conserve water. Assuming this works to some extent, can it be done during the Nine Days? Can I ...
7 votes
2 answers
1k views

What is a Get Zikui and in what cases has it been used?

The Safed Rabbinical Court recently gave a woman a "get zikui" to permit her to receive a divorce from her husband who has been in a coma for seven years. See this article. The article describes it ...
10 votes
1 answer
877 views

Are there any Synagogues or Rabbis available in Pakistan?

There was once a very thriving Jewish community available in Pakistan. There was a Synagogue in the port city of Karachi as well till 1985. What is the current situation now? What if someone would ...
0 votes
1 answer
129 views

Was there any foreknowledge of the Paris hostage crisis within Judaism?

Did any school of thought within Judaism (like Kabbalah) predict the Paris hostage crisis? Did any Jewish scholar make a prediction? Are there any rumors about such a foreknowledge? The question is ...
5 votes
2 answers
1k views

Mosaic Law and ISIS

Recently I had a conversation about ISIS with a friend who is Catholic by faith, he said that ISIS should be stopped but that we (The US or any other foreign power) should not kill them, whereas I ...
6 votes
3 answers
2k views

Homosexuality is "worse than murder"?

A sign at a recent rally protesting New York's 2011 Marriage Equality Act reads Judaism considers male homosexuality a worse sin than murder I imagine that this is a minority opinion, but does it ...
4 votes
1 answer
220 views

A tree which falls and damages

If one has a tree in their property/yard, (or similarly a tree within a jointly owned courtyard) and it falls into a public area [due to heavy winds] and damages... Is the owner of the tree liable in ...
14 votes
1 answer
826 views

Mandatory evacuation on Shabbat: what can and can't you do?

A major storm hit New England starting this past Friday. While people knew this was coming and precautions were already in place, apparently (according to a news article I read tonight) some areas ...
11 votes
2 answers
361 views

El Al Airfare error and Halachah

What are the Halachic implications of yesterday's El Al airfare snafu? In brief, El Al's air tickets were being sold online very cheap for a while; the price was later corrected, and El Al claimed the ...
6 votes
1 answer
758 views

Is there a punishment for disgracing our prophets/sages?

In light of the recent Charlie Hebdo incident with depictions of Mohammed (and others like), are there any punishments for derogatory depictions of our Jewish prophets and sages (be it in our times or ...
1 vote
1 answer
113 views

Stealing something that could be considered offensive

Recently a video has emerged of a man taking down a Palestinian flag in the neighbourhood of Meah Shearim, Jerusalem. There is no indication as to what happened to the flag after it was taken down. In ...
2 votes
0 answers
107 views

Underground crypts for burial

In light of this article what are the possible problems with burying the deceased in underground crypts? The article mentions: The head of the Jerusalem burial society told Haaretz that there is no ...
5 votes
1 answer
175 views

Did the Israeli soldiers who were involved in Operation Protective Edge eliminate any parts of davening?

I assume that those driving the tanks, going in the tunnels, and otherwise in immediate dangerous situations either completely miss a prayer, or eliminate parts of it. Maybe they are saying "Havinenu" ...
1 vote
0 answers
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Is there a requirement to fast if Ebola is reported in the city?

I remember learning in mesechet Taanis that if there is a plague in the city with a certain number of people and there are people dying daily that the city should declare a fast. Is there any ...
8 votes
1 answer
542 views

Leaving cities during plagues

Over the Yomim Tovim I happened to skim through a copy of Rav Hirsh's sefer "Horeb". In one section he discussed a directive from Chazal to leave a city struck with plague. With Ebola having been ...