Questions tagged [current-events]

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

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116
votes
4answers
6k 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? ...
40
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1answer
1k views

Setting aside Shabbat to answer the President's call

In an old MSNBC news story about Jack Lew, a Shabbat-observant Jew who was just appointed to be the new White House Chief of Staff, there's a story about his getting a call from President Clinton when ...
27
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2answers
462 views

Rockets from Gaza while praying

I live in Beer Sheva, Israel where there are presently 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 ...
20
votes
1answer
483 views

The new TSA airport scanners and tznius

Is it OK as per Halacha to go through the new TSA scanners where they see you as if you are naked?
17
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1answer
424 views

According to Halacha, may we endanger many Jewish lives in order to definitely save one Jew?

For example, what does Halacha say about the Gilad Shalit prisoner exchange? "Save" means "free from captivity," although in many cases it's the same thing as saving his\her life (e.g. if we didn't ...
17
votes
2answers
1k views

Is Metzitzah B'peh a must?

There is a lot of talk in the news, etc., about Metzitzah B'peh that employs direct oral contact being dangerous. First: If it is dangerous, shouldn't pikuach nefesh push it off? Second: How ...
14
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1answer
635 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 ...
13
votes
3answers
775 views

Killing Civilians in a defensive war

In the recent Operation Pillar of Defense against Gaza, many Palestinian civillians were killed by Israeli air-strikes (the Palestines claim the number is as high as 158, while according to the IDF ...
13
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3answers
1k 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?
12
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2answers
347 views

What's in the new bit of Jerusalem Talmud?

I just read a news story about a newly discovered sentence-long fragment of the Jerusalem Talmud that apparently resolves a previously unintelligible section of Tractate Bikkurim. Does anyone know ...
12
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2answers
302 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, ...
11
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2answers
312 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 ...
11
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1answer
417 views

Allowing unmarried/homosexual couples into a hotel

Recently there has been a high profile case in the UK concerning a religious christian couple who own a hotel. Due to their personal religious beliefs their policy was to refuse a room to couples who ...
11
votes
1answer
303 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, ...
10
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2answers
264 views

Bracha for the transit of Venus?

Venus is transiting today for the last time until 2117 (or 5878, if you prefer). Is there a specific bracha that should be made upon witnessing this spectacular event?
10
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1answer
499 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 ...
10
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1answer
187 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 ...
9
votes
2answers
433 views

Why is the Boro Park eiruv controversial?

I know I might be hitting a touchy subject, but I'm prefacing it with this so I can clarify right away: I don't want a Psak, or who holds what. That's for each person to figure out... I just want to ...
9
votes
1answer
165 views

Whom does one save first?

As a follow up to the controversy regarding the Costa Concordia If a ship is in danger of sinking, is the captain allowed to save himself first, or must he be the last man off the ship? Do the men ...
9
votes
1answer
238 views

When should one hide her mezuzot?

In light of recent events wherein vandals began burning mezuzot found on the doorways outside of people's houses, I am wondering if there is ever a reason to remove mezuzot to prevent their ...
9
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0answers
121 views

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 ...
9
votes
1answer
120 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 ...
8
votes
1answer
254 views

Riches found in a purchased item. Return or keep it?

A young rabbi reportedly found nearly $100,000 in a desk he'd purchased second-hand on Craigslist, and subsequently returned the money. Is this story about a Kiddush HaShem, or a Hassid Shoteh (...
8
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1answer
199 views

Can one bring a Korban nowadays?

Assuming we don't have a problem with the Dome of the rock. Has anyone discussed sacrifices nowadays regarding: Can (and should) one bring sacrifices nowadays as we don't know the exact location for ...
8
votes
1answer
492 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 ...
8
votes
1answer
393 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 ...
8
votes
3answers
441 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 ...
8
votes
1answer
239 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 ...
8
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3answers
897 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 + ...
8
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0answers
361 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 ...
7
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4answers
213 views

Commemorating Death

What are some sources about when it is appropriate - if ever - to celebrate the death of an enemy? My question is inspired by last night's news of the death of Osama Bin Laden, naturally, as well as ...
7
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1answer
4k views

star of david and the cross

I am a Christian and our church has a group of women that make prayer shawls for those who are sick or hurting or who are just plain in need of some comfort. We collect these shawls all month long ...
7
votes
1answer
305 views

How should an employer respond to a government policy requiring abortion coverage?

There is a recent controversy in the United States regarding whether the Federal government can compel employers, including religious employers, to pay for contraception. Although this may not be ...
7
votes
2answers
938 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 ...
7
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2answers
124 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
2answers
643 views

Can a couple have relations during dangerous times?

May a couple, living in Israel during a war or when Israel is under a constant barrage of rocket and other types of terrorist attacks, engage in marital relations? May a couple living outside of ...
7
votes
2answers
200 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 ...
6
votes
3answers
1k 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 ...
6
votes
1answer
723 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 ...
6
votes
1answer
2k views

Is metzitzah b'peh required when an adult is circumcised or in the case of hatafas dam bris?

As we've discussed in a general question regarding the requirements for metzitzah b'peh (MBP), the direct-oral-contact technique to draw blood from the penis of an 8-day old infant at his bris milah ...
6
votes
2answers
301 views

When is a Yartziet Observed?

When is a Yartzeit observed, the day of death or the day of burial? I ask this question in response to the news of the terrible death of the three boys in Eretz Yisrael who died weeks before their ...
6
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2answers
129 views

Information about the office of the Chief Rabbi of England

Who determines the Chief Rabbi of England? Is he picked by a general vote of all Shul attendees in Great Brittan? Is he picked by a committee picked by boards of different Shuls? What are his powers?...
5
votes
3answers
587 views

Which tehillim are best to say for the welfare of soldiers at war?

At least one Israel Defense Forces soldier fighting in Gaza is the son of dear friends of my family. I want to focus my tefilla on his welfare, by name, although I certainly pray for the well-being ...
5
votes
2answers
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 ...
5
votes
1answer
159 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" ...
5
votes
2answers
360 views

Life support for a dead pregnant woman for the sake of a pre-viable baby

Suppose a pregnant woman dies*, and it's too early in the pregnancy for the baby inside her to have any chance of viability if delivered now, but if the woman's body is kept connected to life-support ...
5
votes
1answer
151 views

How to practice when 2 customs collide

This question is inspired by recent news of events in Beit Shemesh. What happens halachically when 2 customs collide and each custom affects the other side? In the case of modesty, for example, ...
5
votes
1answer
76 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 ...
5
votes
2answers
2k views

Is it permitted for a Jew to accept an invitation by the Pope to attend mass

The chief rabbi of Rome received a special invitation from Pope Francis to attend a special mass on March 19.VINNews article. Normally, a Jew is not even allowed to visit a church, much less a ...
5
votes
1answer
352 views

Have poskim written about partnership minyanim?

Are there any contemporary responsa regarding partnership minyanim, such as Shira Hadasha and Darkei Noam? Various rabbis have written against it (e.g., R. Student, R. Rothstein, R. Firmer) and it ...