Questions tagged [halacha]

NOTE: Like Wikipedia, this site makes no guarantee of validity, and does not offer professional (particularly rabbinic) advice. Treat information from this site like it came from a crowd of your friends. // Jewish law. Specifically, the legal process beginning with the written Torah and continuing through the Mishna, Talmud, and the legal codes (e.g., Rambam, Tur, Shulchan Aruch).

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Why is it necessary to ask a Rabbi?

In various places on this site, including the FAQ, we have the following disclaimer: Like Wikipedia, this site makes no guarantee of validity, and does not offer professional (particularly rabbinic)...
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22 votes
2 answers
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"Am I Jewish​?"

How can one tell if one needs to convert in order to be Jewish or if one is already Jewish? Would one's or one's ancestors' conversion to another religion or their lack of knowledge about Judaism ...
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56 votes
21 answers
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Is Christianity Avodah Zara?

It is commonly accepted that Islam is not Avodah Zarah (idolatry) since Islam has a clear monotheistic theology with a belief in Allah that parallels our view of "kail" or Hashem. It is even ...
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11 votes
1 answer
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Deleting files containing G-d's Name / taking the host device into the bathroom

Is there any issue regarding deleting electronic files with G-d's Name in them? Also, is there any issue with taking such a device into the bathroom?
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39 votes
7 answers
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Is one allowed to smoke Marijuana?

Not taking into account Dina D'malchusa, what are the Halachic problems with smoking marijuana? Is it allowed?
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26 votes
7 answers
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Halakhic International Date Line issues

According to halakha, where is the international date line? More specifically, I have heard that some people say you should observe Shabbat on Sunday in Japan & New Zealand and/or on Friday in ...
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48 votes
8 answers
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Can a Jew lose their Jewish Status?

Can a Jew lose their status as being a Jew by performing any action (example: performing idolatry, disavowing core beliefs, converting to another religion, etc)? Or once a person is a Jew then they ...
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28 votes
8 answers
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Is one allowed to smoke?

Nowadays, since there are studies that show that smoking is dangerous to health, is one allowed to smoke or is it violating "Venishmartem Meod Lenafshosechem"?
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9 votes
2 answers
920 views

Halacha of Shechita

Which Sefer or Sefarim is/are used in practical application of Shechita? General Halacha follows the שלחן ערוך, but does it in all areas?
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38 votes
3 answers
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Questions about Polygamy in Jewish Law and Culture

I've recently been studying polygamy (having more than 1 wife), and had a few cultural questions. Was polygamy accepted at the time of David and Solomon? Were there any laws about it? Was polygamy ...
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19 votes
8 answers
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Is it forbidden for a woman to learn Gemara?

Is it forbidden for a woman to learn Gemara?
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32 votes
4 answers
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May one use a computer script or robot to do something specifically on Shabbos/Yom Tov?

May one run a program or machine that will operate on Shabbos, either by setting a timer to activate once Shabbos has started, or by leaving it running continually? What if the action is one that is ...
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10 votes
4 answers
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Jews allowed to pray and join Muslim congregation in Mosques and Experiences

I had read somewhere in Maimonidian literature that Jews are allowed to pray in Mosques. Is it even allowed for them to Join the Muslim congregation and pray the Salat for they worship the same God (...
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31 votes
5 answers
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Is it possible for a Gentile to convert to Judaism? [closed]

Is it possible for someone who is Gentile to convert to Judaism? What is the prevailing belief of Jewish people on this subject? What scripture backs up this belief? What do prominent Jewish ...
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21 votes
4 answers
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When does somebody living in space (e.g. ISS) observe Shabbat?

I understand that Jewish astronauts have been advised to observe Shabbat by Cape Canaveral time, by analogy with traveling to a place that doesn't have daily sunrise/sunset where some rule you use the ...
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19 votes
5 answers
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Sources For Listening To/Not Listening to Non-Jewish Music

What are sources for it being allowed to listen to non-Jewish music and sources for it being prohibited?
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15 votes
3 answers
976 views

Jewish definition of a charity

I know that Jews are supposed to give 10% of their income to charity, but what constitutes a charity? I know that Shuls, Jewish schools and poor people in your community count, but what about secular ...
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29 votes
5 answers
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Does artificial meat grown in a petri dish have the halachic status of meat?

Scientists are developing means of growing artificial meat in a petri dish. Does such 'meat' have the halachic status of meat? Source: http://www.reuters.com/article/2011/11/11/us-science-meat-f-...
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31 votes
3 answers
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Riding the Subway on Shabbat

Assuming that there are no problems regarding paying for it (either you entered the system before Shabbat, or a non-Jew paid for you): What are the halakhic issue with riding the subway on Shabbat? (...
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25 votes
6 answers
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Is it a discouraged or an unacceptable practice for a Gentile to keep the Sabbath?

According to Jewish Law and tradition, is it acceptable, discouraged or totally unacceptable for a Gentile to keep the Sabbath according to the regulations spelled out in the Torah and the Talmud and ...
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13 votes
1 answer
3k views

Prohibition of a Kohen marrying a Zonah

In the prohibition of a Kohen marrying a Zonah (cf. Vayikra 21:7), what defines a woman as a Zonah? Is it just having had relations with a non-Jew, or does it also include having relations out of ...
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22 votes
6 answers
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Am I liable to be stoned for my devotion to Hashem and the Jewish people?

I have spent over 2 years to this day praying for the Jewish people from the Koren Siddur and Machzorim. I have with my Rebbe's help tried to follow Jewish customs and laws, to my best ability. ...
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12 votes
4 answers
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Is a Jew permitted to have an abortion?

Under what, if any, circumstances may a Jewish woman undergo an abortion? Can a Jewish doctor perform an abortion? As each case and individual is unique, please consult your rabbi for practical ...
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11 votes
2 answers
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What makes something "chukat goyim?"

One of the most famous examples I have heard is that one should not even tie one's shoes like the non-Jews do in times of persecution. That seems rather excessive. What if the Jews started doing some ...
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11 votes
2 answers
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Halachot of Lashon Naki (clean speech)

What is the halachik source, if any, for lashon naki (clean speech)? Is there a portion of Talmud that deals with the specifics? On the surface, it seems to be employed inconsistently, by which I mean ...
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11 votes
2 answers
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Are thoughts of sin punished halachically?

Inspired by this question, I got interested in the question of halakhic punishment for thoughts of sin? In general, the Torah is not so concerned and doesn't judge how people feel or what their ...
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6 votes
2 answers
349 views

Is there such a thing as a Kaddish L'vatola?

In this answer there is a reference to a Kaddish that is better left unsaid as it is a Kaddish L'vatola. Kaddish does not seem to have anything in it which cannot be said in a vacuum. Is there any ...
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19 votes
5 answers
5k views

If the last day of Passover is Friday, may I eat chametz on the Shabbat right after?

This year, 5778, the last day of Pesach in Israel is on Friday. Is there any possible way that one could contrive to eat chometz on the shabbos immediately following Pesach?
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10 votes
4 answers
1k views

Kippa in Torah?

Where does it say in the Torah to wear a Kippa?
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73 votes
5 answers
8k views

What is the halachic source for objection to gay (civil) marriage?

New York State is considering legalizing gay (civil) marriages, so tonight on our answering machine we received a message urging us to pray that it doesn't pass because gay civil marriages were, you ...
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15 votes
4 answers
6k views

Cash value of 'perutah'

How much is a 'perutah' worth in modern currency?
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14 votes
4 answers
3k views

Is downloading pirated music stealing?

Either way, it should be frowned upon as not a nice thing to do, but would it actually be assur?
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19 votes
2 answers
2k views

Bootstrapping problem: havdalah ends shabbat (for one who didn't daven ma'ariv) but lighting the candle is melacha?

This answer (originally elsewhere, later merged here) to a question about melacha before havdalah notes that in that situation one should say "baruch hamavdil bein kodesh l'chol" first. Does that ...
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9 votes
2 answers
3k views

Does Judaism permit sexual relationships outside of marriage?

I am eager to know more about different religions from Islam to Judaism. Furthermore, how different religions look at women and comparing their kinds of approaches to the matter of gender and ...
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9 votes
3 answers
1k views

Return to Egypt: Allowed?

There is an injunction on returning to Egypt. Why was it and is it ignored? For example, how is it that the Rambam an even Rabbi Ovadiah Yosef lived there?
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39 votes
8 answers
4k views

Is it permissible to erase the name of G-d from an E-reader?

Most people seem to be lenient about shemos on digital screens in general (though Bar-Ilan does avoid displaying the Tetragrammaton.) The letters on the screen are just light, there is nothing really ...
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28 votes
4 answers
6k views

Shaking hands with the opposite gender?

What's the story: Can a man shake hands with a woman (or vice versa) in a business setting?
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36 votes
4 answers
7k views

What are the sources for women to wear/ not wear pants?

I have heard that the argument is beged ish / kli gever, and I have heard people say that even if that was once a real reason for it it doesn't apply today for various reasons. I understand that the ...
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20 votes
3 answers
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Bli Neder Loophole

Who came up with the Bli Neder loophole of: Bli neder I will help you do X Or Bli neder I will etc... And the list can go on and on. Who came up with addingBli Neder which basically means "...
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8 votes
2 answers
623 views

Can one cite divrei torah in the name of a rabbi who has gone astray?

In the most recent issue of Jewish Action, there is a brief interview with R. Herschel Schachter about HALACHAH AND THE FALLEN RABBI. The final question is JA: Can we/should we continue to cite ...
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39 votes
5 answers
3k views

While playing a computer game, may I "worship" one of the game's "gods" to help me win?

I sometimes play a certain computer role-playing game (RPG). In this game, my character (whom I might name after myself but who does not otherwise resemble me) fights mythological creatures and ...
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15 votes
2 answers
2k views

What is Maris Ayin?

What is the precise definition of Maris Ayin, and to what cases does it apply? (i.e. what are the parameters for applying it)
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11 votes
1 answer
694 views

Should I say "amen" to a malformed bracha?

If I hear somebody substantially mispronounce a bracha, should I say amen anyway (recognizing the intent) or remain silent? I'm not talking about nuances like pronouncing 'ayin or distinguishing ...
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11 votes
3 answers
5k views

Is it appropriate for a Gentile to attend and/or participate in a Seder?

The context: last year, I saw this sign that announced the time and place that a Jewish Seder (probably Yom Kippur) would happen. I was definitely curious and considered going and at least observing ...
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16 votes
4 answers
1k views

Limits to Dina Dmalchusa Dina

What are the specifications of Dina Dimalchusah? A more targeted question to answer would be: If I ripped off the label of my mattress — the label that says its removal is punishable by federal ...
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18 votes
4 answers
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The Ability to Pasken

What gives someone the ability to Pasken? At what point do we say that he is knowledgeable enough to decide questions on a topic? Does this have to do with "Semicha"? Does it have to do with being a ...
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27 votes
2 answers
635 views

Is unmasking an anonymous author addressed by Halacha?

If an individual writes a document for public consumption anonymously or pseudonymously and either explicitly or presumably desires to remain anonymous, is there a Halachic issue with publicly ...
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16 votes
3 answers
1k views

Teaching Written Torah to Christians

There is an idea mentioned by the Rambam, but not in the Mishneh Torah as I recall, that it is permissible to teach Wrtitten Torah to Christians because they accept it as Divine and don't study it in ...
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30 votes
3 answers
945 views

Is it a mitzva to escape the death penalty?

If someone is being led to his death by bes din (a Jewish court), is he supposed to try to escape, since, in general, saving one's own life is paramount? More: normally, we say that if someone is out ...
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20 votes
3 answers
1k views

Does a convert have a clean slate?

When a non-jew converts to Jusaism, must he still do teshuva from past sins, or does the "reborn" concept stretch far enough to consider him "sinless"?
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