Questions tagged [rabbis]

Questions about the lives and personalities of Jewish religious authorities.

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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)...
Isaac Moses's user avatar
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20 votes
2 answers
1k views

How do you CYLOR after posting on judaism.stackexchange.com?

We recommend CYLOR. How do I: ask the OR a shaaloh that one has already posted on judaism.stackexchange.com. Should I acknowledge its use when asking? introduce the concept of judaism.stackexchange....
Avrohom Yitzchok's user avatar
28 votes
16 answers
4k views

Reliable Ask-a-Rabbi Websites

There are some times on this site where questioners will be directed to "ask their Rabbi." While it's always optimal to have such people discuss the question with their own Rabbi (and such action ...
yydl's user avatar
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56 votes
28 answers
5k views

About what were rabbis ahead of the times?

I have heard claims that experts in the world of Torah were significantly ahead of their counterparts in the world of natural science (or mathematics, or psychology, or…) in that they knew X (...
msh210's user avatar
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9 votes
2 answers
684 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 ...
wfb's user avatar
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18 votes
4 answers
1k views

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 ...
yydl's user avatar
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64 votes
9 answers
3k views

Did any Achronim comment on the American Revolutionary or Civil Wars?

I've heard that for instance, in the 1800s, the American rabbis in the South were pro-slavery, and the American rabbis in the North opposed to it. But what were the views towards America of the more-...
Shalom's user avatar
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10 votes
2 answers
381 views

How to go about finding a personal Rav

The mishna in Avot (1:6) tells us: יהושוע בן פרחיה וניתאי הארבלי קיבלו מהם. יהושוע בן פרחיה אומר, עשה לך רב, וקנה לך חבר; והוי דן את כל האדם לכף זכות When living in different areas I have gone ...
bondonk's user avatar
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15 votes
5 answers
756 views

Who is the voice of Tosafoth?

Tosafoth were the sons-in-law, grandchildren, and students of Rashi (and their students), and "they" wrote a commentary on the Talmud that is often at odds with Rashi's earlier commentary. Sometimes ...
Seth J's user avatar
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8 votes
3 answers
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How can I know a rav has daas Torah

I have been privileged to know rabbis of great wisdom and knowledge who could address my issues with unique and helpful insights through the prism of Torah. I always understood them to have "daas ...
Bruce James's user avatar
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7 votes
3 answers
688 views

What is the status of the psak of a Maharat?

If an orthodox male Rabbi bestows semicha on a woman (dubbed Maharat), what is the status of her halachic decisions? This question is irrespective of whether or not the male Rabbi should confer ...
user avatar
6 votes
4 answers
629 views

Why does Halacha not follow the simple reading of the Biblical text?

There are many Halachot which appear to contradict explicit Biblical statements. For example, that an "Eye for an Eye" means monetary compensation. Why does Halacha not follow the simple reading of ...
Shmuel's user avatar
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6 votes
1 answer
546 views

Gedole HaDor: who and how

1)Who do we know to refer to as a "Gadol?" 2)How do we determine who is a "Gadol?" For example, how did we determine that Rav Elyashiv is a Gadol? A Gadol HaDor is known as one of the most ...
Hacham Gabriel's user avatar
21 votes
9 answers
1k views

G'dolim or Rabbis Owning Pets

Are there any g'dolim (or rabbis of major influence) - past or present - who are known to have owned pets/kept animals for non-agricultural purposes?
WAF's user avatar
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18 votes
3 answers
878 views

Insults in the gemarah

Why do tanaim and amoraim use disparaging terms (bavlai tipshai, for instance) or insults when talking with one another. If there is something positive to be learned from this behavior why is it no ...
none's user avatar
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11 votes
3 answers
3k views

Which Hasidic rabbi has no beard, and what is the story?

There is a famous Hasidic rabbi who has no facial hair, and I seem to recall that there is a famous story as to why. But I can remember neither which rabbi (or of which sect), nor the story. I do not ...
Seth J's user avatar
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8 votes
3 answers
389 views

Consulting a local orthodox rabbi if there isn't one?

For questions where I'm supposed to consult my local orthodox rabbi, if there isn't one, what am I supposed to do? There is a LOR in the city where I live (a Chabad shliach) but he frequently declares ...
Tatpurusha's user avatar
7 votes
1 answer
233 views

On What Subjects Does One Say Birchas HaTorah?

Must one say Birchas Hatorah before learning Aggadata in the Gemara? Biographies like Shem Hagedolim (a biography of various Rabbonim written by the Chida)? Artscroll biographies?
ertert3terte's user avatar
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1 vote
3 answers
489 views

Are gedolei Yisroel fallible?

Is there a source to assert that the leaders of the Jewish people at any given time are always correct in how they lead (perhaps because their decisions are divinely inspired), or is it possible to ...
user avatar
19 votes
5 answers
990 views

Can we argue with gedolim when we are sure that we are right?

I recently saw a teshuva by Rabbi Moshe Feinstein, Ohrach Chaim Volume 1 Teshuva 109, that quotes a letter from Rabbi Menashe Klein asking a question on Rabbi Moshe's psak but saying that he does not ...
Yehuda's user avatar
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9 votes
3 answers
364 views

Meforshim Nick"names

It has become common practice to refer to most meforshim by acronyms of their name (eg Rashi, Rosh, etc.). When and why did this practice start, and is it proper?
yydl's user avatar
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6 votes
3 answers
426 views

Origin of the Escalator analogy

What is the origin of the escalator analogy of always striving for growth? I'm referring to the analogy that, in life, like a person climbing a downward escalator, if one is not constantly striving ...
Seth J's user avatar
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4 votes
3 answers
1k views

How do I find answers to sensitive questions I can't ask my rabbi?

I have a halachic question of a sexual nature that I feel I can't ask my rabbi. Where can I get such questions answered? Are there rabbis knowledgeable in this area who are willing to answer ...
user2842's user avatar
1 vote
4 answers
489 views

Talmid Chacham today

The term talmid chacham is used commonly in our tradition to describe a Jew with a certain high level of knowledge, understanding, closeness to Gd, etc. Can the halachic label "talmid chacham" be ...
user419691's user avatar
1 vote
1 answer
770 views

Accurate list of Gedolim [closed]

Wikepedia's list is missing certain Gedolim. Where can I access a list of Gedolim that would be virtually unarguable?
Hacham Gabriel's user avatar
22 votes
6 answers
5k views

Looking for more information about a story of positive atheism/heresy

In a 2006 article (original link no longer available), Rabbi Jonathan Sacks tells the following story: “DO YOU believe,” the disciple asked the rabbi, “that God created everything for a purpose?” “I ...
Menachem's user avatar
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20 votes
4 answers
8k views

Smicha from R' Zalman Nechemia Goldberg?

One often sees that individuals' have smicha from R' Zalman Nechemia Goldberg. The smicha exams are typically considered more theoretical than that of the Israeli rabbinate, which requires more ...
minhag's user avatar
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20 votes
7 answers
643 views

Am I allowed to answer my friend's Halacha question?

Preface: Assume I am not an ordained Rabbi. Suppose I'm having lunch with my friend and he asks me "do I have to say a bracha on this dessert?" or "when's the last time I could daven mincha today?" ...
yydl's user avatar
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17 votes
3 answers
767 views

Where can I find responses to biblical criticism?

Where can I find well documented source material by strictly orthodox Rabbis or scholars which directly address most (or all) of the major themes of academic biblical criticism such as, but not ...
user avatar
13 votes
4 answers
344 views

Upon whom would one make this blessing?

Upon whom today would you make the bracha - Baruch Attah Hashem Elokeinu Melech HaOlam She’chalak Mei’chochmaso Li’rei’av, that He bestowed of His wisdom to those who fear Him (Gemara Brachos 58a)? I'...
user avatar
12 votes
4 answers
1k views

Do Rabbis have to be Jewish by ethnicity?

I am under the impression that a person can be received into Judaism from a gentile nation. My question is whether or not that person could conceivably then become a Rabbi? Please indicate whether ...
Jas 3.1's user avatar
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12 votes
5 answers
2k views

Why were some of the works of Rabbi Steinsaltz banned?

Apparently some of the works of Rabbi Steinsaltz were banned. What are the specific examples that prompted the ban? Is there a list of all of his works that have been banned, as I am interested in ...
alltheinterwebs's user avatar
10 votes
3 answers
364 views

Semicha and Gneivas Daas

If today's semicha is only an "echo" of the true semicha which ceased with the loss of the sanhedrin then Why do we still give it? Why isn't it gneivas daas (the assumption is that people who have ...
none's user avatar
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10 votes
2 answers
482 views

Do "most leading Orthodox rabbis" really hold that brain-stem death is death?

According to a recent NYTimes piece on the new organ donation law in Israel, Most leading Orthodox rabbis -- as well as Israeli law -- agree that a person dies when his brain-stem stops functioning....
Isaac Moses's user avatar
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9 votes
6 answers
475 views

Asara Haruge Malchut (Ten Martyrs), why were 10 Rabbis killed?

In Vayigash, Rabenu Bahya (also the Zohar) comments and says that the reason we had Asara Haruge Malchut because the brothers sold Yosef. However, Reuven didn't sell Yosef, so why should the ...
Hacham Gabriel's user avatar
9 votes
4 answers
3k views

Which rabbis permit food being kosher just based on the ingredients?

Kosherstarbucks.com give options of what to order based on different halakhic standards. They include the "No Utensils List" (CRC-recommended), the Regular list, and the Kosher by Ingredients list (...
Adam Mosheh's user avatar
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9 votes
2 answers
807 views

מרדכי = Mord'chi?

When learning with Jews of the Syrian community, I noticed that they pronounced מרדכי (the name of the halachic commentary on the g'mara) as "mord'chi", as if the final vowel were a chirik. Why is ...
msh210's user avatar
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8 votes
3 answers
282 views

How to choose 'your' rebbi?

When a person is choosing who they will learn from as their rebbi, are there any guidelines or rules that govern the decision making process? First a definition of what a rebbi is (for the purposes ...
Gavriel's user avatar
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7 votes
3 answers
498 views

Who is "Mar" ("The Master") in the Bavli?

Throughout the Bavli, but (based on a Sefaria search) never in the Mishnah, the Tosefta, or the Yerushalmi, we find the phrase "amar Mar" (אמר מר) without any other identifier (in contrast ...
Benjamin Davidson's user avatar
7 votes
3 answers
725 views

What sages were known to have revived the dead?

The Talmud speaks of several rabbis who successfully appealed to G-d to revive a deceased colleague or some other individual. As I recall, one revived rabbi asked to be return to the world of the ...
Bruce James's user avatar
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6 votes
2 answers
3k views

List of Techelet Wearers

I was looking online for a list of people famous for deciding or influencing halacha, who currently wear Ptil Techelet Techelet ("Murex") However I could not find one. Does such a list exist? If not,...
avi's user avatar
  • 18.8k
6 votes
2 answers
953 views

Talmudic personages and their occupations

One question I have been researching is on the Jewish attitude towards secular occupations to complement Torah learning. There is even a statement in the Talmud about how it is preferable to flay ...
rosends's user avatar
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6 votes
2 answers
1k views

What is the Anshei Knesset HaGedolah?

I've heard many things about this "Great Assembly," mostly about how they established davening (prayers). However, there appears to be a lack of specific information about this institution. So: Who ...
Shmuel's user avatar
  • 10.5k
5 votes
1 answer
249 views

Why refer to Isaac Luria as the Arizal, and not Arizatzal?

One of the common ways to refer to the R' Isaac Luria is "the Arizal". I understand this to mean, The Ari, zecher L'bracha (may he be mentioned/remembered for blessing). However, one usually refers ...
Menachem's user avatar
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5 votes
2 answers
780 views

Is one allowed to learn a book written by a rabbi who was accused and convicted of impropriety? [duplicate]

What is the status of books from rabbis who were accused of impropriety? The question would also likely also apply to online shiurim. For example, here is is a very good book from a rav who admitted ...
mbloch's user avatar
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5 votes
1 answer
633 views

How to find a Rabbi [duplicate]

Throughout this site, there are directives to ask your local Rabbi. Over here are some excellent answers that explain why one should ask a Rabbi. But how does one go about finding a Rabbi to ask? ...
LN6595's user avatar
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3 votes
6 answers
2k views

What does שליט"א stand for?

I thought that שליט"א came from the Aramaic word שליט (Ruler). But a Rabbi I told this to, pointed out that שליט"א is always written as with " , in the Middle so each the letters must ...
Sochacz's user avatar
  • 467
22 votes
8 answers
17k views

Why did nobody succeed the Lubavitcher Rebbe?

The late Lubavitcher Rebbe Menachem Mendel Schneerson zt"l had no successor as the rebbe of Chabad-Lubavitch. Why is this? Was it simply because he had no children? If so, why was nobody else ...
Daniel's user avatar
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18 votes
6 answers
2k views

What's the deal with female Rabbis?

1) Is there a concrete halachic (Biblical?Rabbinic?) basis for women not being permitted to become Rabbis? 2) After 2000+ years, what changed so the JTS's Commission in 1979 decided that they can? ...
Gary's user avatar
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12 votes
1 answer
276 views

Who wrote the anonymous explanations of Rashi printed within the text of Rashi?

Who wrote the anonymous explanations of Rashi printed within the text of Rashi? Sometimes when reading Rashi's commentary on the Torah one finds comments in parentheses that say things such as: ס"א, (...
b a's user avatar
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