Questions tagged [rabbis]

Questions about the lives and personalities of Jewish religious authorities.

Filter by
Sorted by
Tagged with
61
votes
12answers
8k views

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)...
58
votes
7answers
2k 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-...
47
votes
27answers
3k 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 (...
27
votes
5answers
878 views

How Is It That Rabbis Have Copies of Their Own Responsa?

(I could use some help with tagging.) There are many seforim out there that are the compiled letters or teshuvos of this or that Rabbi. Those that come to mind are "Igros Moshe", from R' Moshe ...
22
votes
6answers
3k 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?” ...
20
votes
14answers
2k 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 ...
20
votes
4answers
6k 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 ...
20
votes
2answers
913 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....
20
votes
2answers
2k views

Is this the Chofetz Chaim? [closed]

What is the story behind this picture being known as the image of the great Rabbi Yisrael Meir Kagan(Chafetz Chaim)? Is it him in fact? Where does it come from? The only true picture (that I am aware ...
19
votes
7answers
792 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?
19
votes
5answers
749 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 ...
18
votes
7answers
452 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?" ...
17
votes
7answers
11k 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 ...
17
votes
4answers
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 ...
17
votes
3answers
585 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 ...
17
votes
2answers
1k views

Why are challenges to respected rabbis not treated seriously?

Say someone disagrees with the Chazon Ish or has a problem with the Aruch HaShulchan in a particular halachic area. Sure, they're no gadol, and they might have not even learned an extensive volume of ...
17
votes
3answers
700 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 ...
16
votes
2answers
1k views

Why are the descendants of Rav Pappah mentioned in the text of the Siyum for a tractate of Talmud?

Who are the descendants of Rav Pappah mentioned in the text of the Siyum for a tractate of Talmud, and why are they so important that we mention them all by name? Why don't we mention any other great ...
16
votes
5answers
1k 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? ...
16
votes
2answers
520 views

Were there any sages who supported the Zealots during the siege of Jerusalem?

In Gittin 56a-b, we read how the sages warned the Zealots (a.k.a. the Biryonim) to not wage war with the Romans who were holding Jerusalem under siege, but that the Biryonim set fire to the store ...
15
votes
3answers
431 views

Is it Halachically wrong to avoid the rabbi's sermon?

At some point in our history, the rabbi's Derashah, or sermon, went from being taboo to being so integral to the service that some Shuls have ushers to keep the doors closed at that time so that no ...
14
votes
9answers
984 views

What to call the 7th Lubavitcher Rebbe [closed]

Often times a few different rebbes are mentioned (either previous Chabad rebbes or rebbes of other Chasudusim) in the same talk and then the word "The Rebbe" comes in and it's ambiguous. I have heard ...
14
votes
5answers
513 views

Rabba bar bar Chana

There is a rabbi in the Talmud referred to as רבה בר בר חנה. Why is he called that way? It says that Rabba was the grandson of Chana. Who was Chana? Was it(?) a woman? Why wasn't he called after his ...
14
votes
4answers
373 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 ...
14
votes
3answers
378 views

Asking a shaila where disclosure of classified information might be necessary

Orthodox Jews have taken on more and more responsible government positions and have been trusted with clearances to see highly sensitive classified materials. Many years ago I had such a job. It ...
14
votes
1answer
358 views

Napoléon's Sanhedrin

In 1806, Napoléon Bonaparte convened a synod of French rabbinim (mainly Alsatiens and Bordelais) to ascertain halachic opinions on a set of questions. What is the halachic standing of this synod's ...
14
votes
1answer
867 views

Shul Ravs: What is job outlook like and how much do they make [closed]

How much do Shul Rabbis get paid? Are there job opportunities in smaller communities out of New York, for people looking to go into the Rabbinate?
13
votes
4answers
5k views

Does a Jewish grandmother (mother's side) really get one accepted as a Jew? [duplicate]

My grandmother (mother's side) is 100% Jewish and even living in Israel. As far as I know, that makes, me a Jew, too. But it feels a little bit strange to say that I am Jewish just because my ...
13
votes
5answers
17k views

Is a rabbi required to be married?

I have heard (I honestly cannot remember where...) that to be a rabbi a man must be married. Is there any truth to this? I am more interested in knowing if this was true in the first century C.E. ...
13
votes
3answers
434 views

Why in judaism - when discussing the Torah - do I see a lot of answers referring to writings of different Rabbis?

Sorry for the simpleness of this question. I've been trying to study the Torah as much as possible. I do not know Hebrew (though I'd truly like to and would appreciate any advice on how to get started)...
13
votes
1answer
2k views

The history of the Sephardic Chief Rabbi's outfit

The role of Rishon LeZion, otherwise known as the Sephardic Chief Rabbi of Israel, seems to include wearing a traditional robe and turban. Related to this question, this outfit is distinct from the ...
13
votes
1answer
338 views

What did a “don't-issue-rulings” semicha (ordination) look like?

Again from the biography of Rabbi Moshe Feinstein found in Igrot Moshe Volume 8 (emphasis added): Many approached [him] for ordination, and he was not difficult on them. Some ordinations were ...
12
votes
3answers
263 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'...
11
votes
3answers
774 views

Who was the first Chasidishe Rabbi to settle in the USA? [closed]

Who was the first Chasidishe Rabbi to settle in the USA? Where did he settle?
11
votes
3answers
2k 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 ...
11
votes
2answers
562 views

Non-Lubavitch views of the Maggid of Mezrich's relationship with R' Shneur Zalman of Liadi?

As far as I know, all chasiduses agree that the Maggid of Mezrich was the primary student of the Baal Shem Tov. But I was listening to an online shiur about Chabad (Lubavitch) history, which conveyed ...
11
votes
2answers
1k views

Origins of איל משולש and Vilna Ga'on's bathroom math

There is a well-known fact that the Vilna Ga'on studied math while in the bathroom since Torah was out of the question in an unclean place. It is also somewhat well-known that he produced the material ...
11
votes
2answers
525 views

Is there a chief Rabbi of the United States?

Is there currently or has there ever been historically a chief Rabbi of the United States? If not, why not?
11
votes
2answers
327 views

Under whom did these Rabbis study?

In an effort to trace back Rabbi-to-student transmission of tradition, I've run into some dead ends, and I'm hoping the community can offer some leads. Under whom did the following Rabbis study? ...
11
votes
1answer
259 views

The Alshich and Lavan

There are many sources online mentioning the story of how the Alshich once gave a Drasha and the Arizal was present. In the Drasha he elaborated on the 100 different ways Lavan deceived Yaakov. At one ...
11
votes
1answer
213 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, (...
11
votes
2answers
485 views

What rabbinic/Judaic scholar has the lowest Erdős number? [closed]

From Wikipedia: The Erdős number describes the "collaborative distance" between a person and mathematician Paul Erdős, as measured by authorship of mathematical papers. ... Due to the very high ...
11
votes
2answers
259 views

Why is precedent set by individual rabbis, but not courts?

The headline on this obituary for R' Eliyashiv ("A One Man Supreme Court") got me thinking - why do we invest so much power in precedents set by individual rabbis, as great as they may be, but not in ...
10
votes
5answers
333 views

R' Yehoshua Ben Levi — A Tanna or an Amorah?

I had always assumed that R' Yehoshua Ben Levi was an Amorah. However, we know he is quoted in the mishnah in Avos (Perek 6 Mishnah 2. Which is really a braisa, not a mishnah, but still a Tannaic ...
10
votes
1answer
450 views

Speaking to a Rabbi in the Third Person

Is there a source for requiring one to refer to his Rabbi in the third person and not referring to a rabbi in the second person (i.e. "you")? I can not recall any reference to this requirement in ...
10
votes
3answers
259 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 ...
10
votes
4answers
1k views

Where does “probeh” come from?

Every time recently that I've heard of an Orthodox congregation conducting a search for a rabbi, the stage at which the rabbi visits the community for a Shabbat and auditions for the position is ...
10
votes
5answers
1k 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 ...
10
votes
2answers
323 views

Did the Rosh (Rabbeinu Asher) describe the culture clash moving from medieval Germany to Spain? [closed]

Rabbi Asher (the "Rosh") moved from medieval Germany to Spain. I know he describes some different halachic practices that were done in Spain (e.g. linen tzitzis); but does he describe the difference ...
10
votes
2answers
282 views

The silence of the Rabbis — Should they have defended Bar Kamtza?

In Gittin 55b-56a, we read that a fellow named Bar Kamtza was humiliated by a host of a party in public view of all, including the rabbis. Bar Kamtza received an invitation to the party by mistake, ...