Questions tagged [rabbis]

Questions about the lives and personalities of Jewish religious authorities.

69 questions with no upvoted or accepted answers
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7
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1answer
134 views

Does one have to be Jewish to be a rabbi

In terms of what we call semicha today, does one have to be Jewish to receive or hold it? Is it simply an indicator of learning (like an academic degree) which could be reached by anyone? Knowing ...
7
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1answer
187 views

What makes a Rabbi?

There are Rabbis everywhere, how to identify who is a real Rabbi if the Rabbi is not included in a recognized organization, such as Israeli Supreme Court or RCA etc.? Does a Rabbi need Yeshiva study ...
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1answer
109 views

Are there any rishonim buried in England and france

Do we know of any of the burial places of rishonim around France (and England). I know rabbi Yisrael Meir gabbai has found some but are there any tools to source ancient jewish cemeteries e.g. a map.
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Who are the “Sages of Israel” in Pesochim 94b

In Pesochim 94b, the Gemora brings the Braisa D'Mazolos 1:6 which relates an argument between the "Sages of Israel" and the "Sages of the nations," as follows: תנו רבנן חכמי ישראל אומרים גלגל קבוע ...
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145 views

The ban on conversion to Judaism in Argentina

In 1927 the rabbi of a Syrian-Jewish congregation in Buenos Aires banned all conversions to Judaism in Argentina forever ("ad kol yemei olam"). The ban is still in effect today. Candidates for ...
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101 views

At what point can you assume senility?

In my experience it is rare to see a Rosh Yeshiva or other prominent Rabbi declared to be senile and no longer working at full mental capacity. Recently such a proclamation was made about one Rosh ...
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187 views

Which rabbi said “if a horse had the mind of Kant …”?

I recall hearing in yeshiva that one great rabbi -- I think one of the baalei mussar? once said: If a horse had the mind of Kant, it would author volume after volume of great philosphical works -- ...
5
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1answer
123 views

Are we allowed to assume that a Rabbi may have not thought of something?

Sometimes in reading a difficult Rishon or Acharon, you come across a statement which seems limited and difficult to understand. Sometimes it's what seems to be an answer to a question which skims ...
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102 views

Chabad, Prayer, and Corporeality of Hashem

Statement of the Lubavitcher Rebbe, regarding 'betten' (beseeching) the Rebbe [quoted here]: “It is not possible to ask a question about a [Rebbe being a] go-between, since this is G-d Himself, ...
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171 views

Did Rabeinu Tam wear Rashi Tefilin?

To the best of my knowledge the majority of people that wear Rabeinu Tam Tefilin put it on without a Bracha at some later point in Tefila or after Tefila. Based on this I was wondering is there any ...
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82 views

Is there a Talmudic “score card”?

When I am learning a masechta, one thing that shocks me is the ability of those people involved in arguments to cite an authority and know his view on most any other case. So if Rabbi Yehoshua is ...
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76 views

Od (Ovadyia) Yosef Chai - what is the idea behind the movement

I saw in Tzfat a car adorned with signs saying עוד יוסף חי - with a big picture of Rav Ovadia Yosef. I was informed by someone going to Yeshiva there that this is some kind of nascent Jewish (not ...
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317 views

The difference between Chazal and Razal

I have heard it said before that Chazal (חז"ל = חכמינו זכרונם לברכה; "our sages of blessed memory") refers to sages of the Mishna and Gemara, while Razal (רז"ל = רבנים/נו זכרונם לברכה; "our/the ...
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1answer
219 views

How do I know if a midrash is accepted?

I have found many different types of midrashic works. Some are, as far as I can tell, accepted as being authoritative. Meaning they were written (compiled?) by the sages in roughly the talmudic era. ...
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88 views

“A time to act for Hashem” and doing whatever you want

Who under what circumstances has the right to declare that a violation of halacha is in order because "it is a time to act for Hashem"? I have by now a few times seen this posuk from Tehillim used as ...
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46 views

“Rabbi Shopping” - how often and for what can one change his Rabbi

The other question "rabbi-shopping" asks about asking a single question to two Rabbis. This question addresses the possibility of changing the personal ruling Rabbi time to time. Assuming a person ...
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466 views

How much time does it generally take to get Semicha?

What is the average amount of time that it takes to get Yoreh Yoreh Smicha? Yadin Yadin? And in Israel to pass each of the Rabannut tests? To get "Rav Shchuna"? "Rav Ir"? I understand that it ...
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77 views

Can the Rav enforce his own made-up rule as a “penalty”?

Several years ago, while making a trip to the Catskill area, I stopped near the large shul in Woodbridge, NY (I forgot its name). The rabbi has a reserved parking spot across the street from the shul. ...
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105 views

Letter of Rav Yechezkel Landau

There was a letter written by Rav Yechezkel Landau to the followers of Reb Yonason Eibeshitz after the whole debacle between their leader and Reb Yaakov Emden. I have seen a few English versions of ...
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113 views

Chida's statement about shabbat violators

I heard Rabbi Yitzhack Yosef Shelita (Rishon LeTzion and son of Maran HaRav Ovadia Yosef, Z"L) who says that the Chida writes that in all the places that he was never saw a Sephardic Jew that wasn't ...
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193 views

Let's play Name that Gadol - women wearing Tallis story

There is a story that I have heard with multiple names being used as the Rabbi in the story. It goes like this: A woman came to [insert name of Torah Sage here] and said that it would enhance her ...
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172 views

How does one 'learn' how to paskin?

When a person goes through smicha (in order to become a Rabbi) they learn (at least) the laws of kashrus. Depending on the program this can include more or less amounts of information (more or less ...
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112 views

Why are rabbonim referred to by the names of their seforim?

Many rabbonim who published important seforim are coloquially referred to by the names of one of the seforim. Why is this? When did it start?
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1answer
90 views

A prominent Mamzer Rabbi example?

Mishnah in Horayos 3,8 says: מַמְזֵר תַּלְמִיד חָכָם קוֹדֵם לְכֹהֵן גָּדוֹל עַם הָאָרֶץ: (the scholar mamzer takes precedence over the ignorant high priest.) Do we have a practical example of ...
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1answer
196 views

If rishonim/acharonim frequently make mistakes in their zeal to critique others, can we still justify a belief in their singular devotion to truth?

I was always taught that the great Torah scholars were as near-perfect human beings as could possibly be, particularly in their scholarly abilities, but perhaps even more so in their character traits ...
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66 views

Should a congregational rabbi resign based on “common public” accusations?

Last night, I found numerous articles published in many newspapers over the course of about the past decade regarding several students accusing a former Yeshiva principal who sexually abused them. The ...
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67 views

How was the Nasi allowed to diminish the honor of a torah scholar?

In Horiyot 13b it recounts that Rabbi Shimon ben Gamliel made a edict that, as opposed to previously where all people stood for both the Nasi and the 'Chacham', now all people should stand for the ...
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77 views

What was a Rabbi Elector in Lithuania?

In doing genealogical research I found records for family members from Lithuania whose profession was listed as "Rabbi Elector". What was this profession? Was it a legitimate part of Judaism, or ...
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1answer
251 views

Is there any mention from our sages of blessed memory of Alexander The Great building a big metal wall in Central Asia to keep Gog and Magog at bay?

Is there anything that our Sages, of blessed memory, say about Alexander the Great building a big metal wall in Central Asia to prevent Gog and Magog from invading the greater part of the world? The ...
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136 views

Why is the term שליט“א more commonly used for a rav than the term נ”י?

As a follow up to this answer to a M.Y. question, why is שליט"א more commonly used after a notable Rav's name than the term נירו יאיר (or נ"י, as an abbreviation)? A wise person, such as a rav is ...
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144 views

Picking and choosing Hashkafa

Can one decide to follow for example the Rambam's more rational Hashkafic approach and then the Ramban for other Hashkafic ideas even though they clearly disagree? I've heard that by practical ...
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83 views

Is da'as torah a natural process or supernatural?

When an individual is said to have da'as torah, is that the natural consequence of intense expertise or is it a God given supernatural gift bestowed on those deserving? For example, it would be ...
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47 views

Is there a communal responsibility to ensure that its Torah scholars are dressed and groomed appropriately?

The Gemara in Mesekes Shabbos 114a teaches that a Torah scholar should not go out in stained or patched clothing, suggesting that one who goes out with a stain is subject to the "penalty of death." ...
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0answers
310 views

Written Semicha Tests

Which Rabbonim give a semicha based on a written test (as opposed to requiring one to complete a program under them)? Are they only on Basar Bechalav and Ta'aruvos, only on Shabbos, only on Niddah or ...
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171 views

Who gave the “yadav rav lo” ordination a few decades ago?

According to Rabbi Hoenig's article, "The Orthodox Rabbi as Military Chaplain" (Tradition Fall 1976, emphasis in the original): This situation brought up the question of proper ordination, the ...
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1answer
65 views

What's the difference between Sanhedrin and Kenesset Hagedola?

What is the difference between Sanhedrin and Kenesset Hagedola?
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1answer
93 views

Sages that questioned the existence of Hashem

While I'm sure there are individuals that perhaps struggled with their belief in Hashem and His "existence" were there ever any great chachamim (sages) from the throughout the generations that perhaps ...
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1answer
98 views

Is one allowed to publicize stories about Rabbis without asking them first?

THe approach of learning Halochos or Middos or behaviors from observing Tzaddikim's behavior alone is very common in our literature and is even rooted in Gemmorah (Brochos 62): תניא אמר רבי עקיבא ...
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29 views

Why let the Sages stay anonymous in arguments?

This bothers me a lot - the idea of using anonymous "Chachamim" in arguments. I don't understand why is it important or useful to hide their names. The Mishnah uses it extensively and makes it very ...
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61 views

Does the Talmud continue to use extra Tanachic sources?

I'm trying to draw an analogy between the written and the oral Torah. After the Mishna was signed, the Sages continued to use extra-Mishnaic sources forever (Toseftah, Midrashim, etc). After the 24 ...
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27 views

Yahrzeit is most auspicious (source)

An ad, IIRC sponsored by Chabad, in a Jewish magazine (Ami) reads: Chazal teach us that the day of a tzadik’s yahrtzeit is a most auspicious day, a יום סגולה ועת רצון, to connect with the tzadik, ...
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Since when “Gdol Hador” refers to a scholar as opposed to a Tzadik?

Gemmorah Psochim 49b: "תנו רבנן לעולם ימכור אדם כל מה שיש לו וישא בת תלמיד חכם; לא מצא בת תלמיד חכם ישא בת גדולי הדור, לא מצא בת גדולי הדור ישא בת ראשי כנסיות וכו'" Rashi: "גדולי הדור - ...
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99 views

Who were some of the “sages” referred to in the Mishnah?

When the Mishnah uses the term חכמים אומרים, as in the first Mishnah in Tractate Brachot, approximately how many comprised this group? Who were in this group of people? (doesn't need to be a complete ...
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44 views

Referring to a rav with multiple sefarim

I've noticed that some rabbanim are referred to by the titles of multiple books. For example, R' Jair Bacharach (Wermeiser Rov between 1699-1702) is referred to both by the name of his shu"t, Chavot ...
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55 views

Teacher of the Pnei Yehoshua

What was the name of the rav/teacher of HoRav Ya'akov Yehoshua ben Tzvi, author of the Pnei Yehoshua?
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62 views

Is there any mention by our sages of blessed memory of great centers of Jewish learning in Central Asia?

Is there any mention by our sages of blessed memory of great centers of Jewish learning in Central Asia: Iran Azerbaijan, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan, Tajikistan, Kyrgyzstan, Afghanistan, ...
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126 views

How to find a chavrusa for a difficult topic

How would one go about finding a rabbi/rav with whom to have a chavrusa if one is picky and has specific needs -- i.e., for someone with particular qualities, or who is highly learned in a niche area? ...
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90 views

Who was Rav Moshe Margolis's Rav?

I'm currently making a Mesorah chart (I know there are some out there, I just wanted to do it myself). I've gotten all the way back to the Vilna Gaon's Rav, Rav Moshe Margolis, but I can't find any ...
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142 views

Was Solomon Schechter shomer shabbos?

I heard anecdotally that the early JTS president Solomon Schechter was not, but I have been unable to find a citation either way on this claim. Schechter was allegedly one of the most accomplished ...
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75 views

Is it proper to investigate the validity of a rav?

I've been in some unique situations where I've met someone who claims to be a rabbi but doesn't speak Lashon HaKodesh well or at all (not that I'm 'all that and a bag of chips' either). If I recall ...