Questions tagged [safek]

for questions about cases of doubt or uncertainty

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3 votes
1 answer
108 views

Does Kavod Habriot ever apply to Safek d’oraita

Does the principle within Halacha of Kavod Habriot ever apply to leniencies for a Safek Doraita? So if there is human dignity at stake, could you rule lekula instead of lechumrah on a Safek d’oraita? ...
1 vote
1 answer
81 views

Bar mitzva if born bein hashmashos?

If a baby is born in the evening during bein hashmashos (typically considered the time from sunset until 3 stars, but see https://outorah.org/p/47194/) the bris is on the latter day, or if Saturday, ...
3 votes
1 answer
174 views

Why do kohanim make a bracha on birkat kohanim if they are safek kohanim?

If Kohanim nowadays are safek kohanim how can they make a bracha on Birkat kohanim isn't the rule "safek brachot le'hakel"?
2 votes
0 answers
176 views

Putting oneself in doubt, when it comes to a Mitzvah Derabanan

The Mishnah Berurah (46 S”K 31) brings an opinion - which is how the SA Harav rules - that in a case where one is afraid that he might miss the time of Shema by the time the Tzibur reaches the place ...
1 vote
1 answer
114 views

Polishing windows on Shabbat

According to this summary, there are some poskim who hold it prohibited in all cases to polish glass dishes on Shabbat, whereas some allow if one intends to use the dish on Shabbos. My question is, ...
7 votes
3 answers
496 views

Schrödinger's cat and yibbum

Over Shabbos, the Shalosh Seudos discussion turned to the Monty Hall problem, which confused a lot of people [and which (#Humblebrag) I was able to clear up for them in under 30 seconds ;)]. Then, ...
10 votes
1 answer
241 views

What was the ריב"א thinking?

In ריקאנטי number 166,1 he records a story about the ריב"א: ושמעתי כי ריב"א חלה חוליו שמת בו וחל יוה"כ באותם הימים וא"ל הרופאים אם לא תאכלו ודאי תמות ואם תאכל שמא לא תחיה והוא ז&...
0 votes
1 answer
60 views

Safek echad baguf safek echad beta'arovet

What is safek beguf safek beta'arovet? Specifically, what is the the safek beguf? Also, How does it relate to safek sefeka?
0 votes
0 answers
36 views

When do we say safek d'rabanan lekula? [duplicate]

There is a concept that in matters of doubt that pertain to derabanans we pasken lekula. I have seen this applied to doubts in realia as well as halachik doubts (eg machlokes). Nevertheless, it is ...
9 votes
5 answers
359 views

חזקה מעיקרא vs ספק

I am in the middle of מחלוקת with someone as to, if I originally had a חזקה and now there's a ספק to whether that status is still true, whether I maintain that original status or my status changes to ...
2 votes
1 answer
519 views

According to the Rishonim who hold a Bracha Levatala is forbidden Min Hatorah, why do we need a category of Safek Brachot Lehakel?

If a Bracha Levatala (blessing in vain) is forbidden from Torah Law, why do we need a special category of Safek Brachot Lehakel? Almost all Brachot are Derabanan, and how could we do a safek mitzvah ...
6 votes
2 answers
282 views

Why do we have an explicit rule of Safek Brachos Lehakel if we already have a greater encompassing rule of Safek D'Rabanan L'kulah?

I understand that Safek brachos lehakel might simply be a corollary of Safek D'rabana L'kulah, however I assume there is some nafka minah between the two. The only reason we would have safek brachos ...
3 votes
1 answer
248 views

Does one Make a Bracha on Tzitzis during Bein Hashmashos?

There is a fundamental Machlokes Rishonim whether when the Gemara says that there is no Chiyuv of Tzitzis at night, is that referring to the Gavra or to the Cheftza. The question now is: a person puts ...
3 votes
1 answer
188 views

Sfek Sfeka for a Bar Mitzvah

Suppose a boy was born Bein Hashemashos. Since this is a period of "maybe it's still day, maybe it's already night," seemingly the doubt would translate into "maybe he was born on day 1,...
0 votes
0 answers
157 views

Repeating doubtful phrases: What order?

Current practice in many Ashkenazi synagogues includes the following: On shabbat zachor, repetition of (at least part of) Devarim 25:19, due to a doubt over whether the zayin of זכר is vowelized with ...
6 votes
0 answers
93 views

Does the 16th of Shevat have any halachic effects?

For most Torah holidays, we keep two days outside Israel out of doubt. Tu bishvat is a day with Biblical effects (though I wouldn't go so far as to say it's a Biblical "holiday", or a Rabbinic one ...
6 votes
1 answer
476 views

Does adding a different liquid to a pre-existing drink require a new Shehakol?

Suppose one makes a "shehakol" on the water, and doesn't have in mind any other drinks. When there's a third of the glass left, the person refills the glass with seltzer/soda (the glass is now 1/3 ...
5 votes
2 answers
242 views

Why do you need a chazakah and a sefeik sefeikah in Demai 1:1?

Maseches Demai opens up by addressing the "leniencies of Demai." As the Bartenura there explains, these lenient items are those which are essentially garbage - foods that people typically wouldn't eat ...
3 votes
0 answers
59 views

What is a Safek Muchlat? (i.e. unsure if he's a full-fledged Metzora)

The Mishna in Nazir 8:2 (Daf 59b and various other times in tractate Nazir) discusses a person who may or may not be a Metzora that is supposed to be sent out of the city walls. To quote with the ...
7 votes
3 answers
808 views

logic behind kol kavua k'mechtza al mechtze

there is a principle in halacha regarding doubts that if something is separated from a kavua (fixed place) it is treated as 50/50% chance even if the permitted is the majority. but if it is found in ...
7 votes
1 answer
173 views

How can we be lenient in a case of mixed up teruma?

The Mishna (Terumot 7:5) says: שְׁתֵּי קֻפּוֹת, אַחַת שֶׁל תְּרוּמָה וְאַחַת שֶׁל חֻלִּין, שֶׁנָּפְלָה סְאָה תְרוּמָה לְתוֹךְ אַחַת מֵהֶן וְאֵין יָדוּעַ לְאֵיזוֹ מֵהֶן נָפְלָה, הֲרֵי אֲנִי אוֹמֵר, ...
3 votes
0 answers
41 views

When did two days of Rosh Hodesh begin and the concept of "doubt"?

I'm trying to understand the historical workings of Rosh Hodesh prior to Sanhedrin. I assume that the entire concept of having possibly 2 days Rosh Hodesh was related to the timing of when witnesses ...
3 votes
2 answers
149 views

Why are doubtful nega'im (generally) pure? (Nega'im 5:1)

Nega'im 5:1 teaches that all cases of doubtful nega'im are to be ruled pure, with two exceptions: A case where it is unclear whether white hairs in a nega' appeared before or after the nega' itself. ...
4 votes
1 answer
78 views

Why does the servant register on a Pesach by himself?

Pesachim 8:2: הָאוֹמֵר לְעַבְדּוֹ, צֵא וּשְׁחֹט עָלַי אֶת הַפֶּסַח, שָׁחַט גְּדִי, יֹאכַל. שָׁחַט טָלֶה, יֹאכַל. שָׁחַט גְּדִי וְטָלֶה, יֹאכַל מִן הָרִאשׁוֹן. ‏ שָׁכַח מָה אָמַר לוֹ רַבּוֹ, כֵּיצַד ...
5 votes
0 answers
59 views

Has anyone tried out the Har Hakarmel bein hashemashos climb according to various Rishonim?

The Gemara on Shabbos 35a says: אמר רבי חנינא: הרוצה לידע שיעורו של רבי נחמיה יניח חמה בראש הכרמל, וירד ויטבול בים ויעלה, וזהו שיעורו של רבי נחמיה. ‏ Anyone who wants to know the shiur of R' Nechemia'...
6 votes
1 answer
97 views

Why is the principle of faith about Moshiach constructed as a rhetorical argument?

Why is the 12th principle of faith in the Ani Maamin poem about Moshiach constructed rhetorically - on a circumstantial situation "even if / in spite of that!"? In other words, the author says "I ...
1 vote
0 answers
414 views

Are crayons allowed?

If a non-toxic (but also non-food) wax crayon is known/suspected to contain both meat (e.g. stearic acid; see e.g. here) and milk (e.g. dairy-derived palmitic acid), may one use it or does it qualify ...
4 votes
0 answers
30 views

What happens if one isn’t sure if ten Jews are watching? [duplicate]

The Gemara (Sanhedrin 74a-b) rules that if ten Jews are present when a non-Jew threatens a Jew to perform any sin - even to dress like a non-Jew - on pain of death, the Jew is obligated to give up his ...
1 vote
0 answers
48 views

Safek in Pidyon haBen [closed]

When a fatherless child with a living mother that knows he was a firstborn but does not know whether his father did the Pidyon on him. When an orphan whose both parents died when he was a toddler, ...
9 votes
1 answer
500 views

Baby boy born bein hashmashot when you don't know what day it is

Extreme hypothetical here... We know (MT Hilchot Mila 1:9) that mila on the (definite) 8th day is doche Shabbat. If the baby is born bein hashmashot, when we're not sure what day it is, it cannot be ...
3 votes
0 answers
128 views

How do we know the maternal line is pure?

This question may seem abstract and strange, but it is genuine. We obviously don't have ketubot of every marriage and certificates of every conversion, but yet, our assumption is that the Jewish ...
2 votes
1 answer
136 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 ...
0 votes
1 answer
435 views

Can a person (or cat) be both alive and dead at the same time? (Schrödinger's paradox)

Related: Schrödinger's cat and yibbum That question assumes that Schrödinger's paradox is possible, and that someone can be both dead and alive at the same time. So, is that actually true ...
1 vote
1 answer
76 views

why no sfeika deyoma for sfiras haomer? [duplicate]

Most or all Jewish holidays have an extra day in the Diaspora, to accomodate for sfeike deyoma, so why do we not count two numbers each day of sfira?
4 votes
1 answer
488 views

Is it wrong to hang a Mezuzah diagonally?

I heard we're supposed to hang a mezuzah the same way as the door bolts. The door bolt is either horizontal or vertical. I know that the strong debate over whether it should be vertically or ...
4 votes
1 answer
433 views

What is the status of those who need to undergo geyur lechumra?

What is the status of one who needs to undergo a giyur lechumra, but have yet to undergo the actual process? Can they be counted in a minyan? Are they considered Jewish? Can they serve as eydim? FoR: ...
5 votes
2 answers
310 views

What should I do if I don't know whether I'm in a pikuach nefesh situation?

Suppose I find myself in a situation where I am not sure whether my life is sufficiently in danger to warrant halachot of pikuach nefesh to come into play. What should I do in this case? Am I supposed ...
4 votes
2 answers
243 views

Why is one who touched doubtful Tumah in a public domain considered Tahor?

The source that doubtful Tumah in a private domain is Tamei is the Gemara in Sotah (28b - see there for translation): מה ת"ל והיא נטמאה והיא לא נטמאה אם נטמאה למה שותה אם לא נטמאה למה משקה מגיד לך ...
0 votes
1 answer
94 views

Rambam on color certainty of tekheleth

According to a questioner on this page, the Rambam in the Pirush HaMishna contradicts the Rambam in Hilchoth Tzitzith regarding whether we can dye tekheleth due to uncertainty about the color. Where ...
3 votes
2 answers
360 views

Why is a safek d'oraisa lechumra and a safek d'rabbanan lekula?

It is an established principle that when in doubt regarding a Torah law we rule stringently, whereas when in doubt regarding a Rabbinic law we rule leniently. Why is this the case? Why aren't we ...
0 votes
0 answers
68 views

Shabbat after losing track of time

I have been reviewing the laws of what to do if one loses track of the days and doesn't know what day is shabbat. The laws are summarized here. Is there any repercussion in terms of his life after he ...
4 votes
1 answer
931 views

Controversy Concerning Community Consumption of Chametz Coming from Costco

There is a Rabbinic prohibition on benefiting from chametz that was owned by a Jew over Passover. In recent years, an issue was raised in the New York area that a major distributor of grocery items ...
5 votes
0 answers
189 views

How to deal with uncertainties in the Torah that lead to a change in meaning?

In Vayikra 14:19, there are different versions of the trop, and unlike most of them, this difference causes a change in the meaning of the words: וְכִפֶּ֕ר עַל־הַמִּטַּהֵ֖ר מִטֻּמְאָת֑וֹ (zakef-gadol,...
1 vote
0 answers
104 views

Practical suggestions for choosing between different nuschaot in the Torah

Unfortunately, it's not hard to find places in the Torah, and even more so in Nach, where we have a doubt about either the trop or the nekudot. (Or, more rarely, letters, but those are generally the ...
0 votes
0 answers
36 views

Doubt about Zemanim

There are several things that cannot be performed before Shekiah, and several things that cannot be done after. (For instance, one cannot daven Mincha after Shekiah.) What if one is unsure if Shekiah ...
7 votes
1 answer
104 views

Safek Leket Leket vs. Hamotzi Mechaveiro

On the one hand, the Mishnah (Pe'ah 4:11) records that doubtful leket goes to the poor. (Yes, I am aware that R' Meir says that. The Tosfos Yom Tov holds that everyone holds of that in principle and ...
3 votes
0 answers
104 views

Probabilities vs תמים ? Weather forecast etc

There is an issur to ask astrologers (Pess. 113; Shul.Ar. YD 179,1). And Rashi says (Dev. 13, 18) התהלך עמו בתמימות ותצפה לו ולא תחקור אחר העתידות So, is then a problem to ...compute probabilities? ...
8 votes
1 answer
214 views

Do we assume a Bris or Pidyon has been done?

If I adopt a 3 year old whose paperwork indicates that both parents were Jewish (but I cannot contact them or get further information about their religiosity) and he was an only child, do I assume ...
2 votes
2 answers
175 views

Holding like the majority opinion for a d'oraita?

In cases where there is a discussion among the Rishonim/Acharonim as to whether something is forbidden from the Torah (d'oraita), is it acceptable to go in accordance with those that deem it ...
1 vote
0 answers
71 views

Sefeikos and Mathematical Modelling

I heard from a colleague that there exists a Sefer where the conclusions of Chazal on the status of certain Sefeikos can be represented in the form of probability models1. Could anyone verify if ...