Questions tagged [safek]

for questions about cases of doubt or uncertainty

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14
votes
1answer
546 views

Why don't Rabbinic fasts end by Ben Hashmashot?

There's a doubt in the Gemara when the new day starts, at sunset or at three stars (Ok, and there's Rabbi Yossi's opinion). When it comes to Shabbos (or any other biblical time), we have to be strict ...
14
votes
1answer
344 views

What determines the sorts of cases in which one can deliberately not know the facts?

Halacha depends on the facts of a situation. Generally, when one cannot know the exact facts, he is expected to assume that they are as usual (rov), or as they were when last checked (chazaka). When ...
12
votes
1answer
123 views

STa"M on which children disagree

There is a halacha that if one is unsure if certain letters of STa"M (Sefer Torah/Tefillin/Mezuza) are of the right length, one can ask a child. What happens if there was a doubt in a letter in a ...
12
votes
1answer
806 views

Safek (doubt) in Halachah - How unsure does one have to be?

If someone is unsure if he recited Tal UMatar, one has to repeat the Shemoneh 'Esreh (it's slightly more complicated, but let's keep it simple). If one is unsure if he remembered to Bentch (recite ...
11
votes
3answers
423 views

9 Days of Chanukah?

All Yomim Tovim we celebrate in Chutz Laretz an extra day because of A safek, why do we not do the same for Chanukah?
11
votes
3answers
251 views

Counting the omer with doubt before the fixed calendar

Currently, according to a previous question on this site, we count the omer without doubt: "Today is the Xth day of the omer" because we have a fixed calendar, and because counting with doubt is ...
10
votes
1answer
221 views

Am I still Fleishig? When did we eat?

I'm sure this happens many times in a Jewish home on Shabbos: It's Shalosh Seudos time and there's dairy to eat, except no one remembers exactly what time the Shabbos meal took place. So, my question ...
9
votes
1answer
139 views

What was the ריב"א thinking?

In ריקאנטי number 166 (brought down here, #4), he brings 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 ...
9
votes
2answers
256 views

Lifnei 'Iver and your maybe-Jewish co-worker

I work in an office in which someone working down the hall is disabled. She has a Jewish sounding last name and talks to me about her family's practices in regard to being members of a Reform temple ...
8
votes
1answer
144 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 ...
8
votes
1answer
305 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 ...
7
votes
2answers
306 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, ...
7
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3answers
449 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
1answer
1k views

How does a giyur lchumra differ from a regular conversion? [duplicate]

I may be Jewish by matrilineal descent - my great, great, great grandmother was Jewish and was buried in a Jewish cemetery. Subsequent generations of my family were Catholic. I understand that if the ...
7
votes
1answer
506 views

What to do when which side of the door to put the Mezuza on is unclear?

If someone has a house which has a room, and this room has two doors without a "heker tzir" (1) (like salon doors, or sliding doors, or no doors at all) and people walk into this room through one door ...
7
votes
2answers
230 views

washing your hands and forgetting

If you wash your hands and your mind goes blank and you dont remember if you said a bracha or not. do you make a new one? Do you wash again and then make a new one?
7
votes
1answer
79 views

Since Yitzchok appears to have a doubt about the identity of the person whom he wished to bless, why didn’t he wait and make sure?

From what Yitzchok says in Bereishis 27:22 “the voice is the voice of Ya’akov, and the hands are the hands of Eisav” it seems that he had a doubt as to the identity of the person who had come to ...
7
votes
1answer
127 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, ...
7
votes
1answer
69 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 ...
7
votes
1answer
150 views

Safek yehareg v'al yaavor

If there is a situation in which you aren't sure whether you are required to give up your life, do you give up your life or not? The most simple example would be if someone doesn't know whether ...
7
votes
4answers
252 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 ...
6
votes
1answer
117 views

Why recite the fourth Berachah of Bentching in a case of doubt?

If someone is in doubt whether or not to Bentch, we take the strict approach and require the person to Bentch, as it is a Biblical requirement (see here), unlike most Berachoth, for which the rule is ...
6
votes
1answer
528 views

What is considered a Safek?

I've been learning all these laws about Sekefot-doubts, but I'm coming up shy on a basic point. What is considered a Safek? Example:if there are 100 pieces of lettuce and I check all of them and only ...
6
votes
1answer
265 views

Safek De'Oraysa Le'Chumra

The classic example of safek de'oraysa le'chumra is when there is an agreement that a de'oraysa exists but there is a debate as to which cases constitute the de'oraysa. In such a debate we paskin le'...
6
votes
2answers
263 views

When can you turn a dispute into a safek?

In this answer, I proposed that since there is a machlokes rishonim on a certain issue, it counts as a safek (doubt), although the Shulchan Aruch rules strictly. DoubleAA commented, saying that he ...
6
votes
1answer
69 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 ...
5
votes
2answers
1k views

Source for “אין שמחה כשמחת התרת הספקות”

Some people in my synagogue this morning were discussing the aphorism אין שמחה כשמחת התרת הספקות there's no joy like the joy of the resolution of doubts or words to that effect. Specifically, ...
5
votes
2answers
168 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 ...
5
votes
1answer
382 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
1answer
395 views

100% Polyester or Silk suits requiring checking

According to the Shaatnez testers of America Suits and Sport jackets, (Men's/Boy's): Require testing even 100% polyester and 100% silk suits. Why so? Isn't there a simple Sefek Sefeka? Safek if ...
5
votes
2answers
211 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 ...
5
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0answers
48 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 ...
5
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0answers
109 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 (...
4
votes
1answer
268 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
1answer
71 views

Can someone who possibly already did a mitzva cover another such person with the b'racha?

As codified in Mishna B'rura 592 and elsewhere, we allow someone who has already fulfilled a mitzva to exempt another in the b'racha recited for it — though we try to avoid it where feasible. ...
4
votes
1answer
129 views

Halachic categorization of safek dioraisa…

Is the dictum of safek dioraisa l'chumrah (and its inverse safek d'rabanan l'kulah) a principle from the Torah, or a din d'rabanan? How does this change how we react in these sefeikah situations?
4
votes
1answer
69 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,...
4
votes
1answer
187 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: ...
4
votes
2answers
181 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 ...
4
votes
1answer
741 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 ...
4
votes
0answers
27 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 ...
4
votes
0answers
43 views

How far must a publisher go to mitigate possible lashon hara?

This question is about sites that host community-contributed content, like Wikipedia, Reddit, or blogging platforms like LiveJournal communities. Suppose somebody posts something negative about an ...
4
votes
0answers
89 views

Shopping at a church-associated thrift store [duplicate]

If you know that let's say John Hancock's thrift store's profits go to a church are you allowed to purchase things there? What if you don't where the money goes but are in Safek whether it goes to a ...
3
votes
1answer
130 views

Not knowing a Halacha

If a person has a halachic שאלה and is in a situation where he cannot ask or find out the halacha (for example, he must decide what to do immediately, traveling with a dead phone), what should he do ?
3
votes
1answer
97 views

Is there a prohibition of paying interest misafek (doubt)?

Reuvain borrowed money from Shimon, and both are unsure if it was ever payed back. Now, of course Shimon can't claim any money from Reuvain, but if Reuvain wants to pay him back out of doubt, should ...
3
votes
2answers
245 views

In doubt of whether to say Tachnun or not

If there is a doubt in a particular minyan whether tachnun should be said or not, what should be done? For example: There is supposed to be a bris in the shul however the kehillah is not sure if it's ...
3
votes
1answer
84 views

Pesik Resheih DeLa'Avar (inevitable consequence relating to the past)

The RaM"a (Y"D 87:6) cites an opinion that one may shouldn't stoke a flame beneath a non-Jew's pot, for fear that there's some milk and meat residue in it, and you might come to cook said milk and ...
3
votes
2answers
110 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. ...
3
votes
1answer
162 views

Halacha and danger to life

Suppose there is an halachically prescribed, commonly-practiced action, which has been demonstrated scientifically to lead to death of the action's object and/or subject with a certain low probability ...
3
votes
0answers
37 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 ...