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Questions tagged [technology]

Questions about how Judaism interacts with technological innovations.

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47
votes
7answers
3k views

May I use my neighbor's Wi-Fi without asking permission?

My neighbor has never set up password protection on his wireless router. If I wanted, I could wirelessly connect to his high-speed Internet service. May I use his Internet service without asking him ...
39
votes
8answers
3k views

Is it permissible to erase the name of G-d from an E-reader?

Most people seem to be lenient about shemos on digital screens in general (though Bar-Ilan does avoid displaying the Tetragrammaton.) The letters on the screen are just light, there is nothing really ...
35
votes
5answers
2k views

While playing a computer game, may I “worship” one of the game's “gods” to help me win?

I sometimes play a certain computer role-playing game (RPG). In this game, my character (whom I might name after myself but who does not otherwise resemble me) fights mythological creatures and ...
34
votes
6answers
6k views

bicycle on Shabbat?

Is riding a bicycle on Shabbat permitted within an eiruv, being ridden only on pavement (so no unintended plowing), for transportation and not exercise, and with the understanding that repairs aren't ...
30
votes
3answers
2k views

May one use a computer script or robot to do something specifically on Shabbos/Yom Tov?

May one run a program or machine that will operate on Shabbos, either by setting a timer to activate once Shabbos has started, or by leaving it running continually? What if the action is one that is ...
27
votes
5answers
1k views

Does artificial meat grown in a petri dish have the halachic status of meat?

Scientists are developing means of growing artificial meat in a petri dish. Does such 'meat' have the halachic status of meat? Source: http://www.reuters.com/article/2011/11/11/us-science-meat-f-...
24
votes
3answers
950 views

Is ad-blocker software permissible?

Kalashnikover_Rebbe at hashkafah.com asks: Isn't blocking ads stealing??? The people put them on the sites for a reason.... He elaborates: On one hand the argument can be made that [forum XYZ] ...
22
votes
1answer
416 views

a wheelchair user's taking “steps” before sh'mone esre

The Shulchan Aruch, OC 94:5, writes: Suppose someone is sitting on a boat or wagon [and saying sh'mone esre (amida)]. If he can stand up when he reaches the point of bowing, he should stand, so as ...
22
votes
4answers
2k views

Can I cause a Melacha to happen in a place where Shabbat has already started?

Can I cause a Melacha to happen in a place where Shabbat has already started? For example, if I live in New York, could I send a fax (causing the machine to print a document) to Israel on Friday ...
21
votes
5answers
4k views

Is using a (non-touch-screen) Kindle on Shabbat permitted?

A Kindle is an e-book reader that uses "e-ink" rather than an LCD screen. It has physical controls to turn pages. (This question is not about the newer ones with touch screens.) If left unused it ...
21
votes
2answers
435 views

Can an ultrasound be relied upon?

I have read reports of the accuracy of gender prediction from an ultrasound with numbers ranging from 90-98%. There is a halacha (Y.D. 194:11) that if a fetus sticks its hand [or possibly any limb] ...
20
votes
2answers
5k views

What makes a smart phone “kosher”?

I have to admit that my phone is far smarter than me, and I am not "with it". So, I was surprised when a neighbor who is sending his kid to Israel told me that her kid needs a special "kosher" smart ...
20
votes
7answers
3k views

If a pig was genetically modified to chew its cud, would it be kosher?

If they were to genetically modify a pig to chew its cud, would it be kosher?
20
votes
1answer
729 views

Can I make a mikvah using artificial rain?

If I have a mikva which needs filling, and there is no rain, can I use the following mechanism - I have a Mikva in a closed room. On top of this Mikva, there is a cooling system (let's say that this ...
19
votes
3answers
1k views

What halachic issues are involved in turning off a mobile phone while praying the quiet Amidah?

A person realises during his quiet Amidah, that he has not turned off his mobile phone. He is worried lest it ring while he is praying. On the other hand, turning it off will interfere with his ...
18
votes
5answers
964 views

Why do music tapes and CDs warn about playing on Shabbos?

I have seen written on almost every music CD and Cassette Tape that I have in my house the line: Please do not play on Shabbos and Yom Tov I've always wondered if this is really necessary. Does ...
18
votes
4answers
1k views

Is it permissible to use an escalator on Shabbos?

Escalators: Are they allowed to be used on Shabbos or not? (and the reasons behind it)
18
votes
3answers
611 views

Formal Logic and Gemara

I've recently tried to fuse my background in programming with my Gemara learning, resulting in what I now call computational gemara. You can read more about the idea here. An older article I wrote ...
17
votes
1answer
1k views

Can a live video feed remove the prohibition of Yichud?

I was wondering if and how a public videostream could affect a potential yichud situation. For example, may a single guy and girl be secluded if they set up a continuously broadcasting camera and ...
16
votes
5answers
999 views

“Silk-Screened” Sifrei Torah

What are the halachic issues with Silk-screened sifrei torah? I am interested in a summary of concise halakhic rulings of multiple authorities on the prohibition or permissibility of HaRav Yitzchak ...
16
votes
2answers
1k views

Is there any issue with using aerosols on Shabbos?

I've heard from many people that you shouldn't use aerosols (such as air fresheners, disinfectants or deodorants) on shabbos, usually citing some vague reason of changing the form from liquid to gas, ...
16
votes
1answer
452 views

Attending a Siyum virtually

If one attends a Siyum virtually, whether by phone, Skype, or some other means of mass communication, can one partake of the Se'udath Mitzvah (relevant to allow eating meat during the 9 Days for ...
16
votes
1answer
750 views

Could stones cut with a high powered laser be used to build the Beit Hamikdash?

If Solomon's builders had access to lasers powerful enough to cut through stone, could he have used that instead of the Shamir? Stones for an altar or for the Beit Hamikdash were not allowed to be ...
16
votes
2answers
339 views

Netilas Yadayim with automatic sinks

It seems there is precedent to allow for netilas yadayim when you don't have a cup, by turning the sink on and off for each rivi'is per hand. By employing this method you satisfy the requirement of ...
16
votes
4answers
477 views

Overhead projector on Shabbos?

A discussion came up with some guests over shabbos. One asked if one could use an overhead projector on Shabbos if it was turned on from before, i.e. could one put a new plastic sheet on it or not? In ...
15
votes
3answers
2k views

Brewing fresh coffee for Shabbos with a time clock

May one prepare coffee ingredients in a brewer such as this one on Friday and set the timer to brew the coffee for 8:00 Shabbos morning?
15
votes
6answers
396 views

Online tool for minyan management?

If I'm running a small minyan that sometimes has a quorum and sometimes doesn't, and I'd like to only hold the minyan when I know we'll have ten, is there an online tool to help me manage this?
15
votes
4answers
1k views

Typing on Chol Hamoed

Is typing allowed on Chol Hamoed? Does it make a difference if whatever is typed will be printed afterwards?
15
votes
5answers
983 views

Glow sticks on Shabbos

May one activate a glow stick on Shabbos? (In other words, is there a prohibition on activating the chemical reaction which produces the light in a glow stick?)
15
votes
1answer
441 views

Are there any contemporary “Gedolim” that prohibit the use of davening from a smart phone?

It took me a long time to upgrade my technology, but I admit that lately, I have been using my smart phone during davening. My rav doesn't object, but some of my friends told me that it's prohibited ...
15
votes
3answers
638 views

“Siri, sing to me” - Kol Isha?

As i say in this Purim Torah answer, we can't use smartphones because "The vaad found out that Siri's not a guy". (From the song Hang Up the Payphone by A.K.A Pella.) However, that inspired a Siri-...
14
votes
7answers
313 views

Zmanim accuracy before digital clocks?

How was time measured for the purpose of Zmanim before we had accurate clocks like we do today? Was it possible to accurately determine Chatzos (at night) or the different watches of the night? I know ...
14
votes
2answers
1k views

Why is it ok to use tap water/toilets on Shabbos? Considering the source of the water pressure

Why is it ok to use tap water/toilets on Shabbos? Considering the source of the water pressure. The water pressure that enables the water to flow out of the tap has to come from somewhere. It is ...
14
votes
2answers
676 views

Cryonics in Judaism

I was recently reading an article about cryogenics, there are around 200 bodies frozen in cryogenics labs around the world, and in the article they said that in the near future they may be able to ...
14
votes
4answers
929 views

DNA and Jewish Law

Why isn't DNA seen as a valid source of Halachic decision making? Is it because it's too small for the naked eye? A margin of error problem? What? Normally, physical evidence is plenty of information ...
14
votes
2answers
2k views

Voice-activated electronics on Shabbat

Does using a voice-activated device constitute a melacha? For example, Siri on an iphone or, a even a voice-activated light-switch. Does it make a difference if the computer doesn't take direct ...
14
votes
3answers
1k views

Am I allowed to view a Kotel Cam on Shabbos?

If there is a camera in Israel that is operating on Shabbos, am I (a person living in America, where Shabbos only starts 6 or 7 hours later) allowed to view such a camera? I suppose the same could be ...
14
votes
2answers
232 views

Rabbinic Responses to Landline Telephones

Recently the use of cellphones and smartphones has met with a lot of criticism in some communities. I'd be interested to see if landline telephones encountered any similar opposition when they were ...
13
votes
4answers
2k views

Who determines the kosher status of “new” foods?

Who determines the kosher status for "new" processed foods (e.g. Jell-O)? A few orthodox rabbis' approval? General consensus by the Jewish religious community? Certain kosher standards organizations? ...
13
votes
2answers
439 views

How do soldiers in the IDF obey Deuteronomy 23:13?

The mitvah talks about ensuring every soldiers have a spade to cover their excrement. The mitvah seems to be pretty obsolete because by now we have toilets all over the place. So, how it's done? Do ...
13
votes
2answers
2k views

Pirating software that has already been bought

Say, for instance, that I've previously bought a set of DVDs (for example, the workout program P90x, which contains several DVDs in a set), and that I am currently in a different country and have not ...
13
votes
1answer
124 views

Can a “brain controlled” prosthetic be used on Shabbat?

New prosthetics are controlled by brain waves which seem to make the prosthetic an extension of the body in an "organic" way, in that we control all of our own limbs through the same brain waves and ...
12
votes
1answer
649 views

Is programming against Judaism?

I just recently learned about this site when I saw Judaism was one of the stack overflow topics. I have been Jewish all my life and two years ago I started programming. I was wondering if there ...
12
votes
5answers
656 views

Is Listening to a Torah Tape considered Talmud Torah? [duplicate]

It says in the Baal HaTanya's Hilchos Talmud Torah that one fulfills his obligation to learn Torah only if he says the words. Moreover, a Chavrusa fulfills his obligation only because Shomeya Keoneh. ...
12
votes
3answers
9k views

Electric Appliances and Mikva

Do electric appliances need to be dunked (toveled) in a mikva? Obviously, if the parts that touch the food are removable (e.g. an electric mixer's bowl and blade, or a blender's carafe, or the ...
12
votes
2answers
1k views

Do photocopies of torah need to be put in shaimos?

Do photocopied sheets (such as chumash or gemara) need to be put in sheimos or can they be thrown straight into the garbage?
12
votes
3answers
757 views

Can you leave video chat on over Shabbos?

Basically: Can you leave your computer with video chat on (to another person) on over shabbos? And what if there's also audio? For example a relative in the hospital, relatives that in a far away ...
12
votes
1answer
214 views

Cell Phone Jammers in Halacha

I could not imagine cell phone jammers would be מותר, but perhaps my gut-feeling is wrong... Either way, I would be interested in knowing how they fit into halacha, and what the reasons behind ...
12
votes
1answer
362 views

Milk-free cheese: Is it kosher? Parve?

So according to this article, scientists have created cheese by inserting DNA blueprints into a yeast. Essentially, the milk proteins are being created outside of any animal, through genetic ...
12
votes
2answers
2k views

Smart thermostat on Shabbos - what should one do?

I read an article recently regarding a person who went to a hotel and realized after Shabbos began that all the rooms were controlled by smart thermostats. A smart thermostat detects when one is in ...