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Questions tagged [technology]

Questions about how Judaism interacts with technological innovations.

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48 votes
7 answers
4k 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 ...
N123's user avatar
  • 2,883
42 votes
5 answers
4k views

Ethics in video games: idol worship

Background 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 ...
unforgettableidSupportsMonica's user avatar
41 votes
8 answers
4k 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 ...
Ariel K's user avatar
  • 11k
39 votes
6 answers
8k 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 ...
Monica Cellio's user avatar
33 votes
4 answers
3k 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 ...
HodofHod's user avatar
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29 votes
5 answers
2k 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-...
ChaimKut's user avatar
  • 2,463
28 votes
4 answers
3k 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 ...
Shmuel's user avatar
  • 10.6k
26 votes
3 answers
1k views

Is ad-blocker software permissible?

Kalashnikover_Rebbe at hashkafah.com asked: Isn't blocking ads stealing? The people put them on the sites for a reason. He elaborated: On one hand, the argument can be made that [forum XYZ] is ...
unforgettableidSupportsMonica's user avatar
25 votes
3 answers
12k 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 ...
DanF's user avatar
  • 70.7k
23 votes
1 answer
532 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 ...
msh210's user avatar
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22 votes
5 answers
6k 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 ...
Monica Cellio's user avatar
21 votes
2 answers
539 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] ...
Y     e     z's user avatar
20 votes
7 answers
5k 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?
cookie monster's user avatar
20 votes
2 answers
1k 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 ...
Seth J's user avatar
  • 41.7k
20 votes
1 answer
917 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 ...
ertert3terte's user avatar
  • 40.6k
20 votes
3 answers
882 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 ...
theideasmith's user avatar
19 votes
5 answers
2k 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 ...
Adam Mosheh's user avatar
  • 6,019
19 votes
4 answers
2k 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)
yydl's user avatar
  • 38.6k
19 votes
4 answers
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 ...
Avrohom Yitzchok's user avatar
19 votes
2 answers
410 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 ...
rosends's user avatar
  • 38.3k
18 votes
5 answers
1k 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 ...
yydl's user avatar
  • 38.6k
18 votes
1 answer
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 ...
Moishe's user avatar
  • 181
17 votes
6 answers
507 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?
Isaac Moses's user avatar
  • 48.2k
17 votes
2 answers
3k 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 ...
geoffc's user avatar
  • 1,524
16 votes
4 answers
2k views

Typing on Chol Hamoed

Is typing allowed on Chol Hamoed? Does it make a difference if whatever is typed will be printed afterwards?
yydl's user avatar
  • 38.6k
16 votes
5 answers
2k 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?)
Curiouser's user avatar
  • 7,941
16 votes
2 answers
2k 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, ...
HodofHod's user avatar
  • 21.1k
16 votes
1 answer
910 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 ...
Echad-Ani-Yodeya's user avatar
16 votes
1 answer
793 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 ...
DanF's user avatar
  • 70.7k
16 votes
4 answers
526 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 ...
jekishboy's user avatar
  • 355
16 votes
2 answers
619 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 ...
Y. Isseroff's user avatar
15 votes
3 answers
4k 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?
Gershon Gold's user avatar
15 votes
7 answers
418 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 ...
chaimp's user avatar
  • 2,171
15 votes
3 answers
915 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-...
Scimonster's user avatar
  • 23.2k
14 votes
2 answers
662 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 ...
user4951's user avatar
  • 4,363
14 votes
2 answers
883 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 ...
Ger's user avatar
  • 620
14 votes
5 answers
2k 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 ...
Naftali's user avatar
  • 1,741
14 votes
2 answers
2k 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?
N123's user avatar
  • 2,883
14 votes
4 answers
1k 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 ...
avi's user avatar
  • 19k
14 votes
1 answer
463 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 ...
rosenjcb's user avatar
  • 1,584
14 votes
2 answers
4k 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 ...
zaq's user avatar
  • 8,974
14 votes
3 answers
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 ...
yydl's user avatar
  • 38.6k
14 votes
2 answers
2k views

Smart thermostat on Shabbos - what to 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 ...
Gershon Gold's user avatar
14 votes
2 answers
260 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 ...
SarahBrodsky's user avatar
13 votes
4 answers
3k 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? ...
Judah Gabriel Himango's user avatar
13 votes
3 answers
15k 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 ...
Shalom's user avatar
  • 134k
13 votes
2 answers
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 ...
user11820's user avatar
  • 271
12 votes
1 answer
840 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 ...
Ben's user avatar
  • 139
12 votes
5 answers
887 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. ...
ertert3terte's user avatar
  • 40.6k
12 votes
3 answers
602 views

Davening with a Minyan in China

I regularly travel to China (and other countries) for business purposes. I know there are other Jewish travelers who do the same which I sometimes meet on the way. I think that if we have the right ...
S.O.S's user avatar
  • 143

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