All Questions

33
votes
24answers
1k views

Experience-based advice for focusing and slowing down prayers?

I tend to daven (pray) without sufficient focus and very quickly. In particular, I find that most of the time that I'm praying, my mind is on things other than the words that I'm saying. And, not that ...
6
votes
2answers
239 views

Image of God: Equality and Discrimination

I have heard from many unreliable sources that the Torah's description of mankind as being "in the Image of God" implies some level of equal standing of all humans and therefore the expectation (...
13
votes
2answers
656 views

Am I allowed to count people?

Where did the practice of not counting people come from? People count not-one, not-two, not-three etc. What is wrong with counting one, two, three etc? This is often found when counting to see if ...
6
votes
3answers
4k views

Which hechsheirim are reliable?

There are so many hechsheirim (Kosher certifications) out there. How is an individual supposed to find out which hechsheirim to rely on, and which not to?
8
votes
2answers
185 views

Give ma'aser on money that you didn't make yet?

Can I give ma'aser on money that I didn't earn yet but I know I will be earning in the future?
46
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 ...
6
votes
2answers
2k views

Wearing a gartel

Where did the minhag of wearing a gartel come from?
16
votes
5answers
4k views

Fish eaten with milk?

Is there any halachik problem with eating fish and milk together? (A classic example is a bagel with lox and cream cheese)
8
votes
6answers
2k views

Tzitzis while exercising?

Does one need to wear tzitzis while exercising? Isn't it disrespectful to the tzitzis to make them all sweaty?
9
votes
2answers
12k views

Kashering a microwave

How can I kasher a microwave?
4
votes
2answers
395 views

Is Basar Shenisaleim Min Ha'ayin still a problem?

There is a concept in halacha called Basar Shenisaleim Min Ha'ayin (meat that was hidden from the eye). Basically in the olden days, if a non-jew were to deliver meat and there was no siman (sign) on ...
10
votes
4answers
555 views

Does Ma'aser need to be given on gifts?

If I receive a monetary gift, do I need to give ma'aser on it? What about if I receive a gift that is an object (as opposed to money)?
7
votes
4answers
3k views

Does soda need a hechsher?

I have noticed that many cans of pepsi don't have a hechsher (kosher symbol) on them. Do they need one?
11
votes
2answers
906 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?
9
votes
4answers
2k views

Is it permissible to open soda cans on shabbos?

What is the halacha regarding opening soda cans on shabbos? I have heard that according to the ones who hold that you can open it, if I would ask that person to open it for me, I would need him to ...
7
votes
2answers
151 views

Chanuka - what was the real miracle?

Was the miracle the fact that they found the oil? Was it that the oil lasted all 8 days? Was it that they won the war over the mighty greeks? From the fact that we light menorah, it seems that the ...
11
votes
3answers
1k views

Is it better to wear wool tzitzis?

Is it better halachikally (according to jewish law) to have the beged (garment) of your tzitzis to be made from wool as opposed to cotton? Is it a chumrah?
3
votes
2answers
1k views

Are you allowed to get a haircut on Motzei Shabbos?

Is there anything wrong with getting a haircut on Motzei Shabbos (Saturday night)?
13
votes
4answers
358 views

Were the people of Chelm really unintelligent? [closed]

There are many stories that are told over about the people who lived in Chelm. They all have the theme of: the people in Chelm were fairly unintelligent. Where did this come from? Is it true? It ...
10
votes
3answers
532 views

Wear your tzitzis out or in? [duplicate]

There seems to be some misunderstanding/machlokes (disagreement) on how you should wear your tzitzis - with the strings sticking out or tucked in. What's the proper way?
19
votes
2answers
2k views

Why doesn't the OU put DE on food packages anymore?

The OU used to put DE next to the OU symbol when a product was Dairy Equipment. Such a product can not be eaten with meat but can be eaten right afterwards (you don't need to wait the amount of time ...
10
votes
4answers
151 views

Torah studies at Synagogue [closed]

How do we make studying Torah by adults a central part of our synagogue?
5
votes
2answers
559 views

Origin of a Jewish quote about fools

There is a quote about fools that I have heard, which is attributed to the Talmud. It goes as follows, "Never tell a fool he is a fool. All you'll have is an angry fool." I know that there are a ...
12
votes
2answers
754 views

What do I do when asked to “open the Aron” or “take out the Torah”?

If I'm in synagogue and someone asks me if I can "open the Aron" or "take out the Sefer Torah," what will I be expected to do, and when?
25
votes
9answers
3k views

Archeological proof of Exodus?

Is there empirical proof that the exodus from Egypt and related happenings (like Har Sinai etc) did in fact occur (i.e: Archeological proof)? I believe in the Torah, but how would you prove to someone ...
4
votes
2answers
1k views

Mezzuzahs- putting them up, and saying brachot

Is there an "issur" regarding not putting up a mezuzzah? Is there such thing as having 30 days until the issue kicks in? Also, can you say the bracha each time you put one up? Or, if two different ...
3
votes
8answers
470 views

Can you recommend an alternative outer talit bag?

I need to replace my outer talit bag - the one that most people have as a brittle, transparent, zippered bag with gold piping (e.g.). I am tired of having these bags break on me, and I don't have a ...
4
votes
3answers
430 views

How to deal with the parts of the Torah reading that are pre-empted by the congregation

Sometimes, our traditional approach to the reading includes having the congregation recite a short section of the reading aloud before the Torah reader does it, and then he follows. The most ...
6
votes
1answer
136 views

Obtaining the 7 Species in the U.S

Often on T"u BiSh'vat people like to eat members of the shiv'as haminim - the Seven Species by which the Land of Israel is praised. Some of them, such as grapes and dates, are easy enough to come ...
5
votes
2answers
260 views

Understanding Rashi's resolution of an ambiguity in Parashat Vayigash

The following is based on a question I wrote in the margin of my chumash about ten years ago. In Yehuda's speech to the Egyptian viceroy (Yosef in disguise) at the beginning of Parashat Vayigash, he ...
8
votes
3answers
246 views

Why is the Shofar sounded on Rosh Hashanah?

Why is the Shofar sounded on Rosh Hashanah?
8
votes
1answer
298 views

What went down in 1666 before Shabtai Tz'vi's apostasy?

It seems agreed upon that one or more representatives from Lvov traveled to either investigate, visit or out Shabtai Tzvi in 1666 when he was still claiming to be the mashi'ach. Immediately following ...
8
votes
2answers
3k views

Naming your child using a dead relative's initial

Is there a Jewish tradition of naming your child using the first letter of the name of a recently deceased relative?
3
votes
1answer
103 views

Picking out the alephs [closed]

How can you quickly pick out all the alephs on a page of Hebrew printed text?
21
votes
4answers
4k views

Orthodox Visits to Other Denomination Sanctuaries

Why is it that some people won't set foot in another's sanctuary, even if it was for a non-prayer function? Can an orthodox person be in a reform style temple sanctuary for a lecture or concert? I ...
14
votes
4answers
3k views

How to advise your barber

Men: What is a succinct, clear, Halachically complete line to tell a barber what not to do when cutting your hair?
11
votes
4answers
287 views

Why did Yosef's brothers speak freely in the presence of the interpreter?

In Parashat Miketz, Yosef's brothers encounter him disguised as the viceroy of Egypt, and he accuses them of espionage, jails them for three days, and makes a demand that they know their father would ...
17
votes
10answers
5k views

Method for practicing Torah reading

What is your method for practicing reading a Torah portion and thus memorizing the associated vowelizations and intonations? I'm looking for ideas for maximizing your effectiveness at performing a ...
43
votes
16answers
13k views

Is Christianity Avodah Zara?

It is commonly accepted that Islam is not Avodah Zarah (idolatry) since Islam has a clear monotheistic theology with a belief in Allah that parallels our view of "kail" or Hashem. It is even ...
12
votes
4answers
833 views

December greeting responses [closed]

How do you respond when greeted, during the Winter "holiday season" by a non-Jewish acquaintance with each of the following? Happy Chanuka (in proximity to Chanuka) Happy Chanuka (not in proximity to ...
30
votes
5answers
1k views

When blogging/emailing/etc., do I use “God” or “G-d”?

Is there a religious problem with typing out the name: "G-o-d"?
27
votes
5answers
2k views

Am I allowed to give my kid a non-Hebrew (non-Jewish?) name?

I'd seen some poster that said it's horribly wrong to ever give your kid a non-Jewish/non-Hebrew name. Is that the norm?
17
votes
5answers
629 views

Naming after bad people

Why have there been famous(ly righteous) Jewish people named after Yishma'el, who, Chaza"l tell us, was evil and an enemy of Jews? Has anything similar happened with Esav? Korach? Others?
6
votes
2answers
224 views

Why must Chata'os Ha-meisos be treated so harshly?

There are certain cases in which an animal designated for a sin offering (Chat'as) could not be brought in the Temple, but was required to be killed ("חטאות המתות"), according to some opinions, by ...
6
votes
1answer
129 views

Third blessing on the second night of Channukah

If someone didn't light Channukah lights on the first night, does he/she then say the third blessing (Sh'hecheyunu) on the next night?
7
votes
1answer
716 views

Moving question: prayer when posting a mezuzah

What prayer do you recite when posting a mezuzah?
13
votes
1answer
3k views

Puzzles on Shabbat

Is it permitted to put together puzzles on Shabbat with children? Does it matter what kind of puzzle it is (jigsaw vs. fit the piece in the wooden hole)? Does it matter if there are words on the ...
14
votes
4answers
324 views

How do we know what the Chazzan should say aloud?

In many siddurim, the text indicates a position, toward the end of each normal paragraph of prayer, where the Chazzan is supposed to start reading aloud, so that everyone knows when it's time to go on ...
15
votes
6answers
373 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?
8
votes
2answers
892 views

Mixed Minyan in a Shiva House

What to do when helping make a minyan for mourners in a shiva house when at prayer time they insist on davening conservative style, men and women sitting together?

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