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81 votes
14 answers
16k views

Why is it necessary to ask a Rabbi?

In various places on this site, including the FAQ, we have the following disclaimer: Like Wikipedia, this site makes no guarantee of validity, and does not offer professional (particularly rabbinic)...
Isaac Moses's user avatar
  • 48.2k
23 votes
3 answers
4k views

Is belief in Midrashim optional?

The Ramban in Sefer Havikuach (page 32, the bottom of the first column ) asserts with regard to Midrash: מי שיאמין בו טוב. ומי שלא יאמין בו לא יזיק ‏ Whoever believes in it, good, he who does not ...
Abish's user avatar
  • 267
25 votes
2 answers
5k views

"Am I Jewish​?"

How can one tell if one needs to convert in order to be Jewish or if one is already Jewish? Would one's or one's ancestors' conversion to another religion or their lack of knowledge about Judaism ...
Double AA's user avatar
  • 100k
59 votes
21 answers
22k 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 ...
Aaron Greenberg's user avatar
37 votes
9 answers
4k views

Avot keeping Mitzvot

How are we to understand the tradition that the patriarchs kept all of the mitzvot in the Torah (see for example: the last mishna in Kiddushin (4:14), Rashi on Bereshit 32:5, etc.) in light of the ...
Sam's user avatar
  • 3,968
28 votes
9 answers
3k views

Does one have to take a Midrash/Aggadah literally?

Does one have to take a Midrash/Aggadah literally?
RCW's user avatar
  • 6,836
39 votes
9 answers
8k views

Why don't Jews think Jesus is the messiah?

Christians say that Jesus is the Messiah spoken of in the Old Testament; Jews disagree. Why couldn't Jesus be the Messiah spoken of? Or could he possibly have been?
android.nick's user avatar
  • 1,381
20 votes
2 answers
2k views

How do you CYLOR after posting on judaism.stackexchange.com?

We recommend CYLOR. How do I: ask the OR a shaaloh that one has already posted on judaism.stackexchange.com. Should I acknowledge its use when asking? introduce the concept of judaism.stackexchange....
Avrohom Yitzchok's user avatar
37 votes
2 answers
7k views

Abbreviations before/after names

What are the more common abbreviations one might see printed before or after a person's name, and what do they mean? Please include honorifics (R'=Rabbi) as well as memorial - or prayerful - suffixes ...
Seth J's user avatar
  • 41.7k
10 votes
8 answers
1k views

Why does evil exist?

I realize this is a very common question, but the problem of evil is an important one, and as far as I can tell, has not been asked here. In short, why does G-d allow evil to exist?
Peter Olson's user avatar
  • 1,713
43 votes
7 answers
11k views

Is one allowed to smoke Marijuana?

Not taking into account Dina D'malchusa, what are the Halachic problems with smoking marijuana? Is it allowed?
ertert3terte's user avatar
  • 40.6k
31 votes
9 answers
3k views

Why the vast difference of opinion about the age of the Universe?

5770 and 13,000,000,000 is a big difference! I am looking for a good explanation for the different views of the age of the universe, [the Tanakh's view and astronomy's view.] Please help me out!
wayon's user avatar
  • 1,215
30 votes
9 answers
5k views

Sheidim: are they fact, or fiction?

Are there really such thing as sheidim? If so, what are they? Please include sources.
wayon's user avatar
  • 1,215
12 votes
1 answer
2k views

Deleting files containing G-d's Name / taking the host device into the bathroom

Is there any issue regarding deleting electronic files with G-d's Name in them? Also, is there any issue with taking such a device into the bathroom?
cookie monster's user avatar
50 votes
9 answers
8k views

Can a Jew lose their Jewish Status?

Can a Jew lose their status as being a Jew by performing any action (example: performing idolatry, disavowing core beliefs, converting to another religion, etc)? Or once a person is a Jew then they ...
Yaakov Ellis's user avatar
  • 5,273
27 votes
7 answers
3k views

Halakhic International Date Line issues

According to halakha, where is the international date line? More specifically, I have heard that some people say you should observe Shabbat on Sunday in Japan & New Zealand and/or on Friday in ...
Sam's user avatar
  • 3,968
42 votes
13 answers
4k views

Bereishit vs. science

How does Judaism deal with the differences between scientific evidence of the beginning of the world and the account(s) in Bereishit?
Bas613's user avatar
  • 3,089
26 votes
6 answers
4k views

First steps for someone considering conversion

I am 25 years old and I am truly interested in converting. I too also only believe in G-d. I live my life to certain rules that others I see aren't strong enough to live by. I want to know what I ...
Steven Lemos's user avatar
16 votes
7 answers
2k views

Why don't we just follow the shittah of Moshe Rabeinu?

My question can apply to virtually all mitzvos where there is a disagreement in the standard way to fulfill them. If one reads the hakdama (introduction) to the Rambam's peirush mishnayos (commentary ...
sam's user avatar
  • 42.3k
32 votes
3 answers
6k views

Why can't electricity be manipulated on Shabbat and Yom Tov?

Why can't we use and change electricity on Shabbat and YomTov? By this I mean why can't we turn lights on and off? I've heard Rabbis say that its because you can't complete a circuit on Shabbat or ...
wizlog's user avatar
  • 1,887
37 votes
14 answers
9k views

How can we be sure that Judaism is true/the truth?

I borrowed (with permission) a question from Ahmed Han, which is: People of every religion claim that they are the ones in the right path. Even the people of sects in these religions think that ...
user avatar
28 votes
16 answers
4k views

Reliable Ask-a-Rabbi Websites

There are some times on this site where questioners will be directed to "ask their Rabbi." While it's always optimal to have such people discuss the question with their own Rabbi (and such action ...
yydl's user avatar
  • 38.6k
28 votes
8 answers
2k views

Is one allowed to smoke?

Nowadays, since there are studies that show that smoking is dangerous to health, is one allowed to smoke or is it violating "Venishmartem Meod Lenafshosechem"?
ertert3terte's user avatar
  • 40.6k
18 votes
7 answers
9k views

Non-Jews (Gentiles) in Olam Haba (Jewish Afterlife)?

Are there non-Jews in Olam Haba (the world to come), either in Gehenom (Hell) or Gan Eden (Heaven)?
shy''k's user avatar
  • 1,405
54 votes
15 answers
7k views

How do we know that God exists?

Simple enough question, and very much related to the topic. According to traditional Jewish sources, on what basis should people believe that there's a God?
shoosh's user avatar
  • 639
40 votes
3 answers
12k views

Questions about Polygamy in Jewish Law and Culture

I've recently been studying polygamy (having more than 1 wife), and had a few cultural questions. Was polygamy accepted at the time of David and Solomon? Were there any laws about it? Was polygamy ...
stringo0's user avatar
  • 561
11 votes
10 answers
3k views

Are there unnecessary words in Torah?

I've been taught, often enough that I thought it was universal, that there are no unnecessary words in torah (chumash) — every word is there to teach us something. I've seen plenty of discussions in ...
Monica Cellio's user avatar
9 votes
2 answers
1k views

Halacha of Shechita

Which Sefer or Sefarim is/are used in practical application of Shechita? General Halacha follows the שלחן ערוך, but does it in all areas?
MTL's user avatar
  • 19.1k
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
  • 21.1k
23 votes
11 answers
10k views

How does "eilu v'eilu" work out with an absolute truth?

I'm under the impression that religious Judaism believes in absolute truths. That being the case, how does the concept of "eilu v'eilu divrei elokim chaim" (Eruvin 13b) work out? When two scholars ...
Moshe's user avatar
  • 2,261
22 votes
8 answers
7k views

Is it forbidden for a woman to learn Gemara?

Is it forbidden for a woman to learn Gemara?
Gershon Gold's user avatar
17 votes
6 answers
9k views

Non-Jews learning or being taught Torah

I read on Mi Yodeya, and elsewhere on the Internet, that the Gemara (Chagigah 13a) says that Jews can't teach Torah to gentiles, and that according to Tosefot (Chagigah 13a sv. ein) this is because ...
Annelise's user avatar
  • 2,010
31 votes
5 answers
7k views

Is it possible for a Gentile to convert to Judaism? [closed]

Is it possible for someone who is Gentile to convert to Judaism? What is the prevailing belief of Jewish people on this subject? What scripture backs up this belief? What do prominent Jewish ...
going's user avatar
  • 1,086
16 votes
4 answers
5k views

Is there sufficient evidence to support the theory that ancient Israel practiced monolatry?

I just came across this Wikipedia article on monolatrism that says some people believe ancient Israel practiced monolatry. The highest claim to be made for Moses is that he was, rather than a ...
user avatar
6 votes
2 answers
995 views

Will A Non Jew who did not keep the Noachide Laws be Held Accountable?

Will A Non Jew who did not keep the Noachide Laws be Held Accountable on yom hadin? After all, he can claim he didn't know anything about them. Maybe there is a difference between a gentile in ...
ray's user avatar
  • 21.4k
24 votes
10 answers
938 views

All the many, many details

I understand a number of reasons why the Jewish community keeps so many rules to the level of minutiae. But why SUCH a level of intricacy in some of these laws? I looked through a large book on the ...
Annelise's user avatar
  • 2,010
21 votes
5 answers
5k views

Sources For Listening To/Not Listening to Non-Jewish Music

What are sources for it being allowed to listen to non-Jewish music and sources for it being prohibited?
Matthew Miller's user avatar
21 votes
4 answers
3k views

When does somebody living in space (e.g. ISS) observe Shabbat?

I understand that Jewish astronauts have been advised to observe Shabbat by Cape Canaveral time, by analogy with traveling to a place that doesn't have daily sunrise/sunset where some rule you use the ...
Monica Cellio's user avatar
15 votes
3 answers
1k views

Jewish definition of a charity

I know that Jews are supposed to give 10% of their income to charity, but what constitutes a charity? I know that Shuls, Jewish schools and poor people in your community count, but what about secular ...
Ken's user avatar
  • 3,824
14 votes
2 answers
5k views

What makes something "chukat goyim?"

One of the most famous examples I have heard is that one should not even tie one's shoes like the non-Jews do in times of persecution. That seems rather excessive. What if the Jews started doing some ...
Jeremy's user avatar
  • 8,934
12 votes
2 answers
1k views

Are thoughts of sin punished halachically?

Inspired by this question, I got interested in the question of halakhic punishment for thoughts of sin? In general, the Torah is not so concerned and doesn't judge how people feel or what their ...
mbloch's user avatar
  • 53.3k
11 votes
4 answers
8k views

Jews allowed to pray and join Muslim congregation in Mosques and Experiences

I had read somewhere in Maimonidian literature that Jews are allowed to pray in Mosques. Is it even allowed for them to Join the Muslim congregation and pray the Salat for they worship the same God (...
knowit's user avatar
  • 1,985
10 votes
2 answers
5k views

Does Judaism permit sexual relationships outside of marriage?

I am eager to know more about different religions from Islam to Judaism. Furthermore, how different religions look at women and comparing their kinds of approaches to the matter of gender and ...
Persian Cat's user avatar
52 votes
7 answers
8k views

Does the Torah discuss aliens?

Does the Torah discuss extra-terrestrial life and/or civilizations? Do any Torah sources exist which discuss what these hypothetical beings would be like and their status/nature? (eg. Would they be ...
ertert3terte's user avatar
  • 40.6k
39 votes
7 answers
4k views

Where does the concept of Gilgulim (reincarnations) in Judaism come from?

What is the source of Gilgulim (reincarnations) in Judaism? Are there people who disagree with its existence? Who was the first to mention it? What I am asking essentially is what is the historical ...
Chalutzhanal's user avatar
  • 2,292
32 votes
3 answers
7k views

Riding the Subway on Shabbat

Assuming that there are no problems regarding paying for it (either you entered the system before Shabbat, or a non-Jew paid for you): What are the halakhic issue with riding the subway on Shabbat? (...
Shmuel's user avatar
  • 10.6k
32 votes
5 answers
2k 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"?
Shalom's user avatar
  • 134k
31 votes
23 answers
10k views

How can I curb my sexual desire?

I am looking for the best and most practical suggestion as to what a man can do to curb his yetzer hara (evil inclination) for sexual desire. Please provide sources for why your answer should be ...
user avatar
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
  • 2,473
29 votes
2 answers
2k views

Voting in a church?

Are you allowed to vote inside a church? (Answers supplying sources would be preferred, as always.)
Gershon Gold's user avatar

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