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27
votes
2answers
457 views

What kind of seder did a non-oleh l'regel have during the time of the Bais Hamikdash (and for that matter, the entire 40 years in the desert)?

Our haggadah did not always exist - it appears to be primarily from the time of the Mishna. Before then, there was a Korban Pesach and specific procedures for organizing family and/or friends to eat ...
18
votes
0answers
406 views

Deleted attacks on the Shulchan Aruch in Pri Chadash

The bibliography in the English Me'am Lo'ez haggadah says of Pri Chadash that it "often strongly attacks the opinions of the Shulchan Aruch. Its strongest language was deleted from later editions." ...
18
votes
2answers
361 views

How to determine “population statistics” for population-dependent Halachot?

There appear to be several halachot that are based on "a majority of Israel". For example: Mishnah Berachot 54a: הרואה מקום שנעשו בו נסים לישראל אומר ברוך שעשה נסים לאבותינו במקום הזה IF ONE ...
18
votes
2answers
1k views

Was a sefer torah ever actually written in Greek?

This answer to a different question states that the only other language a sefer torah can be written in and be kosher is Greek. (Rambam, Hilchot Sefer Torah 1:19 says that this Greek no longer exists ...
16
votes
1answer
263 views

Finding a source for a palindrome attributed to Ibn Ezra

There is a phrase that is popularly attributed to Rabbi Avraham ibn Ezra. Apparently, it relates to a sugya in Hullin that concerns the permissibility of eating honey in which the legs of bees might ...
16
votes
3answers
539 views

Chatzi LaHashem

I've been having this discussion with my friends and family about the Halacha of dividing Yom Tov into Chatzi LaHashem (half of the day devoted to prayer and learning) and Chatzi Lachem (half of the ...
16
votes
1answer
477 views

Mi Yodeya and Teaching Non-Jews

There is an established halachic principle that we do not explicitly teach Torah to non-Jews. Though the exact parameters of this law is debated, the principle issur itself isn't. According to some ...
14
votes
3answers
350 views

Is there such a thing as “Veset Halom”

One friend of mine told me that his wife always sees a special dream before her veset. Always the same one. Could such think be counted as veset kavua? I understand that technically a dream doesn't ...
13
votes
1answer
147 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 ...
13
votes
4answers
392 views

Coerced testimony in halacha

My chavrusa and I were going through Sanhedrin (40b) this evening, and the topic of how to get accurate statements from witnesses. Rashi mentioned the concept of moving the witnesses around in order ...
13
votes
4answers
2k views

Is downloading pirated music stealing?

Either way, it should be frowned upon as not a nice thing to do, but would it actually be assur?
12
votes
1answer
776 views

Definition of mini-skirt in Yabia Omer YD 6:14

In Yabia Omer YD 6:14, Rav Ovadia Yosef ruled that it is preferable for a woman to wear women's pants than to wear a "mini-skirt" (חצאית-מיני). He writes that a full skirt is preferable to both. In ...
12
votes
1answer
763 views

May a woman with artifical metal legs wear a short skirt or pants?

May a woman (or a man) wear immodest clothing over an artificial part of her body? (Lets assume that beged ish is not a consideration) i.e. if she has artifical legs, may she wear short shorts? ...
11
votes
0answers
120 views

Ritual locations during the times of the Mishkan

There are certain, rituals such as the sending away of the scapegoat on Yom Kippur or the drawing of water on Sukkot which are described in Mishna as relating geographically to the location of the ...
11
votes
3answers
978 views

What should a woman who can only do Chalitza do if her Yevam can't do it?

In some cases of Zikas Yibum, there is a Rabbinic prohibition against their doing Yibum (eg. the deceased husband's brother is a Mamzer, cf. Shulchan Aruch Even Haezer 174) and as such they must ...
11
votes
0answers
516 views

Tattling on fellow Mi Yodeyans

We are currently in the beginning of the 2012 Mi Yodeya Moderator Election. To what extent can one avail oneself of the exception of "to'elet"="for a purpose" to the standard rules of Lashon HaRa' (...
11
votes
1answer
310 views

The stolen maple syrup and kashrus

Does anyone know if there is going to be a kashrus problem with maple syrup next year? A rather large amount of maple syrup was stolen last year. The thieves did not keep it in the original casks, ...
11
votes
1answer
163 views

Fast some other day if can't fast on Yom Kippur?

If someone is sufficiently ill on Yom Kippur to be halachically allowed to eat, would there be any value in him fasting for a whole day after he gets well? I'm sure it would be voluntary, but is it ...
10
votes
1answer
476 views

Tweeting on Shabbat: d'oraita or d'rabbanan violation?

There was a dangerous situation in my community on Shabbat and I knew (from the amount my house phone was ringing and my cell phone was buzzing) that people I knew across the world would be concerned ...
10
votes
2answers
141 views

Leshabeichacha and loseis/latet shevach

Towards the beginning of the נוסח אשכנז version of davening, in the section beginning לעולם יהא אדם ירא שמים, we say as follows: לפיכך אנחנו חייבים להודות לך ולשבחך ולפארך ולברך ולקדש ולתת שבח ...
10
votes
1answer
192 views

Looking for a particular idea from Reb Yonason Eibshitz

I recall reading a quote from Reb Yonason Eibshitz concerning a judge on a beis din of 23 faced with a strange situation. The defendant seems to the judge to be guilty of murder, but this judge is the ...
10
votes
1answer
566 views

Notched 2x4 for maamid?

Let's assume that there is a lechatchila to not use metal object that are mekabel tumah (susceptible to tumah) for something that supports the s'chach ("maamid"), which can be avoided by using ...
10
votes
0answers
336 views

Do some communities still allow more mingling between the sexes on Tu B'Av?

Do some communities still allow more mingling between the sexes on Tu B'Av? I understand that this used to be a custom, in addition to allowance of a more relaxed approach to women's tznius on that ...
10
votes
1answer
128 views

Counting Sefirah in a made up language

Can one fulfill the mitzvah of counting the Omer by counting in a language that only he/she understands? What if a few people understand? An entire goup?
10
votes
2answers
299 views

מחני נא — Moshe's real name isn't mentioned

In Shemot 32:32, Moshe tells Hashem: וְעַתָּה אִם תִּשָּׂא חַטָּאתָם וְאִם אַיִן מְחֵנִי נָא מִסִּפְרְךָ אֲשֶׁר כָּתָבְתָּ: And now, if You forgive their sin But if not, erase me now from Your ...
10
votes
1answer
207 views

How were coins that were destined for the Dead Sea managed?

A mishna on Meila 11a talks about money that a nazarite set aside for his offerings; if he died before completing the term and had set money aside specifically for the sin-offering, those coins are ...
10
votes
2answers
155 views

What is the source for Neilas Hachag?

Neilas Hachag (as I understand it since there doesn't appear to be any real rules about it) is a tradition to eat some level of special meal as yom tov ends, typically associated with Sukkos, Pesach, ...
10
votes
1answer
152 views

Is the obligation for Gentiles to establish a system of courts communal or individual?

One of the seven laws of Noah for gentiles is to set up a system of courts. Is the obligation to set up a system of courts a communal obligation on Gentile communities, or does every single Gentile ...
10
votes
1answer
292 views

Chapter Endings while Leining Megillot

Inspired by this question. It seems to be a common minhag to have a special trope for the end of a chapter when leining the megillot. I have seen this done in my shul, have done it myself, and also ...
9
votes
0answers
95 views

What is the status of professional video game players?

A friend remarked to me that playing video games professionally today is the equivalent of professional gamblers in the times of the talmud, specifically in that both are not involved in "Yishuvo shel ...
9
votes
0answers
52 views

Is there a timetable of the Yom Kippur Avodah available?

I'm trying to get a sense of how long each part of the Kohen Gadol's day was. I have the impression that the (outer) Musaf offering took much longer than the Torah reading, but I have no idea how much ...
9
votes
0answers
37 views

Source for Geonic division of mitzvos

The Rambam and those who follow suit divide the 613 mitzvos into two groups, 248 positive mitzvos and 365 negative mitzvos. This is sourced from Makkos 23b. However, most of the Geonim (for example: ...
9
votes
0answers
44 views

What about Yetziat Mitzrayim should I remember?

One of the שש זכירות requires that I remember the Exodus from Egypt (זכירת יציאת מצרים). According to the linked Wiki document, in an effort to fulfill (לְמַעַן תִּזְכֹּר אֶת יוֹם צֵאתְךָ מֵאֶרֶץ ...
9
votes
0answers
63 views

Saying Amein in a Tefilla

In certain prayers, the congregation interjects the word Amein after certain words/phrases. In The Ya'aleh V'yavo, I hear it in the last section, amidst these three statements זָכְרֵנוּ ה' ...
9
votes
1answer
300 views

Is shenayim mikra (only) a minhag according to the Chofetz Chaim?

R. Yisrael Meir Kagan writes that every Jewish man needs to know the weekly Torah portion and understand it. He says that the reason why all of Israel reads the verses twice and the translation once (...
9
votes
0answers
129 views

Who is pulled to safety first?

If a group of people are in mortal danger, all of the same gender (cf. Horayot 13a; some suggest that the Mishnah on Horayot is not discussing a case of rescuing from physical danger, cf. Tziz Eliezer ...
9
votes
0answers
496 views

What are the rules for sh'va na?

What is the full list of rules for when to pronounce a sh'va (i.e. na) during tefillah and keriat hatorah? When I was in school, I remember being taught that a sh'va was na in the following 5 cases (...
9
votes
0answers
175 views

I'm not sure what to do when I reach this phrase in the Gemara?

When learning Gemara I sometimes run into a phrase that says: "On this answer they asked all the questions that were asked earlier on the page and they were answered the same way they were answered ...
9
votes
0answers
251 views

May one ride in a utilitarian car?

A new study has confirmed the obvious: people want to survive: even though participants approve of autonomous vehicles that might sacrifice passengers to save others, respondents would prefer not ...
9
votes
0answers
631 views

To what extent is homosexuality forbidden among non-Jews?

All homosexual behavior is forbidden among Jews, but some actions are clearly Torah prohibitions (e.g. mishkav zachar), while some might be Rabbinic in nature (e.g. lesbian relations). Are all of ...
9
votes
1answer
123 views

Does Beis Din have the authority to quarantine?

In light of the recent discussions about the legality of quarantining potential Ebola patients, I was wondering if Halacha has the mechanism for such a thing. In an autonomous Jewish society, in ...
9
votes
1answer
573 views

Are the seventy distinct languages and nations listed?

It's a well known concept that there were 70 nations and 70 original languages. Is there any agreement about which ones they were/are? I found this which lists the nations, but I'm interested in ...
9
votes
1answer
919 views

What is meant by the 974 “worlds” that were “created and destroyed”?

Midrash Tehillim 90:13 says that God created and destroyed 974 worlds before this one. What exactly does that mean? I've heard it used in defense of a modern understanding of evolution and cosmology ...
9
votes
1answer
162 views

A father Changing a minhag - any impact on a grown child?

I was reading some questions about changing minhagim and I began to wonder -- if I took on my father's minhagim when I grew, and then, later, he changed a minhag because he learned something new, or ...
9
votes
1answer
542 views

Kissing when one person is meaty and the other is milky

I know that someone cannot eat milk immediately after meat and vice versa. Is it ok for two people to kiss if one person has just had meat and the other has just had milk? Do they, perhaps, need to ...
8
votes
0answers
105 views

When should we call God Ha-Makom?

We have many names for God. Elokim to emphasize God's justice, HaShem to emphasize God's mercy, and many other self-explanatory names, such as Adon Olam, HaKadosh Barukh Hu, Matir Assurim, Tzur ...
8
votes
0answers
76 views

Those who observe “Ben Zachar” at night and “Shalom Zachar” by day

There's a pretty common custom to observe what's commonly called a "Shalom Zachar" on the Friday night after a baby boy is born. People go to where the baby's father is, eat snacks, sing and share ...
8
votes
0answers
94 views

Source of opinion that Talmud Yerushalmi was corrupted by Karaites

In the entry for Talmud Bavli/Yerushalmi in Chida's Shem Hagedolim Hashalem (c.1800, the older versions do not have this paragraph), he references a theory from maskilim of his time that the Rabbis ...
8
votes
0answers
48 views

Is there any connection between the Sotah, the Mizbeiach, and the Beis HaMikdash keychain?

In exactly three contexts, the Mishnah notes that there was an amah square marble slab with a ring, using exactly the same language each time. The first is in Sotah 2:2, regarding the Sotah procedure:...
8
votes
1answer
218 views

הדרן עֲלָךְ מסכת פלונית - why not עֲלִיךְ?

The standard text for a siyum on a masechta, as printed in Gemaras, is הדרן עֲלָךְ מסכת פלונית מסכת seems to be feminine, so shouldn't it be עֲלִיךְ, with similar changes for the other words? As ...

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