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How do we 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 ...
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17 votes
0 answers
444 views

How and why did R. Akiva Eiger try to emulate the Rashba?

I'm attending a bar mitzva celebration recently, and the father of the boy gives a short speech. During his speech he mentions in passing that Rabbi Akiva Eiger (1761–1837, modern-day Austria ...
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  • 73.4k
15 votes
4 answers
526 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 ...
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  • 1,422
13 votes
1 answer
205 views

Why isn't maakeh in the Tur?

The chapters in Shulchan Aruch generally follows those in Tur, with a couple of exceptions here and there. One of those exceptions is that SA adds a final chapter, 427, to Choshen Mishpat discuss the ...
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13 votes
1 answer
928 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? ...
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12 votes
2 answers
214 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 ...
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12 votes
0 answers
631 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' (...
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12 votes
1 answer
363 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, ...
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  • 5,095
11 votes
1 answer
365 views

Is fighting in a non-Jewish army against another army with Jews as well permissible?

Let me explain. This is something that actually happened, in World War One; Jews volunteered to fight with the Entente and many Jews volunteered on the Central Powers. Some could have served on the ...
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  • 309
11 votes
1 answer
189 views

The beginning of public charity

In the Torah, charity is a private matter. Each person has an obligation to help the poor in various ways, for example, by leaving some wheat on the ground, leaving some fruits on the trees, giving ...
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11 votes
0 answers
100 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, many of the Geonim (for example: ...
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  • 18.2k
11 votes
0 answers
136 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' ...
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  • 36.5k
11 votes
2 answers
422 views

How is Tadir determined when either one can be considered more common?

There is a principle called “Tadir v’she’eino tadir, Tadir kodem” - when presented with something commonly done and something less commonly done, the one that’s done more common takes precedence (...
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  • 33.4k
11 votes
0 answers
245 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 ...
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  • 4,943
11 votes
1 answer
1k views

What happened to the Mixed Multitude?

When the people of Israel left Egypt they did not leave alone. They left with a mixed multitude of many people (Exodus 12:38). What happened to the mixed multitude in the desert and, specifically, ...
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  • 7,317
11 votes
1 answer
249 views

Maaser to your own employer

I know there are many Jews who work for schools, synagogues, soup kitchens, and other such non-profit organizations that do a community service. Many people also give maaser money to these ...
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11 votes
0 answers
397 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 ...
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  • 19.3k
11 votes
1 answer
209 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 ...
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10 votes
0 answers
307 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 to ...
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  • 6,414
10 votes
2 answers
381 views

When and how often would someone say Kiddush Levana (Blessing for the moon) if he were on another planet?

This M.Y. answer says that there are differing views as to whether someone is exempt from mitzvoth while in space. If we were to follow the opinion that one is obligated, should a person on Jupiter ...
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  • 68.7k
10 votes
1 answer
706 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 ...
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  • 18.6k
10 votes
1 answer
342 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 ...
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  • 8,621
10 votes
1 answer
347 views

Who authored the 13 Ani Maamin's?

The Rambam in his Hakdama to his Pirush on Perek Chelek in Mesechtas Sanhedrin mentions the points of belief a Jew must have. To the best of my knowledge these are the basis of the well-known ...
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10 votes
2 answers
184 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?
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9 votes
0 answers
95 views

Yosef's dreams and time

I had an interesting idea, and I wondered if anyone knows of sources that use it. Yosef deals with three sets of dreams: his own, the dreams of the butler and baker, and the dreams of Pharaoh. In the ...
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  • 2,168
9 votes
3 answers
398 views

Leaving a phone perpetually on on the Sabbath

I have never been sufficiently religious to understand everything on this site without help from friends or family, but a question was asked by a non-Jewish friend that I was unable to answer, so I'm ...
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9 votes
0 answers
135 views

Maharam Shiff’s Mnemonic indexes

The Wikipedia page (from Jewish encyclopedia) for Rabbi Meir Shiff states: A mnemonic index to the Bible and the Talmud by him is also extant. Where can I find such an index?
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9 votes
0 answers
84 views

Eliezer's daughter and descendants

Medrash Rabah Parshas Chayai Sara 59:9 says that Eliezer had a daughter and was hoping that she would marry Yitzchak. Avraham told him you are cursed (come from a cursed family) and my son is blessed. ...
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9 votes
1 answer
269 views

Rejected hermeneutics doubtfully true

The gemarra often employs the different types of derashos/hermeneutics such as kal vachomer/a fortiori arguments and hekesh/juxtaposition of phrases or terms. Also often, is these derashos are ...
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  • 18.2k
9 votes
0 answers
77 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 ...
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  • 2,335
9 votes
0 answers
63 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:...
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  • 33.4k
9 votes
0 answers
269 views

Half Jew half Gentile

I always thought it was a misconception to be "half-Jewish". Usually the speaker means one of their parents are Jewish, making them either fully Jewish or fully Gentile. However, I saw today that the ...
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  • 18.2k
9 votes
0 answers
198 views

Could there be a Halachik issue with using a DNA kit such as 23andMe?

Besides learning fun facts about one's DNA and ancestry, there's a lot of good that can come out of using one. For example: people of Ashkenazi Jewish descent can learn if they're predisposed to BRCA1 ...
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  • 11.7k
9 votes
0 answers
164 views

Minhag to eat Dessert First?

A while ago (at least 25 years ago) I recall a friend's mother saying there was a minhag in Tzfat to eat dessert first, because if you had to suddenly stop your meal in the middle because the Moshiach ...
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  • 441
9 votes
1 answer
117 views

Tribes' names with את and without?

"וַתַּהַר לֵאָה וַתֵּלֶד בֵּן וַתִּקְרָא שְׁמוֹ רְאוּבֵן" "וַתַּהַר עוֹד וַתֵּלֶד בֵּן ... וַתִּקְרָא שְׁמוֹ שִׁמְעוֹן" "וַתַּהַר עוֹד וַתֵּלֶד בֵּן ... עַל־כֵּן קָרָא־שְׁמוֹ לֵוִי" "וַתַּהַר עוֹד ...
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  • 24.3k
9 votes
0 answers
147 views

Source for an ideal Shidduch based on proximity

A Rebbi of mine in yeshiva said in the name of Rav Ruderman z"tl who referred to a Chazal that a person should ideally try to marry someone from the "same מבוי (street), if not then the same שכונה (...
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  • 12.4k
9 votes
0 answers
150 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 ...
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  • 11.7k
9 votes
0 answers
181 views

When during IVF are the parents' thoughts determining the level of the soul of their baby

I have read that the thoughts of a couple during marital relations does determine and effect the level of the soul they draw down for their baby. What about a couple using IVF to conceive? When ...
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  • 121
9 votes
0 answers
218 views

What is the reason for the ark opening & closing procedure during Aleinu in High Holiday Musaph?

The Art Scroll & Birnbaum siddurim Nusach Ashkenaz for both Rosh Hashannah & Yom Kippur state this ark / opening procedure during the cantor's recital of the Aleinu prayer during Musaph on ...
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  • 68.7k
9 votes
0 answers
761 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 ...
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9 votes
0 answers
153 views

What would have happened if the sin of the spies never occurred?

If the spies had not given a bad report about Eretz Yisroel or the people had not accepted their bad report, how would history have been different? I have heard speculation that upon entering the ...
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  • 4,338
9 votes
1 answer
333 views

How does a recent bar mitzva "complete the weekly portion with the community"

When a person becomes bar mitva during the year, 98% of the time the community has already read 1 or even 50 weekly portions. Does the bar mitzva need to make up those portions? Would it matter if ...
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  • 27.9k
9 votes
1 answer
163 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 ...
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9 votes
1 answer
282 views

What's the Shiur of Mashehu?

Certain issurim (forbidden things) can become batel (halachically nullified) if they were unintentionally mixed in heter (permitted things). In order for this to happen, the heter must outnumber the ...
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9 votes
2 answers
302 views

Seemingly Hefker Esrog - used for the Mitzva

This past Erev Succos I arrived at a local synagogue that had a fellow selling Lulavim and Esrogim in their Simcha hall. The fellow left three Esrogim (not in the greatest condition - yet Kosher) on ...
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9 votes
1 answer
1k views

Honorific for a non-Jew

My question is somewhat simple: is there an honorific for particularly righteous, deceased non-Jews? Related: is זכרונו לברכה ever used for non-Jews? I don't recall ever having seen this. EDIT: I ...
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  • 261
9 votes
3 answers
274 views

New heaven and earth?

Yeshayahu 65:17 (66:22): "כִּי־הִנְנִי בוֹרֵא שָׁמַיִם חֲדָשִׁים וָאָרֶץ חֲדָשָׁה וְלֹא תִזָּכַרְנָה הָרִאשֹׁנוֹת וְלֹא תַעֲלֶינָה עַל־לֵב׃ " writes about a new heaven and earth. Although I’m not ...
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  • 7,091
8 votes
0 answers
107 views

Who reinvented idolatry after Noah? How did it re-emerge?

@Deuteronomy’s comment on this question made me wonder what caused the reemergence of idolatry after the flood. From Enosh to Noah, there were generations of idolaters. Noah believed in God, and ...
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  • 24.3k
8 votes
0 answers
248 views

Belief-with worship only towards HaShem - in the real existence of intermediaries between the Almighty and the Gentile Nations

I am an Italian Noahide. There are several discussions in this forum about shituf, understood as associating other entities with HaShem. Unless I am mistaken, it is generally held that on the halachic ...
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  • 2,294
8 votes
0 answers
102 views

What is the reason behind the Meiri intentionally replacing the names of Rabbis?

The Meiri in his writings gives each Rabbi whom he quotes an alternative name, based on the main contribution that particular rabbinic authority made. Why does he do so, for it seems he goes against ...
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