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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 ...
Alex's user avatar
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17 votes
2 answers
306 views

Where did the incense-altar sweeper get his broom from?

Mishna, Tamid chapter 3, in a loose translation: Those who merited removing the ashes from the inner altar and the candelabrum would precede. They had four tools in their hands: the basket, the ...
msh210's user avatar
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14 votes
1 answer
330 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: ...
robev's user avatar
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14 votes
1 answer
354 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 ...
Robert Columbia's user avatar
12 votes
2 answers
529 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, ...
Ariel's user avatar
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11 votes
2 answers
340 views

Forbidden to immerse, as opposed to doesn't work?

I was learning Pesachim, and on 17b I saw Tosafos say the following: דבתוך הכלי ודאי אסור לטבול מדאורייתא It is definitely biblically forbidden to immerse something within a vessel (as opposed ...
robev's user avatar
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11 votes
0 answers
110 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 ...
Daniel Kagan's user avatar
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11 votes
1 answer
138 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:...
DonielF's user avatar
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11 votes
1 answer
280 views

Hackintosh in Halacha

A Hackintosh is a bootlegged version of Apple's macOS loaded onto a computer that has not been manufactured by Apple and doesn't have a license to run macOS. According to Apple's macOS license, I. ...
Rafael's user avatar
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10 votes
1 answer
280 views

Why is the name Mekom P'tur indicative of being entirely permissible?

In the introduction to Tractate Shabbat in his Commentary to the Mishnah, Rambam writes: אבל מקום פטור מותר להוציא ממנו לכל אחת משלש הרשיות ומהן אליו וזה מותר לכתחלה ולפיכך נקרא מקום פטור (Kafih ...
Alex's user avatar
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10 votes
0 answers
194 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 (...
NJM's user avatar
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10 votes
0 answers
388 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 ...
Adám's user avatar
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10 votes
1 answer
229 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 ...
rikitikitembo's user avatar
10 votes
2 answers
357 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 ...
Gershon Gold's user avatar
10 votes
1 answer
424 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 ...
magicker72's user avatar
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10 votes
1 answer
419 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 ...
Gershon Gold's user avatar
10 votes
2 answers
205 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?
Mordechai B.'s user avatar
9 votes
1 answer
332 views

Tumat met on the London Underground

Apparently part of London's subway network causes problems for kohanim because it is underneath a museum that includes human remains: Due to the Science Museum and the Underground entrance sharing ...
Zarka's user avatar
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9 votes
0 answers
151 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?
Dr. Shmuel's user avatar
9 votes
0 answers
126 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. ...
Gershon Gold's user avatar
9 votes
2 answers
850 views

Why wait to eat if it rains on the first night of Sukkot?

If it is raining on the first night of Sukkot, Rema Orach Chayyim 639:5 writes: לילה הראשונה צריך לאכול כזית בסוכה אף אם גשמים יורדין ויקדש בסוכה כדי שיאמר זמן על הסוכה On the first night, one ...
Joel K's user avatar
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9 votes
1 answer
168 views

Establishing the relative order of Rashi's commentaries

In learning Masekhet Ketubot, I encountered Rashi's definition of בי שמשי on daf 103a. There, since the passage is clearly referring to twilight on erev shabbat in particular, Rashi explains why so ...
Shimon bM's user avatar
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9 votes
0 answers
128 views

Spam texts to run up a person's bill

Many cell phone plans allot a person a certain number of texts each month and charge for every text over that limit. This is for both texts sent and received. Now, phone calls can be denied, but ...
DonielF's user avatar
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9 votes
0 answers
204 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 ...
Lev tov's user avatar
  • 121
9 votes
0 answers
347 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 ...
DanF's user avatar
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9 votes
0 answers
204 views

Liability for bed bugs

If one tenant in an apartment brings in bed-bugs (and that can be proven), and they spread throughout the building, and the other tenants have to vacate their apartments to be fumigated, or whatever ...
Y     e     z's user avatar
9 votes
0 answers
214 views

Proper Reading of the Word זועה

The word זועה appears six times in tanach: Yeshayahu 28:19 Yirmiyahu 15:4 Yirmiyahu 24:9 Yirmiyahu 29:18 Yirmiyahu 34:17 Divrei Hayamim II 29:8 In each one of these instances except the first, the ...
Jewels's user avatar
  • 2,512
9 votes
0 answers
188 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 ...
Premundane's user avatar
  • 4,530
9 votes
2 answers
883 views

Can you fulfill Netilat Yadayim by dipping your hands in a sink?

According to the Gemara in Hullin on 107a, if there's a vessel with a hole in it, and there's a "stream" (more than a drip but not necessarily the "sheffoferet hannod" required for a real mikveh) ...
Baal Shemot Tovot's user avatar
9 votes
1 answer
243 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 ...
Oliver's user avatar
  • 12.1k
9 votes
1 answer
348 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 ...
HodofHod's user avatar
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9 votes
1 answer
399 views

Reincarnations - Let's work out how many one would need to be personally obligated in all 613 Mitzvot in the superset

In a nutshell, the Arizal says (Shaar Gilgulim Ch. 16) we are reincarnated in order that every Jew gets a chance to experience all 613 mitzvot as a chiyuv (personal obligation) at least once. My ...
Rabbi Kaii's user avatar
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9 votes
3 answers
577 views

What type of tree was the Eitz haChaim (Tree of Life)?

What type of tree was the Eitz haChaim (Tree of Life) spoken about in Bereishis 2:9? יַּצְמַ֞ח יְהוָ֤ה אֱלֹהִים֙ מִן־הָ֣אֲדָמָ֔ה כָּל־עֵ֛ץ נֶחְמָ֥ד לְמַרְאֶ֖ה וְט֣וֹב לְמַאֲכָ֑ל וְעֵ֤ץ הַֽחַיִּים֙ ...
Gavriel's user avatar
  • 9,808
9 votes
1 answer
2k 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 ...
rotten's user avatar
  • 261
8 votes
0 answers
112 views

Oops, said too much Hallel. What now?

On Rosh Chodesh and on Pesach after the first yom tov, most communities recite Hallel b'dilug ("half" Hallel). In most siddurim that I'm used to, the skipped-over portions are Psalms 115:1–...
magicker72's user avatar
  • 10.5k
8 votes
0 answers
160 views

Should people davening alone daven together?

If a few men know there will be no minyan so they choose to daven biyechidut, is there merit to their staying "together" either in shul or not? Is there a notion of "kahal" or &...
rosends's user avatar
  • 38.3k
8 votes
0 answers
169 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 ...
robev's user avatar
  • 19.9k
8 votes
1 answer
310 views

Sukkot water libations - from the Torah, from Sinai, or from the Rabbis?

There's a disagreement recorded in the Mishna, Zevachim 13:6, regarding the Sukkot water libation. R' El'azar includes this ceremony in the list of Temple activities that are prohibited by the Torah ...
Isaac Moses's user avatar
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8 votes
1 answer
232 views

Outdoor prayer facing rainbow

Berakhot 59a אמר רבי אלכסנדרי אמר רבי יהושע בן לוי הרואה את הקשת בענן צריך שיפול על פניו שנאמר כמראה הקשת אשר יהיה בענן וגו׳ ואראה ואפל על פני לייטי עלה במערבא משום דמחזי כמאן דסגיד לקשתא אבל ברוכי ...
Double AA's user avatar
  • 100k
8 votes
0 answers
162 views

(How) did the South African rabbinate deal with non-white conversion candidates during apartheid?

As I understand it, during apartheid, the South African government treated the Jews as "white." Did it ever happen that someone in a different racial group expressed interest in converting to Judaism ...
Shalom's user avatar
  • 134k
8 votes
0 answers
84 views

Is general anesthesia or coma considered sleep?

Is general anesthesia or coma considered Halachicly as sleep and in what aspects (like should one say Hamapil before or Birkas Hatorah after or wash hands etc)?
Al Berko's user avatar
  • 26.3k
8 votes
0 answers
549 views

If the Dodo bird had a tradition of being kosher & was resurrected, would it be OK to eat again?

Came across an article titled "Could scientists resurrect the dodo bird?" and it made me wonder: suppose there was a mesorah that the Dodo bird was kosher before it went extinct in 1681. If we in ...
alicht's user avatar
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8 votes
0 answers
7k views

Kedushas Levi's Eight Segulos of Chanukah

In the past few years, each Chanukah I have received a list, attributed to the Kedushas Levi, of Eight Segulos for the eight nights of Chanukah, with each Segula corresponding to the number of candles ...
Chaim's user avatar
  • 4,379
8 votes
0 answers
150 views

Is Sous-vide Cooking or Roasting?

It has been discussed here previously regarding the Sous-vide method of cooking. However I have a separate question. What type of method is halachically categorized as? Is it Tzli or is it Bishul? ...
Shoel U'Meishiv's user avatar
8 votes
0 answers
118 views

The soul and Sleep

I’ve heard from a Rabbi that the falling feeling you get while your sleeping that wakes you up (known as the hipnic jerk) is your soul falling back into your body. Are there any other sources that ...
Anonymous111122's user avatar
8 votes
2 answers
367 views

Whence "בחזקת בשרי"?

Besides the main categories of meat, dairy, and pareve (non-meat, non-dairy) foods, two special subcategories of pareve foods are relevant to halacha (e.g. Yore Dea 93): pareve food cooked using clean ...
msh210's user avatar
  • 73.4k
8 votes
1 answer
548 views

Why does the Chazon Ish not allow supporting the schach with nailed planks?

The Chazon Ish in Hilchos Sukkah 143:2 writes: ולכן לדידן שאנו נוהגין להחמיר בדין המעמיד הסכך בדבר המקבל טומאה כדעת רמב"ן ור"ן, אין לקבוע הכלונסות במסמרים. Therefore according to us, who ...
RibbisRabbiAndMore's user avatar
8 votes
0 answers
147 views

Mitzvos from the 613 that are not included in the Ten Commandments

The Chasam Sofer to parshas Nasso says (Toras Moshe I, ד"ה ושמו שמי) that it is known that even though the Ten Commandments contain all the 613 mitzvos (see Rashi and here), the three mitzvos that ...
robev's user avatar
  • 19.9k
8 votes
0 answers
190 views

Aruch Hashulchan's comments about the form of a fetus

In his discussion of the sin of wasting seed, R. Yechiel Michel Epstein writes that scientists using microscopes have found that the drop of semen contains the entire image/form of a person, thus ...
Alex's user avatar
  • 49.8k
8 votes
0 answers
390 views

Davening to change nature

In Mashcehes Brachos (Bavli) 60 the Gemara states that one should not pray that his unborn baby be a boy if it's after the time the baby has formed already in the womb. However, in Masheches Brachos ...
sam's user avatar
  • 42.3k

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