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4
votes
4answers
945 views

Do bananas make the best karpas?

For karpas at the seder, one is supposed to eat a food on which the blessing "borei pri ha'adama" is made. However, many of the most commonly used food items for karpas (e.g. parsley, raw onion, raw ...
9
votes
2answers
3k views

Doctors working on Shabbat

What are some general guidelines regarding the halakhic permissibility for Jewish doctors to work on Shabbat? I know that saving lives generally overrides Shabbat, but I am curious about less black-...
3
votes
2answers
852 views

Reading multiple versions of words in Megilla and Zachor [closed]

I have two main questions, followed by some bonus questions. 1) The pronunciation of the word "זכר" in Parshas Zachor Why do many Ashkenazic congregations repeat (at least a portion of) the last ...
17
votes
6answers
2k views

Why do we honor Charvona, specifically?

The song we sing after reading the Megilla on Purim, "Shoshanat Yaakov," concludes with "and may Charvona also be remembered favorably." According to the Megilla (Esther 7:9), all Charvona did was, ...
5
votes
2answers
1k views

What's the best thing to use for Marror?

What's the best thing to use for Marror (bitter herbs) for Seder, taking into account Halacha, ease, availability, etc?
8
votes
3answers
654 views

Are the names Akiva and Ya'akov related?

Are the names Akiva and Ya'akov related?
20
votes
7answers
630 views

Why are there colored splotches on the pages on many Jewish texts?

On many editions of the Chumash, Talmud, and even many more-modern books, you look at the side of the book (opposite the spine) and there are random colored splotches printed on the pages. (For ...
10
votes
8answers
446 views

What would you really, actually like to receive (give?) for Mishloach Manot on Purim? [closed]

Let's put it this way: what would you actually like to receive in your Mishloach Manot on Purim? (I'm trying to figure out what to put in there would actually be most appreciated?) I feel like ...
22
votes
12answers
10k views

Talmud Study, Where to start [closed]

I would like to start to study Talmud, BUT do not know how, where to start. My Jewish training is basically non-existent. I learned how to read the Hebrew words in the Siddur, Machzor, and Chumash - - ...
3
votes
2answers
2k views

Preferred method for providing hot water on Shabbat

I'd like to have hot water available for making tea and the like on Shabbat. What is your preferred method for this, and why? Do you use an electric urn? If so, what brand and features? Is it durable?...
2
votes
3answers
972 views

Where can I find Hebrew etymologies? [closed]

In what reliable source can I look up the etymology of English (or other) words stretching all the way back to Semitic languages, especially Hebrew? I often have suspicions that certain words might ...
8
votes
1answer
324 views

Shaking a no-battery flashlight on Shabbos

What is the problem with shaking one of the no battery/shaking flashlights which is on on shabbos?
2
votes
1answer
61 views

Communal commandment sources?

What are some good (preferably authoritative) sources that explain the concept and legal ramifications of mitzvos tziboriyos - obligations that fall upon the public as opposed to the individual? I am ...
10
votes
3answers
16k views

“How long is a Jewish funeral?”

A non-Jewish co-worker who was invited to a Jewish funeral asked me how long they typically are. I told her that, thank God, I hadn't been to many, but my understanding is that they probably vary a ...
14
votes
2answers
347 views

Do our sources address “strategic loan defaults”?

In the most recent episode of NPR's Planet Money Podcast, they interviewed a real estate lawyer in Arizona who talked about the large numbers of her clients who have been asking for advice about doing ...
3
votes
3answers
2k views

Attending non-frum event

Is it permissible to attend a non-frum event, such as a wedding or bar/bat mitzvah of a family member or friend?
26
votes
4answers
5k views

Shaking hands with the opposite gender?

What's the story: Can a man shake hands with a woman (or vice versa) in a business setting?
8
votes
2answers
893 views

How to pray in public places?

If you're stuck in a public place (e.g. airport, mall) and need to daven (pray) -- usually it's Mincha, right before sunset: what's the best way to do it?
25
votes
4answers
2k views

Why do people frequently change tunes toward the end of Lecha Dodi?

Frequently, perhaps even most of the time, I've noticed that the chazan (prayer leader) for Kabalat Shabbat switches tunes for the last four verses of Lecha Dodi. Is there any reason for this, or are ...
3
votes
2answers
161 views

Rashi's unusual phrasing of the four sons

At the end of Parashat Bo (Exodus 13:14), Rashi enumerates the Four Sons of the Passover Seder: דברה תורה כנגד ארבעה בנים, רשע ושאינו יודע לשאול והשואל דרך סתומה והשואל דרך חכמה The Torah ...
4
votes
2answers
240 views

What if a specific avoda zara looks just like avodas Hashem?

Let us assume there is at least one conventional way to serve any given false deity. Let us also assume that there is a prohibition against serving false deities in the manner that they are ...
11
votes
3answers
761 views

Best practices for praying in public with talit and tefilin

I just learned that a flight out of New York was diverted because a flight attendant saw a passenger putting on tefilin and freaked out, thinking that he was strapping on bombs. So, do you have any ...
6
votes
1answer
286 views

Must I warn people about an untrustworthy restaurant?

What is my obligation to warn fellow kosher observant people about a Restraurant that is claiming to be "Glatt" Kosher, when in fact it has no Rabbinic Supervision at all and the owner's religious ...
7
votes
1answer
522 views

Question about a 'Jewish proverb'

A [secular Jewish] Facebook friend posted the following as his status: "Commit a sin twice and it will not seem a crime. - Jewish proverb." I am unsure about what he thinks this means, and more ...
10
votes
7answers
8k views

Is there a problem with women wearing red clothing?

I've heard that red clothing is forbidden for women to wear because it's immodest. Some recent psych research confirmed that men are more attracted to women in red. So that means it's prohibited, ...
3
votes
3answers
497 views

Do you have to close the window if someone's cold?

The LinkedIn FrumNetwork user that I recently corresponded with about the wisdom of the crowd brought up an interesting bit of conventional wisdom that she claims is at least partly apocryphal: For ...
4
votes
1answer
768 views

Are women exempt from Tachanun and discouraged from saying it?

My brother heard from someone that she heard that women are exempt from saying Tachanun and therefore discouraged from saying it. Is this so? If so, why? Do you know sources for this? UPDATE: I ...
8
votes
3answers
1k views

Why still keep two days of Yom Tov outside of Israel?

Why do we continue to keep two days of Yom Tov outside of Israel? The reason for two days was revelant during the temple era as we needed two witnesses to see the new moon. But today, with no Temple ...
6
votes
5answers
398 views

“Moshe cried out” - really?

In Parashat Va-eira, Pharaoh, plagued with frogs, asks Moshe and Aharon to "entreat" God to remove the plague and says that he'll respond by releasing the Israelites. Moshe agrees, and then we have (...
3
votes
1answer
188 views

Searching for Chumatz before Passavor

If someone is going to be away for Passover, how many days before Passover can one search his home for Chumatz?
4
votes
4answers
486 views

Breakfast cereal brachot

Is there a reliable on-line source for finding the brerachot for commercially prepared breakfast cereals?
12
votes
1answer
482 views

Does a cholent bag/aluminum foil take away the need to tovel the pot?

If no food touches it, does it need to be toveled (immersed in mikvah)?
8
votes
3answers
256 views

Why do we stand when we do toward the end of Tachanun?

In the Tachanun prayer, it's traditional to sit for most of the core of Tachanun, but then to stand three words into the last paragraph, between "Va-anachnu lo neida'" and "ma na'aseh" ("And we won't ...
4
votes
2answers
668 views

What are the halachik issues involved in drawing from a nude model?

Aside from seeming obviously inappropriate for a good Jewish boy/girl, what are the halachik issues involved in drawing from a nude model? Are there any distinctions with regard to men/women?
3
votes
3answers
393 views

Which is better, lying or saying lashon hara?

Inspired by Shmeryl's frequenting of McDonalds, I have a similar question about lashon hara. Let's say Shmeryl is coming to visit you from out-of-town on shabbat, and has no problem with doing so ...
11
votes
2answers
252 views

Leaning on things during prayer?

It says in Shulchan Aruch that one may not lean on anything while reciting sh'mona esre. (OC 94:8) The Mishna B'rura defines "leaning" as placing one's weight on another object such that if the object ...
4
votes
2answers
334 views

How is it possible for a pot of meat to become pareve? [closed]

I was recently posed the following puzzle: You have a pot of meat. You put in milk. It becomes pareve. How can this be? Any ideas on how this is possible?
19
votes
2answers
1k views

Different traditions in Hebrew pronunciation [closed]

The theme of Hebrew pronunciation is one that facinates me and, as such, I want to get some feedback on some issues I've been thinking about for years. I have already discussed some of these issues ...
4
votes
2answers
879 views

Is there a minimum amount of dough to separate challah without a bracha?

I saw on this website http://www.secretofchallah.com/50708/When-to-separate-challah#opinions that one should not separate challah if using less than 8.5 cups or about 2 lbs. I know there are various ...
7
votes
1answer
406 views

Why would a product be “only for cooking and pureeing”?

A recent OU kashrut alert that I found on Kashrut.com says: Kirkland Nature's Three Berries: Rader Farms, Inc.: This product bears a Half-Moon K symbol and should be used only for cooking and ...
4
votes
2answers
277 views

May I discuss my friend's unabashed un-Halachic behavior?

Suppose Shmeryl regularly and unabashedly eats at McDonald's (not the Kosher one in Israel!), or engages in some other unambiguously un-Halachic behavior. Shmeryl doesn't believe that there's anything ...
7
votes
1answer
2k views

Lifting a handkerchief before signing the Ketubah?

I know at a Jewish wedding, just before the Ketubah is signed, the groom picks up a handkerchief in front of everyone. I remember this has something to do with "kinyan chalifin"; could someone please ...
6
votes
1answer
1k views

Eating your own (kosher) food in a non-kosher restaurant?

This was brought to mind by this question: What are the rules about joining your co-workers (or the like) for a meal in a non-kosher restaurant, but bringing your own food? Is it prohibited as mar'is ...
7
votes
2answers
497 views

A restroom in a formerly-kosher eatery vs. one in a never-kosher eatery: which is preferable?

Say I'm on the road traveling, and I need to use a restroom. Which of the following two restrooms is preferable? One in a restaurant that used to be kosher, but is now non-kosher. One in a restaurant ...
4
votes
2answers
1k views

Turning off a stove on Shabbat

Can one turn off a stove on Shabbat? I recently heard that Rav Tendler does in fact hold this and it was followed in the home of Rav Feinstein. The reasoning had something to do with gas being made ...
6
votes
1answer
174 views

Two types of preventative enactment?

I believe this is a strictly academic question. Correct me if I'm wrong. Many of the restrictions enacted by the Rabbis (as opposed to those extrapolated from the Torah) were done so in order to ...
6
votes
1answer
356 views

Moving muktza garbage cans?

Help! It's Shabbos and the wind is blowing my garbage cans halfway down the block! I know they're muktza, so I can't move them. What can I do?
9
votes
2answers
1k views

Hebrew letters Hey-Yud-Dalet after a name

I'd seen some stuff written about a man, with the Hebrew הי"ד (Hey-Yud-quotes-Dalet) after his name. What does that mean?
35
votes
25answers
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
257 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 (...

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