15

It seems, according to this article, that people found a way. It would seem that as long as Jews stayed in the moderate climate on the shores of the Mediterranean, there was no difficulty obtaining etrogim for the holiday. As people moved north into France, Germany, Poland and Russia, however, the temperature-sensitive tree could not exist and tremendous ...


15

Yashar koach on becoming more involved in Jewish life. We can't say what they will do (only they can answer that), but I'll address how you can approach it. You are Jewish because your mother is (and she is because her mother is, etc). Your parents (and grandparents) having had secular weddings doesn't affect that, though it could affect other matters of ...


12

Rabbi David Zvi Hoffmann, in Melamed le-Ho'il 42, was asked: At this time, in all places where Jews reside, [at the command] of the king and state every able bodied man has to enter the military and serve for one, two, or three years, and he will be compelled there to violate Shabbatot and Yamim Tovim. Is a Jew who fears God's word and observes all the ...


11

There has never been an official Chief Rabbi of the United States. Jonathon D. Sarna (in his American Judaism: A History. Yale University Press, 2004, page 105) explains this phenomenon thus: But since there was no parallel Christian religious authority—no chief Protestant minister, no archbishop, not even a Catholic cardinal with nationwide jurisdiction—it ...


11

Brachos 58a says that upon seeing a "melech Yisrael", one recites the blessing: Baruch ... SheChalak MiKvodo Lirei'av. Bless You God, who apportioned from Your honor to those who fear you! Piskei Teshuvos Orach Chaim 224 writes that the exact same applies to an observant Jew who rules a land other than Israel. If I recall correctly, one of the ...


10

My father, who grew up orthodox in Brooklyn during the depression era, went to public school for High School. He told me that although there were a few Yeshivas, and most of the children went to Public School in that period. He had a Hebrew tutor in the afternoon, yet he told me that many did not. Although there were some Yeshivos (Chaim Berlin, Torah ...


10

http://www.shemayisrael.com/publicat/hazon/tzedaka/beliefinone.htm The belief of our people in the Redeeming One inspired other oppressed people to have faith in eventual salvation. For example, Rabbi Hirsch mentions that this faith in eventual salvation gave “hope to the black slave in the plantation” (The Hirsch Haggadah, page 265). Rabbi Hirsch ...


9

If you say it but don't intend it, it doesn't count as a vow (Yoreh Deah 210:1). However, the Bach and Maharshal (quoted in Be'er Heitev 210:1) say that if he intended to misspeak, what he says counts. But if you were forced to say the Pledge of Allegiance (as in Yirmeyahu's boy scout example), you are allowed to intend in your heart for it not to count (232:...


9

The one high school Yeshiva in North America for the deaf is Yeshivas Nefesh Dovid (http://www.nefeshdovid.com/) located in Toronto. The Rosh Yeshiva, Rabbi Chaim Tzvi Kakon, himself is deaf and got his S'micha from Ner Israel Rabbinical College in Baltimore, MD.


8

There was in minhag in the Alt-Neu Shul in Prague of saying Mizmor Shir L'Yom Ha Shabbat twice on Friday evenings. This psalm (Song for the Sabbath Day) is usually recited toward the end of the Kabbalat Shabbat service. Traditionally, reciting this psalm was the point when the worshiper began to observe the restrictions of Shabbat. This created a conflict ...


8

I once heard a rabbi speak about this (but, sadly, I don't remember who), and he talked about contrasting Halloween with Purim. Both involve dressing up in costumes and socializing -- but on Purim we go around and give gifts, while Halloween is about taking. He made this a teaching moment with his kids about mussar (right behavior), and tied it in with the ...


8

The Radbaz's language (responsum #296) is that he can kill "keMishpat", lawfully. A mob boss, for instance, has the ability to kill, but not lawfully. So I presume if the use of power was totally unlawful for the position, halacha wouldn't consider it. (It doesn't say "he can kill anyone he feels like", or "he can kill you." Just that he can lawfully find ...


8

The Rambam (Kilayim 1:3) and the Shulchan Aruch (YD 297:2) explicitly rule that the issue of Kilaei Zeraim (planting mixtures of edible seeds (except grapes)) only applies in the Land of Israel and a Jew can even plant his own mixtures outside of Israel on purpose.


7

Quick answer: Yes and no. Any religious or doctrinal aspects of a kesubah itself cannot be enforced under American laws because of Constitutional issues involving the free exercise and establishment clauses to the First Amendment. However, courts have and can enforce strictly secular sections of kesubahs or separate secular agreements between a Jewish ...


7

When a Koehein is called to duchan ("Kohanim!"), there is a mitzvah d'oraysa for him to go up and say the blessings. For somewhat unclear reasons, this practice was abandoned among Ashkenazi Jewry except for on yomim tovim. This means that Kohanim are missing the opportunity to fullfil the mitzvah, but they are not going against the mitzvah as long as they ...


7

Some believe that an "Oseh Ma'aseh V'reishis" should be made on the Niagara Falls because undoubtedly it is one of the most impressive natural wonders. However, after doing some research I have found that it may not be so simple because of three reasons. 1) Rav Chaim Kanievsky is quoted (V'zos HaBrachah pg. 155) saying that waterfalls do not receive a ...


7

The Talmud talks about having shushbinin -- close friends -- escort the bride and groom, to the point that someone who was shushbin at your wedding can't testify in court about you, as the personal connection is too tight. What is still found today is having one good friend (each) serve as "honor escort", (shomer) for the bride/groom: for a day or two ...


7

Aruch Hashulchan 496:5 says that it is forbidden for a Ben Eretz Yisrael to eat Chometz in Chutz L'Aretz on Acharon Shel Pesach. ויש מי שאומר דבן ארץ ישראל הבא לחוץ לארץ – אסור לו לאכול חמץ באחרון של פסח בכל עניין, אפילו דעתו לחזור. ונכון הוא, דזה גריע ממלאכה.‏


7

This is actually still a matter of dispute. Rabbi Yosef Berger, posek of the Yeshiva and Rov of Kehillas Kol Torah in Baltimore, holds that you do not need to make an eruv techumin. R' Tzvi Berkowitz holds that one should still place one, although he agrees it is a stringency. Rabbi Eli Steinhardt, a Rebbe in the Yeshiva, walks from the Yeshiva into ...


7

Minhagei Lita (Customs of Lithuanian Jewry) by Rabbi Menachem Mendel Poliakoff. It should be noted that this work has been critiqued as reflecting the author's personal experiences, not historic Lithuania as a whole. See http://seforim.blogspot.com/2009/10/review-minhagei-lita.html.


6

I posed this question today to HaRav Shammai Gross Shlit"a. He is one of the Gedolei HaPoskim here in Eretz Yisrael (and happens to be a Cohen as well.) He said while there were poskim that said once the Ashkanazi Kohen is in a Sephardi minyan in chutz l'aretz that does duchen that he may join them. Still one shouldn't lichatchila go to such a shul in order ...


6

Maybe what you're looking for is a way to communicate the idea in Deut 18:9-15... that the Israelites should be different from the other nations and stay away from magical/idolatrous obsessions or attempts at power that bypass God. In the spiritual realm Jews have only one, very special, relationship. Even so, God would give a better replacement for those ...


5

It has almost entirely to do with demand, cost, and volunteerism. At the Shul where I grew up, an Agudah-type, but unaffiliated Shul, there is a hot, sit-down Kiddush every week, and this has been the case for at least 30 years. Other Shuls in that area adopted various types of Kiddush (hot, cold, sit-down, buffet, etc.) over the years, almost entirely to ...


5

To the best of my knowledge each Shul makes their own decision, based on different factors such as cost, distance people have to walk, size of Congregation, time limits, etc. Foe example I have Davened in Shuls where the Rabbi wants to attract a crowd and supplies a Kiddush every week for that reason. There is a Shul that I Daven in that has a Kiddush ...


5

On page 31 of Rabbi Zev Reichman's book based on the shiurim of Rav Moshe Wolfson Shlit"a, Flames of Faith: An Introduction to Chassidic Thought, he quotes Rabbi Isaac Luria (the holy ARI) who says the reason for a second day of yom tov is because anyone who lives inside the land of Israel has an extra soul, and therefore can internalize the holiness of a ...


5

Many Jews spoke Hungarian in Hungary because there was a very successful policy of Magyarization in Hungary. This is one of the explanations for the rise of ultra-orthodoxy in northeast Hungary (the 'Unterland'), and the invention of a new Halakhic tradition under the disciples of the Hatam Sofer (d. 1839), as a reaction against the great transformation of ...


5

In America Orthodox Jews wear Kippot the same as in Israel. The temple you went to was probably a Reform or Conservative temple where the practice is for women to do more things like the men, and wear kippot. Yamaka is just Yiddish for kippa, like kippa is Hebrew for skullcap. Therefore, answer: The traditional traditions of the kippa are actually not so ...


5

According to the Dvar Avraham (1:34), the reason one does not count ספירת העומר מספק is because if you do not know for certain what number it is, that is not considered "counting" at all. According to this reason, if there was an actual doubt, you would not be able to count at all. As the Dvar Avraham explains, אבל לפי דברינו הנ"ל נראה לומר דבר חדש דדוקא ...


5

Excerpts from "Orthodox Approaches to Biblical Slavery" by Gamliel Shmalo - which appeared in The Torah u-Maddah Journal Volume 16 2012-2013 http://daattorah.blogspot.co.il/2014/06/biblical-slavery-and-morality.html Rav S. R. Hirsch (Shemos 12:44): The consideration of certain circumstances is necessary, correctly to understand the fact that the Torah ...


4

Maybe the Poles in the Jewish areas were generally lower-class peasants with whom the Jews had little interest in culturally assimilating? I recall a story about Rav Boruch Ber Leibowitz zt"l, where he greeted a man working in his house with "Good Morning" in Polish, and then apologized profusely after realizing that the man was actually Jewish. Apparently ...


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