17 votes
Accepted

If the lulav and etrog are biblically mandated, how were people in cold climates able to obtain them before modern times?

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 ...
  • 36.8k
15 votes

Joining a synagogue after two generations non-practising

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 (...
12 votes
Accepted

Can Jews be rulers of countries other than Israel?

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! ...
  • 127k
10 votes

Did any Achronim comment on the American Revolutionary or Civil Wars?

R. Hayyim Joseph David Azulai twice refers to the American Revolution in his diary. Both times he is talking about the negative effect the war was having on the finances of Jews in Amsterdam who had ...
  • 48.2k
9 votes

Niagara Falls does it require a Bracha if so which one?

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 ...
  • 91
9 votes
Accepted

Secret Ops, The President, and The Blessing On a King

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 ...
  • 127k
7 votes

When did walking from Ner Israel yeshiva to Baltimore no longer require Eruv Techumin?

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 ...
7 votes

Any books dealing with minhaggim of Lita?

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 ...
  • 34.9k
6 votes

"Secular" studies in the Rhineland academies of the 11th-13th centuries

It seems Ashkenazi Jews of the time - including the Tosafists - lacked formal secular knowledge. Rabbi Prof. Ephraim Kanarfogel wrote in his essay "The Tosafist Oeuvre and Torah u-Madda": &...
  • 21.3k
5 votes

Rav Hirsch and Black Slavery

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-...
5 votes

Can Jews be rulers of countries other than Israel?

Consider the medrash that Moshe Rabbeinu was the king of Ethiopia. If you want to say that since it was before Sinai, it would not apply, consider the Khazars where the king and nobility appear to ...
  • 42.1k
4 votes

What should one do with Shemittah produce?

They must be treated with Kedushas Shevi'is. That means you cannot sell them, you cannot destroy them, you cannot eat them in unusual ways, there is a Mitzva to eat them if they are kosher, and you ...
  • 6,097
4 votes
Accepted

Heter mechira abroad

See Rabbi Mordechai Willig's "Shmittah for the Consumer": Thus, for the American consumer, the main issue is not the effectiveness of the sale (once one assumes its validity), but rather the ...
  • 127k
4 votes
Accepted

Which other lands (besides Eretz Israel) have Kedushas Ha'aretz?

The author is probably referring to certain areas adjacent to Eretz Yisrael, and possibly to Suria (some part of modern day Syria) that share some of the "laws of the land", however they have a lesser ...
4 votes

On the 2nd day of Succot in Diaspora, why don't we read both the 1st & 2nd day Musaph readings?

The law is in shulchan aruch orach Chaim 490 I guess that it is the same reason that we are strict to say shehechyanu (and do everything) on the second day as on the first day (since we live by the ...
  • 7,250
4 votes
Accepted

Are Jews who live and died in diaspora non-believers?

The gemara doesn't end there ... it clarifies the baraita you cite and continues Whoever lives outside of the Land of Israel, it is as if he is an idolater. artscroll elucidates this ...
  • 43.9k
4 votes

Cohanim in Paris

The question is not for a problem of touching a dead but for a problem of Maahil (to be over the dead). Tum'a Bokaat Veola (uncleanness erupt upward). In some conditions, to walk over a buried dead ...
  • 22.4k
4 votes
Accepted

When would a convert affix the Mezuzah in the diaspora?

The Concise Code of Jewish Law for Converts by Rabbi Michael Broyde addresses this question. It cites Agur BeOhalecha (page 366:36), by Rabbi Eliyahu Avigdor Feldman, as saying that a convert outside ...
  • 8,706
4 votes
Accepted

Birkat Kohanim in Chutz Laaretz

See RM Issarles on SA OC 128, 44: נהגו בכל מדינות אלו שאין נושאים כפים אלא ביום טוב משום שאז שרויים בשמחת יום טוב וטוב לב הוא יברך מה שאין כן בשאר ימים אפילו בשבתות השנה שטרודים בהרהורים על מחייתם ...
  • 22.4k
4 votes

Melacha for people observing Yom Tov Sheni in Israel

Rav Moshe Feinstein (OC 3:73) writes that there is a machlokes in the Shaarei Teshuva (496:3) about thi, but writes that the halacha follows the authorities who prohibit asking others to perform ...
  • 6,097
3 votes
Accepted

How do we know that commercial fruit is not orlah/neta revai?

Shulchan Arukh YD 294:9 (based on Kiddushin 39a) rules that doubtful (safek) Orlah in the Diaspora is permitted; only certain (vadai) Orlah is prohibited. Even if you know the fruit came from a ...
  • 95.7k
3 votes

Are there any minhag and customs specific to Czech Jews and have they been documented?

According to the סדר עבודת ישראל, whilst מנהג פולין say אב הרחמים on שבת מברכים החודש only during ספירת העומר, it says that ק''ק פראג (Prague) also say it on שבת מברכים החודש מנחם אב. http://www....
  • 3,212
3 votes

Secret Ops, The President, and The Blessing On a King

Since not everyone agrees with this other answer here's a different view, from R Shlomo Aviner's book On the air p. 45 The king must have the ability to administer capital punishment (Shut ...
  • 43.9k
3 votes

Can I omit ברוך השם לעולם אמן ואמן to catch up in Maariv?

Yes, it's befeirush (explicit) in Mishna Berura siman 236 s"k 11. that one should skip it to daven Shmoneh Esrei with the tzibur: ואם הם עוסקים עדיין בברכות ק"ש והוא משער שעד שיגיעו הצבור ...
  • 81
3 votes
Accepted

Giving handouts/alms to the poor: Which halachos and Jewish ideas are relevant?

Arthur Kurzweil (the publisher and Jewish genealogy specialist) wrote a wonderful article on this 20 years ago which stayed with me until now. See it fully here. He brings a number of relevant quotes ...
  • 43.9k
3 votes

National Character affecting its Jewish Community

Rabbi Hamburger quotes the source as: Michtav Mei'Eliyahu, vol. IV, Yerushalayim 5745, pp. 129-30 He also goes on to quote Reb Yehuda HaChassid: Sefer Chassidim (siman #1101), `In most places,...
  • 32.4k
2 votes

Is the ketuba enforceable in American law?

R' Michael Broyde-- in a 2004 article titled "The Ketubah in America: Its Value in Dollars, its Significance in Halacha and its Enforceability in American Law"-- seems to say no: (bolding for emphasis)...
  • 11.8k
2 votes

Why no 15-minutes-early clause in English rabbis' contracts?

I tried my very best to research this question, and I sent the following email to two major Rabbinic bodies in England: Hello, Firstly, I apologize if this is the "wrong address" for these ...
2 votes

Should a Jew from outside Israel who is visiting Israel for Sukkot eat in the Sukkah on Shemini Atseret?

The Rabbi of my shul spoke about this question this year. He said that in Israel, a person from chutz la'aretz should sit in a sukkah lechatchila on Shmini Atzeret.
  • 24.4k
2 votes

What is the last day to shake the lulav in Diaspora?

We do not do so. You didn't ask why not, but, for anyone interested, there are good and ample reasons.
  • 73.3k

Only top scored, non community-wiki answers of a minimum length are eligible