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Obligatory Summary The Jewish day starts at night, but V'sein Tal Umatar is based on solar calendar, so it can sometimes be a day later. Plus the date was established in Julian Calendar, so there's also the Julian->Gregorian shift to keep us busy... Real Answer The Gemara (Taanis 10a) says that in Bavel we start saying V'sein Tal Umatar on the 60th day ...


22

The reason we have double parshiyos in the first place is in order to satisfy the four basic rules (given in Shulchan Aruch, Orach Chaim 428:4) about the distribution of parshiyos throughout the year. In particular, the first two are: that the Shabbos before Pesach has to be Parshas Tzav in a regular year, or Metzora in a leap year; and that the Shabbos ...


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

Since it includes Reform and Conservative organizations in its roster. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Agudath_Israel_of_America#Positions In 1956 for example, the moetzes issued a written ruling forbidding Orthodox rabbis to join with any Reform or Conservative rabbis in rabbinical communal professional organizations that then united the various ...


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

Per the Shach in Yorah Deah Siman 369:2 and the Taz in 369:4 since in current times there is no Tahara in Eretz Yisroel therefore there is no additional prohibition for a Kohain to leave Eretz Yisroel over a non Kohain.


11

Those who hold it is forbidden in the Diaspora: Rif, Rosh, Rambam, Rav Avraham Ben HaRambam, Semag, Semak, Ittur, Mordechai, Raavyah, Haghot Maymoniot, Ritva, Eshkol, Kolbo, Tashbetz, Sefer HaChinuch, Or Zarua, Rabbeinu Yerucham, Meiri, Terumat HaDeshen, Piskei Tosfot, Haghot Ashiri, Tur, Bach, Beit Yosef, Rama. Those who hold it is permitted in 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 ...


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

Now that we've moved the clocks, I realized that it's possible to do the inverse of @jake's answer from the eastern time zone: shabbat ended this week before 6PM, so if I'd thought of it I could have gotten credit for the day by visiting in that last hour (7PM EST = midnight UTC). Shabbat won't end after 7PM again until March 10, and there are no chagim in ...


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

Based on my research (see below), Christmas lights are entirely secular, and therefore there is no problem whatsoever with looking at or enjoying Christmas lights. Even if the lights are not entirely secular, there still wouldn't be a problem. The Shach (Shulchan Aruch 142:15), based on Tosfos and the Rosh, writes that it is permitted to derive benefit ...


8

“Taharas HaKohanim Kehilchoso” 12 (2) (recently published by Moshe Gross, Beit Shemesh) mentions that there is a machlokes about the rabbinic issur of kohanim to be metamei themselves in “Eretz HoAmim”. He quotes a number of sources including many Acharonim that are lenient (including those quoted in the first answer). He then quotes sources that forbid a ...


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

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 Shabbat 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 ...


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

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

In Israel, we shift to Tal UMatar on the 7th of Cheshvan, because that is generally when the rainy season starts in Israel. In Bavel, the rainy season started 60 days after the equinox, so that is the date used by Bavel. Likely your confusion comes from the fact that general Jewish practice is to follow the dates of Bavel even though the country they ...


6

It's a machlokes Tanna'im, Amora'im, Rishonim, Achronim and contemporary poskim. The original machlokes is how to interpret "bchol moshvoseichem" in the Torah. Most of the standard rishonim holds it does apply mdoraysa in chutz l'aretz (Rambam, Rif, Rosh) and this is how the shulchan aruch paskens. Most people have been lenient on this issue for a long time, ...


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