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35 votes

Does Judaism consider women inferior?

This is a fair question. You are far from the only person who feels this way. As an Orthodox woman who respects the traditional prohibition on Talmud study for women, as well as the many other Jewish ...
SAH's user avatar
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32 votes

Does Judaism consider women inferior?

In addition, women are exempt and even discouraged from a large number of mitzvas that are central to Jewish practice, such as praying three times a day and laying tefillin. This is close to ...
Double AA's user avatar
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17 votes

May a man marry the women with whom he committed adultery?

No. See Mishnah Sotah, 5:1: כְּשֵׁם שֶׁאֲסוּרָה לַבַּעַל, כָּךְ אֲסוּרָה לַבּוֹעֵל, שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר (שם) נִטְמְאָה, וְנִטְמָאָה, דִּבְרֵי רַבִּי עֲקִיבָא. אָמַר רַבִּי יְהוֹשֻׁעַ, כָּךְ הָיָה דוֹרֵשׁ ...
DonielF's user avatar
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16 votes
Accepted

Ship of Theseus in Halacha

This is known in Talmudic literature as panim chadashot ba'u lekan (lit. "a new face has come here"), and is the topic of discussion in Eruvin 24a. The upshot of the discussion is that, at ...
Joel K's user avatar
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14 votes

When, halachically, does a sect of Judaism become an independent religion?

Rav Aharon Lichtenstein zt"l wrote an essay / teshuvah titled "Brother Daniel and the Jewish Fraternity" (Judaism 12:260-280, Summer 1963). Brother Daniel was a Catholic monk who ...
Micha Berger's user avatar
  • 9,668
13 votes
Accepted

How could Rav be disproved?

I thought to answer as follows: When the Gemara answers that Rav is a tanna, that is when the question is on Rav alone. In this case the question is on a joint statement of Rav and Shmuel. (Whether ...
Alex's user avatar
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13 votes

Source why ביאה is not an option for שליח קידושין

R' Elchonon Wasserman in Kovetz Shiurim (Kesuvos 74a) brings this question from R' Akiva Eiger, and explains how the Kiddushin of Biah is fundamentally different from Kessef and Shtar, and why that ...
chortkov2's user avatar
  • 9,547
13 votes

Why were Er and Onan punished if they were under 20?

This exact question was asked by the Tosafist R. Yehuda Ben Elazar in his commentary to Genesis 38:10: וא"ת למה נענשו ער ואונן והלא לא היו אלא בני ח' שנה כדאי' בסדר עולם ואמרי' בית דין של מעלה ...
Alex's user avatar
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13 votes
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Rabbi Shlomo Goren and the Langer Case

R. Goren wrote a 200 page book explaining his position (linked in Joel K's answer). If you're looking for something shorter and easier, R. J. David Bleich discussed this topic in the first volume of ...
Alex's user avatar
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12 votes
Accepted

Why do we don a tallit before laying tefillin?

This is a good question, and really it's probably a better question than the answers out there. For context, we have to realize that this question (order of operations for donning Tzitzit and ...
Double AA's user avatar
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12 votes
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Is "tzaar ba'alei chaim" from the Torah, and if so what's the source?

The question of whether tza'ar ba'alei chaim (the prohibition of causing undue pain to animals) is biblical (mideoraita) or rabbinic (miderabbanan) is the subject of significant debate in Bava Metzia ...
Joel K's user avatar
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12 votes

Is the first of the 10 Commandments considered a mitzvah?

Rambam in Yesodei HaTorah ch. 1 explicitly uses this as the source for the commandment to know of Hashem’s existence. יְסוֹד הַיְסוֹדוֹת וְעַמּוּד הַחָכְמוֹת לֵידַע שֶׁיֵּשׁ שָׁם מָצוּי רִאשׁוֹן. ...
DonielF's user avatar
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11 votes
Accepted

Can online smicha programs theoretically be valid?

Define "theoretically valid". They do leave someone with the book-knowledge we demand of rabbis, and therefore someone with online semichah should not feel like a charlatan if he expects people to ...
Micha Berger's user avatar
  • 9,668
11 votes
Accepted

Is making someone believe you came to see him, while you were really there anyway, allowed?

This seems practically identical to a problem posed in Chullin 94b: Mar Zutra the son of Rabbi Nahman was once going from Sikara to Mahuza, while Raba and Rabbi Safra were going to Sikara; and ...
RonP's user avatar
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11 votes
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If a Mesorah for letter pronunciation is rediscovered, would we have to change our pronunciations?

כִּי-אָז אֶהְפֹּךְ אֶל-עַמִּים, שָׂפָה בְרוּרָה, לִקְרֹא כֻלָּם בְּשֵׁם יְהוָה, לְעָבְדוֹ שְׁכֶם אֶחָד. (צפניה ג:ט)‏ For then will I turn to the peoples a pure language, that they may all call ...
Double AA's user avatar
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10 votes
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What is the difference between a takana and a gezera?

The following taxonomy of kinds of halachic ruling was culled from the Rambam, Hilkhos Mamrim ch. 2, and includes thoughts learned at a shi’ur given by R’ Yonasan Sachs (who was then of RIETS, now of ...
Micha Berger's user avatar
  • 9,668
10 votes

Who is the Ba'al Nefesh of the Mishnah Berurah?

R. Herschel Schachter quotes an informative anecdote (in this essay): Rabbi Yehuda Amital (shlit”a) relates that when he was a teenager learning in yeshiva, when the students learned Mishna Berura ...
Oliver's user avatar
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10 votes
Accepted

What happens to the debts after Shmitat Ksafim?

Summary The answers to both of your questions (1. Does shemitat kesafim annul the loan, or merely forbid the lender from claiming? and 2. Does shemitat kesafim happen automatically?) would appear to ...
Joel K's user avatar
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10 votes
Accepted

Maggid Mishnah on relying on approximations for π and √2

The Maggid Mishnah in Hilchos Shabbos (17:26) says that one may rely on π=3 It actually is commenting on the Rambam's statement that a circle of circumference three has diameter one. It says that ...
msh210's user avatar
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9 votes

Where are there discussions about Torah commands that nobody is known to have broken?

There are 3 mitzvot in the Talmud-Gemara Sanhedrin 71a, 1 in Makkos 7a and 1 in Mishna Zavim 2,2 in which the required procedure of punishment have never been enacted by the sanhedrin, due to lack of ...
user15464's user avatar
  • 11.5k
9 votes

Rabbinic Opinions on Smoking, before the 1950's

Both the Pnei Yehoshua (Shab. 39b s.v. בא״ד ואמר-אמנם) and R. Yaakov Emden (Mor U'ketzia §511) were clearly under the contemporary impression that smoking was not harmful, rather it carried multiple ...
Oliver's user avatar
  • 12k
9 votes

Do Rabbis admit emotional involvement in their rulings?

There are plenty of instances in which poskim relate their personal feelings in a psak. The first that came to my mind is R. Ovadia's famous ruling (Yabia Omer vol. 6, Even Ha-Ezer #3) that widows of ...
Aryeh's user avatar
  • 11.6k
9 votes

If an AI is programmed to be a Rabbi learn all that is required for a Semikhah or to be Jewish, if it makes a blessing does it count?

I think that there are a few points worth clarifying here. The Torah was given to humans, not machines. Even if a machine were somehow to attain consciousness (if that is even possible) and "...
Moses Supposes's user avatar
8 votes
Accepted

What is the basis that allows Rabbis to create laws?

Sources For Rabbinic Authority There are several divergent approaches to this. Rambam (Introduction to MT: 26) is of the opinion that Rabbinic legislation falls under the rubric of "Do not stray ...
mevaqesh's user avatar
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8 votes

How should one decide which Halacha to follow?

When you have a doubt about how you should be following halakha, the final decision should always come from a rabbi. They are trained to consider all of the factors of a matter. What might seem to you ...
Daniel's user avatar
  • 24.9k
8 votes

Hiddur Mitzvah for a la'av - does it exist?

First, a parallel to the idea behind the question: The Maharal in Gur Aryeh writes that the Avot fulfilled only positive mitzvot but not negative ones because there is no value in refraining from ...
wfb's user avatar
  • 14.5k
8 votes

Not to paaken from the aruch hashulchan

The implication of his introduction is the opposite. He says (or rather approvingly quotes opinions that) you can't pasken from the Shulchan Aruch because of its brevity, and you first have to learn ...
Yishai's user avatar
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8 votes
Accepted

Regurgitating Living Forbidden Species

At the end of perek Gid Hanashe (103 IIRC) in Chullin, the gemara cites a question concerning what is considered eating. Do we say its the benefit of the throat or the digestion of the stomach? The ...
sam's user avatar
  • 42.1k
8 votes
Accepted

Who is the Ba'al Nefesh of the Mishnah Berurah?

First thing... The Mishnah Berurah (including the Be'ur Halakhah) has a number of idioms for soft stringency, ie for presenting a stringency as a desired objective but not as baseline law. Some ...
Micha Berger's user avatar
  • 9,668
8 votes
Accepted

Does Jewish law have a clear position on freedom of speech?

One who blasphemes G-d is executed. Mishne Torah, Avodas Kochavim, 2:7 A Jewish king may execute someone for speaking against him (rebellion against the monarch). Mishneh Torah, Melachim 3:8 One who ...
Benyomin Walters's user avatar

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