19

The most famous instance of Jews choosing to follow only the written Torah without the oral rabbinic interpretations would be the Karaites who flourished from about 760 CE to 1100 CE. Today their numbers are relatively small. Wikipedia gives a worldwide estimate of about 45,000 people, but the source of their numbers is not given. Karaite Judaism is ...


14

The Kitzur Shulchan Aruch in 114:7 states: אָסוּר לִמְכּוֹר אֶת הֶחָמֵץ לְמוּמָר אוֹ לְמוּמֶרֶת; וְלֹא לְבֶן מוּמֶרֶת, אַף עַל פִּי שֶׁיְלָדַתּוּ מֵאֵינוֹ יְהוּדִי לְאַחַר שֶׁהֵמִירָה, כִּי לְעִנְיָן זֶה דִּינָם כְּמוֹ יִשְֹרָאֵל, וַהֲוֵי לֵהּ חֲמֵצוֹ שֶׁל יִשְֹרָאֵל שֶׁעָבַר עָלָיו הַפֶּסַח דְּאָסוּר בַּהֲנָאָה One may not sell one's Chametz to a Jew ...


13

Rabbi Richard Sarason, a faculty member at Hebrew Union College (the Reform seminary), talks about the history of these passages in an article about the newest siddur, Mishkan T'filah. He writes (emphasis mine): The earliest Reform congregational prayer book (Hamburg, 1819) includes all three paragraphs of the Sh'ma. [...] The deletion of the second and ...


12

If you read the original responsum of the committee (here), you will find that they choose to rule that all prohibitions other than homosexual male anal intercourse (such as the prohibitions of yihud and negiah) are all rabbinic and are superseded by the concept of kvod habriot. (How they deal with the issue of השחתת זרע לבטלה is less clear, which is likely ...


11

Yes, the Sadducees did believe they were Jewish. However, the confounding factor in the quotes you provide is probably this: That in many gemaras, because of medieval censors, "Christian" or rather "Min" (Christian sectarian) was replaced with "Sadducee". See for example the London manuscript of Yoma 56b that you cited above. I have drawn a red arrow to ...


11

During the Second Temple Period, there were different sects with different interpretations of Judaism. The descendants of the Pharisees wrote the Talmud, which defined Orthodox Judaism as we know today. (What follows is from Rabbi Shneur Leiman's lecture on yutorah.org) The Dead Sea Scrolls belonged to a sect that was clearly not the Pharisees; it includes ...


11

The issue here is essentially one of lowest common denominator. A conversion will only be accepted by Group X if they think that Group Y, who oversaw the conversion, did so appropriately and successfully, following all the relevant laws as understood by Group X. Otherwise, Group X will continue to view the potential convert as a gentile with all that entails....


10

Non-halachic Reform Jews are those whose mother was not Jewish, yet they consider themselves Jewish because of either a heterodox conversion or patrilineal descent. We can mostly figure out the demographics from particular questions asked in certain surveys. According to the 2013 Pew Study on American Jews, 10% of American adults who identify their religion ...


10

Yehuda Wiesen wrote a "Guide to Practical Halacha and Home Ritual for Conservative Jews" (available here), from which I quote (from the section concerning Shabbat): There are many and various so called minor restrictions, some of which the Conservative movement seems to follow and others that it does not. For example, Orthodox typically avoid use of ...


10

The atheist is still a Jew; his (non-)belief does not exempt him from the obligation not to violate Shabbat. This answer elsewhere by DoubleAA discusses benefitting from melacha done by a Jew. It stands to reason that if you can't benefit from the work anyway, there's no benefit to you in asking him to be your "Shabbat goy", so let's look first at ...


10

Being "Raised Jewish" in this context means that, to the degree that there is any religious experience in the home, it is of Jewish origin. So if they go to a house of worship, it will be a synagogue. If they do something of a religious commemoration in the month of December, it will be Chanuka, and most significantly if the child asks what religion they are,...


9

The perspective of Orthodox Jews vis-a-vis the Dead sea scrolls varies from non recognition, ambivalence, to outright excitement. For those who do not view it as a life altering find see them as 1. Either a validation of what was already known to them ie. Small variance in textual differences due to a very solid mesorah. 2. the other non canonical scrolls ...


8

Of course, Chabad (or anyone else really, but they may use different language) would consider someone practicing Avodah Zarah in its most egregious form still Jewish, but Chabad, both the non-Meshichist side and the Meshichist side, reject this completely. See here for some links to source letters. Note that the one from the Beis Din of Crown Heights is ...


8

The main argument of the Shebbatai's disciples was that his apostasy, his conversion to islam, as well his death was supposed to happen. His Apostasy Sabbatai‘s followers were instructed to reject the halakha and used mystical reasons to justify their position by explaining that the rejection of the mitzvot was a key step in messianic redemption, as ...


8

Maimonides says no, though it is preferable that the mohel be a Jewish adult male. A Gentile should not preform the circumcision, but if he does, it need not be repeated (I assume by way of drawing blood). Shulkhan Arukh agrees. So for Sephardic Jews, there is no problem as long as the mohel is Jewish, and it is preferred that he not be a Gentile. However ...


8

The Rambam apparently believes that the tinoq shenishba is defined by the attitude he/she was raised with toward Torah, not only their ignorance of it. And so even after learning Torah, as long as his motivation was at least founded on the initial bias against believing its truth or applicability, the tinoq shenishba is not held to account. To quote the ...


8

We can't possibly know how God judges people after they die. We know that he is compassionate, and I think it's safe to assume that he isn't going out of his way to punish people for things they didn't really understand. On the other hand, perhaps a person who believes himself to be Jewish but still violates halacha does receive punishment even though he was ...


8

According to Maimonides, who is the only major Halachic commentator to rule on these matters, the Moshiach (the Messiah) will teach all people and encourage them to serve G-d. They will be inspired by his wisdom and will all unite in the service of G-d in harmony. This includes religious Jews, non-religious Jews, and non-Jews. Furthermore, the Zohar says ...


8

The musar movement is mostly associated with Rabbi Yisra'el Salanter and his students. There is a lot that could be said about it, but I will write mostly about the more controversial aspects and differences in Jewish practice, rather than, for example, psychological insights. Rabbi Yisra'el advocated taking the time to learn works of musar. Already in his ...


7

By turning on the light at his request, you would be causing him to violate the commandment of "lifnei 'iver -- placing a stumbling block before the blind." The Rabbis interpret this to forbid one Jew to cause another to sin. See MT Laws of Murder 12:14 for source.


7

I have just compared the weekday ma'ariv services in the following two books: Siddur Sim Shalom for Weekdays, September 2003 (2nd printing) Expanded Artscroll Siddur, Wasserman Edition, 2010 I found the following differences: Sim Shalom has two versions of the beginning of the t'filah, the usual text (page 142a) and the same text with the imahot inserted ...


7

depends whether you truly investigated the truth on this topic or whether you were just interested in writing papers. if the latter, tremendous burning regret. if the former, God will help you find it. And if He doesn't for whatever reason, though this is unlikely, then it's not your fault. Here are some relevant quotes on this from a major Jewish ...


7

This is totally incorrect. Even if a Jew sins sufficiently to merit being punished with karet, he is still a Jew. An example would be those who succumbed to the Spanish in 1492 and converted to christianity but did teshuvah (repented) and managed to escape to Amsterdam. While it is true that Reform (as a movement) is not Judaism in the eyes of Orthodoxy, ...


6

You may want to consider using Hagada - Mi Yodeya? Our companion to the Passover Hagada, featuring questions practice, lore, and thought spanning the Seder, from preparations to closing. That should make things interesting. :)


6

The SAT seems somewhat analagous to voting: Voting is a civic duty and how we contribute to governance; taking the SAT is required to get into most colleges. Both elections and the SAT are administered by some other organization; the location used is just a location, not a sponsor. Choices are very limited. For voting you have to either use your assigned ...


6

There is room to discuss the validity of most aspects of a Reform conversion - if the Mikvah was a kosher Mikvah, then that would be fine. If the person had in mind to be responsible and accountable for mitzvos, even if they did not intend to keep them, then it would be a matter of dispute if that is valid, but it is possible. The main problem is the ...


6

While R. Elijah Benamozegh was apparently somewhat controversial in his day, he is hardly a "unquotable" figure: R. David Zvi Hoffmann and R. Mendel Kasher quote him in their work repeatedly, his work בשבילי המוסר was published by Mossad Harav Kook, and he is included in R. Avraham Bick-Shauli's anthology of Jewish thought. R. Yoel Schwartz (of Meah Shearim) ...


6

One of the biggest deal-breakers in the ceremony -- more than the language of the ketubah -- is if the witnesses were shabbat-observant. There are other issues in non-Orthodox ceremonies, but that's by far the biggest. In theory the Talmud talks about situations where a couple would have in mind that if the wedding ceremony itself isn't valid, they would ...


6

R' Yosef Eliyahu Henkin (פירושי אירבא סימן ד) held that it does not actually matter if the wedding was valid, as they are living together with intent to be married. Rav Henkin adopted the novel view that even if their intent to be married is not necessarily through Kiddushin, and even if they don't know that consumation of marriage can create Kiddushin, ...


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