13 votes
Accepted

Are We Not Supposed To Eat Fat?

Chelev (the word translated as "fat" in the quoted verse) in Halacha refers to certain fats which in a sacrifice are offered on the altar and in regular meat are forbidden to be eaten, while Shuman ...
  • 95.7k
12 votes
Accepted

Getting body piercings

The original question as well as @SAH challenge seem to imply that the Torah forbids piercings. This belief is possibly coming from the prohibition of tatoos as the prohibition to injure oneself. But ...
  • 43.9k
12 votes
Accepted

Why was it improper to stick out a thumb in the Temple?

The Mishnah there is describing how certain jobs in the Basis Hamikdash would be appointed if there were multiple Kohanim vying for the same job. The Kohanim would form a circle around the supervisor, ...
  • 6,713
8 votes
Accepted

Orthodontics on Shabbos

The ארחות שבת (by Rav Yosef Gelber and Rav Mordechai Rubin) in Vol. 2 on page 294 in Siman 20:154 discusses this. They write that one may wear a retainer - פלטה ליישור שינים - on Shabbat. In the ...
8 votes

Washing your feet when you wake up?

The Gemara (Shabbos 50B) says one should wash his face, hands and legs every day in honor of his Creator. The Mishna Berura (OC 4:2) writes in the name of the Pri Megadim (A"A 4:1) that nowadays ...
  • 5,547
8 votes
Accepted

Is there a listing of all 248 members of the human body?

They are listed in the Mishna Seder Taharoth, Ohaloth 1:8 A link to an english translation online has been provided by WAF here 30 feet 30 each foot (6 each toe) 10 ankle 10 each ...
  • 2,011
7 votes

(Why) do we close the eyes of the deceased?

The reason why we close the eyes of someone who passed away is to show the idea of techiyas hameisim just like when someone sleeps he closes his eyes and when he awakes he opens them so to the dead ...
  • 446
7 votes
Accepted

Source for Striking Self during Viduy

The Encyclopedia of Jewish Prayer: The Ashkenazic and Sephardic Rites (Macy Nulman) has the following on the beating of the heart during Viduy When saying Ashamnu we stand somewhat bent over, ...
  • 1,926
7 votes
Accepted

Can one light Chanukah candles with ear wax?

No, one cannot. Mythbusters determined experimentally that earwax candles are not effective: The skin cells, hair, fatty acids and cholesterol contained in earwax combust quickly and at different ...
  • 46.9k
7 votes
Accepted

Which ancient cults would cut out the hearts of live animals and offer them as sacrifices?

A possible answer: Rambam on the mishnah states that this was done as part of worship of Baalim. The city of Baalbek, which was originally a Baal center of worship, eventually became a center of ...
  • 21.3k
6 votes
Accepted

Biologically, what are sirchos?

As Rabbi Yaacov Dovid Lach explains in his book Chullin Illuminated they are a fibrous adhesion that connect parts of the lungs to each other or to the surrounding walls of the chest cavity. In ...
  • 31.4k
6 votes

Are We Not Supposed To Eat Fat?

Slide 28 of this presentation quotes Rabbi Avraham Fischer of the OU: Chelev refers to the outer layer of fat called suet. The prohibited chelev is the abdominal fat on the stomach, kidney, and ...
  • 69k
6 votes

Is it forbidden for a noachide (Non-Jew) to be circumcised?

According to Rambam (Hilkhot Milah 3:7), not only is it permissible for a gentile to circumcise himself, it is a mitsvah! As he writes in a responsum (ed. Blau # 148), this is in the category of eino ...
  • 34.9k
6 votes

What was the size of the כָּתְנוֹת עוֹר?

The Bartenura on that verse says that the כָּתְנוֹת עוֹר covered their entire body - I guess like a long robe. He explains that this is the reason the fig leaves needed to be replaced, because they ...
5 votes

(Why) do we close the eyes of the deceased?

Mourning in Halacha, p 50 says Then the eyes of the deceased are gently closed and he is covered with a white cloth. He gives the sources as: Gesher HaChaim 3 (this may be the link) Ma'avor Yabok ...
5 votes
Accepted

Zohar, Yaakov and Eyes

It's hinted to in the Zohar in VaYechi - search for the words יָשִׁית יָדוֹ The second instance on that page says: יָשִׁית יָדוֹ עַל עֵינֶיךָ. מַאי קָא מַיְירֵי. אָמַר רִבִּי יֵיסָא, בְּגִין ...
5 votes

Searching for a halachic diagram of female anatomy

In the Artscroll Schottenstein edition of Niddah, I found one diagram of the halachic anatomy as understood by Rashi, in footnote 5 on page 17b1 (mouseover to view): See the rest of the notes there ...
  • 46.9k
5 votes
Accepted

How do kidneys give advice?

My rav gave a drasha during Yom Kippur related to the expression בוחן כליות which means, literally "checks the kidneys". The adrenal glands are located on top of each kidney. Adrenaline is one of ...
  • 69k
5 votes

Are women allowed to see another woman's private area?

Concur with mbloch's answer -- if one is viewing them licentiously that's a different discussion -- just wanted to bring a stronger proof. Basically, it used to be everyone of the same gender went to ...
  • 127k
5 votes
Accepted

How did Pinchas kill Zimri? (technically)

While I might normally put these as comments, I think this can warrant an answer. Firstly, it is possible that even with piercing just their sexual organs, they may have died from blood loss from the ...
5 votes
Accepted

Connection Between Liver & Honor?

Shemot 7:14 says: וַיֹּ֤אמֶר ה' אֶל־משֶׁ֔ה כָּבֵ֖ד לֵ֣ב פַּרְעֹ֑ה מֵאֵ֖ן לְשַׁלַּ֥ח הָעָֽם The Lord said to Moses, "Pharaoh's heart is heavy; he has refused to let the people out. The ...
5 votes

Why does the Torah say a woman has "sperm" or "seed"?

What a word in the Torah means is best determined not by the most frequently-used English translation of that word but by examining how that word is used in context in the Torah or possibly in ...
  • 46.9k
4 votes

What side does someone with Situs inversus bang

In SA OC 607 the Magen Avraham brings two reasons for this custom: 1) The Ari Z"L says that one should pound on their chest 2) A Medrish Kohelet that says "We bang on our hearts to show that that it ...
  • 3,767
4 votes

Woman with 2 wombs in regards to pidyon haben

the mishna in bechoros states that a child born after a ceaserian birth does not require pidyon (this is codified as halcha). gemara explains that although he is considered the opener of the womb, he ...
  • 1,057
4 votes

Women using tampons before marriage

Rabbi Ribner and Dr. Rosenfeld recommend using tampons pre-marriage in A Newlywed's Guide to Physical Intimacy‌​. The authors are affiliated with Yeshiva University.
  • 127k
4 votes

Are girls allowed to touch themselves?

Rav Nissim Karelitz, based on the Ramban and Ritva in Niddah 13a, holds Chut Shani on Even HaEzer siman 21that there is an issur for a woman to entertain or cause sexual thoughts. The issur is "de'...
  • 9,389
4 votes

Is there a connection between פסח (Pesach) and פה (peh / mouth)?

The Arizal (Pri Eitz Chaim, Shaar Mikrah Kodesh, ch. 4) related it to the idea "Peh sach" - "a mouth converses" (as noted by sam in a comment). This can also be connected to the mitzvah of magid. See ...
  • 17.3k
4 votes
Accepted

An obscure reference to a "golden vein"

Likely, the reference is to the story in I Samuel 5-6 where the Philistines captured the Ark of the Covenant in battle, and were stricken with hemorrhoids and rats whilst they held on to it. After 7 ...
  • 95.7k
4 votes
Accepted

The Machzeh Einayim on crying

Chapter 3 (p. 46 here): ונתבונן כי אם יבכה האדם מרוב מכאוביו ומרוב צרותיו אז יזלו מים מעיניו, על מה עשה ה׳ ככה כי ירדו מים מעינים ולא מאברים אחרים, אם יד או רגל או אבר אחר נלקה, העינים מורידים ...
  • 23.3k

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