13 votes
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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 ...
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12 votes
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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 ...
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12 votes
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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, ...
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  • 6,684
11 votes

Peyot behind ears?

To answer your question: It's been said in the name of Reb Chaim Kanievsky that one should not hide one's Peyot behind one's ears, but he never says to cut them. There are plenty well respected Rabbis ...
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10 votes

Covering eyes when saying Shema Yisrael

The Talmud (Berakhot 13b) is the original source for this custom. Here there is a mention of Rabbi Judah the Prince covering his eyes while he said the Shema to block out the distractions of the ...
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8 votes
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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 ...
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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 ...
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8 votes
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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 ...
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7 votes
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In the Forgiveness Petition of the Amidah, How Should One Strike the Chest?

The Kehot Annotated Siddur says (p. 47): On days when Tachnun is said, gently strike the left side of your chest (over the heart) with a closed fist at the words חטאנו and פעשנו.
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  • 31.3k
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 ...
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  • 446
7 votes
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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, ...
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7 votes
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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 ...
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7 votes
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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 ...
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6 votes

Covering eyes when saying Shema Yisrael

Nefesh HaChaim Shaar Gimmel Perek Beis(1): אבל אדון כל ית"ש הוא מלא את כל העולמות והנבראי' ואינם חוצצים חלילה נגדו יתב' כלל באמת. ואין עוד מלבדו ית' ממש שום דבר כלל בכל העולמות. מהעליון ...
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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 ...
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6 votes
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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 ...
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  • 31.3k
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 ...
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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 ...
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5 votes
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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 ...
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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 ...
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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 ...
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5 votes
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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 ...
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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 ...
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5 votes
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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 ...
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5 votes
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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 ...
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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 ...
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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 ...
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  • 1,047
4 votes

Peyot behind ears?

I'm not sure about Rav Ben-Tzion Abba Shaul (I'd be very interested in hearing if anyone knows), but Rav Menashe Klein (Mishneh Halachos 7:121) quotes from R. Chaim Zvi Manheimer that people who grow ...
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4 votes

Did Adam and Eve have bellybuttons, fingerprints or ridge over lip?

There is a midrash that says that Adam and Chavah did not have navels (i.e. bellybuttons.) One should wonder if Chazal meant for any such midrashim to be taken literally. After all, Chazal were ...
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