20

A Rabbi is an expert in his field and has studied for many years. If one needed medical advice, G-d forbid, they would never rely on "crowd-sourced" opinions of a question and answer website, but would go to a trained doctor with practical experience. If this is so with regards physical healing, how much more so when dealing with the health of one's souls. A ...


19

There are several historical factors to consider, particularly the advent of the internet. We live in the age of information. The gap between rabbinic leadership and the lay is being broached with great rapidity. More people are interested in a more horizontal society wherein they approach sources, analyze them, digest them, etc. and interact on such basis ...


17

How about an Eruv in a big city? For those who hold like Rashi that you need 600,000 people to cross through a city for it to be a rishut harabim, carrying within an eruv is fine, and without an eiruv would usually be an issur dirabanan. However for those who hold like other rishonim who don't need the 600,000, most public areas can be considered a reshut ...


15

See my answer on a man shaking a woman's hand: Rabbi Yehuda Herzl Henkin says it's totally permissible, and it was prevalent in the German community 50 years ago. R' Chaim Kanievski says if someone puts a gun to your head and says "shake this woman's hand [in a business setting] or else I'll shoot you", you still can't do it.


13

From SimchasTorah's excellent answer to Is it permissible to open soda cans on shabbos? Even someone who does not open cans on Shabbos may use a can that was opened on Shabbos even if they were opened for him (Iggres Moshe: O"C Chelek Daled Siman Kuf Yud Tes Ois Heh) and does not require the person who opened it to drink from it. Non the less he may not ...


13

The term "rabbi" means that the person received semikha (not to be confused with the modern form of semikha which is different). There was no semikha in Bavel, so none of the amoraim who lived there were "rabbi" unless they came to Eretz Yisrael. An easy way to remember this is by looking at the last letter of the word. "Rav" ends with ב which is also the ...


12

R. J.D. Bleich covered this topic in a recent Survey of Recent Halakhic Periodical Literature. In the article he discusses a number of possible issues that have been raised with Silk-screen Sifrei Torah, but says that most of them are not so strong. He says there is one serious objection where the burden of proof falls on the innovators to show that it is OK:...


12

Since no one has listed a summary of concise rulings, I will list R. Bleich's conclusion from his Survey of Recent Halakhic Periodical Literature. I have inserted the sources that he mentioned throughout the survey in brackets. The silk screen method is certainly subject to challenge on the basis of its inherent incompatibility with a number of ...


12

I feel a bit of sadness in writing this, because I think it's something that should be - but isn't at all - obvious. You can certainly seek out rabbis who can give general answers about Halachah without knowing you, perhaps without ever meeting you, but you shouldn't. You should, instead, seek out a rabbi with whom you can be comfortable asking these ...


11

Easy. Just take any halacha whose rulings range from permissible to forbidden and have a parent ask you to do it. For example: If a parent asked you to carry something on Shabbos within an eruv in a large city. One opinion would be that you must do it because of kibbud av v'em. The other opinion would say it's assur, and that you are required to disobey ...


11

I think the answer here is that it is always ok to challenge a gadol - if you do so directly. R' Klein disagreed with R' Moshe, so he wrote to R' Moshe asking about it. Do it respectfully, and from the perspective of someone trying to learn, not as someone who has something to prove. The key is to realize that they are known as a gadol for a reason, and ...


11

These two semicha 'tracks' cover different areas of halakah: Yoreh Yoreh covers areas that deal with the day to day questions that rabbis might receive, such as questions on kashrut or taharat hamishpacha. Most programs of Yoreh Yoreh also include study of the laws of Shabbat and Mourning. It's traditionally associated with the second section of Tur/Shulchan ...


10

Smoking As stated in this J.SE answer there are not a few rabbonim who hold that smoking is assur. As far as whether it's a Torah violation (rather than a Rabbinic one) Rabbi Shmuel Kaminetsky (at 4:30) is quite clear that he holds it is. Also from that answer, (thank you @ShmuelBrill), there are many rabbonim that hold that it is l'chatchila muttar, if ...


10

I think there may be a number of factors that led to the Mishnah Berurah becoming the accepted work in many circles. In each topic, the aruch hashulchan presents the whole sugya, which makes it better for someone learning, but not as quick if you just want the final halacha. The mishnah berurah separates out the discussion part, so its quicker to see the ...


10

The best option is probably the Beis Din of your own community; see if they are reachable by phone; they may well be. That said, someone I sort of know has experience with the following hotlines in the States. (I am not in a position to judge their halachic permissibility or reliability. It seems that you should tell the rabbi on the hotline whose minhag ...


9

I recently wrote an article for Torah Musings that focuses on a part of the answer that hasn't been focused on yet. "What does Mesorah Mean?" http://www.torahmusings.com/2015/08/what-does-masorah-mean . To quote just enough to capture the thesis, although it omits much of the argument and R JB Soloveitchik's poetry: ... We speak of someone “having a masorah”...


9

These Halachot are well documented. In the Rambam הלכות תלמוד תורה פרק ה Shulchan Aruch, Yoreh Deah סימן רמב - שלא להורות בפני הרב, ודין רב שמחל על כבודו Let's review some of the pertinent Halachot: ד אָסוּר לְאָדָם לְהוֹרוֹת לִפְנֵי רַבּוֹ לְעוֹלָם, וְכָל הַמּוֹרֶה לְפָנָיו חַיָּב מִיתָה.‏ הגה: וַאֲפִלּוּ נְטִילַת רְשׁוּת לֹא מְהָנֵי תּוֹךְ ...


9

Basar Shenitalem Min Ha'ayin would be an example of this: The Gemara Bavli in Hullin 95a and 95b, rules that the thing we are worried about is an animal (according to rashi a raven, according to the rambam "a wild animal or vermin" (my rough translation)) switching the meat. The gemara holds that this doesn't apply if it was in the hands of a non-Jew -- ...


9

A Yo'etzet Halakhah is there to answer questions that are going unasked because some women are understandably embarrassed to raise them with a male rabbi. They can also find answers that wouldn't cross a man's mind simply because the territory is more familiar. The only halachic decisions they give are ones where the questioner's community has a well ...


9

I can't quote him verbatim, but Rabbi Ahron Lopiansky once said something along the lines of 'the only thing keeping people from getting advice in Torah from rabbis is the people themselves'. Sexuality is a part of Torah. Rabbi Kahana went as far as to hide under his teacher's bed to learn proper conduct with one's wife. Rabbis know this. They aren't going ...


8

Pashkvillim (unsigned papers) that don't have a source are no more reliable than J.SE answers (if anything it would be worse as people try to bring sources here). As with all halachic advice from unknown individuals CYLOR before acting.


8

The MA holds that we split up the 12 hours of a day from Alot HaShachar (the beginning of day) to Tzeit HaKochavim (the end of the day). The Gra holds that the 12 hours are split from sunrise to sunset independent of what is considered day or night. All agree that noon must be when the sun is highest in the sky. (This can be proven from the gemara that says ...


8

The Lubavitcher Rebbe says that he was worthy that his sefer was accepted by all Jews since he was "a man who wanted life" (Ish Ha-chofetz Chaim). The Lubavitcher Rebbe there suggested that people learn Shulchan Aruch Orach Chaim, the Rama, the Nosei Keilim, Alter Rebbe's Shulchan Aruch (the Shulchan Aruch Harav) and the Mishna Brura.


8

Rav Belsky, on page 9 of Shulchan Halevi (English version), explains that while theoretically silk-screening could be kosher for writing Stam, there are some issues which can come up. He mentions that forgeries would increase, and there there could be a problem of kesidran ("written in order," which Teffilin and Mezuzah require). Then he brings an issue ...


8

The Rambam (Talmud Torah 5:4) citing the gemara Horios writes כל תלמיד שלא הגיע להוראה ומורה הרי זה רשע שוטה וגס הרוח. ועליו נאמר כי רבים חללים הפילה Any student who did not reach the level of deciding halachic answers but nevertheless instructs is evil, a fool and arrogant... The relevant question is whether you are qualified to pasken for yourself. If ...


7

A Rabbi has a broader veiw of halachah. The one answering may know a certain subject very thoroughly but misses a important point from a different subject which is very relevant. A Rabbi is certified to answer all sorts of questions and will be able to answer a lot more accurately. A Rabbi learns how to apply what he learns so that even if someone quotes all ...


7

As mentioned by Shalom, Rav Ovadia would probably be called the "Sefardi rav." Other Sefardi rabbis that people also follow such as: Rav Mordechai Eliyahu (who passed away very recently 1-2 years ago); Rav BenSion Aba Shaul (passed away 1998); Rav BenSion Musafi Shelita; Rav Shelomo Amar (Sephardic Chief rabbi); Rav Eliyahu Bakshi Doron (former chief ...


7

I believe the opinions on opening an umbrella on shabbos range from Biblical prohibition to allowable. When it comes to what goes on in a kosher slaughterhouse (slaughter and inspection), my understanding is there's very little gray area of rabbinic prohibition that divides Biblical prohibition from totally allowable. So it wouldn't surprise me if you'll ...


7

Tearing plastic, paper, leather, et al. on Shabbos The Shulchan Aruch HaRav (340:17) (and I believe, the Minchas Chinuch) holds that the melacha of tearing only applies to composite items. I.e., fabrics, which are made from multiple threads, or anything else that is two or more items connected together. Therefore, there is no prohibition, Biblical or ...


Only top voted, non community-wiki answers of a minimum length are eligible