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19 votes

About what were rabbis ahead of the times?

Dr. Jeremy Brown, in a post on his Talmudology blog on science in the Daf Yomi, points out that Rava, quoted in Yevamot 97a, provides the first published claim that boys' puberty can be delayed by ...
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18 votes

Did the Ba'al Shem Tov actually exist?

I think the Ba'al Shem Tov had to have existed in some way (even if it's not the way we've been taught), as I doubt an entire branch of Orthodox Judaism would base itself off the teachings of a ...
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18 votes

What is the process called to become a Rabbi?

Semikhah is the name of the process through which a rabbi is ordained in Rabbinic Judaism.
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  • 239
17 votes
Accepted

Is a female Torah scholar accorded the same honors as a male?

R. Yehuda Aiash (Shut Beit Yehuda YD 28) rules that in general any honour which one must accord a male (such as standing up for an older man), one must accord an equivalent female as well: פשוט דכל ...
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15 votes

Is this the Chofetz Chaim?

Click here to see this video that has been making the rounds on Jewish sites recently has a short scene of the Chafetz Chaim. Here are some screen caps:
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  • 32.3k
14 votes
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Rav vs. Rabbi in Talmudic Times

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 ...
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  • 24.4k
13 votes

R' Yehoshua Ben Levi -- A Tanna or an Amorah?

The Tzla'ch in Berachot 26b says the גמרא can't ask on Rebbe Yehoshua ben Levi from a ברייתא because he lived at the end of the Tannayic era and, therefore can argue on a ברייתא
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  • 131
13 votes
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What Jewish leaders/rabbis/prophets were active in years 3350-3360?

Assuming we use the conventional Jewish chronology, that puts us right during the Babylonian exile. 2414 years ago = 400 BCE; conventional chronology has the first Temple destroyed 20 years earlier ...
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13 votes
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Does a Jewish grandmother (mother's side) really get one accepted as a Jew?

Among those Rabbis that I know, if/when they are approached by someone who wasn't raised as a Jew but has a Jewish maternal grandparent, they welcome them with open arms as Jews, albeit Jews who have ...
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13 votes
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Was the Aruch Hashulchan Sephardic?

147zcbm made what even 147zcbm thought was a wild inference from how things are ordered in the Aruch Hashulchan. You'll never believe what happened next. The Aruch Hashulchan was written by R' ...
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13 votes
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Speaking negatively about Rabbis

The Mishnah in Sanhedrin says "... an apikores has no share in the world to come." Commenting on this records the Gemara (San. 99b): רב ור' חנינא אמרי תרוייהו זה המבזה ת"ח Trans.: Both Rav and R. ...
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  • 11.8k
13 votes

Pri Chadash and Coffee

Beer Heitev to Orach Chayim 89:3 (ד״ה מותר) quotes the Pri Chadash saying: Coffee can be drunk (before prayer), particularly in Egypt where their thinking doesn't work properly without coffee. וכ&...
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12 votes

Napoléon's Sanhedrin

According to Rabbi Noson Auerbach, Napoleon's Sanhedrin had no halakhic importance whatsoever. The greatest scholar to be part of the Sanhedrin was R' David Zinsheim, whose works on Shas are edited by ...
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12 votes

Sefaria and Rabbinic Endorsements

Emeritus Chief Rabbi Jonathan H. Sacks, "In Praise of Sefaria": "Sefaria is one of my favorite things in the entire contemporary Jewish world. It is taking cutting-edge technology and doing ...
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  • 444
11 votes

Smicha from R' Zalman Nechemia Goldberg?

I am a personal Talmid Of Rav Goldberg Shlit"a. I have been attending his Shiurim for over 8 years and had the pleasure of driving him over a 4 year period. He has also attended all of my family ...
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  • 111
11 votes

Reb Moshe Feinstein in the New York Times

The original article is available online: http://docslide.us/documents/ny-times-1975-article-about-r-moshe-feinstein.html
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11 votes

Why is it necessary to ask a Rabbi?

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 ...
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  • 8,740
11 votes

About what were rabbis ahead of the times?

Apparently Rambam said: בבוקר אכול כמלך, בצהריים כבן מלך ובערב כאביון eat breakfast like a king, lunch like the son of a king and dinner like a pauper. among his other advice for health ...
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11 votes

About what were rabbis ahead of the times?

It seems that Rambam anticipated certain aspects of Einstien's General Relativity. The traditional view was that time is absolute and constant: "Absolute, true, and mathematical time, of itself, ...
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11 votes
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The history of the Sephardic Chief Rabbi's outfit

This did not start with the post Sephardic Chief Rabbi of Israel. Nor did it start with Ovadia Yosef. Rabbis throughout the orient wore this type of garb regularly, as their dress reflected the ...
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  • 9,699
11 votes
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What was the ultimate fate of Rabbi Elisha ben Abuyah (Acher)?

The story is brought down in Chagiga 15b: When Acher died, they said, "We cannot judge him to punishment [in Gehinnom], but we cannot enter him into the World to Come. We cannot judge him to ...
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  • 3,636
10 votes

Did any Achronim comment on the American Revolutionary or Civil Wars?

R. Hayyim Joseph David Azulai twice refers to the American Revolution in his diary. Both times he is talking about the negative effect the war was having on the finances of Jews in Amsterdam who had ...
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  • 48.1k
10 votes

Smicha from R' Zalman Nechemia Goldberg?

I live in the U.S. and have Semicha from R' Zalman Nechemia, so I feel qualified to share my experiences. I will preface that Rabbi Yirmiyahu Ullman was a tremendous help in providing information and ...
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  • 4,263
10 votes

How does the oral Torah not contradict Dvarim 4:2?

In order for the Torah Shebal Peh to be "added" to the Torah it would be necessary to conclude from independent evidence that it wasn't part of the Torah to begin with. To argue that Torah Shebal Peh ...
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  • 13.1k
10 votes

Does a Jewish grandmother (mother's side) really get one accepted as a Jew?

No, the rabbi wouldn't find it strange. & Yes, he would accepted you at the spot as 100% jewish. And I can tell you from my own personal experience they would be even very happy!
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  • 1,137
10 votes

Which Rabbi claimed he was metaphorically born at the top of a mountain?

Nesivei Yeshurun al HaTorah1 (פרשת תולדות) cites a story where the Sefas Emes implies that he started at a lofty spiritual level due to the greatness of his illustrious grandfather, the Chidushei HaRI"...
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  • 1,393
10 votes

How to get an urgent answer if your local rabbi isn't reachable

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 ...
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  • 19.3k
10 votes

Did the Ba'al Shem Tov actually exist?

Aside from the fact there are countless prominent Rabbis from his time who state clearly that they met and learned with him face to face, such a the Maggid of Mezerich, any student of history is aware ...
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  • 12.4k
10 votes
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Does the Talmud continue to use extra Tanachic sources?

As @TamirEvan stated in the comments, Ben-Sira appears a few times in the Talmud, for example: Sanhedrin 100b: "The verse states: “All the days of the poor are terrible” (Proverbs 15:15). The ...
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  • 20.8k
10 votes
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Gezerah D'Rabbah in the Beit Hamikdash?

An additional application is the prohibition to sprinkle purifying water on a tamei meis on Shabbos, even if that would allow him to offer his Korban Pesach. Pesachim 69a והזאה מאי טעמא לא דחיא שבת ...
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