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13 votes
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Why don't Rabbinic fasts end by Ben Hashmashot?

The Talmud (Pesachim 54b) states that only for Tisha bAv must we be stringent for Bein Hashemashot. There is an opinion in Rishonim that only regarding the Bein Hashemashot at the beginning of the day ...
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12 votes
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What should I do if I don't know whether I'm in a pikuach nefesh situation?

This question is discussed by Rabbi Kaganoff “One must desecrate Shabbos even if there is only a slight possibility that the situation is dangerous. One does not need a professional opinion or an ...
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9 votes
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Zephaniah 2:3 -- the use of אוּלַי meaning "perhaps"

One of the Rabbis in the Talmud reacts to this verse in a similar way to you (חגיגה ד ב): רבי אמי כי מטי להאי קרא בכי (צפניה ב, ג) בקשו צדק בקשו ענוה אולי תסתרו ביום אף ה' אמר כולי האי ואולי ...
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9 votes

Source for "אין שמחה כשמחת התרת הספקות"

רמ"א, תורת העולה, ח"א פרק ו The Rema in תורת העולה, ח"א פרק ו says וכבר כתב חכם אחד שלא טעם טעם שמחה מי שלא טעם התרת הספיקות השכליות and a wise man said that someone who has not tasted the ...
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8 votes
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What was the ריב"א thinking?

Shaalos Uteshuvos Radbaz 3:444 says that perhaps the Riva felt that his time was up and knew that he would die either way and therefore did not eat. "אפשר דריב"א ז"ל הרגיש בעצמו דאפילו שיאכל ימות ...
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8 votes
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Does adding a different liquid to a pre-existing drink require a new Shehakol?

R Yair Spolter and R Shraga Simmons discuss such a case in their series of lessons of blessings (here) and answer one does not need a new blessing. A bracha includes whatever foods you intended to ...
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7 votes

Schrödinger's cat and yibbum

I would say that this is a question of the definition of testimony. We have the halachos in a number of places, including the talmud and Rambam hilchos Yibum, hilchos gittin, and hilchos nashim, about ...
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7 votes

Not knowing a Halacha

Some General Guidelines: Safek pekuach nefesh - if the situation is possibly life-threatening, one should act to save a life. Safek d'orayta l'chumrah - if it's a doubt about a d'oraysa, he should ...
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7 votes
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why do kohanim make a bracha on birkat kohanim if they are safek kohanim?

This question is addressed by several acharonim. R. Jacob Reischer argues that since a kohen who does not perform the blessing is as if he has violated three positive commandments, the Sages said that ...
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7 votes
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Does one Make a Bracha on Tzitzis during Bein Hashmashos?

Mishnah Berurah 18:7 אבל אם איחר להתעטף עד לילה שוב לא יברך דשמא הלכה כהרמב"ם ומשמע מדברי המ"א בסק"ד דאפילו בין השמשות מותר לברך עד צה"כ וטעמו דהלא בציצית לא כתיב יום רק וראיתם ...
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6 votes

logic behind kol kavua k'mechtza al mechtze

Rabbi Aqiva Eiger (shu”t #136) says that there are two types of doubt, and each has its own mechanism for birur, for clarification. The case of qavu’ah is one where the reality was once established. ...
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5 votes
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Is there a prohibition of paying interest misafek (doubt)?

In The Laws of Ribbis (chapter 4, section D, paragraph 25, page 88), Rabbi Yisroel Reisman writes: It is important that both the borrower and lender keep accurate records of how much is owed. When ...
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5 votes

Source for "אין שמחה כשמחת התרת הספקות"

To add to Avrohom Yitzchok's answer: The B'nei Yissaschar (Sivan 5:13; cf. Kisleiv 3:19) attributes this statement to the Rambam: ואמר הרמב"ם מי שלא טעם טעם התרת הספיקות (בתורה) לא טעם שמחה ...
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4 votes
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Is allowed for a non tohor (unclean) person to read the Tanach?

As Zeev said: Rambam, Laws of Reading the Shema 4:8 ח כל הטמאים--חייבין בקריאת שמע, ומברכין לפניה ולאחריה והן בטומאתן, אף על פי שאפשר להן לעלות מטומאתן בו ביום, כגון הנוגעים בשרץ או בנידה וזבה ...
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4 votes

Counting the omer with doubt before the fixed calendar

Ba'al Hameor and Ravad (both at the end of Pesachim) assume that the communities counted only one day, starting from the first day of Yom Tov. Whether or not they did this with a beracha would ...
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4 votes
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Should the bracha for toiveling be repeated for subsequent immersions in a toiveling "session"?

Chaf-K says that the bracha applies to all kailim that the person had in mind when he siad the bracha. One who is being tovel more than one utensil should be careful not to talk between the first ...
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4 votes

Is it wrong to hang a Mezuzah diagonally?

I think there might be a slight misunderstanding of the requirement. According to the Talmud (Menachot 33a), a mezuzah that is hung like a bolt is pasul (improper). In other words, the mezuzah should ...
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3 votes

Safek De'Oraysa Le'Chumra

There is a dispute as to whether beracha me'ein shalosh (al hamichiya etc.) is rabbinic or Biblical. Some Rishonim, for example the Rashba, hold it is Biblical, while others, for example the Rambam, ...
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3 votes

Schrödinger's cat and yibbum

Believe it or not, the gemara discusses cases where an individual can have 2 polar opposite statuses at the same time (for example see here). There are a number of cases brought in the gemara (Gittin ...
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3 votes
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Can someone who possibly already did a mitzva cover another such person with the b'racha?

Although in Hilchos Sefiras Ha'Omer we find that one makes a bracha based on a sfek sfaka (Mishne Berura 489:38), in general one may not rely on a sfek sfakah to make a bracha (Mishne Berura 215:20). ...
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3 votes

Halachic categorization of safek dioraisa...

The Rashba (Toras HaBayis, Bayis 4, Shaar 1, 11b. Also in his chiddushim on kiddushin 73a d"h mamzer vaday) says it's a Torah principle. The Ran (Kiddushin 15b according to the Rif pages) also holds ...
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3 votes
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Safek Leket Leket vs. Hamotzi Mechaveiro

This excellent question is asked by the Gemara in Chulin 134a(¹), you can found it learning the Mishnayot chulin 10, 4 in TYT and Tif'eret Yisrael. . The conclusion of Rava is that: Kama beChezkat ...
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3 votes

Why is a safek d'oraisa lechumra and a safek d'rabbanan lekula?

First of all, there is a machlokes if Safek D'Oraisa lechumra is in fact D'Oraisa or itself a D'Rabbanan. If its D'Oraisa, then the Torah is itself strict on such a doubt, so we may not be lenient; ...
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3 votes
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How can we be lenient in a case of mixed up teruma?

The answer is Chezkat Chulin (permitted) + Safek if something fell there, lead to permit even for An Isur Deorayta. The Gemara Yebamot says regarding a berayta similar to our Mishna, that the Kula ...
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2 votes

Is un-pedigreed Jew assumed mamser for marrage to Orthodox girl even after he becomes Orthodox?

I've never in my life heard of any rabbi, no matter "how Orthodox" he is, asking a regular person who did not grow up orthodox to show papers to prove he's Jewish - as long as he claims his mother is ...
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2 votes

in process learning enough to actually get to teshuva.. but conversion vs. giyur lechumra?

Thank you for coming to J.SE. It sounds like you're going through a difficult time, may God help you through it with tranquility. Giyur lechumra applies in cases where there's a good chance a ...
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  • 126k
2 votes

Is allowed for a non tohor (unclean) person to read the Tanach?

Basically yes. (Rambam, Kriat Shema, 4 8) Though, there is a lot more to add regarding this (see comments)
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  • 519
2 votes

if we have safek dioraisa l'chumrah, why do we need safek d'rabanan l'kulah?

The reason we need to have both rules is because one does not follow logically from the other. Given just safeik deoraita l'chumra we could potentially also say safeik derabanan l'chumra. Likewise ...
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  • 24.3k
2 votes

"Halachikly Complicated" Foods (Safek Bracha)

I understand the concept now. A few ideas soufganyot - there is a doubt whether they are mezonot or hamotzi. Because it is fried challah-dough, there is a machloket whether the frying removes the ...
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