17

Rashi doesn't address it, but other commentators do. The Ibn Ezra, Rashbam, Sforno, and Chezkoni all agree on this: Yaakov was "legally blind" to the point that he could not see any details, but was able to see that there was a person there. This is actually similar to personal experience. My mother is nearly like this: she can discern shapes, but no ...


14

Yes. The first mishna of Maseches Sukkah lists the different factors that would invalidate a sukkah, but transparency isn't an issue. You can also make the walls with 4 horizontal strings, each within 3 tefachim from the other one. Though if it was completely transparent, i.e. invisible, perhaps there would be an issue that no one could tell they're in a ...


13

http://www.chabadyavne.com/contents.asp?fid=82&av=2327 The Piskei Teshuvos 61:5 mentions from the Arizal that the hand has to actually cover the eyes. However the Kloizenberger Rebbe Zatzal held that you may just cover the glasses with your hand. In Chabad they lift the glasses and place the hand on the eyes.


12

In a book I own called שער העין - Shaar HaAyin by a Rabbi Eliyahu Ariel in Chapter 7 Footnote 14 he says that this does not qualify for the special blessing on a rainbow as that was only for rainbows in clouds which are similar to the one by Noah. However, he suggests that it qualifies as an amazing natural wonder (similar to lightning) and would therefore ...


12

Yalkut Yosef 61:4 ואין צריך להסיר המשקפיים בעת שנותן ידיו על עיניו בקריאת שמע.‏ He holds you don't have to remove the glasses.


12

As you said, Ralbag (and most of the commentaries) understand this to be talking about statues of some kind. (Metzudas David to 5:8 also cites this as a second explanation.) So according to that view of things, David had nothing against the blind and lame people any more than against any of the other Jebusites. Metzudas David's first explanation (to 5:6), ...


12

No, one may not pray in front of a mirror. The Radbaz in a responsum (4:107) gives both of the reasons you mention as explanations. From DailyHalacha.com The question surrounding the permissibility of praying facing such a window arises from a discussion of the Radbaz (Rabbi David Ben Zimra, Egypt, 1480-1574) regarding praying in front of a mirror. It is ...


11

The Ritva writes (Rosh Hashana 11a): ויומי ניסן לאו דוקא אלא כל מקום ומקום לפי מה שהוא דמלבלבי.‏ "The days of Nissan" is not precise, but rather every place according to when the trees bud. Based on this, Rabbis Yitzchok Yaakov Weiss (Minchat Yitzchak 10:16) and Tzvi Pesach Frank (Har Tzvi OC 118) ruled that in the Southern Hemisphere the blessing ...


11

Rav Zilberstein writes in Veha'arev Na (page 441), that sheimos written in Braille require placement in sheimos, as they are read by a wide audience of blind people. Challenge: May divrei Torah written in braille be thrown in the garbage, or do they require genizah like divrei Torah written in normal script? Solution: Since braille is a written ...


11

Simla Chadasha (the book on shechita) rules (11:1) that one should not shecht in the dark/at night, because he won't be able to look at the simanim, to check whether he did what he needed to do (רוב אחד בעוף רוב שנים בבהמה; most of one "siman" (windpipe/foodpipe) for a bird, most of two "simanim" for an animal). "Dark" is defined as "too dark to see what he'...


10

A blind person cannot make the b'racha of borei m'orei ha'esh on the flame. (Shulchan Aruch OC 298:13) However, he certainly may recite the rest of havdala. (Mishna B'rura 298:34)


10

Jewish Action, Summer 2005 edition, has a "What's the truth about..." column by Rabbi Dr. Ari Z. Zivotofsky on not meeting for the week preceding the wedding. His main point is the lack of old sources for this custom, but he does cite several newer sources and the reasons they give. See there for the details, but the reasons and post-facto rationales offered ...


10

There are two opinions in the medrash cited in Aryeh's answer; R' Yehuda permits women gazing upon men. His opinion is accepted by Sh'muel in B'rachos 48b. Although R' Yochanan follows R' Yosi's interpretation of the pasuk there, the gemara does not record that he added the phrase אם כן עשית בנות ישראל כזונות. In fact, R' Yochanan himself allowed women to ...


10

Being blind myself, I can more specifically address Hebrew Braille and how siddurim work. As the first answer says, a person who knows English Grade 2 braille does not need to start from scratch, because there are many similarities. However, it is not transliteration; the Hebrew letters are represented character for character, with the vowels, when used, ...


9

The Talmud (Brachot 58b) says that upon seeing good creations or trees one says ברוך...שככה לו בעולמו. The Tur (OC 218) quotes an argument between the Raavad and Rosh if blessings like these should be recited only the first time one sees the object, or even if the object hasn't been seen in 30 days. He rules like the latter opinion (Rosh). The Tur in OC ...


8

In Maseches Sukkah 4b (copied below), Rava rejects Abaye's proposal for a platform without walls because there is a requirement that they be "ניכר". Therefore there may be a basis for transparent walls being invalid. היתה גבוהה מעשרים אמה ובנה בה עמוד שהוא גבוה עשרה טפחים ויש בו הכשר סוכה סבר אביי למימר גוד אסיק מחיצתא א"ל רבא בעינן מחיצות הניכרות ...


8

It is superstition, which Jewish women likely absorbed from the surrounding culture. I wrote in another answer about upsherin and the Pennsylvania Germans / Dutch, where the Pennsylvania Germans are continuing an old superstition from Europe (and where upsherin is explicitly not practiced by Tannaim/Amoraim). Similarly, R' Menasheh Klein's endorsement of ...


8

You are not supposed to gaze at it, however if you notice it you make a Bracha. When one sees a rainbow a bracha should be made. However, one should be careful not to stare at a rainbow for too long (Orach Chaim 229:1). The Be'er Hataiv 2 in Orach Chaim 229:1 says that looking at a rainbow weakens the eyes. http://hebrewbooks.org/pdfpager.aspx?req=...


8

Shulchan Aruch Orach Chaim 298:3-4 says: The person needs to be close enough to the fire to potentially benefit from it, should he so choose (It is described there as being able to sort money by the light of the torch). The Mishna Berurah there (S"K 13) says that if one who is listening wants to fulfill his obligation, he too must be that close. Our ...


8

There is a concern that the congregation might come to think that the Brachos said before Torah reading are written in the Torah, but closing the Torah and then opening it would take extra time (see Megillah 31a). Therefore, the Rama (139:6) writes that it is best to turn one's head away from the Torah while making the Beracha. Once one is turning his head, ...


8

From here: I once heard a great story about Rav Solovetchick, from R’ Motty Berger of Aish. Isidor Rabi developed a theory in the 30’s that was a harbinger of the Big Bang theory. Arno Penzias was one of the scientists who discovered proof of it in the 60’s. Rabi was born frum but went off, and in his autobiography he tells a story in which he ...


7

I don't believe it says anywhere that you have to put your hand over your eyes. "(They) are accustomed to pace their hands over their face when reading the 1st pasuk so that one won't stare at anything else that will deter him from concentrating." (SA OC 61:5) It isn't clear from the Shulchan Aruch whether it is 1 hand or both. Although the source for ...


7

Many have to custom to specifically use a thick, opaque veil, so that one can not see the bride's face. (See Nitei Gavriel Nisuin I, Chapter 13, halacha 9). This veil is placed prior to the Chuppah, and is then worn until after the Chuppah. (see footnote 14 and here). One of the reasons given is so that the bride not see the ring she is being betrothed with,...


7

Aish pathways says the blessing Oseh Ma’aseh Veraishit is said upon seeing spectacular mountains, deserts, lightning, earthquakes, hurricanes, astronomical phenomena, and impressive bodies of water. The Wikipedia entry for Aurora is titled “Aurora (astronomy)”. Thus the bracha Oseh Ma’aseh Veraishit seems right. But CYLOR. Edit: In the light of ...


6

I read from Rav Mutzafi that there is no problem for a child to see his reflection in a mirror. I believe he said that those who discourage a child from seeing his reflection have no source for this "custom".


6

I saw an excellent comprehensive article on exactly this topic It brings down all the opinions and reasons, but the bottom line is that these photo chromic lenses are permitted on shabbos.


6

I have no backing for this novel idea, but here goes: Modern science of the past century has taught us that light consists of photons. These are packets of energy that act like particles in many respects and have no mass (since they travel at the speed of light). Now, how can it be that the darkness was "thick"? When photons have no mass, how can there be ...


6

First of all, it should be clarified that rasha means wicked person (technically just wicked, but it is a substantive ). And asur (assur) means forbidden. As Rabbi Yochanan says (Megillah 28a), it is forbidden for a man to gaze at the "tzelem demus" of a wicked man... Tzelem means image, and demus means likeness. Rabbi Yehoshua ben Korchah said that he ...


6

Per מסכת עירובין דף יג עמוד ב he was not called Rabbi Meir because he was blind. He was known as Rabbi Meir although his real name was Rabbi Nehorai due to the fact that he enlightened the Chachomim in Halacha. "תנא: לא רבי מאיר שמו אלא רבי נהוראי שמו, ולמה נקרא שמו רבי מאיר - שהוא מאיר עיני חכמים בהלכה" There is also a Gemara מסכת מגילה דף יח עמוד ב which ...


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