36 votes
Accepted

What makes a smart phone "kosher"?

A good question, let me outline the situation in Israel: 20 years ago everyone used the same 2G Nokias, Sonys, etc. Some 15 years ago, with the latest developments in phone technology, namely SMS, ...
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  • 24.6k
20 votes

What halachic issues are involved in turning off a mobile phone while praying the quiet Amidah?

In Lma'an Yishme'u #267 (page 2) Rabbi Chaim Hillel Raskin says that it is a Halachic obligation to quiet or turn off a cell phone before starting to Daven. If he did not, and his cell phone rings, ...
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  • 31.3k
16 votes

How do soldiers in the IDF obey Deuteronomy 23:13?

The English term for this tool is an entrenching tool. Here it is described as standard issue gear for a paratrooper in the IDF. As far as I know, it is pretty standard, when required, for soldiers ...
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  • 31.3k
15 votes

Can one run a surveillance Camera on Shabbos?

While some (including R' Vosner) are stringent, it is generally understood that to operate such cameras as well as walk past them is perfectly permitted. The difference between surveillance cameras ...
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  • 1,464
15 votes
Accepted

Is an on-call doctor allowed to read non-emergency text messages on Shabbat?

It is a Mitzva to desecrate Shabbat to save lives (OC 328:2), even if it is only doubtful if a life is in danger (329:3), and one should even do this Mitzva with alacrity (329:1). The Shulchan Arukh ...
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11 votes
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Brewing fresh coffee for Shabbos with a time clock

The Sefer Yerushas Pleita (Siman 16) brings from a sefer called Matta Yerushalayim that quotes in the name of the Chasam Sofer that it was common for people to set up a fire on Erev Shabbos in a way ...
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11 votes

Does the principle of Hadash Asur Min Hatorah apply to technological new things?

Certainly not. Hatam Sofer was opposed to certain innovations and changes that were being proposed for Judaism in his time and place. He responded with a catchy phrase -- "the Torah prohibits the new"...
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11 votes
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Could stones cut with a high powered laser be used to build the Beit Hamikdash?

Although the verse in Exodus (20:22) doesn't specify the type of metal used to cut the mizbeach, the verse in Deuteronomy (27:5) writes specifically that iron is prohibited. This is similarly implied ...
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11 votes
Accepted

Is there an online source for trope occurrences?

I don't have enough rep to comment above, but I'm the creator of quantifiedcantillation.nl, and since I saw a few referrals from this question I thought I'd stop by. It looks like my site should be ...
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  • 296
11 votes
Accepted

Davening with a Minyan in China

I don't know if there's such a system available at the moment but I came across a project on Kickstarter [ JPal ] that aims to automate this process. According to the developers people can create a ...
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11 votes

What makes a smart phone "kosher"?

For Israel and the USA: TAG certifies individual phones in the USA with a holographic sticker. Israel has a vaad that prints their hechsher directly on the phone (as is appropriate to their stricter ...
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  • 5,212
10 votes

Microphone for Meggilah

R' Shlomo Zalman Auerbach1 discusses the entire issue of recreated sounds in Shu"t Minchas Shlomo siman 9. His basic synopsis is that since the sound is being converted from sound waves to electrical ...
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10 votes
Accepted

Remote control lighting of stove?

The OU uses a system where they remotely light an oven in order for the product to be Bishul Yisrael. From the OU website Rabbi Yehuda Shain has recently developed an ingenious system whereby ...
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10 votes

Jewish Minecraft instructions?

Here is a YouTube video of someone's actual Minecraft model of the (first) Beit Hamikdash. If building based on that isn't enough, they provide some links in the video description. Disclaimer: I don'...
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9 votes

Referencing Iron before the Iron Age

In Tanach the word Barzel - ברזל appears 44 times. Per Wikipedia The Iron Age in the Ancient Near East is believed to have begun with the discovery of iron smelting and smithing techniques in ...
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9 votes

Sh'kiya alarm app (iOS)

Ultimate Zmanim for iOS has that feature. With Zmanim Alarms, Ultimate Zmanim can remind you of important zmanim throughout the day. Shema, Tefila, and weekly candle lighting are all covered. (To ...
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9 votes
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Studying Torah while lying on a bed?

I saw this interesting answer by Rav Aviner to a similar question: Q: Is it permissible to learn Torah while laying in bed or on a couch? A: One must learn Torah in awe, fear and trembling (Berachot ...
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  • 289
8 votes

Online tool for minyan management?

JPal should solve this issue. Please check this thread on SE: Davening with a Minyan in China Details: Minyan On Demand let's you create a minyan anywhere in the world and instantly have ...
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  • 324
8 votes
Accepted

Can I make a mikvah using artificial rain?

As Ephraim already mentioned, HaRav Menashe Klein discusses this in משנה הלכות חלק ב. He brings a Chazon Ish in חידושי חזו"א מקואות תנינא סי' יו"ד ס"ק י"א which talks about using condensed steam for ...
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8 votes

my cellphone is off on Shabbat but the voicemail still takes a message

No sources so please CYLOR but: The voicemail goes to a central server at your provider. When you dial in to retrieve your messages you are not accessing a message store on your phone rather you are ...
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  • 3,767
8 votes
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Are there any contemporary "Gedolim" that prohibit the use of davening from a smart phone?

Before discussing praying on a smart phone, there is the question of even having it enter the synagogue. Sephardi Chief Rabbi of Israel, R. Yitzhak Yosef (the son of R. Ovadia Yosef), considers some ...
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  • 10.7k
8 votes

Pirating software that has already been bought

When you purchase a DVD like you are describing, there is a 'terms of use' agreement, a 'terms and conditions' of sale and multiple copyrights (often in compliance with different jurisdictions around ...
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8 votes

Can DNA be used as evidence to prove that someone is Jewish?

The use of DNA testing has been hotly debated in a number of cases, e.g., proving parenting to obtain child support, checking if a person died to permit his wife to remarry, preventing inheritance, ...
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8 votes
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Trying to find a quote of the Cheshek Shlomo

The Chesek Shlomo(which is Rabbi Shlomo Hakohen) can be found in the back of the Shulchan Aruch (Melachim) (Kovetz Mefarshim) which has many meforshim on each siman. Here is the text you are looking ...
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  • 39.8k
7 votes

Can you leave video chat on over Shabbos?

The answer to Can one run a surveillance Camera on Shabbos? quotes Dose of Halacha as saying, with regards to being photographed by a surveillance camera: R’ Moshe Feinstein (in a letter to R’ ...
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  • 22.8k
7 votes

Microphone for Meggilah

Rav Moshe in IG"M O.C.(2) siman 108 and O.C.(4) siman 126 notes that "some experts" say that the sound produced by a microphone is not the actual person's voice magnified, rather it's a new sound. ...
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  • 402
7 votes

While playing a computer game, may I "worship" one of the game's "gods" to help me win?

A seemingly very similar question is posed by Rabbi Gil Student on his website https://www.torahmusings.com/2017/05/video-game-idolatry based on a version of the game Zelda. He goes through several ...
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7 votes

Brewing fresh coffee for Shabbos with a time clock

In Rabbi Eider's Halachos of Shabbos page 322 footnote 657, he quotes a list of Rabbis who say this is assur. In order of his quoting them: Rav Y. Henkin in Euros Yisroel page 122. Tzitz Eliezer ...
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  • 32.3k
7 votes

plastic utensil absorption and kashering

This question is dealt with by Dose of Halacha: R’ Yechiel Yaakov Weinberg (Seridei Aish 1:46) writes that the acharonim are lenient regarding plastic and such utensils may be kashered through ...
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  • 6,097
7 votes

Using a neighbor's encrypted Wi-Fi connection

No, you may not use the internet. Yes, you have to repay the neighbor, especially if the neighbor is charged for the amount of data used. If the neighbor has an unlimited plan, you may still have to ...
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