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38 votes
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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, ...
Al Berko's user avatar
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12 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, ...
mbloch's user avatar
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11 votes
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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 ...
David Lynch's user avatar
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 ...
LN6595's user avatar
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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 ...
Y     e     z's user avatar
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'...
Scimonster's user avatar
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8 votes

Ethics in video games: idol worship

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 ...
postinganonymously's user avatar
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 ...
Arkin's user avatar
  • 322
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 ...
Aryeh's user avatar
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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 ...
sam's user avatar
  • 42.3k
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. ...
Asher's user avatar
  • 410
7 votes
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Sous-vide cooking for Shabbat

In a shiur you can listen to here Rabbi Aryeh Lebowitz discussed some of the issues involved with sous vide which is begun before shabbos. They are: Shehiyah. Leaving foods on a heat source. Garuf ...
user6591's user avatar
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7 votes
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Are there any fonts that allow for the name of Hashem to be typed the way it is in Sephardi siddurim?

Yes, here are screenshots of Windows Character Map showing DBS-Frank, DBS-Keren DBS-Stam, and DBS-Vilna:
Adám's user avatar
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7 votes
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Can a robot count in a minyan?

R. Tzvi Hirsch Ashkenazi has a responsum (Shu"t Chacham Tzvi siman 93) about whether a being created using the Sefer Yetzira can count for a minyan, and his conclusion is that it cannot. אלא ודאי ...
Alex's user avatar
  • 49.7k
6 votes

What technology did King Solomon have?

R. David Halevi Segal writes that Moses (theoretically) had the technology of printing: Turei Zahav Y.D. 271:8 ואם איתא דמעשה הדפוס הוה חקיקה קשה מנא לן דהיה על ידי שמיר שהוא דבר שאינו מצוי דילמא היה ...
Alex's user avatar
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6 votes

Can a smartphone count as a sefer for stacking purposes?

I don't have sources, but I offer the following reasoning: There is no issue of erasing with digital representations of the divine name. Text on a screen is neither permanent nor writing. Nobody (as ...
Monica Cellio's user avatar
6 votes
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Doing Rambam using audio shiur?

Chabad provide two audio shiurim for one perek a day here which strongly suggests that they feel that it fulfills the requirements of the Rebbe zatzal.
Avrohom Yitzchok's user avatar
6 votes

How did Abraham perform brit milah?

The description of Abraham's circumcision in the Bible doesn't say what tool he used. However, Joshua is described as having circumcised the Israelites with swords of stone (Joshua 5:2), and, as רבות ...
b a's user avatar
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6 votes
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Use of an automatic toilet on Shabbos?

Halachipedia brings a number of opinions permitting this R Josh Flug (Sukkot To Go 5770, p. 27) writes that it is certainly permissible to use a toilet with an automatic flusher if no other ...
mbloch's user avatar
  • 53.2k
6 votes

Is it permissible to use the "Tahor" bedikah app?

First, some background information: Tahor is an application connecting women with rabbanim to answer questions on bedika cloths. The application uses various techniques to ensure proper color and size ...
mbloch's user avatar
  • 53.2k
6 votes

Egg donation within a family

Nishmat's Women’s Health and Halacha deals with some of these issues. The page on “Egg Donation & Surrogacy” contains this information: There is no clear halachic consensus as to whether the ...
Avrohom Yitzchok's user avatar
6 votes
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What tool did Raban Gamliel use to determine how close his ship was to the port?

So this is a really fascinating topic that has bamboozled many meforshim and thinkers over the years. The Talmudology website here helps to comprehensively break it down. He first notes Rashi who says:...
Dov's user avatar
  • 33.7k
6 votes

What is TAG and how did it become the expected standard for frum people

Tag is a Jewish company that helps filter people’s devices in order to fight the battle against Shmirat Einayim. They have a wide array of filter options for all different types of people and ...
Curious Yid's user avatar
  • 2,736
5 votes

Halachah: What's the difference between this site and looking up a question in a book?

Unless the rabbi you ask your questions to is one of the higher-tier rabbis, you are likely not receiving any original information. When you ask him if something is permissible or prohibited he is ...
Alex's user avatar
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5 votes
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Using the Coravin Wine Preserver on shabbat

Assuming the question is only regarding the insertion of the needle on shabbos, and not placed before shabbos, this particular device presents a few issues within the prohibition of “creating a ...
Shoel U'Meishiv's user avatar
5 votes
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Is there a commentary concordance?

Sefaria has a search on the top left. I haven't used it much, but as a test I searched for a relatively unusual word מערבבו which I know appears in a Rashi at the end of Vayeira. Sure enough I got ...
Heshy's user avatar
  • 9,235
5 votes
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Is there a "Jew" P.S. app for Android or iPhone?

Rustybrick makes such an app for both Android and iOS. Here are the links: iOS Android Here is a description from their site: Minyan Now For iOS & Android Minyan Now lets you quickly ...
user218076's user avatar
5 votes

Mac or PC computer file Bencher in Hebrew and English

Sefaria provides a free Hebrew and English text of benching here, following the most common Ashkenazic custom. It's not formatted for printing, but it can be copied and pasted into a custom document. ...
Isaac Moses's user avatar
  • 48.2k
5 votes

Using hearing aids on the sabbath?

Tzomet is an Israeli institute for Science and Halacha (Jewish law). They research modern devices and see how they can be used/tuned to be used with observant Jews. They have some relevant thoughts on ...
mbloch's user avatar
  • 53.2k
5 votes
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May one use a measuring device on Yom Tov?

Measuring precisely is forbidden on Yom Tov because it resembles mundane acts (uvdin d'chol). However some permit using measuring instruments (e.g., baking cups) if one uses them for approximate ...
mbloch's user avatar
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