25 votes

Is it forbidden for a woman to learn Gemara?

It doesn't seem that anyone attempted to address this in a comprehensive manner, so I will try. There might be slight overlap with some of the other answers here, and with my answer to this question. ...
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18 votes
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Going from an nonreligious reform Jew to a religious one?

Welcome and congratulations on your search and efforts! Beyond the suggestions above (first and foremost to approach the rabbi in a local synagogue or Chabad house), there are a number of websites ...
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18 votes

How the irrational number Pi can be derived from the Torah?

Pi can be derived from the Torah by rolling up a Torah scroll and measuring the end's diameter and circumference. The ratio between them will be pi.
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17 votes

What to do with Torah novella thought in the bathroom by accident

Shulchan Aruch HaRav writes (Hilchos Talmud Torah 3:8): אסור לתלמיד חכם לעמוד במקום הטינופת לפי שאי אפשר לו בלא הרהורי תורה ומכל מקום מותר לו ליכנס לבית הכסא או למרחץ אף מתוך פלפול והלכה שאינה פסוקה ...
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15 votes

What is the reason that you are not allowed to learn Torah shebictav at night?

Mishne Berurah (238, Shaar HaTziyun 1) writes that the Midrash (Pirkei d'Rebbi Eliezer 46 and Tanchumah Parsha Ki Sisa 36) writes that Moshe Rabenu was taught the Written Torah during the day and the ...
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15 votes
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Angel in the womb for women?

In מריח ניחוח (Issue 10, Nitzavim - Vayeilech), R' Gamliel HaKohen Rabinowitz writes (as quoted in Daf al HaDaf to Nida 30b): הסתפקתי פעם, אם גם לנקבה מלמדין התורה, או רק לזכר, ופשטתי זאת מדברי ה"...
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15 votes
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Me'am Lo'ez on not beginning a new mesechta on Rosh Chodesh

Is the custom practiced today? The רמ"א יו"ד סי' קע"ט סעיף ב [as understood by the פתחי תשובה יו"ד רמ"ה ס"ק ה] writes that our minhag is to start a new מסכת even on Rosh Chodesh. Also, what does ...
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14 votes

How do we understand the idea of something missing from the mishnah חסורי מיחסרא והכי קתני?

The Meiri writes in his introduction to Avot that this is an example of the Ammoraim disagreeing with the Tannaim which they would occasionally do if the Sages of the generation agreed. So that would ...
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14 votes

Learning laws of aveilut when your parents are alive?

Here it brings the following sources on the matter: The Chasam Sofer (Shut Y.D. 341) was concerned about it and spoke about pushing off the learning until the coming Tisha B'Av. Sefer Chassidim (261)...
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14 votes

How to explain the Talmud to someone who hasn't ever opened one?

(1) Compare it to an intellectual pursuit they already know. And (2), show don't tell. I've never had the benefit of full-time learning in yeshiva, but I've participated in some shorter programs that ...
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14 votes
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What are the parameters of the prohibition against a non-Jew learning Torah?

R. Yechiel Yaakov Weinberg has a responsum that deals with this question. It is a lengthy responsum (and you should read it in it's entirety if you can) but one key point is what he derives from ...
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13 votes

Why is Talmud Bavli studied more than Yerushalmi?

In their introduction to Yerushalmi Brachot, artscroll adress this question and write that Bavli is better edited, more complete, better commented, easier to understand and less prone to alternative ...
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13 votes

May one memorize large swaths of Tanach?

The Gemara in Gittin 60b says דברים שבכתב אי אתה רשאי לאומרן על פה Matters that were written you may not express them orally. This is codified in Shulchan Aruch O.C. 49:1. However, this rule only ...
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  • 5,295
12 votes

Yeshivas of Modern Times

My Rosh Yeshiva, Rabbi Ahron Lopiansky, who is particularly well read in history, in a shiur titled Why So Much Iyun 5774 spoke out that (my memory of the shiur is not that sharp, so I may be ...
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  • 1,085
12 votes

What was the general skin color of ancient Israelis?

An important source (post-bibical) is the Mishna in Negaim (2:1) which deals with the signs of leprosy and how they may appear different based on a person's skin color: The bright spot in a German ...
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11 votes
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Polite way to break up with a chavrusa?

I think every situation is different depending on the nature of the friendship between the chavrusas and how sensitive the person is. But I will tell you some things that I have seen done: I had a ...
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11 votes
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Why does the Brisker Derech focus on the Rambam?

In his article "'What' Hath Brisk Wrought? The Brisker Derekh Revisited," R. Moshe Lichtenstein argues that, the basic change wrought by R. Hayyim was the refocusing of the learning process upon ...
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11 votes

Learning Chabad Sichos

There are two types of Sichos: Sichos Kodesh / Toras Menachem-Hisvaaduyos. From the early forties until the stroke in 1992, the Lubavitcher Rebbe would hold a Farbrengen (at least) every Shabbos ...
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11 votes
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Who has the right to come up with chiddushei Torah?

See the Pele Yoetz's discussion of this in his entry for "Chiddush". The basic idea (according to him) is that everyone can and should be mechadesh to the best of their abilities. וכל אדם אינו ...
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11 votes

If God removed prophecy from the gentiles because of Bilaam's wickedness, how come that Obadiah who was a gentile was a prophet?

Ovadiah the prophet, at the time of his prophecy, was Jewish, not a gentile. He had converted. See Sanhedrin 39b: מר אפרים מקשאה תלמידו של רבי מאיר משום רבי מאיר עובדיה גר אדומי היה והיינו דאמרי ...
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11 votes
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Learning Alei Shur Part I or II first?

Ultimately it boils down to what subject matter you find most interesting. The first cheilek is largely instructive in how best to achieve self growth whilst the second cheiliek goes into more detail ...
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10 votes

Is it forbidden for a woman to learn Gemara?

An interesting data point. In Lubavitcher Rabbi's Memoirs describes a woman named Devorah who grew up in Minsk where women were better educated, and she herself learned Gemarra with Rashi by the age ...
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10 votes
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Learning before Davvening

Shulchan Aruch (89:6) writes that one may not start learning Torah after Alos but limits this prohibition to someone who will also daven at home. The concern is that he may get involved in his ...
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10 votes

Angel in the womb for women?

R. Chaim Kanievsy is quoted as being asked this question, and pointing out that women also have a philtrum, as per this question (though it seems like he uses this as a proof that the philtrum is not ...
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10 votes

Derech Halimud in Mir Yeshiva

As per this article, the Mir is composed of a multitude of study groups, called Chaburot. Each Chabura is subdivided by Shiur (class), with one Maggid Shiur (lecturer) teaching an average of 40 to 60 ...
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10 votes
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Midrash About God Repeating Words of Torah

This is found in Tanna Devei Eliyahu Rabba, beginning of chapter 18 and Yalkut Shamoni Eicha 1034. The Tanna Devei Eliyahu version is: מאי שפכי כמים לבך נוכח פני ה' מכאן אמרו כל ת"ח שיושב וקורא ...
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10 votes

Does a superficial malformation of the Tanach's cover defile the Tanach?

Judaism doesn't have a concept of defiling holy books in that sense. They have to be treated respectfully, but even if they weren't (and your case really isn't such an example) they don't lose their ...
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10 votes

What does one have to know to be called a Talmid Chochum?

The Talmud provides several such definitions for various contexts. In the context of conditional marriages we have: Kiddushin 49b ע"מ שאני תלמיד אין אומרים כשמעון בן עזאי וכשמעון בן זומא אלא כל ...
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10 votes

Why wasn't Adam Harishon given the Torah?

Adam was worthy of having the Torah given through him. Said the Holy One, Blessed is He “ I will give it to him for he is the work of my hands” After he sinned the Holy One, Blessed is He said to him “...
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10 votes

Torah argument increases peace

It is found in his drashos, chelek 1, pg 183 second column, s.v. Vichein. See it here. EDIT Here is another place in his drashos where he writes similarly, perhaps even closer to what the OP is ...
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