21

I started preparing for conversion in 1999 during my undergraduate years, and finalized it in 2001. The hardest thing for me was to get an understanding of the legitimacy of different threads in Orthodoxy. I had a hard time accepting that Modern Orthodoxy could be legitimate, but eventually embraced what you might call right-wing MO. Finding a rabbi you ...


20

The Igros Moshe YD 3:86 says that the Chachamim commanded that women should not be taught Mishna since it is oral Torah and it is like teaching them tiflos(promiscuity) and it should be avoided. However, they can be taught Pirkei Avos since it has Mussar (instruction) and has hanhagos tovas (good deeds). In The Sefer VaYoel Moshe(Satmer Rebbe) Maimer ...


20

A Google spreadsheet with all that information (and more!) is available here. A screenshot of the more relevant part is clipped below:


19

Rabbi Chaim Clorfene writes in his popular (and heavily annotated) book, The Path of the Righteous Gentile (p. 42), that B'nei Noach should learn parts of the Torah relevant to their service of God, as well as to the Torah's view on God. He adds that this can be broadly applied, as many areas of Torah "can bring one to greater knowledge concerning the ...


18

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. If you don't want to read through many paragraphs of sources, skip to the summary all the way at the bottom. It all starts with the Mishnah in Sotah 3:4 which ...


18

@H'Gabriel provided a lot of good resources. In this answer I'll try to address the conversion issue specifically. The conversion process is involved and long. You will go through the following steps, possibly more than once: Investigation and exploration: beginning to figure out what is attracting you, what alternatives there are (e.g. does being a ...


18

Rabbi Eli Mansour said after Rashi to learn Ramban.


18

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 which I have used at different points in time with a focus on beginners. They might be helpful to access Jewish content and start learning regularly. Aish Ohr ...


17

With regard to Sh'kalim, I believe the answer does indeed rely on publication practices. The practice of printing (and therefore studying) Sh'kalim with the rest of Talmud Bavli Seder Moed can be traced as far back as the times of the Geonim. [The idea is that Sh'kalim is short and therefore relatively inexpensive to print with the rest of Seder Moed to ...


17

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 ואין חוששין שיהרהר שם בה כמו שחוששין לכך בתפלה וגם אם יבא לו הרהור בעל כרחו שלא ברצונו אנוס הוא ואפילו אם מדבר בה לאונסו מפני רוב רגילותו לדבר בה כמעשה דרבי ...


16

According to the Hida (Shu"t Tov Ayin #4) we may not force women to learn Torah (as we do Yeshiva students-see Sefer HaHinuch Behar 343). He says women may learn on their own, but adds we can teach her (not against her will).


16

The proper way to study Kabbalah is with prior knowledge of Tanach, Talmud, Yad HaChazaka, and Shulchan Aruch (not including the introduction books to Kabbalah- some of the Ben Ish Hai's books, some of the Ramak, a lot of Rav Ashlag, and Rav Frisch). Without a massive knowledge of the aforementioned, Kabbalah won't do you any good, quite the contrary it can ...


16

Your question, as I understand it, boils down to: (a) how do I sort out the conflicting sources on what I'm allowed to study so I don't cross a boundary? and (b) how do I comply with community norms? These are challenges faced by outsiders to any community, and ours doesn't make it easy. One esteemed source will say "the halacha is X" and another will say ...


15

Technically, yes. Everything you describe is an aspect of learning Torah. Even just reciting the Shema or a few psukim or one liners from Tanach or Talmud (both agadata and halacha) count for fulfilling the Mitzvah. However, just as we don't use the phrases said after the birchat Ha'Torah in the morning to absolve us from studying the rest of the day, so ...


15

פירוש רש"י: פת במלח תאכל - לא על העשיר הוא אומר שיעמוד בחיי צער כדי ללמוד תורה, אלא ה"ק אפילו אין לאדם אלא פת במלח וכו' ואין לו כר וכסת לישן, אלא על הארץ, אל ימנע מלעסוק בה, דסופו ללמוד אותה מעושר׃ Rashi's commentary (Rough translation): This is not speaking of the wealthy person who will suffer in order to learn Torah. Rather, what it means is ...


15

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 he mean by "Taanis 32," since the gemara in Taanis only has 31 daf? The correct version would be "ל (עמוד) ב". It seems to be a printing error. On Tannis 30b ...


15

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.


14

Teach the difference from the very beginning. Even if they don't really understand the difference between saying that a story is written in the Torah, or is from a Midrash/Gemara/Rashi but doesn't appear in the Torah, you wont damage them by inserting a little comment right before/after a story giving its source. Kids are smart - they will hear what you ...


14

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 Oral Torah at night. From this Midrash the Ba'er Hetev (2) (and Arizal [ed]) concludes that one should not learn the written Torah at night. The Pri Megadim ...


14

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) is an interesting source. He says you should learn them because they aren't learned generally. So there you have the existing practice of not learning them ...


13

I've got to put in a plug for the translation and commentary of R' Hirsch, of which I'm a big fan. I love his elegant, holistic, thoughtful take on the whole Torah, especially the ritual stuff in Leviticus (Temple offerings, ritual purity, etc.) that's otherwise most difficult to understand from a modern perspective. When I read R' Hirsch, everything fits ...


13

R' Hirsch (Isaac's suggestion) and Ramban (Hacham Gabriel's suggestion) are both widely available in English, and for good reason. Both are very easy to appreciate, both on the simplest of levels, as well as on much deeper planes. If your Hebrew improves or you can get a learning partner who is also capable of being a mentor, I highly, highly recommend ...


13

From the Kitzur Shulchan Aruch: ואפילו ללמוד אסור בשעה שהשליח צבור חוזר התפלה "And even learning is forbidden when the Chazzan repeats Shemoneh Esrei. From Daily Jewish Law One should not learn Torah during the repetition of the amidah. There are a few concerns: At least 10 men must pay attention to every word of the amidah; All of those ...


13

To answer your more specific question: no, a Gentile who studies Torah in a forbidden way is still not stoned. The Rambam rules (Milchamot 10:9 and English) ואם עסק בתורה, או שבת, או חידש דבר--מכין אותו ועונשין אותו, ומודיעין אותו שהוא חייב מיתה על זה; אבל אינו נהרג.‏ If a gentile studies the Torah, makes a Sabbath, or creates a religious practice, ...


13

אף-על-פי שבודאי שאין ללמוד תורה בגילוי ראש, מכל מקום אין זה מעיקר הדין, אך יש להזהר בזה מאד, ואפי' כשלומד לבד בחדרו. [שו''ת יביע אומר ח''ו חאו''ח סי' טו סק''ז]‏ Meikar Hadin (according to the letter of the law) one isn't obligated to learn with a head covering: nevertheless, one should certainly wear a head covering while learning (even alone in his ...


13

(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 were also more beginner-friendly but no less engaging. Here's (approximately) how I explained the attraction to some non-Jewish friends who are geeks about ...


13

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 Rambam's wording of this rule: Shu"t Seridei Eish 2:90 (Mosad Harav Kook edition) יוצא מדבריו שהאיסור הוא רק בעושה לשם מצוה ומתכוון לחדש דת אבל לא בלומד ...


12

HodofHod gives a pretty good example and explanation as to why our tradition is important, but I'll try to expand on that a bit to explain what the tradition is and where it comes from (and explain it in a bit more of a straightforward way). Judaism relies heavily on generation-to-generation, teacher-to-student, parent-to-child tradition. This is known as ...


12

I'm not a rabbi in any sense of the word, but I have given a few divrei Torah that I was proud of, and that were well-received. Here are some steps/tips I can think of: This week's Torah reading (or holiday Torah reading or perhaps haftara) is always a good place to start. It's always appropriate, people have it in mind already, and it contains a bunch of ...


12

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"נועם אלימלך" זי"ע, הנ"ל, שאם לא היו מלמדין התורה קודם שבאו לעולם, לא היה באפשרי להשיג התורה, והנה נשים צריכים לדעת היטב הלכות נדה חלה ועוד, וא"כ מה שהם צריכים ...


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