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Q&A

Welcome to the Judaism community on Codidact!

Will you help us build our community of learners? Drop into our study hall, ask questions, help others with answers to their questions, share a d'var torah if you're so inclined, invite your friends, and join us in building this community together. Not an ask-the-rabbi service, just people at all levels learning together.

General Q&A about Judaism, Jewish texts, and Jewish life. This site does not give personal advice.

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Korbanot of Rosh Chodesh on R"H

During p'sukei d'zimra on a week day which is Rosh Chodesh, we add in, during the recitation of Korbanot, a paragraph about the sacrifices of Rosh Chodesh. On Shabbat, add in an extra paragraph wi...

0 answers  ·  posted 1y ago by rosends‭

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Could Jews visit North Korea before the travel ban?

It's academic now that US citizens are no longer allowed to travel to North Korea, but I'm still curious. This is one of the things I've talked to Monica about, and she was sure it was "problematic...

0 answers  ·  posted 1y ago by Fred Wamsley‭

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Why ra-VU in Numbers 20:13?

Numbers 20:13 (with my own, loose translation): הֵמָּה מֵי מְרִיבָה אֲשֶׁר רָבוּ בְנֵי יִשְׂרָאֵל אֶת ה׳ This was the Fight Water: the Jews fought God The word "רָבוּ" ("fought") has its str...

0 answers  ·  posted 1y ago by msh210‭  ·  edited 1y ago by msh210‭

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Vaydaber vs vayomer when God instructs Moshe: what's the significance of the difference?

The torah records many places where God speaks to Moshe telling him to speak to others, generally to relay instructions. The common structure is: ... וידבר יי אל ... לאמר: ךבר But sometimes ...

0 answers  ·  posted 1y ago by Monica Cellio‭  ·  edited 1y ago by msh210‭

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Was Avraham not modest?

The Mah Tovu statement of Bil'am's, though intended as a curse was actually praise, and attested to (via Bava Batra 60a) the modesty of the children of Israel. They did not construct their tents in...

0 answers  ·  posted 1y ago by rosends‭

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How did people understand references to 2 destructions before the first destruction?

Note -- I know that this is not a fully formed question yet so I welcome any edits. There are "prophecies" and references which we understand to be about the destruction of the two temples and the...

0 answers  ·  posted 1y ago by rosends‭

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Worshipping outdoors in the COVID era, issues and options

I've chatted with Monica about this. She agreed with my assessment of the place I first heard about it, which I don't consider good enough to link to. It's about a jurisdiction where COVID emergen...

2 answers  ·  posted 1y ago by Fred Wamsley‭  ·  last activity 1y ago by manassehkatz‭

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The encampments in the midbar

Is there a list of all the stops that Bnei Yisrael made after leaving Egypt (in chronological order), and how long they stayed in each place, especially one which lists different opinions about the...

1 answer  ·  posted 3y ago by rosends‭  ·  last activity 1y ago by Monica Cellio‭

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How long did it take to set up the mishkan?

When Yisrael spent 40 years in the wilderness, they sometimes camped for longer periods of times and sometimes for shorter ones, sometimes even just two days (Bamidbar 9:21 -22): וְיֵ֞שׁ אֲשֶׁר־...

0 answers  ·  posted 1y ago by Monica Cellio‭

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Why can't a shopping cart interface run on the Sabbath?

Starting with what I think I understand, my doubtless oversimplified picture of the world was that processes set in motion before the Sabbath could be allowed to continue. For example, I thought it...

0 answers  ·  posted 1y ago by Fred Wamsley‭

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Why must the omer be counted at night?

I have been taught that we count the omer at night with a b'racha. Counting at night makes sense; it's the first opportunity to fulfill the commandment each day and we should rush to fulfill a mit...

0 answers  ·  posted 1y ago by Monica Cellio‭

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What does the change from "a man shall not..." to "you shall not..." for one verse in Vayikra 20 signify?

In Vayikra chapter 20 the torah gives a long list of forbidden relations. Almost all of them are of the form "if a man (lies with, takes)..." or, in one case, "if a woman..." (third person). In V...

0 answers  ·  posted 1y ago by Monica Cellio‭  ·  edited 1y ago by Monica Cellio‭

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Tamid as Kaparah?

Each day, we recite the 8 p'sukim from Bamidbar 28 (1-8) which detail the rules of the twice daily Tamid. The Tamid is an Olah but I'm not sure of the exact purpose of the sacrifice. On weekdays, ...

0 answers  ·  posted 1y ago by rosends‭

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What does "May his memory be for a blessing" mean?

This is a possible duplicate, I thought I had posted it but I'm not seeing it. I saw a touching opinion about the meaning of the phrase at https://www.quora.com/What-does-the-phrase-May-his-memory...

1 answer  ·  posted 1y ago by Fred Wamsley‭  ·  last activity 1y ago by Mithical‭

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In the list of spies, why is Yosef added to the listing for Manashe but not to the one for Efrayim? [duplicate]

At the beginning of Sh'lach L'cha the torah lists the twelve scouts and their tribes. In general these names follow the pattern "from the tribe of (tribe), (somebody) ben (somebody)", with (genera...

0 answers  ·  posted 1y ago by Monica Cellio‭  ·  last activity 1y ago by Monica Cellio‭

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Why does the Torah mention Yosef in relation to Menashe but not Ephraim in the story of the spies?

In the beginning of Parshat Sh'lach, when listing the spies from each tribe, the Torah gives Ephraim like every other tribe (Bamidbar 13:8): למטה אפרים הושע בן-נון From the tribe of Ephraim, Ho...

2 answers  ·  posted 2y ago by Mithical‭  ·  last activity 1y ago by Monica Cellio‭

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Is being a book mark a mitzvah?

When a string breaks off of one's tzitzit there are rules about its disposal. One may not treat it (according to opinions noted by the Rama) in a degrading fashion though they needn't be buried in ...

0 answers  ·  posted 1y ago by rosends‭

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Ha-Yarden ha-zeh -- what does the torah mean by this Jordan as opposed to the Jordan?

In Devarim 3:27, when Moshe pleads with God to be allowed to go into the land, God says to him: עֲלֵ֣ה ׀ רֹ֣אשׁ הַפִּסְגָּ֗ה וְשָׂ֥א עֵינֶ֛יךָ יָ֧מָּה וְצָפֹ֛נָה וְתֵימָ֥נָה וּמִזְרָ֖חָה וּרְאֵ֣...

0 answers  ·  posted 1y ago by Monica Cellio‭

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Can one change the wording of davening?

Note -- I am creating the hypothetical carefully so I can focus on an underlying halachic concept. A Baal T'shuva learns to daven in a very eclectic minyan -- people from all over and with all sor...

0 answers  ·  posted 1y ago by rosends‭  ·  edited 1y ago by rosends‭

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Why are Matzah and Sukkah different in terms of intent?

Bottom line question is why is a Sukkah different from a Matzah in terms of (not) requiring (expressed) kavannah in its creation? A Sukkah (according to the ruling of Beit Hillel on Mas Sukkah 9a)...

0 answers  ·  posted 1y ago by rosends‭

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Could I keep K for P all year round and not search the next year?

Is searching for/burning chameitz a distinct obligation or just an adjunct – a way to prepare for pesach? If I kept my house striclty kosher for pesach all year round (not actually that tough as I...

0 answers  ·  posted 1y ago by rosends‭

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Logistics: what do you do about dishes if you're hosting both seders?

I found myself wondering about this while clearing the table after the first seder this year (which was also Shabbat). Most of the time, both in my family and in the group of friends I sometimes s...

0 answers  ·  posted 1y ago by Monica Cellio‭

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Why do we designate specific matzot for seder rituals?

This question arose at my seder this year and nobody present knew of an answer: The haggadah designates the three matzot for specific purposes: We are to break the middle one (and save the larg...

0 answers  ·  posted 1y ago by Monica Cellio‭

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What does law say about vaccination?

The Torah of course predates the development of vaccines, but someone who knows far more than I argues that it requires its followers to receive a COVID vaccine. What's quoted in the news article i...

1 answer  ·  posted 1y ago by Fred Wamsley‭  ·  last activity 1y ago by Fred Wamsley‭

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How does civil disobedience fit into Jewish law and practice?

I'm trying to integrate things I (think I) know. Am I right that there's a general religious principle to follow most secular law? The Bible has more than one example of defying a law that contrad...

0 answers  ·  posted 1y ago by Fred Wamsley‭

law
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Canaan's descendants and the curse

In Bereisheet 9, Canaan was cursed and this curse was taken to be a statement on not just him, but his descendants (see the Haamek Davar on pasuk 24 for an example). Why would later generations be ...

0 answers  ·  posted 1y ago by rosends‭

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Is there a timeline of creation, hour by hour?

I have read talmudic accounts and heard of medrashim reagrding the timeline of the 6th day of creation and the "birth" of Adam and Chava (especially as it relates to Erev Shabbat) but I'm wondering...

0 answers  ·  posted 2y ago by rosends‭

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Is an orphan obligated to honor parents?

This d'var torah makes the argument that an orphan can still fulfill the obligation to honor parents, because the sages interpret it more broadly than just your two biological parents. (See the li...

0 answers  ·  posted 2y ago by Monica Cellio‭

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Mishebeirach for cholim placement

I noticed that on Shabbos, the gabbai at shul makes the mishebeirach for cholim between the 6th and 7th aliyot. I have seen this at other shuls (though I don't know if it is a codified rule or a st...

0 answers  ·  posted 2y ago by rosends‭

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Maariv with a mincha minyan

I'm not fully finished with my hypothetical but it goes something like this: If I davened mincha at the earliest possible time, I can daven maariv before sunset. If I am called to help out with a...

1 answer  ·  posted 2y ago by rosends‭  ·  last activity 2y ago by Monica Cellio‭

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Animal product spoons and Kashrut

Do food service products made from non-kosher sources create a kashrut problem when they are used with food (or even without)? There are spoons made from mother of pearl (from mollusk shells), use...

0 answers  ·  posted 2y ago by rosends‭

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If one designates a gift for another person, is it committed or can it be retracted?

I know that if one designates something for the temple (an offering or a donation), it can't be taken back -- it's committed. Is this a general principle of designating things, or is it specific t...

1 answer  ·  posted 2y ago by Monica Cellio‭  ·  last activity 2y ago by msh210‭

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Did the people hear the words of the revelation directly at Sinei?

At the end of Shemot 19, Moshe has gone down from the mountain to speak to the people. Then Shemot 20 begins with the decalogue, with God speaking the commandments. We're then told (20:15) that a...

1 answer  ·  posted 2y ago by Monica Cellio‭  ·  last activity 2y ago by Monica Cellio‭

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What does it mean to speak of the Jews as a single entity?

tl;dr in what sense did "the people" as a collective do/say anything? In the Artscroll A""Z 5b1, the commentary in note 1 points out that "The Jews referred to the manna as..." and later, that "th...

0 answers  ·  posted 2y ago by rosends‭

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At what distance does a zman change?

Simply put, how much physical distance on the globe/map effects a discernable change in time? If I compute the zman for something, I do so based on (for some websites) my zip code. But that zip co...

1 answer  ·  posted 2y ago by rosends‭  ·  last activity 2y ago by manassehkatz‭

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On Pharaoh's not knowing יקוק

Jacob and his sons, when speaking to Egyptians, consistently refer to God as ‏(ה)אלקים, "the god", and not by his name, יקוק, that distinguishes him from other supposed gods, or other names of his....

0 answers  ·  posted 2y ago by msh210‭

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How does a firstborn know to wash the kohen's hands?

Mishna B'rura 128:22 says that if no Levi is around to wash a kohen's hands for the latter's blessing, a firstborn-to-his-mother should do so. Although Kaf Hachayim :40 notes that he hasn't seen th...

1 answer  ·  posted 2y ago by msh210‭  ·  last activity 2y ago by manassehkatz‭

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Is it better to not tell someone she's Jewish if she won't follow it?

This is a hypothetical question; it doesn't apply to anyone I know, but I heard an anecdote and it led me to wonder. Suppose someone discovers that her maternal grandmother was in fact Jewish, but...

0 answers  ·  posted 2y ago by Monica Cellio‭

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For starting Shabbat, is sunset astronomical or visible?

A few years ago, on the fall equinox, I noticed that the day was longer than 12 hours according to the (secular) sunrise/sunset times. Curious, I did some investigation. One reason for the differ...

1 answer  ·  posted 2y ago by Monica Cellio‭  ·  edited 2y ago by Monica Cellio‭

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Blessing on Salt

The Bracha on salt, as listed in Mishneh Torah, Blessings 8:8 is Shehakol. I have found confirmation in modern generally accepted Halachic sources. According to Mishneh Torah, Blessings 8:7 spices...

1 answer  ·  posted 2y ago by manassehkatz‭  ·  last activity 2y ago by PinnyM‭

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Ya'akov as a trickster

I'm trying to understand (the classical Jewish view of) the character of Yaakov. He gets the birthright by exploiting a situation -- he did nothing inherently wrong and WE see him as justified in ...

0 answers  ·  posted 2y ago by rosends‭

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What's the main Jewish Holy Book?

What is the Jewish holy book? As far as I know that is Torah. Even, I had heard that Torah is in Arabic. While searching it again, I found that there's difference between Torah in Islam and Torah i...

2 answers  ·  posted 2y ago by deleted user  ·  last activity 2y ago by deleted user

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Did Rabbi Avigdor Miller ever mention Azariah de Rossi or his sefer "Me'or Eynayim"?

Did Rabbi Avigdor Miller ever mention Azariah de Rossi or his sefer "Me'or Eynayim"? If so, what did he say about him or his sefer?

0 answers  ·  posted 2y ago by mosheemes‭

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I am not Jewish but would like to visit a MO synagogue to pray occasionally on Shabbat. What is the best course?

I have studied Judaism for five years privately but also with the assistance of friends. There isn't a shul in the city where I live so most Shabbats I pray at home. Occasionally I have driven in...

2 answers  ·  posted 10y ago by Hashamyim‭  ·  last activity 2y ago by Monica Cellio‭

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Meor eynayim by de rossi

Do any contemporary rabbis address the permissibility or prohibition of reading the heretical “Me’or Eynayim” by de Rossi?

0 answers  ·  posted 2y ago by deleted user

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How much contact did Avraham and Yitzchak have after the akeidah?

The akeidah was a significant event for both Avraham and Yitzchak.[1] Immediately after they appear to go their separate ways -- Avraham leaves without his son, and we're not told where Yitzchak w...

0 answers  ·  posted 3y ago by Monica Cellio‭  ·  edited 2y ago by Monica Cellio‭

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Midrash called ‘K’bod Huppah”

What is the Midrash called “K’bod Huppah” in Torah Shleimah English version? Has anyone heard of it?

0 answers  ·  posted 2y ago by runters32‭

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Questions on sidra [closed]

On sidra vayero Why didnt avrohom himself give the water. What is the difference if hashem himself gives it or his servan in the desert Why should we save a bad city because they have 50 righteo...

0 answers  ·  posted 2y ago by interested‭  ·  closed 2y ago by Monica Cellio‭

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Zacuto's Sefer Yuchsin translation

The English translation of Sefer Yuchsin by Israel Shamir, the Holocaust denier and anti-Semite, is that a complete unabridged translation of the entire Hebrew sefer by Zacuto?

1 answer  ·  posted 2y ago by runters32‭  ·  last activity 2y ago by runters32‭

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What is “Hakobes”?

When the English translation of Torah Shleimah references “Hakobes,” to what author or work is it referring to?

0 answers  ·  posted 2y ago by runters32‭  ·  edited 2y ago by runters32‭