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Q&A

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

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vegans in Tanach

Are there any vegans/vegetarians that we know of anywhere in Tanach? (Not someone that just took a neder)

1 answer  ·  posted 2y ago by Dani‭  ·  edited 2y ago by Dani‭

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Mamzer child of a Kohen

What are the rules regarding a mamzer who is the child of a kohen (and a woman with whom the kohen could not enter into a proper marriage)? Could the child eat trumah? What aspects of the status of...

0 answers  ·  posted 2y ago by rosends‭  ·  last activity 2y ago by rosends‭

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Why is "chinam" translated as "baseless"?

Everywhere that the term חנם appears, as far as I can tell, it always means "without personal benefit": a שומר חנם (Bava Metzia 7:8) watches an object without receiving anything in return; a Jewish...

2 answers  ·  posted 2y ago by DonielF‭  ·  last activity 2y ago by Dev-iL‭

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How does one pray Rosh Hashana and Yom Kippur alone?

I'm somewhat competent in praying alone on weekdays and Shabbat, with the current pandemic providing a forcing function. I prefer to be part of a community and be able to rely on the sh'liach tzib...

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

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Examples of derivations

At the end of Korbanos during davening there is a Baraisa that starts with רַבִּי יִשְׁמָעֵאל אוֹמֵר. It tells us of different methods of derivation that can be used throughout Tanach. Does anyone ...

1 answer  ·  posted 2y ago by Dani‭  ·  last activity 2y ago by Lo Ani‭

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The Talmudic "Drakkon" and the Chinese "Long"

It seems that there is a similarity between the "Drakkon" figure , as the Gemmara describes it, and the Chinese worshiped, mythical beast Loong. Avoda Zara 43a.6: תנו רבנן איזהו צורת דרקון פירש רש...

0 answers  ·  posted 2y ago by Alaychem‭  ·  edited 2y ago by DonielF‭

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Is there any connection between the Sotah, the Mizbeiach, and the Beis HaMikdash keychain?

In exactly three contexts, the Mishnah notes that there was an amah square marble slab with a ring, using exactly the same language each time. The first is in Sotah 2:2, regarding the Sotah procedu...

0 answers  ·  posted 2y ago by DonielF‭

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What happened to the fruit brought by the spies?

Kind of a weird question. Does anyone have any idea what happened to the fruit brought by the spies from Israel to the desert? Was it eaten by specific people? Buried? Left behind?

0 answers  ·  posted 2y ago by Harel13‭

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If someone accidentally misses davening, but would have skipped it anyway, does he do tashlumin?

Usually, if someone accidentally misses a davening, he makes the shemoneh esrei up by saying it twice the next time (called tashlumin) [source needed]. If someone misses davening accidentally, but ...

0 answers  ·  posted 2y ago by Lo Ani‭  ·  edited 2y ago by Lo Ani‭

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Why does the incense offerer get a chosen buddy?

Mishnayot Tamid 6:3 says that the kohen who wins the right to offer the daily incense brings a buddy with him to hold one of the vessels and help him retrieve any dropped incense: מִי שֶׁזָּכָה בַ...

0 answers  ·  posted 2y ago by Isaac Moses‭

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Is it preferable to not say Mincha early on a fast day?

On a fast day during Shacharit (the morning prayer), individuals do not say עננו / Aneinu (a special fast-day prayer), in case they don't complete the fast, and instead say it during Mincha (the af...

1 answer  ·  posted 2y ago by Mithical‭  ·  last activity 2y ago by Isaac Moses‭

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Sitting under the lights on Tisha B'av

In my shul (and i'm sure in others as well), they turn half of the lights off on Tisha B'av night as a way of mourning. Am I allowed to intentionally sit under the lights that are on to help me see...

0 answers  ·  posted 2y ago by Dani‭

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May a Kohen become a surgeon?

A dead body causes the room in which he lies to become ritually impure (Numbers 19:14). Additionally, Kohanim are forbidden to become ritually impure from those who are not immediate relatives (Lev...

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

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Havdallah during the nine days

On Motzei Shabbos Chazon (the Shabbos before Tisha Ba'av which always falls out during the nine days), what should be done about drinking the wine/grape juice for Havdallah? If a child is available...

2 answers  ·  posted 2y ago by eliyahu‭  ·  last activity 2y ago by sabbahillel‭

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Why does Nun have an Aramaic name?

Nun, the father of Yehoshua, is apparently named after a word for fish in Aramaic (for example, Beresheet Rabbah 97:3; Divrei Emet, Matot). His father Elishama (according to Divrei Hayamim 1:7:26-2...

0 answers  ·  posted 2y ago by Harel13‭

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The End of a Period of Nezirut

Must a Nazir explicitly break the terms of his Nezirut on the day that his term of Nezirut ends (or the day after the last day)? If he doesn't is there any notion of his implicitly accepting anothe...

0 answers  ·  posted 2y ago by rosends‭

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Taking pills with letters on Shabbos

There are many medicines which are permitted to be used on Shabbos in various situations. However, some of them have letters written or engraved on them. Is it permitted to take these pills on Shab...

0 answers  ·  posted 2y ago by ploni‭

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What is the status of a-capella music during the three weeks?

I've heard (but don't remember where) that the music that is prohibited during the three weeks is one or both of: music with instruments, recorded music. I've heard conflicting things about a cape...

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

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Can a terminally-ill patient give up his ventilator to save another?

Last week I took a class on priorities in triage -- one ventilator, two people who will die without it, who gets it? We reviewed sources in talmud and later commentaries, some of which I remember ...

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

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Does the nascent Sanhedrin in Israel sanctify the new moon with witnesses?

In 2004, a group of rabbis in Israel attempted to begin the process of re-establishing the Sanhedrin using the Rambam's method of universal consensus to re-establish the line of semikha. Rabbi Mosh...

1 answer  ·  posted 2y ago by Daniel‭  ·  last activity 2y ago by Harel13‭

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Why didn't Yitzchak help his father?

In Bereishis 22, the story of the עקידת יצחק (binding of Isaac) takes place. When Avraham sets up the altar in Bereishis 22:9, the Pasuk says: וַיָּבֹ֗אוּ אֶֽל־הַמָּקוֹם֮ אֲשֶׁ֣ר אָֽמַר־ל֣וֹ הָאֱל...

1 answer  ·  posted 2y ago by Dani‭  ·  last activity 2y ago by Harel13‭

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Natural organic reduction as a burial solution

I ask for the sake of discussion, and by no means a practical advice What would be the halactic viewpoint of natural organic reduction as a burial solution? from the site's FAQ: Natural organic re...

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

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Different reading of Rashb"i story

At the end of Rashb"i story of being in the cave (Shabbat 34:a), Rabbi Shimon causes the death of an elder that "misbehaved". I always read it like this: words in [] are added to the Gemara text A ...

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

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How obligatory is Eicha on Tish'ah b'Av?

On Tish'ah b'Av, it's a universal (I think) tradition to read megillat Eicha at night (and some also read during the day); see Shulchan Aruch 559:2. Generally, this is read in a communal setting, b...

0 answers  ·  posted 2y ago by magicker72‭  ·  edited 2y ago by magicker72‭

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Origin of Three Weeks/Nine Days customs?

When discussing the period of mourning leading up to Tisha B'av, the Mishnah (Taanit 4:7) only discusses the "week in which Tisha B'av falls." This is codified even as recently as the Shulchan Aruc...

1 answer  ·  posted 2y ago by DonielF‭  ·  last activity 2y ago by Dani‭

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Where is 'Khina'?

Malbim on Beresheet 6:4 writes: "הנפלים. עתה יפרש מ"ש ויראו בני האלהים את בנות האדם, מי היו בני האלהים, הם אלה שאמרו שהם בני אלהים ונפלו משמים, והגדות כאלה היו בימים האלה וגם אחרי כן. כי נודע שבכל...

0 answers  ·  posted 2y ago by Harel13‭

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Hatov Ve'Hametiv for wine that is not made of grapes

Can one bless Hatov Ve'Hametiv on wine that is not made of grapes (like pomegranates, figs etc) like he would on a grape wine?

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

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Who was Yitzchaki?

In his commentary on Beresheet 36:31, Ibn Ezra writes: "ואלה המלכים. יש אומרים כי בדרך נבואה נכתבה זאת הפרשה. ויצחקי אמר בספרו כי בימי יהושפט נכתבה זאת הפרשה. ופי' הדורות כרצונו הכי קרא שמו יצחק כ...

1 answer  ·  posted 2y ago by Harel13‭  ·  last activity 2y ago by user8078‭

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If a Zoom minyan reads torah (without blessings, as study), should the reader still chant?

Due to the pandemic some communities are having weekday services on Zoom. (There seem to be leniencies that support this. That is not what this question is about.) We can't read from the torah s...

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

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What did the Kotzker mean by "If I am I…"?

Frequently attributed (e.g. by Aish and Chabad) to R. M'nachem Mendl of Kock is: If I am I because I am I, and you are you because you are you, then I am I and you are you. But if I am I because y...

1 answer  ·  posted 2y ago by msh210‭  ·  last activity 2y ago by Harel13‭

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What is special about the Aleph-Bais?

In Berachos 4b (11 paragraphs up in pop-up), The gemara gives a potential reson what makes the teffilah "Ashrei" אִילֵּימָא מִשּׁוּם דְּאָתְיָא בְּאָלֶף בֵּית, נֵימָא ״אַשְׁרֵי תְמִימֵי דָרֶךְ״ דּ...

0 answers  ·  posted 2y ago by Dani‭

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Why was Tisha B'av chosen as the day of crying for naught, when the Jews had cried previously?

ותשא כל העדה ויתנו את קולם ויבכו העם בלילה ההוא (במדבר יד, א) אמר רבה א"ר יוחנן אותו ליל ט' באב היה אמר להן הקב"ה לישראל אתם בכיתם בכיה של חנם ואני אקבע לכם בכיה לדורות (סנהדרין קד:, תענית כט.)‏ "...

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

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What is the purpose of tehillim at shemira?

Based on the gemara, the Shulḥan Aruch states (YD 344:16): אין אומרים בפני המת אלא דברים של מת כגון צרכי קבורתו והספד אבל שאר כל דבר אסור והני מילי בדברי תורה אבל במילי דעלמא לית לן בה Before a de...

0 answers  ·  posted 2y ago by magicker72‭

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Do the requirements to honor a Kohen require one to honor a female Kohen?

Background: There is a requirement to honor Kohanim (Vayikra 21:8; Mishneh Torah, Positive Mitzvot, 32; Moed Katan 28b.27). Among the ways this commandment is fulfilled are allowing a Kohen to make...

1 answer  ·  posted 2y ago by DonielF‭  ·  last activity 2y ago by JoelK‭

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Contradiction in statements of Rabbi Avigdor Miller

Rabbi Miller contradicted himself very badly. In one of his talks he says about Nixon, "And the ads that you see in the newspapers blaming Nixon for his appointment of conservative judges - it's j...

0 answers  ·  posted 2y ago by Racquetball‭  ·  edited 2y ago by robev‭

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Targum of yehoshua bin nun [closed]

Targum onkelos renders “Yehoshua bin Nun” “Yehoshua bar Nun.” This sounds like “Yehoshua bar none.” Has anyone ever made a joke about this, and if not, why not?

0 answers  ·  posted 2y ago by Racquetball‭  ·  closed 2y ago by Isaac Moses‭

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Why does everyone talk during pesukei d’zimra? [closed]

Why does no one, not even the daveners at the most chareidi kollel, follow the halacha of not talking during pesukei d’zimra?

1 answer  ·  posted 2y ago by Racquetball‭  ·  closed 2y ago by DonielF‭

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How did accidental killers sustain themselves while living in the cities of refuge?

An accidental killer flees to one of the cities of refuge for an indeterminate time (until the death of the kohein gadol, or even longer if the timing is unfortunate). The cities of refuge are cit...

2 answers  ·  posted 2y ago by Monica Cellio‭  ·  last activity 2y ago by Alaychem‭

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Prophetic styles in Melachim?

If Yirmiyahu wrote Sefer Melachim (Bava Batra 15a), and "two prophets do not prophesy employing one and the same style of expression" (Sanhedrin 89a), does that mean that the prophecies of prophets...

0 answers  ·  posted 2y ago by Harel13‭

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Are there guidelines to define if something is an aggada

It is often clear when a portion of the gemarah is written as an aggadah (ie, non-legal), however there are times where it may be unclear if a statement is aggadic, halachic, or none of the above. ...

0 answers  ·  posted 2y ago by withoutatrace‭

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Why isn't Dagon mentioned in Yirmyahu's prophecy against the Plishtim?

The final chapters of Yirmiyahu are dedicated to Yirmiyahu foreseeing the fall of several nations in and around the Land of Israel, nations such as Egypt, Kedar, Babylon, Edom, Moav and Ammon. For ...

0 answers  ·  posted 2y ago by Harel13‭  ·  edited 2y ago by Harel13‭

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Can a man father legal children after death?

If semen was extracted from a dead man, and then used to impregnate a woman, is the offspring a legal son (let's limit it to male) of the dead man? Or, more simply put, is a child born of ones seme...

0 answers  ·  posted 2y ago by Dr. Shmuel‭  ·  edited 2y ago by DonielF‭

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Doubling up on a Siyum

Asking for a friend: If I learn with a Chavrusa and we both finish a Masechta together, assuming that we wait until different days to make the Siyum (whether permitted or not), if we each attend th...

0 answers  ·  posted 2y ago by רבות מחשבות‭  ·  edited 2y ago by רבות מחשבות‭

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Retying shoes in order

In Shulchan Aruch Orach Chaim 2:4 it says: ואח"כ ינעול של שמאל ויקשרנו ויחזור ויקשור של ימין Then after that put on the left one and fasten it, and return and fasten the right one First you shoul...

0 answers  ·  posted 2y ago by Dani‭

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What's the difference between רָדַף אֶת and רָדַף אַחֲרֵי?

The kal verb רדף, "chase", appears many times in Tanach. But the preposition that follows it, to mark the object of the verb, varies: Sometimes it's a direct object: it's marked either with no pre...

0 answers  ·  posted 2y ago by msh210‭  ·  last activity 2y ago by msh210‭

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When (if ever) can you read a non-standard haftarah, and how far afield can it go?

Years ago, in a year when US Independence Day fell on Shabbat, I was away at a kallah, a week-long retreat for people from many communities with study, social activities, and, of course, davening. ...

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

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Who protected the women and children of Reuven, Gad, and 1/2 Menashe during the conquest?

The conquest of the land described in the book of Yehoshua took seven years (Arakhin 13a).1 It is only at the end of the conquest that Yehoshua dismisses the "shock troops". We know from Yehoshua 1...

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

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Do Felt Garments Require Tzitzit?

Various halachic authorities (see e.g. Rabbi Tzvi Pesach Frank in Responsa Har Tzvi 1:9, and discussion here) exempt garments produced from sheets of synthetic materials (e.g. nylon) from Tzitzit, ...

1 answer  ·  posted 2y ago by רבות מחשבות‭  ·  last activity 2y ago by Isaac Moses‭

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Where did Bnei Yisroel get slaves in the desert?

In several locations (example: Yoma 75a.14 ), Chazal mention that Bnei Yisroel had slaves even while they were in the midbar. Where did they get them from? Did they take them from Egypt? Did they t...

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

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What is the status of a human-mermaid offspring?

Bechorot 8a discusses a species called dolfinim, which, in Rashi's understanding, are merpeople and can bear viable offspring with humans. Let's suppose that merpeople actually exist as Rashi descr...

0 answers  ·  posted 2y ago by DonielF‭

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