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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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Fasting 3 fasts.

There is a somewhat famous minhag for a child to fast the three fasts preceding His/Her Bar/Bas Mitzvah. Is there any halachic source for doing this, or is it an unnecessary adopted custom?

2 answers  ·  posted 3y ago by Dani‭  ·  last activity 3y ago by DonielF‭

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Is there a list of the different types of deaths?

The Gemara in Brachot says: It was also taught in a baraita: Nine hundred and three types of death were created in the world, as it is stated: “Issues [totzaot] of death,” and that, 903, is the ...

0 answers  ·  posted 4y ago by Harel13‭  ·  edited 3y ago by Harel13‭

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How is God's name pronounced when there is a prefix?

The 4 letter name for Hashem is replaced with the word a/d-/nai (3 syllables). But my siddur doesn't put vowels under each instance, so I'm not sure how to say the word when it is preceded b a pref...

1 answer  ·  posted 4y ago by rosends‭  ·  edited 3y ago by DonielF‭

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hearing half of a double-long תרועה

Shulchan Aruch, Orach Chayim 587:3, cites a view that if someone heard half of a double-long t'ki'a (long shofar blast) in a way that was effective but the other half in an invalid way, then he's n...

0 answers  ·  posted 3y ago by msh210‭  ·  edited 3y ago by msh210‭

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Which ethical teachings are unique to Judaism?

Are there any ethical teachings found in the corpus of the written Torah which are unique to Judaism and are not found in other world religions current or past? If so, what are they?

1 answer  ·  posted 4y ago by withoutatrace‭  ·  last activity 3y ago by Alaychem‭

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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 4y ago by Monica Cellio‭  ·  edited 4y ago by Monica Cellio‭

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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 4y ago by Alaychem‭  ·  edited 4y ago by Alaychem‭

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Longest list of practical differences in shas.

The Gemara in Ketubot 54b.10-55a.2 gives a list of 14 practical differences.1 Are there any other places in Shas that list more than 14 practical differences? The context/background has nothing ...

0 answers  ·  posted 3y ago by Dani‭  ·  edited 3y ago by DonielF‭

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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 4y ago by msh210‭  ·  last activity 4y ago by msh210‭

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Should you bring the ketubah on vacation?

When a family goes on vacation, does the wife have to bring her Ketubah with her, since she should have it available at all times?

0 answers  ·  posted 4y ago by withoutatrace‭  ·  edited 3y ago by DonielF‭

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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 4y ago by msh210‭  ·  last activity 4y ago by Harel13‭

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Is learning Aleph Beis considered learning Torah?

In a number of sources we find learning Aleph Beis associated with learning Torah: notably Shabbos 31a, with the convert who Hillel persuaded with reversing the Aleph Beis; Shabbos 103b-104a, with ...

0 answers  ·  posted 3y ago by DonielF‭

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Avinu Malkeinu as part of Tachanun

I know the following: The word "considered" will surely invoke the response "by whom." I have no answer but want to know the breadth of opinions. The question begs "what does it matter?" I have...

2 answers  ·  posted 4y ago by rosends‭  ·  last activity 3y ago by manassehkatz‭

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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 4y ago by Alaychem‭  ·  edited 4y ago by Alaychem‭

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Has anyone proposed to recreate the system of 24 ma'amadot, since the Dispersal?

The Mishna, in Ta'anit 4:1-4, describes an institution called ma'amadot: Just as the Kohens and Levites were divided into 24 clans, which each handled the Temple service for two non-holiday weeks o...

0 answers  ·  posted 4y ago by Isaac Moses‭  ·  last activity 4y ago by Isaac Moses‭

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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 4y ago by Monica Cellio‭  ·  edited 4y ago by Monica Cellio‭

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Internet Bavli resource

I am hoping (b'li neder) to start, relatively soon, a regular regimen of study of the Talmud Bavli. My goal is to learn large swaths of the g'mara, gaining broad knowledge, but without taking the ...

2 answers  ·  posted 3y ago by msh210‭  ·  last activity 3y ago by Dr. Shmuel‭

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Seeking list of prohibitions which force one to do an action

Generally speaking, whenever the Torah tells us "do not do X," the context is "do not do a specific action" (don't eat non-Kosher, don't do work on Shabbos, etc.). In a select few prohibitions, how...

2 answers  ·  posted 3y ago by DonielF‭  ·  edited 3y ago by DonielF‭

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What's your favorite weekly Torah section, and why?

There are 54 weekly sections ("parashiyos" or "sedras") in the Torah.1 Which of these is your favorite, and why? Answers I seek: Please don't answer with a section name with no explanation as to wh...

1 answer  ·  posted 4y ago by msh210‭  ·  edited 3y ago by DonielF‭

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Why not immerse in the early morning on erev Rosh Hashana?

Chaye Adam 138:5 writes: וראוי לכל אדם לטבול במקוה או בנהר ולא יקדים לטבול עד שעה קודם חצות היום In my own translation: It's seemly for every man to immerse in a ritualarium or a river [on the d...

1 answer  ·  posted 4y ago by msh210‭  ·  edited 3y ago by DonielF‭

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Why aren't weddings on specific days?

In Mishnah Ketubot 1:1, it says: בְּתוּלָה נִשֵּׂאת לַיּוֹם הָרְבִיעִי, וְאַלְמָנָה לַיּוֹם הַחֲמִישִׁי. A virgin is married on the fourth day [of the week] and a widow on the fifth day Why don't...

1 answer  ·  posted 3y ago by Dani‭  ·  edited 3y ago by DonielF‭

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May Jews bow as a courtesy?

Like many Jews, I have been taught that Jews don't bow; many people trace this prohibition to Mordechai not bowing to Haman. This custom can be further traced to Exodus 20:5 - "You shall not bow do...

1 answer  ·  posted 3y ago by Aliza‭  ·  edited 3y ago by DonielF‭

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When does not forgiving become holding a grudge?

Yoma 87a and Rambam Hilchot Teshuvah 2 both describe requirements for doing teshuva and gaining forgiveness. According to them, the one doing teshuva must first make restitution and then, in front...

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

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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 4y ago by DonielF‭  ·  last activity 4y ago by JoelK‭

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What are the requirements for the body of water used for tashlich?

For tashlich I'm used to joining a group, and thus somebody else figures out where to do it. But there won't be groups this year. I could of course return to any of the locations we've used in th...

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

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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 4y ago by Dr. Shmuel‭  ·  edited 4y ago by DonielF‭

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At what distance may one hear the shofar on Rosh Hashana?

Due to the pandemic, on Rosh Hashana1 some congregations will be blowing the shofar outdoors to mitigate the health risks. In an urban area, this means someone could stay safely far away and yet s...

1 answer  ·  posted 4y ago by Monica Cellio‭  ·  last activity 4y ago by DonielF‭

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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 4y ago by Racquetball‭  ·  closed 4y ago by DonielF‭

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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 4y ago by DonielF‭  ·  last activity 4y ago by Dev-iL‭

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Why did Abraham refuse to accept Bera's proposal

In Genesis 14:21-23, after Abraham returns, king of Sodom proposes him to take the riches, with him keeping the people. Abraham didn't accept it with a great vow before God and as such, avoiding to...

1 answer  ·  posted 3y ago by artaxerxe‭  ·  edited 3y ago by artaxerxe‭

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Intentionally praying shacharis without tefillin

If someone b'mezid, intentionally, prayed shacharis without tefillin, would he have fulfilled his obligation? Or would he have to pray again with tefillin.

0 answers  ·  posted 4y ago by Racquetball‭  ·  edited 3y 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 4y ago by DonielF‭

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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 4y ago by DonielF‭  ·  last activity 4y ago by Dani‭

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What are the issues in talking into a mic that was accidentally turned on on Shabbat?

During the COVID pandemic many synagogues have moved activities online, including communal prayer. Some have even done this on Shabbat, and the Conservative movement recently published a responsum...

1 answer  ·  posted 4y ago by Monica Cellio‭  ·  last activity 4y ago by PinnyM‭

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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 4y ago by Monica Cellio‭  ·  last activity 4y ago by ploni‭

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Explanation about story in Maseches Shabbos.

The last story in Maseches Shabbos 157b:2 brings the following story: עוּלָּא אִיקְּלַע לְבֵי רֵישׁ גָּלוּתָא. חַזְיֵיהּ לְרַבָּה בַּר רַב הוּנָא דְּיָתֵיב בְּאַוּוֹנָא דְמַיָּא וְקָא מָשַׁח לֵיהּ...

0 answers  ·  posted 4y ago by Dani‭  ·  last activity 4y ago by Dani‭

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Ancestry of the Mishmarot Kehunah

In 1 Divrei Hayamim 24:4 it says about the dividing of the Mishmarot Kehunah: "The sons of Eleazar turned out to be more numerous by male heads than the sons of Ithamar, so they divided the sons o...

1 answer  ·  posted 4y ago by Harel13‭  ·  last activity 3y ago by Harel13‭

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Should the repetition of the amidah be discontinued?

My understanding is that the repetition of the prayer popularly referred to as the Shmoneh Esrei was instituted to assist people who were illiterate and could not say the prayer themselves. Since t...

1 answer  ·  posted 4y ago by withoutatrace‭  ·  edited 3y 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 4y ago by eliyahu‭  ·  last activity 4y ago by sabbahillel‭

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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 4y ago by Racquetball‭  ·  edited 4y ago by robev‭

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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 4y ago by Harel13‭  ·  edited 4y ago by Harel13‭

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Translation of ״זעיר אנפין״ as "The Impatient One"

In the Seder Oneg Shabbos Bentcher the translation for ״זעיר אנפין״ is "The Impatient One". What's the basis of this translation? Sources that support the reading would be appreciated.

1 answer  ·  posted 4y ago by Lev‭  ·  last activity 4y ago by רבות מחשבות‭

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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 4y ago by Dani‭  ·  last activity 4y ago by Harel13‭

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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 4y ago by DonielF‭

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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 4y ago by רבות מחשבות‭  ·  last activity 4y ago by Isaac Moses‭

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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 4y ago by רבות מחשבות‭  ·  edited 4y ago by רבות מחשבות‭

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Why is Tzaara'as considered a Sakana?

The Shulchan Aruch in Orach Chaim 173:2 writes: בין בשר לדגים חובה ליטול משום דקשה לדבר אחר וחמירא סכנתא מאיסורא There is an obligation to wash...

2 answers  ·  posted 4y ago by eliyahu‭  ·  last activity 4y ago by eliyahu‭

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Why is the beracha of Shehechiyanu phrased in the plural?

The Bracha of Shehechiyanu reads as follows: ברוך...שהחיינו וקיימנו והגיענו לזמן הזה ...that He kept us alive and sustained us and brought us to this time. ...

1 answer  ·  posted 5y ago by DonielF‭  ·  last activity 4y ago by DonielF‭

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Was there a Soreg in Bayit Rishon?

I understand there was a little fence in Bayit Sheni called "HaSoreg"/"The Grille" which was meant to warn away gentiles and tme'im from entering the Chayil part of Har Habayit (according to the mi...

0 answers  ·  posted 4y ago by Harel13‭  ·  edited 3y ago by Harel13‭

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Nowadays, whom is Birkat Haminim directed at?

Today I saw this question: History of Birkas haMinim, which got me thinking: Nowadays, that we don't have Tzdokim or little Judaic Temple-cults like the Essenes, whom is the Birkat Haminim directed...

0 answers  ·  posted 4y ago by Harel13‭  ·  edited 3y ago by Harel13‭