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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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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

66%
+2 −0
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

71%
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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

77%
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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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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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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 3y ago by Isaac Moses‭  ·  last activity 3y ago by Isaac Moses‭

66%
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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 3y ago by Harel13‭  ·  edited 2y ago by Harel13‭

60%
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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 3y ago by Harel13‭  ·  edited 2y ago by Harel13‭

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Who got to have the leftover flour from the Omer?

The Mishna reports in Menachot 10:4 that, after the required amount of premium flour had been extracted from the barley set aside for the Omer, the considerable amount tof leftover, mixed-quality f...

0 answers  ·  posted 3y ago by Isaac Moses‭  ·  last activity 3y ago by Isaac Moses‭

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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 4y ago by DonielF‭  ·  last activity 3y ago by DonielF‭

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What is a “halachic annulment” of a marriage and when is it employed?

I’m stunned that this question wasn’t previously asked. The Gemara (Gittin 33a) discusses the concept of כל דמקדש אדעתא דרבנן מקדש - anyone who marries does so with the consent of the Rabbis. As di...

1 answer  ·  posted 4y ago by DonielF‭  ·  last activity 2y ago by Monica Cellio‭

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Why did the Davidic dynasty need to come from questionable relations?

On the one side of the family, we have the union between Tamar and Yehudah, which, while technically a fulfillment of Yibum, Yehudah thought she was a harlot. From this union came Peretz (Bereishis...

4 answers  ·  posted 4y ago by DonielF‭  ·  edited 2y ago by DonielF‭

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Putting a suffering animal out of its misery - Mitzvah, Reshut or prohibition?

How does the concept of Tza’ar Ba’alei Chaim deal with putting an animal out of its misery by killing it in order to prevent unnecessary pain (of the animal)? For instance, when one sees an animal...

3 answers  ·  posted 4y ago by DonielF‭  ·  last activity 2y ago by Monica Cellio‭

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When the Mishnayos were compiled, were they compiled into the perakim we have today, or were they just compiled into masechtos?

Many times throughout Shas, it seems as if the Perakim are sliced in completely arbitrary places. To name a few examples: In Maseches Shabbos, the halachos of Tzad, trapping, are discussed in 13:5-...

1 answer  ·  posted 4y ago by DonielF‭  ·  edited 2y ago by Monica Cellio‭

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What prompted the absent-Sanhedrin-head decree in Rosh Hashana 4:4?

R' Yochanan ben Zakai, in leading the Jewish people during and immediately after the Destruction of the Second Temple, issued many decrees aimed at responding to the new post-Temple reality and pre...

0 answers  ·  posted 6y ago by Isaac Moses‭  ·  last activity 6y ago by Isaac Moses‭

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Shalom Aleichem -- "shuvchem" instead of "tzeitchem"?

I've heard a setting (by Debbie Friedman) of the song "Shalom Aleichem" that, in the last verse, says "shuvchem" instead of "tzeitchem" (recording, mixed group of singers). A rabbi who knew her to...

0 answers  ·  posted 7y ago by Monica Cellio‭  ·  edited 2y ago by DonielF‭

60%
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If voting doesn't do anything, should one vote?

All translations below are my own. Lev Melech B'Yad Hashem Shlomo HaMelech tells us (Mishlei 21:1): פלגי מים לב מלך ביד יהוה על כל אשר יחפץ יטנו [Like] streams of water is the heart of a king in t...

5 answers  ·  posted 6y ago by DonielF‭  ·  last activity 2y ago by Monica Cellio‭

66%
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Difference between אני and אנכי

Throughout the Tanakh, I have come across אֲנִי (ʾani) and אָנֹכִי (ʾanokhi) many times, which both mean "I". What is the difference between the two words in Tanakh?

6 answers  ·  posted 7y ago by Argon‭  ·  last activity 2y ago by msh210‭

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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 9y ago by Hashamyim‭  ·  last activity 1y ago by Monica Cellio‭

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Plants before the Sun in the Order of Creation

Why does plant life precede the Sun in the order of creation given that plants need the Sun to do photosynthesis?

4 answers  ·  posted 9y ago by Kinnard Hockenhull‭  ·  last activity 2y ago by Monica Cellio‭

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A year with eight Sh'minis is plenteous?

I've heard an idea that a year (like 5772) in which parashas Sh'mini is read eight times1 is a particularly auspicious one: the wording of the maxim is something like "sh'mona Sh'mini sh'mena" ([a ...

1 answer  ·  posted 11y ago by msh210‭  ·  edited 2y ago by msh210‭

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Source for not referring to Chanuka lights as a "menora"

Following up on this question about the use of the words "menora" or "chanukiya" to refer to Chanuka lights: I find it interesting that the use of "chanukiya," popularized in 1897 through a secula...

0 answers  ·  posted 10y ago by Isaac Moses‭  ·  last activity 8y ago by Isaac Moses‭

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Experience-based advice for focusing and slowing down prayers?

I tend to daven (pray) without sufficient focus and very quickly. In particular, I find that most of the time that I'm praying, my mind is on things other than the words that I'm saying. And, not t...

25 answers  ·  posted 13y ago by Isaac Moses‭  ·  last activity 4y ago by Isaac Moses‭

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