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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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Did Moshe's wife and sons remain with Yisrael during the time in the wilderness?

In Shemot 18:2-4, Yitro comes from Midian to join the Israelites after the exodus, bringing Moshe's wife Tzipporah and his sons Gershon and Eliezer. This appears to be the torah's last mention of ...

0 answers  ·  posted 1d ago by Monica Cellio‭  ·  edited 20h ago by manassehkatz‭

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How do you name a non-Jew for Mi Sheberach?

Ploni is the child of a Jewish mother and a non-Jewish father. The father is ill and Ploni would like to say Mi Sheberach for him in a minyan. How should Ploni form the name for a non-Jewish rela...

0 answers  ·  posted 6d ago by Monica Cellio‭

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Different Trop when laining

Ignoring the question of why, there is a practice of using different musical trop when laining the 10 commandments from when studying it. Are there other examples of different trop or pronunciatio...

0 answers  ·  posted 13d ago by rosends‭

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Tevillas Keilim on Used things

I was reading up on tevillas keilim and saw the following statements on this site: Utensils require tevila if they were given by a Jew to a Yehudi as a gift or if they were bought from a aino Ye...

2 answers  ·  posted 18d ago by rosends‭  ·  last activity 14d ago by manassehkatz‭

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Halacha applied differently dependent on the situation

I recall asking someone about whether a Jew could work in a non-kosher restaurant. One of the opinions I heard was that a Jew shouldn't because "odds are" that the person, as a waiter, will end up ...

1 answer  ·  posted 18d ago by rosends‭  ·  last activity 14d ago by manassehkatz‭

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Tallow candles and Kashrut

There are candles that are made from beef tallow (https://www.theprairiehomestead.com/2014/01/tallow-emergency-candles.html). If one were to burn one, residue and soot from incomplete combustion co...

1 answer  ·  posted 5mo ago by rosends‭  ·  last activity 18d ago by PinnyM‭

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The Essence of Judaism

What is hateful to you, do not do to others. That is the whole Torah. The rest is the explanation. Go learn! ~ Rabbi Hillel I would like to know the ouisa (essence) of Judaism (the oldest of t...

3 answers  ·  posted 2mo ago by Agent Smith‭  ·  last activity 1mo ago by Fred Wamsley‭

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Halachically, what is bread?

I was recently doing some baking, and it led to a household discussion: what makes bread bread, as opposed to mezunot? I wondered if it might be about ingredients. Bread, fundamentally, is made o...

1 answer  ·  posted 2mo ago by Monica Cellio‭  ·  last activity 2mo ago by Mithical‭

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Can cultivated meat be kosher?

I am wondering what the range of opinions are, and what the key legal points are, on the question of whether cultivated meat can be kosher. The New York Times (paywalled) just published an article...

0 answers  ·  posted 2mo ago by Fred Wamsley‭

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Whose minhag is S. Y. Agnon describing in the Shabbat lunch scene in "The Kerchief"?

In S. Y. Agnon's short story "The Kerchief", we're treated to this snippet of the narrator's Shabbat lunch traditions: Father entered, said, "A Sabbath of peace and blessing," put his tallit on ...

1 answer  ·  posted 6mo ago by Mithical‭  ·  last activity 2mo ago by ka00‭

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dikduk question.

What is the difference in translation according to dikduk (grammar) between שנואה AND שניאה? Both are used in Devarim 21:15 to refer to the same person.

2 answers  ·  posted 2y ago by interested‭  ·  last activity 2mo ago by ka00‭

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Why must yefas toar be allowed

We have in Ki Setze the laws of 'yefas toar' meaning a non-Jewish woman captured in war whom a Jewish man now wants as his wife. The meforshim (commentators) say that the only reason this was allow...

1 answer  ·  posted 2y ago by interested‭  ·  last activity 2mo ago by ka00‭

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Wine Making things treif

Non kosher food creates a status in dishes that requires that they go through a kashering process. I recall learning that this is at least partially to remove any residual taste or particulates fro...

1 answer  ·  posted 6mo ago by rosends‭  ·  last activity 2mo ago by robbiefowler‭

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Why was Rabbi Eliezer ostracized?

The context here is the aftermath of the debate about the oven of Akhnai. What did Rabbi Eliezer do that was worthy of ostracism? Dissent, by itself, must have happened many times without discipl...

2 answers  ·  posted 11mo ago by Fred Wamsley‭  ·  last activity 3mo ago by robbiefowler‭

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Why was Shabbat given in a roundabout way?

Someone at my seder asked about the ordering in Dayeinu, specifically that "had God not given us Shabbat..." comes before "had God not give us the Torah..." -- but wasn't Shabbat given at Sinai, as...

1 answer  ·  posted 8mo ago by Monica Cellio‭  ·  edited 3mo ago by Monica Cellio‭

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Why is the system of listing unkosher animals inconsistent?

I am looking for resources that go through the section (Vayikra 11:1-30) with a fine toothed comb and discuss and explain the inconsistencies in how animals are described/listed. I have assembled a...

0 answers  ·  posted 4mo ago by rosends‭

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Tzidkat'cha in the presence of a mourner

If one is in shul on a Shabbos afternoon and a mourner (who is in his 7 days) is davening there, does the minyan say Tzidkat'cha? My logic -- during the week,one does not say tachanun in the house...

1 answer  ·  posted 5mo ago by rosends‭  ·  last activity 5mo ago by manassehkatz‭

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Nemuel vs Yemuel

I am looking at the geneology of the 12 tribes and I found that Reuvein had son named Palu. Palu had a son named Eli'av and Eli'av had 3 sons, Datan, Aviram and Nemuel (Bamidbar 26:9) וּבְנֵ֣י אֱל...

0 answers  ·  posted 5mo ago by rosends‭

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Was Mordechai Consoled?

When Haman came home after leading Mordechai around, he complained to his wife, Zeresh. Her reaction was (from Sefaria) וַיְסַפֵּ֨ר הָמָ֜ן לְזֶ֤רֶשׁ אִשְׁתּוֹ֙ וּלְכׇל־אֹ֣הֲבָ֔יו אֵ֖ת כׇּל־אֲשֶׁ...

0 answers  ·  posted 6mo ago by rosends‭

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Why is kosher wine sometimes boiled?

I've been reading recent debates about Catholic communion wine, and which types of wine are or are not valid. One person suggested that kosher wine is always valid, someone else said that kosher wi...

1 answer  ·  posted 6mo ago by TRiG‭  ·  last activity 6mo ago by rosends‭

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Why is Pesach in the singular?

Simply put, why is Pesach in the singular while Shavu'ot and Sukkot are in the plural? Shavu'ot makes sense to me because the day celebrates the culmination of weekS. But I only made 1 Sukkah so w...

2 answers  ·  posted 1y ago by rosends‭  ·  last activity 6mo ago by manassehkatz‭

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Why two types of maror?

Some seder plates (or layout instructions in haggadot) use two bitter herbs (I'm used to seeing horseradish and endive), one labelled maror and one labelled chazeret. Others have only a single spa...

2 answers  ·  posted 8mo ago by Monica Cellio‭  ·  last activity 6mo ago by manassehkatz‭

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Inference of Opposites as Halachic process

In the Talmudic discussion of the Sotah ritual, the halacha is derived that, because part of the ritual requires uncovering the woman's hair, the obligation would otherwise be to keep the hair cove...

0 answers  ·  posted 6mo ago by rosends‭

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Why do we skip certain words and pronounce words differently in Ruth?

While reading Megillat Ruth on Shavuot, I noticed that there were an unusually large number of words that were read differently than how they're written in the text. This includes outright omitting...

0 answers  ·  posted 6mo ago by Mithical‭

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Why is it Baal Shem and not Baal HaShem?

Forgive my ignorance; I am not Jewish but interested in Judaism, and know a bit of Biblical Hebrew. I'm confused about the term Baal Shem. I'm assuming Shem refers to God's name, as in HaShem. But...

0 answers  ·  posted 7mo ago by Keelan‭

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Does a surrogate mother affect the Jewish status of the child?

The child of a Jewish woman is a Jew. Is this status transmitted through birth or through parentage (genetics)? Specifically, if a Jewish woman acts as a surrogate for two non-Jews, what is the s...

1 answer  ·  posted 9mo ago by Monica Cellio‭  ·  last activity 7mo ago by Maurice Mizrahi‭

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Why isn't Iyar 16 a fast day?

There are fast days through the year which commemorate the process leading to the destruction of the temple. The way I learned them, there was a date marking the beginning of the siege, one for the...

0 answers  ·  posted 7mo ago by rosends‭

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Why is the verse about old age specifically read aloud in Selichot?

During the Slichot that are said leading up the Yamim Noraim, there's a section where the Aron is opened and some verses are said, the first few responsively. These are said responsively: שמע קו...

1 answer  ·  posted 9mo ago by Mithical‭  ·  last activity 9mo ago by rosends‭

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What is the status of my phone when using it as a siddur?

Occasionally, I find myself using my phone as a siddur (prayer book), particularly when davening (praying) at a Sephardi shul as an Ashkenazi. (They don't always have Ashkenazi siddurim so it's mor...

0 answers  ·  posted 9mo ago by Mithical‭

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Why does the Written Torah include construction details?

The understanding I have is that every word in the Torah (5 books) is important and what is related there is essential to building a Jewish world-view. Therefore, the stories and laws are to be por...

0 answers  ·  posted 9mo ago by rosends‭

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Treif status of hands

If I handle food that is patently unkosher, and it gets on my hands, do my hands have a status of "treif" that might impact my handling of certain things? Assuming I rinse them with water (whcih m...

0 answers  ·  posted 9mo ago by rosends‭

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Does a Jew with a non-Jewish father have a tribe?

Vayikra 24:10 and on tells of an episode with a blasphemer. The torah tells us that he was the son of an Israelite woman and an Egyptian man. From a Rashi comment there I found my way to Vayikra ...

0 answers  ·  posted 10mo ago by Monica Cellio‭

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What exactly changed when Adam and Chava ate the fruit?

In Gan Eden, Adam and Chava were unclothed. I recall reading that, had they not eaten of the Eitz HaDa'at, moshiach would have come and ushered in the messianic era (I'm not sure of a source for th...

0 answers  ·  posted 10mo ago by rosends‭

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Can anyone explain the heavenly voice in the oven of Akhnai?

Starting at the beginning, since I don't read Hebrew, how accurate is the translation "Why are you differing with Rabbi Eliezer, as the halakha is in accordance with his opinion in every place that...

0 answers  ·  posted 10mo ago by Fred Wamsley‭

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Why does the command to bring locusts (only) include consequences?

For various of the ten plagues, God tells Moses or Aaron to do something to bring the plague on Egypt: Take your wand and tip your hand over the waters of Egypt… and they will be blood. Blood wi...

0 answers  ·  posted 10mo ago by msh210‭  ·  edited 10mo ago by msh210‭

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Reward for mitzvot pre-adulthood

There is a conept that there is a s'char mitzvah, a reward for doing a mitzvah, and an oneish/punishment for "sinning". But there is also an idea that a child, under the age of bar/bat mitzvah who ...

1 answer  ·  posted 11mo ago by rosends‭  ·  last activity 11mo ago by Fred Wamsley‭

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Why is Yemei singular?

The first 2 verses of Parshat Vay'chi present me with a question, so I'm soliciting any help on this. Here they are, for convenience's sake (from Sefaria): וַיְחִ֤י יַעֲקֹב֙ בְּאֶ֣רֶץ מִצְרַ֔יִם ...

0 answers  ·  posted 11mo ago by rosends‭

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What is the prayer said when seeing a former shul?

I think I remember hearing that there is a particular prayer to be said when seeing a place where there was formerly a shul. Can anyone confirm this? Could you tell me what the prayer says? (I am m...

0 answers  ·  posted 12mo ago by hughthomas‭

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Who says Rebbi said Kiddush?

I read the following statement on the Chabad.org website https://www.chabad.org/calendar/view/day.asp?tdate=12/9/2022 "The Talmud (Ketubot 103a) relates that even after his passing, for a time, Ra...

0 answers  ·  posted 12mo ago by rosends‭

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counting for more than one minyan

If one is in an open area in which more than one minyan is meeting, can he be counted for both minyanim simultaneously? If, at the kotel, one minyan has started and then someone leaves, and I am t...

0 answers  ·  posted 1y ago by rosends‭

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Embarrassing someone in private

The gemara in Bava Metzia 59a make the statement that one should not "whiten his friend's face" (embarrass him). The section states ואל ילבין פני חבירו ברבים מנ"ל מדדרש רבא דדרש רבא מאי דכתיב (...

0 answers  ·  posted 1y ago by rosends‭

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What are the rules for mentioning my father when calling a family member up for an aliyah?

Occasionally, I have to act as gabbai for a small minyan, where other members of my family also daven. When calling up my father for an aliyah, I use the formulation "יעמוד, אבי מורי הרב..." (Rise,...

0 answers  ·  posted 1y ago by Mithical‭

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Why don't we stand for Hallel at the seder?

At services that include it, we stand for Hallel. I've never learned about it but this makes sense; we're sanctifying God, like in Kedusha for which we also stand. But at every Pesach seder I've b...

0 answers  ·  posted 1y ago by Monica Cellio‭

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Did Avraham really not know about his nephews while they were children?

After the Akeidah, Avraham returns home and then the torah tells us, in Bereishit 22:20: "Avraham was told, 'Milkah too has borne sons to your brother Nachor (etc)'". The torah does not always rec...

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

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Why do we sing while saying viduy?

Throughout Yom Kippur everyone says viduy (confession) numerous times. In the shuls that I have davened at (and I think most shuls), when everyone says it together during chazaras hashatz, there i...

0 answers  ·  posted 1y ago by Dani‭

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Source of a tune

https://vocaroo.com/1L5y4gbqDCvZ has a tune that I've heard many times, always in a Jewish (usually liturgical) context. What is its origin? Who wrote it, when, where, etc., and what (if any) were ...

1 answer  ·  posted 1y ago by msh210‭  ·  last activity 1y ago by Mithical‭

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How do I look up commentaries on general patterns in torah as opposed to specific verses?

This is a research-methods question with a concrete example. I'm interested in the answer to the concrete example, but what I really want to know is: how could I look this up myself? There are so...

0 answers  ·  posted 1y ago by Monica Cellio‭

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What is the difference between "an utterance of our lips" and "speech"?

In the Viduy (confessions) that we say as part of the Yom Kippur prayers, there's a section where we list a whole bunch of sins, saying "Al chet..." (for the sin...) before each one. Two of the sec...

0 answers  ·  posted 1y ago by Mithical‭

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Sentencing a defendant to death

Let's say a Jew is serving on a jury that is deciding the sentence for someone (even more powerfully, a Jew) convicted (under US law) of a capital offense. The judge instructs the jury that the two...

1 answer  ·  posted 1y ago by rosends‭  ·  last activity 1y ago by Mithical‭

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When was "Melech Elyon" first truncated, and why?

During Rosh Hashana davening, there's a piyut (liturgical poem) that appears before Untaneh Tokef, that begins "מלך עליון" (Melech Elyon). The commentary by Rabbi Lord Jonathan Sacks, in the Koren ...

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