Tag Archives: Halakhah

Skype and Jewish Law

by R. Gil Student Skype is one of a number of applications that allow for online video chatting. Essentially, it enables your computer or other internet device to serve as a video phone, with which you can talk and see your correspondent while he sees you. This raises a number of halakhic issues, some of which we will discuss. A ...

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Instagram and Jewish Law

by R. Gil Student New media and technology still fall under the classical rules of ethics. Their usage can and must be examined with an open mind but with a keen eye for propriety. Instagram is an image and video sharing service that allows users to post their own pictures and videos, view those of others, follow members, indicate appreciation ...

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How To Build A Rate-A-Rabbi App

Finding the perfect rabbi is an exercise in futility because every person has a unique combination of skills. A rabbi is in the right position when his skills match the needs of most of his congregants. However, those with other needs, who do not fit in with the majority and may wish to look elsewhere for rabbinic services, need the ...

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The Use of Quinoa on Pesach

by R. Asher Bush For the past several years many people have been excited about the possibility of adding a new item–Quinoa–to an otherwise limited Pesach diet. Unlike past years, there are now several brands available under respected kashrus supervision. The question is whether Quinoa is an appropriate food to help fill that dietary gap. Is it Chametz? Clearly Quinoa ...

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Contemporary Tzaraat?

by Efraim Vaynman Is it Possible to Become a Metzora1 Nowadays?2 The Shulchan Aruch does not contain a discussion of the halachot of tzaraat, implying that the halachot of tzaraat are not relevant nowadays. However, elsewhere the Shulchan Aruch does discuss tzaraat as it relates to other mitzvot. The Shulchan Aruch rules that a metzora is forbidden from laying tefillin3 ...

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When To Get Married

by R. Eliezer Melamed At What Age are Men Obligated to Marry? Although young Jewish males become obligated to fulfill all the mitzvot at the age of 13, our Sages said that a man should get married at the age of 18, but no later than 20. There are two main reasons for this: A. Torah Study Before marrying, a ...

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Breaking Down Gebrochts

by R. Tsvi Selengut Introduction The custom of abstaining from eating “gebrochts” during Pesach is widely known in the Jewish community. There are many, especially in the Chasidic community, who strictly observe this custom as an integral part of their Pesach. The purpose of this essay is to discuss the various origins of this custom as they appear in Rishonim ...

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Hat Tips in Jewish Law

A common feature of social media interaction, the “hat tip,” has strong backing in Jewish law and an unlikely connection to the Purim story. The Internet is awash in material on every subject. Finding information you want, filtering out undesired, is a non-trivial task. An important part of web interaction is providing guidance to friends of followers, sharing links and articles. When someone points you to something interesting and you share it in turn, you acknowledge and thank that favor with a “hat tip,” a link or name of your guide. Social media like Twitter and Facebook make this much easier than blogs. Halakhah provides three reasons why a hat tip is appropriate, possibly obligatory. R. Aaron Levine, of blessed memory, discusses an analogous situation in the first chapter of his Moral Issues of the Marketplace in Jewish Law. R. Ari Samson, a fictional character, teaches a weekly lecture on the laws of ribbis, interest on loans, based mainly on the book Beris Yehudah. R. Levine analyzes whether R. Samson is obligated to tell his congregants that he did not conduct all of that scholarship on his own but rather used a book of someone else’s scholarship. Does R. Samson create false goodwill by implying he has engaged in greater scholarship than he really did?

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Social Media For Shabbos

An interesting article raised the question of whether you may schedule e-mails or social media updates to occur on Shabbos (link). For example, I can post to my blog and schedule the post to appear on Friday night. Within an hour of that post’s publication, a third-party application Tweets the blog’s title, first few words and link to my personal ...

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Shabbos Attire

(For my comrade-in-blog Mochassid) The prophet Yishayahu tells us (58:13): “ve-khibadto – and you shall honor [Shabbos].” The Gemara (Shabbos 113a) applies this oblgiation to the clothes one wears: “Your clothing for Shabbos should not be like your clothing for weekdays.” Note that the Gemara does not say that you should change your clothes for Shabbos but that your clothes ...

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