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Rabbi Akiva Dershowitz

Number of Entries : 515

Fulfilling a shevua with maaser kesafim

Question: Shalom kevod HaRav, I took a shevuah to pay a certain amount of money to tzedaka if I would not fulfill certain things. I did not fulfill them, and thus I am obligated to pay the money by my shevuah. Due to the considerable amount, it is currently difficult for me to pay the money out of extra funds. Can I pay it out of my normal maaser kesafim money? Thank you Answer: No, maaser money may not be ...

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Question: BS"D L'Kavod HaRav Shlita, I recently listened to your shiur about rodeph in parshas Pinchas. It occured to me that your comparison between the gemorra about the donkey being thrown off the boat to save the merchandise and an unborn fetus would imply a surprising leniency. That is to say, if a pregnant women felt her financial or social situation was being threatened by the uber, she might be able ...

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Dogs – follow-up question

Question: Thank you for your prompt response to my question regarding owning pet dogs (// You wrote that "there is certainly no prohibition in owning a pet dog." Seeing as almost all dogs can bark quite loudly, why is there no prohibition because of the concern of the barking causing a miscarriage? (עיין ים של שלמה פרק מרובה סימן מ"ה דסתם כלב מנבח ואסור. ולא הבנתי דהא לפי ...

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Umbrella with no marit ayin

Question: kavod harav, I work for a Jewish old age home in a small Jewish community. Every other Shabbat I lead Shabbat morning services for the Jewish residents of the home. However in order to do this I have to walk over an hour to the old age home and an hour back (all within an eruv). If I don't lead services than it is likely that the residents will not have any davening during Shabbat. Not infrequentl ...

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Question regarding status of a previous marriage

Question: A woman was previously married in a conservative wedding and divorced shortly thereafter. The woman then remarried to another man again conservative. She had 3 children from this marriage and has since also divorced, 2 of these children have grown up to marry and have children of their own. it was discovered in pictures from the wedding that the eidim for the ketubah and chuppah were male and fema ...

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Question: L'Kavod HaRav, My wife and I have been struggling with the issue of vaccinating our newborn. I saw in a previous question that the Rav poskened that there is an obligation to do so. While all of the mainstream medical organizations recommend vaccinations, it does seem that there is at least a minority opinion cautioning certain aspects, with an extreme opinion saying not to vaccinate at all. This ...

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Pet Dogs

Question: Likovod HaRav Shlit"a', Does the Rav allow Jews to own dogs as pets? Does he allow Jews to own pets at all, if there is no pressing need for them (i.e. they are not needed for protection or to serve as a seeing-eye dog, etc.)? Thank You, Answer: There is certainly no prohibition in owning a pet dog. Even if it is not for one of the reasons you mentioned but only for pleasure and recreation, it wou ...

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taking out garbage on Shabbos follow up question

Question: Thank you very much for your reply to my question regarding the removal of garbage on Shabbos. Is it possible to clarify one point.When I throw out a disposable plate into the garbage and now it becomes disgusting, would the plate still retain its non muktzeh status? What about the edible food which I will not take out to give the dog, (I assume since I do not own one) because it became disgusting ...

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Tshuva for Hotzoas Zera Levatolo

Question: Kvod HoRav, What is the teshuvo for the serious sin of hotzoas zera levatolo in our days as we are too weak to fast and not everyone has the opportunity to be immersed in learning. Kol tuv. Answer: The main components of teshuva are admitting and regretting the sin, and resolving not to repeat the sin. This includes employing whatever safegaurds necessary so as not to be put in a situation where h ...

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Sucking candy before davening

Question: Shalom, I was asked by a chazan who finds it exceedingly helpful to suck candies before/during davening to lubricate his mouth. What is the propriety of this in terms of A) Eating before Kiddush/davening B) Eating while davening C) does one need to make a bracha when eating for this purpose? Thank you very much! Answer: As this is for tefilla he is sucking the candy before Shachris or at least bef ...

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