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Woman Singing Birkat Hamazon

Question: I often find myself at meals with extended family, where the women sing the benching in the typical tune of Birchat Hamazon. It would be very uncomfortable for me not to bench with them. Is there a problem benching while hearing them chant the benching? Thanks Answer: While this should be avoided if possible, if it is very difficult to avoid [at the cost of embarrassment, insulting others and the ...

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Distance Required in order to Recite Tefillas Haderech – Prayer of the Traveler

Question: What is the minimal distance one must travel in order to recite Tefillas Haderech?   Answer: The accepted custom in the Ashkenazik community is to recite the blessing for every inter-city trip, as long as the distance between the end of one city and the beginning of the next is more than 4 Kilometers (2.5 Miles). Although, there are those (especially within the Sefardik community) who do not ...

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Reading books of Idolatry

Question: Shalom I am currently involved in kiruv on a college campus in Amreica and I often am asked to explain how Judaism is different than other religions. I have researched a bit about other religions and this is why they are coming to me for answers not just in Judaism, but how it differs from Christianity ect. I was wondering if my researching other religions is halachically okay if I am doing it sol ...

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Vegetarianism in Halacha

Question: Is there a halachic question to be a vegetarian and avoid meat entirely? Answer: It is permitted to be a vegetarian, though this is not the "accepted way" of previous generations. Although some authorities rule that one must consume meat on festivals (YomTov), there is no point in eating meat for somebody for whom the consumption of meat is a cause for suffering rather than for joy. Rather, a vege ...

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Hair Removal for Men

Question: Is there a problem of Lo Tilbash in hair removal for men Answer: Men may not remove hair from the body if the purpose is beauty and aesthetics alone. However, if the purpose of hair removal is on account of shame, or for some purpose of treatment or medication, it is permitted. Please see also the sources below.   מקורות: התורה אוסרת התייפות של גבר בדרך של נשים, כפי שדרשו חז"ל מדברי הכתוב "לא ...

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Sefer Torah on Airplane

Question: I recently travelled on a plane and next to me say a Jew who was holding a Sefer Torah [he is a Sofer who wrote the Torah for a community abroad]. His claim is that this is obligatory according to Halachah, and that the Torah cannot be placed in a suitcase. Is this true? Is there a difference between folios of the Sefer Torah and the Torah after it is stitched up? Answer: There is no obligation th ...

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Taking out Torah for Group

Question: As part of our Jewish studies program we take students who are non-observant on a trip to shul. I wished to know if as part of the trip we can take out the Sefer Torah in order to teach them about it. Answer: It is permitted to take out the Sefer Torah in order to show it to those who are not yet observant. This is not a denigration of the Torah, but on the contrary an honor of the Torah, in teach ...

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Hirhur Bdivri Torah

Question: I learn Daf Yomi on my own, listening to recorded shiurim. Much of the time I do not verbalize the words of the Gemara, and only listen to the shiur. I was told this does not qualify to make a siyum during the nine days. Answer: Learning from either a live or a recorded shiur certainly qualifies to make a siyum, and is a fulfillment of Mitzvas Talmud Torah. מקורות:     ידוע מה שנחלקו המחבר והגר"א ...

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Co-ed trips

Question: Sholom, I run coed Birthright trips to Israel each year for secular students. A portion from each trip eventually go on to yeshiva. However, during the trips students inevitably engage in inappropriate relationships with each other. I have no doubt that these trips are one of the most successful ways to get students into learning, however, I'm not sure how it can be mutur to lead students on mixed ...

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