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For the Non-Jew[edit]

Speaking as a person that is not Jewish but that is interested in learning more about the practical daily lives of Jews, I would be very interested in seeing a section with example laws from Halakha, that are important to the orthodox Jews, but that are not obvious to non-Jews and perhaps not followed by liberal Jews. Everyone gets the idea that we should not kill, steal or blaspheme. Those principles are common to almost all cultures, what is unusual about Jewish law when compared to the common law of most other societies? What laws did the more liberal parts of the Jewish People give up because of their day-to-day difficulties that the orthodox maintain as a sacrement? What are the reasons behind some of this more unusual laws?

Michalchik (talk) 22:51, 5 February 2009 (UTC)

What you are asking for would require several volumes, rather than one section of one article. Off the top of my head, I would suggest "To Be a Jew" by Donin, "Judaism and Christianity: the Differences" by Weiss-Rosmarian, and "The Jewish way in Death and Mourning" by Lamm. Further questions? Ask on my talk page. Phil_burnstein (talk) 02:04, 8 February 2009 (UTC)

Can someone please explain me how the pubishments of the ancient Torah are conducted nowadays?Example:If someone inflicts a rule of the Torah and the punishment is death,how the modern orthodox communities deal with that? —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 07:21, 17 February 2009 (UTC)

The Jewish community has the same civil status as any other religious community. The most drastic penalty we can enforce is voluntary ostracism. We leave punishment up to God to handle as s/he sees fit. Phil_burnstein (talk) 17:14, 13 March 2009 (UTC)

Opinions on merging Posek into Halakha[edit]

I do not think that the articles should be merged, similar to the way Ecclesiastical court and canon are now separate. Avi 20:26, 12 January 2006 (UTC)

If no one disagrees, I will remove the merge tag shortly. Avi 08:23, 15 January 2006 (UTC)

I agree with you that a merge is not a good idea. JFW | T@lk 13:47, 16 January 2006 (UTC)

Page Layout[edit]

Indentation at the first of paragraphs produces text in funny size and format. Gotta watch your paragraphing in Wikipedia. --MichaelTinkler

Definition of "Halakha"[edit]

Halacha really translates as "way to go." Proper usage is: e.g. The Halacha (way to go) is that one may not perform work on Shabbos. Ezra Wax

Customs aren't halakha, it should be distinguished. --Saxophonemn (talk) 17:59, 26 August 2008 (UTC)

I disagree. There are many methods for a custom to become halakha. A classic case is the second day of a holiday. When the calendar was codefied the second day of the holiday was no longer halakha. Once it became " minhag avoseinu b'yadeinu", it was reaccepted as halakha. It seems to me that anything potentially enforceable by a bet din is included in the word halakha. Phil Burnstein (talk) 09:26, 5 October 2008 (UTC)
Not really. It became halacha not because it was the custom, but because the same Sanhedrin that established that calendar which made the custom obsolete, then instructed the foreign Jews to "keep your ancestors' custom in your hands" (שלחו מתם...החזיקו מנהג אבותיכם בידיכם). This is not an example of custom becoming law, but of legislation by a body competent to create new halacha. A better example might be maariv, which was an optional custom, but gradually came to be seen as a binding vow, and therefore obligatory. -- Zsero (talk) 15:26, 5 October 2008 (UTC)
It is true that in those times that the Jewish courts had civil power, a custom had to be ratified by the court before it became enforceable. Now, anything that is identified as a Jewish custom no matter how wierd, eg. a "Jewish" way of tying shoelaces, can have ramifications in halacha. Phil_burnstein (talk) 17:58, 13 March 2009 (UTC)

I have a question about the spelling of Hebrew transliterations. If I were spelling the main entry, I would spell "halakhah" with the "hei" at the end. My understanding is that this is consistent with the "standard" used by (what used to be known as) the Hebrew Language Academy and by the editors of the Encyclopedia Judaica and with other conventions. So my basic question is whether or not there is a standard for the Wikipedia? Bbenbaruch (talk) 18:13, 26 February 2010 (UTC)

Hermeneutical Principles[edit]

I took out the passage about the thirteen attributes of G-d. It is totally irrelevant to halakha, and its place is in Jewish Ethics, or in the Jewish Services, or whatever. I assumed the thirteen midot to be an erroneous referrence to the thirteen midot by which halakha is derived, and subtituted my translation of the baraitha deRabbi Yishmael accordingly. Nahum

Thanks much! This is a great improvement. RK

Any thoughts on moving Halakha#The_thirteen_rules_by_which_Jewish_law_was_derived to a separate article on Rabbinic Hermeneutics?

Fintor | talk December 2 19:28 UTC

Sounds like a good idea, there's a lot more than the 13 rules. The explanation there is insufficient to understand the rules. --Jfr26 13:19, 17 January 2006 (UTC)

Responsa vs. ordinances[edit]

Ordinances, regulations and other "legislative" enactments promulgated by rabbis and communal bodies

I am concerned about this as a category of Halakha. As far as I know, Rabbis have never held the authority to enact law. They simply have the authority to interpret Torah law (written and oral) within the context of modern times. I believe that documents seen as ordinances (for example prohibition against marrying non-Jews or of holding several wives) are seen as authoritative only because of the learnedness of the authoring rabbis, its basis in law, and its logic within the context of modernity. These responsa are not considered are only considered ordinances because of their wide acceptance. They are still thought of as being derived from law given to Moses on Sinai. Any thoughts? --Spem 16:36, 4 August 2005 (UTC)

The reason the Amoraim had the name "Amora", is that it comes from the hebrew word "Hora'ah" which (in context) means "to make a ruling", IOW, to exact ordinances. This can be seen vividly with Rabbi Yochana Ben Zakkis ordinances after the destructiuon of the second temple. (Taking lulav and esrog every day even though it is outside the temple, etc..)
The end of the Amoraim did end the period of "Hora'ah" that is true, but one is still bound to listen to the leaders of the generation as the Bible states to listen to the contemporary "judge" (Deuteronomy 17:9-12). -- Chacham 19:35, 23 Sep 2005 (UTC)


Links "orthodox"/"conservative" in introduction should point to "orthodox judaism"/"conservative judaism" and not to "orthodoxy"/"conservatism". Is it possible to edit intro without editing the whole article? 09:33, 29 August 2005 (UTC)

Fixed. And no, you can't edit the intro without editing the whole article. Jayjg (talk) 17:06, 29 August 2005 (UTC)

It can be done, but it requires clicking the edit button for the first section, copying the URL to the browser and manually replacing section=1 with section=0. There is no edit button for the intro for aesthetic reasons, although some see this as an omission. I think it is a great idea: it may remind the user that the intro should be a reflection of the whole article's content, not just the first paragraph. JFW | T@lk 20:49, 29 August 2005 (UTC)


"The Tannaim are the sages of the Mishna (70–200)."

That would be more correctly stated as "The Tannaim are the sages that lived during the Mishnaic period." This would be inclusive of those not mentioned in the Mishna but mentioned in the Baraysa, Tosefta, or still oral bound tradition. And it would even include Rav and Shmuel who were sages of the Talmud but of which the Talmud says "Tana hu upalug." (He is a Tana and he argues the point.)

Shmuel is never referred to in Shas as a Tana, IIRC. However, if memory serves, there is a Rashba in Kiddushin that does say "Shmuel Tana U'Palig". IIRC, there was Rav, Rav Chiya, and at least one other. Avi 20:29, 12 January 2006 (UTC)

As for the era being from 70-200, that is incorrect. The Tannaim started after the Zugos (not mentioned in history here), the first being, IIRC, Shammai and Hillel, who lived well before the year 70.

"The Rishonim are the rabbis of the early medieval period (1250–1550) preceding the Shulkhan Arukh"

The author of the "Shulkhan Arukh" was born in 1490, so perhaps that should be the year? I prefer putting it at 1492 leaving the Expulsion from Spain being the era marker. Though this is a matter of debate, perhaps it should be noted. -- Chacham 19:26, 23 Sep 2005 (UTC)

That would make the mechaber an acharon, which he was not. JFW | T@lk 16:27, 26 September 2005 (UTC)
If gone by birth date, it puts him on the edge, preceding the expulsion by two years. Chacham 17:39, 26 Sep 2005 (UTC)
I believe that most authorities do consider the M'Chaber to be an ""Acharon. The Y'rayim predates the M'Chaber by a few decades and even he is not always considered a Rishon. Avi 20:34, 12 January 2006 (UTC)
Is the expulsion the cutoff point? JFW | T@lk 16:53, 27 September 2005 (UTC)
That's my person feeling on the matter. But, i know it is a matter of the debate. Some make the Arizal the first Acharon. What my main comment is, if that the page states that the Rishonuim were those "preceding the Shulkhan Arukh", i assume it means the author, making the end year of the Rishonim 1489, not 1550. -- Chacham 20:21, 27 Sep 2005 (UTC)
Mattis Kantor talks of a period between the Rishonim and the Acharonim, which he calls "Kov'im", whose main activity was not in exploring new areas but in consolidating the work of the Rishonim, and sorting it out. -- Zsero (talk) 15:34, 5 October 2008 (UTC)
The question as to what the difference is between a Rishon and an Acharon is the same as the difference between a Tanna and an Amora. If a Tanna disagrees with another Tanna, either opinion will be accepted. If an Amora disagrees with a Tanna, his opinion will not be accepted unless he has another Tanna to back him up. When we say "Rav Tanna hu upolig", we are saying that we don't care if Ravs opinion is contradicted by a Rishon this is not a problem per se, but if Shmuel says the same thing we would have a problem. This question of status does not only depend upon when a person is born; the Vilna Gaon is accepted by many as being a Rishon. The M'chaber is considered to be a Rishon because his work is authoratative. None of his commentators will say that he is flat out wrong. Phil Burnstein (talk) 23:43, 6 October 2008 (UTC)

Inaccurate statement[edit]

I've moved this sentence here for discussion and editing:

The first group holds the traditional view that halakha has always been and currently is binding, while the latter groups have declared it non-binding to various degrees.

"The first group" refers to Orthodoxy, while the Reform, Conservative, and Reconstructionist movements are "the latter groups." It's simply not true that Conservative Judaism views halakha as non-binding; rather, they believe that halakha is binding and evolving; AFAIK, the sentence accurately reflects Reform and Reconstructionist viewpoints. I'm not even sure that it's that accurate from the Orthodox POV (which I assume is the POV of the relevant editor), since Orthodox interpretations do, in fact, differ in their applicability (e.g. the takanna of Rabeinu Tam, the cherem of Rabeinu Gershon, etc.).Any ideas on a re-write?Benami 00:07, 1 January 2006 (UTC)


Although I am not sure what wording to use to replace the current wording, I believe the description of sin as it applies to Christians is innacurate. To some denominations, it may be true that sin cuts one off from God's love and grace. To me, and I believe to a vast majority of protestants, God's love and grace are both unconditional. God doesn't immediately hate someone the moment they sin. That is, in Christian theology, a ridiculous assumption. --Mister Magotchi 09:05, 19 September 2006 (UTC)

The term aveira can also mean "to miss the mark" not just transgretion. --User:Daniel Z. 22/20/06

Sin literally means to miss the mark, as in archery. It's just in Christian society we see the word in the skewed sense. --Saxophonemn (talk) 18:03, 26 August 2008 (UTC)

Levels of Sin?[edit]

However a state of sin does not condemn a person to damnation; only one or two truly grievous sins lead to anything approaching the Christian hot hell.

What does this sentence mean? Which one or two sins are meant? Ezra Wax 05:36, 25 Feb 2004 (UTC)

I'm not sure, but I think they may be: Watching pornography on the internet without a heter from a gadol ha'dor; drinking tap water from New York City without saying the bracha for arguably microscopic shellfish; and eating products from Hebrew National. ;-) Mark3 21:33, 16 January 2007 (UTC)

Check out the mishna in sanhedrin whic begins "All Jews have a share in the world to come, but these do not have a share...." Phil Burnstein (talk) 09:44, 5 October 2008 (UTC)

Other General Comments/Questions[edit]

HG: made some substantive changes, eg intro and halakhic process. Sorry that I did not log in when making some changes on 5-20-2005. (changes were recorded under IP

Controversy Regarding Racism in Jewish Law[edit]

It is an urgent topic, but somehow the wikipedia still lacks any serious discussion about this issue. I came across some site that even concludes that this Holy Book ("The Talmud") is the "Mein Kampf" of the "Chosen People".

well, it seems like an extreme accusation, so it is natural to ask, are there any controversial laws in the Talmud or it is much ado about nothing.

So, with your king permission, let me just quote and discuss some issues in halacha, that in my humble opinion are sort of relevant here.

  • "A Jew who rapes a gentile 3-year-old girl, because he raped her viciously, this girl is put to death, because she "brought" shame on the Jewish people, like a case a Jew coupling with an animal, the animal is to be executed as mentioned elsewhere. (Maimonides, chapter 12 of The Laws of Forbidden Relationships, halacha 8-9).[1]
this is a terrible misquote. The Jew is put to death! There is a law in Halakha that sex with a girl under 3 or a boy under 9 is not considered sex (while of course it is not allowed, it is not punishable by death). The Rambam is saying that just like this qulification does not apply to animals (namely sex with an animaly of any age is punishable), rape of a gentile is also always punishable. This is because the focus is on the man doing a shameful act not on the act of sex per se. Jon513 14:49, 17 March 2006 (UTC)
I insist, my quote is exact and right. Why not check it out for yourself, just open This holy book and see for yourself. Again, Maimonides orders, that the poor girl who just have been brutally raped is put to death, and again the jewish criminal is not.--Zadil 15:07, 17 March 2006 (UTC)
I did. Jon513 15:14, 17 March 2006 (UTC)
And you found my quote right. Am I right?Zadil 15:30, 17 March 2006 (UTC)
sorry, I look it up again, I made a mistake. The rambam is refering to her not him. But you did it quote wrong. The girl was not raped or seduced (which in the case of a minor is identical to rape) rather she initialized the contact with the Jewish man. The kesef mishna explains as such (the rambam is ambiguous and simply says a Jewish man who has sex with...) based on the rambam's sources (ie the talmud). Also the girl is not 3 year old, but at least 9 (the rambam has a confusing language and says 3 first then 9 afterwards). However quoting this obscure halakha does not make halakha a ‘’ "Mein Kampf" of the "Chosen People".’’ As (1) it was never practiced – there was never a time when Jews had sovereignty over non-jews (2) it never would be practiced as the jewish court only rarely killed peopled (3) the rambam is a minority opinion in this matter and the vast majority of commentator disagreed with him (4) Granted the rambam did not hold non-jews in high regards, but he felt the same way about jews (see moreh nevukhim part 3 chapter 51)Jon513 17:48, 18 March 2006 (UTC)
1) The Maimonides is very clear (as always) about her age (3 years old), and any speculation - about a girl in this age - that she seduced the ever innocent Jew is a matter of common sense, I hope you regret your statement.
2) Maimonides is never ambiguous, just read his introduction.
3) Your presentation is very disturbing. Maimonides never mentions that the girl is 9 year old. Maimonides couldn't be clearer, the girl is just 3 years old whereas the Jew is 9 years old at least, and this for the obvious reason you mentioned above (Otherwise, it could not be considered valid sex according to The Talmud).
4) Jews have in our age total sovereignty over Non-Jews in some places on our planet, and somehow people tend to get confused when they watch horribly on TV as Baruch Goldstein and many other Jewish Terrorists always very religious, slaughter innocent Palestinians and wonder, didn't Judaism teaches the complete opposite, that all human kind are equal before the most high God. well, I guess it depends on which God you're referring to.
5) It has nothing to do with Maimonides per se. on the contrary, The Talmud has far more worst quotations, and such is to be found in countless Jewish writings of many wise men of the Talmud, But there is a big difference between quoting an Ibn Ezra or a Maharam Schiff always very ambiguous - to say the least - on purpose, than quoting a clear passage from Mishneh Torah. Isn't it?Zadil 23:07, 18 March 2006 (UTC)
  • "Ones' ox that injured a pregnant maidservant and she miscarried, the owner of the ox is exempt from payment for her offspring, for this is similar to injuring a pregnant she-ass".(Maimonides in chapter 11 of The Laws of Monetary Damage, halacha 3-4).[2]
(This revered scholar even explains himself very well, here is an exact quotation:
"this is our law! And do not find it difficult, and don't be surprised by it, just as one is not surprised about the slaughter of animals even though they have done no harm, for, one in whom human characteristics are not complete is not truly a man, and his end purpose is only for 'man' (i.e. the Jew)". (Maimonides commentary on the Mishnah in Tractate Baba Kama, chapter 4, mishnah 3).[3]
  • A Jew who killed a Gentile with intent is not put to death by the Beit Din, as he would be had he killed a Jew. (Maimonides in The Laws of a Murderer and Saving Life, chapter 2, halacha 10-11).
  • A gentile who killed a Jew without intent, even though he did it unintentionally, he is put to death.(Maimonidesin chapter 5 of The Laws of a Murderer and Protecting Life, halacha 4)[4]

OK, I'm not in a position to judge if comparing gentiles again and again to animals is racism or not, and again if you're searching Google for "Talmud anti-gentile", you will find among others the following quotations: "All gentile children are animals", "Gentiles prefer sex with cows" or "The gentiles are outside the protection of the law and God has exposed their money to Israel".(references to the above and many many others can by found here [5] or on this excellent website [6].Another excellent website is available here [7].

anyway, let me conclude, with some holy thoughts of the most influential rabbi of our days rabbi Ovadia Yosef, who is well-known to compare the Palestinians to snakes (again, search the web for Ovadia Yosef, snakes), and the following is an exact quotation of one of his recent sermons at Adat Yazdim just recently:

"There was a tsunami and there are terrible natural disasters, because there isn’t enough Torah study… black people reside there (in New Orleans). Blacks will study the Torah? (God said) let’s bring a tsunami and drown them... Hundreds of thousands remained homeless. Tens of thousands have been killed. All of this because they have no God".[8].

Just kind and loving words!

One is just reminded what rabbi Abraham Isaac Kook wrote in "Orot" regarding the gentile compared to an animal, that the Gentile's soul is by far more close to that of an animal, as opposed to the "Jewish soul". (Orot, chapter 5, page 156). This theorem is rigorously proven (in "Orot") on purely logical arguments deduced naturally from the holiest book of the Jewish people i.e. The Talmud, or so is convinced this rabbi.

Such Holy thoughts coming straight from such wise men of the Talmud , making their holy thoughts known to the world in such clear terms!!! honestly, I'm so humble...I'm just sitting here citing again and again every holy word written and spoken by these great rabbis and dissolve into tears as i read the minds of these great rabbis who came closest to reading God's thoughts.--Zadil 14:31, 17 March 2006 (UTC)

Zadil, if there is controversy regarding these points, please find a reputable and preferably scholarly source who says there is, follow what s/he says very closely, and give full citations. Otherwise, you're engaged in original research. See WP:NOR, which is policy. SlimVirgin (talk) 18:35, 17 March 2006 (UTC)
Give me a break, it has nothing to do with original research, on the contrary, it's all based on reliable sources, which I took the trouble to cite them in the most complete manner, just look again.Zadil 18:49, 17 March 2006 (UTC)
You haven't cited a source for: "There is some controversy, regarding alleged racism in halacha, concerning Gentiles, some examples are as follows ..." You need a reputable source for this, and then you need to publish the source's argument, not your own. You could also try reading WP:NOR and WP:V, rather than presuming you know what they say already. SlimVirgin (talk) 18:52, 17 March 2006 (UTC)
It is exactly what I have done. I have given FULL account of this research which is this excellent website [9], and then I published EXACT QUOTATIONS from the sources without any comment, just letting the readers to make up their own minds, unlike you who just brutally destroyed my true contributions and add your own opinion.Zadil 19:16, 17 March 2006 (UTC)
Find a reputable, scholarly source (not a website) for THIS sentence: "There is some controversy, regarding alleged racism in halacha, concerning Gentiles, some examples are as follows ..." and then give the source's arguments and examples, not your own. SlimVirgin (talk) 19:19, 17 March 2006 (UTC)

Zadil, could you please find some reliable sources for this? Crank sites and neo-Nazi sites don't count. Jayjg (talk) 20:16, 17 March 2006 (UTC)

Well, I guess it depends on your eyesight and nothing else, putting laziness aside. And with all due respect, my quotations are FULL, with exact references, each one of them is verifiable on the web, in case you know some basic Hebrew, or else with a little trouble on this website [10], written by a well-known and respected Jewish activist Yaron Yadan, so instead and calling names or being lazy, just check my sources and point out your disagreements, if any.
Again, The FULL text of Maimonides is on the web, I have given the EXACT references, you can verify it yourself and indeed some users above have done so, where I've done nothing more than reporting the obvious.Zadil 20:49, 17 March 2006 (UTC)

Zadil, you have posted the same quotes, word for word, on Talk:Talmud. From your approach it is immediate obvious where your sympathies lie. What SlimVirgin and Jayjg have asked is: sources are sources. What your insertion needs is a reliable source that these quotes are indeed regarded as racist. Failing that, it is an expression of your personal opinion that they are racist. This is a key Wikipedia policy, and your contribution is unlikely to stand unless you can produce said source. JFW | T@lk 21:18, 18 March 2006 (UTC)

User:Zadil's anti-Halakha POV[edit]

I have placed the following at Talk:Talmud#User:Zadil must come clean and the same applies here to his open POV hostility to the subject of the article about Halakha: When User:Zadil states:

"Such Holy thoughts coming straight from such wise men of the Talmud , making their holy thoughts known to the world in such clear terms!!! honestly, I'm so humble...I'm just sitting here citing again and again every holy word written and spoken by these great rabbis and dissolve into tears as i read the minds of these great rabbis who came closest to reading God's thoughts" (sic)

one is forced to conclude that he is motivated by cynical, highly prejudiced views and that he has a complete anti-Talmudic (and anti-Halakha) POV bias and therefore any discussions with him are a total waste of time and any of his edits to this article should be reverted or deleted on sight until such time as he can abide by Wikipedia:Assume good faith towards both the Talmud (and Halakha) and the many editors here who know something about this subject, a number of whom are Wikipedia:Administrators. Otherwise this discussion is going nowhere fast. IZAK 07:07, 19 March 2006 (UTC)

I will briefly refer here to a comment I made on Talk:Talmud, namely Posting of shocking quotes considered trolling. The axe-griding by Zadil (or Yaron or whatever) is assuming deafening proportions, and none of this is furthering the quality of this Wikipedia article.
An academic study investigating the concept of race in halakha and legal differences between Jews and Non-Jews is quotable in this article. That is not the case who extend this into the realm of POV and call halakha "racist" on this basis. JFW | T@lk 21:13, 22 March 2006 (UTC)

Rebuttal to Zadil[edit]

Although this conversation seems to be over, I still would like to make a few points, so that people shouldn't think that Zadil's objections are unanswerable:

  • "A Jew who rapes a gentile 3-year-old girl, because he raped her viciously, this girl is put to death, because she "brought" shame on the Jewish people, like a case a Jew coupling with an animal, the animal is to be executed as mentioned elsewhere. (Maimonides, chapter 12 of The Laws of Forbidden Relationships, halacha 8-9).[11]

As Jon513 writes above, the Kesef Mishnah (who, one would think, likes gentiles no more than Maimonides himself) explains this as referring to a girl who seduced the man. The justification for putting such a girl to death might be partly to spare her from committing ever more egregious sins in the future (as in another specific case which comes to mind).

  • "Ones' ox that injured a pregnant maidservant and she miscarried, the owner of the ox is exempt from payment for her offspring, for this is similar to injuring a pregnant she-ass".(Maimonides in chapter 11 of The Laws of Monetary Damage, halacha 3-4).[12]

In the section you quoted, this is what Maimonides actually writes:
An ox which gored a woman, and her fetus was aborted, although [this ox] is an animal which gores frequently, the owner is exempt, since the Torah did not obligate payment for "the value of fetuses" except for a man (who caused the miscarriage --Eliyak). If it gored a maidservant, and her fetus was aborted, [the owner] pays "the value of fetuses," for this is like [a case where] [an ox] gored a pregnant donkey (i.e. since the maidservant is the owner's property, restitution must be made for the loss of property --Eliyak).

  • "this is our law! And do not find it difficult, and don't be surprised by it, just as one is not surprised about the slaughter of animals even though they have done no harm, for, one in whom human characteristics are not complete is not truly a man, and his end purpose is only for 'man' (i.e. the Jew)". (Maimonides commentary on the Mishnah in Tractate Baba Kama, chapter 4, mishnah 3).[13]

I do not have this text with me right now, but it seems rather obvious that Maimonides is talking about the fetus, who does not yet have the full characteristics a "man" = "person," and only will eventually be a man (I expect your version is a mistranslation- I will check this. After all, what relevance to the matter at hand is there in stating that the gentile's purpose is for the Jew?)

  • A Jew who killed a Gentile with intent is not put to death by the Beit Din, as he would be had he killed a Jew. (Maimonides in The Laws of a Murderer and Saving Life, chapter 2, halacha 10-11).

I take it you advocate the death penalty? Remember that there is more than one way punishing a wrongdoer. There are many cases in which the court is unable to carry out execution due to a technicality. In these cases, the punishment is left to God. In fact, Maimonides explicity writes in this instance that "he is not killed by the court." (Perhaps this Rabbi whose holiness makes you cry so much saw you coming a long ways away.)

  • A gentile who killed a Jew without intent, even though he did it unintentionally, he is put to death.(Maimonidesin chapter 5 of The Laws of a Murderer and Protecting Life, halacha 4)[14]

I have deleted this rebuttal item because it mentions a non-existent ritual that was hate speech. Collin237 07:04, 26 September 2007 (UTC)

  • OK, I'm not in a position to judge if comparing gentiles again and again to animals is racism or not, and again if you're searching Google for "Talmud anti-gentile", you will find among others the following quotations: "All gentile children are animals", "Gentiles prefer sex with cows" or "The gentiles are outside the protection of the law and God has exposed their money to Israel".(references to the above and many many others can by found here [5] or on this excellent website [6].Another excellent website is available here [7].

I am not going to refute every single quote from those sites. However, others already have gone through these common misquotes and out-of-context interpretations. Search Google for "talmud gentiles quotes" and you will find them. In short, statements like "God has exposed their money to Israel" are made in very specific legal instances. (In this case, when a Jew's ox gores a non-Jew's ox, he is exempt from payment.) The statement is not meant generally, or else the Talmud would not have made it in such a specific case!

Frankly, I feel no need to refute the quotes you bring from more modern rabbis, since several esteemed Rabbis I respect very much (whose names I will not drag into this) have already made statements against the attribution of natural (or man-perpetrated) disasters to specific spiritual causes.

Similarly, you make no reference whatsoever to the context in which Rabbi Kook made his statement that non-Jews' souls are closer to those of animals than Jewish souls (which doesn't really seem that offensive, frankly). --Eliyak T·C 04:24, 23 October 2006 (UTC)

Not that offensive? It is always offensive to compare a group of people to animals. Hiding it under layers of sophistry doesn't make it any less egregious. Collin238 18:09, 28 September 2007 (UTC) (formerly Collin237)


I suggest all you apologists for the halkhot on gentiles need to do some soulsearching to come closer to G-d. Read this thread where :at least two pious orthodox Jews call for the revocal of the hateful halakhot on gentiles.
Here you have a summation of rulings on gentiles with at least 9 sages confirming each ruling
Read the letters on page 112 and 117 where revered rabbi Jehiel Jacob Weinberg of blessed memory writes that he is CRYING over the hate :towards gentiles in Halakha. He write that he feels hopeless and ".... We must solemnly and formally declare that in our day
this does not apply. Meiri wrote as such, but the teachers and ramim whisper in the ears of the students that all this was written :because of the censor."
Here you have the respectable film maker and orthodox Jew Menachem Daum,5081,5140#msg-5140
The hate of gentiles in Halakha is a fact, that you should stop covering up. We need to post something about this NOW!
See my suggestion further down

Amalek 0123456789 (talk) 23:23, 31 May 2015 (UTC)

Halakha on gentiles solved[edit]

Discuss it now, it is too urgent to leave out any longer. This NEEDs to come out. See below.

Summary of halachic rulings on the attitude towards gentiles[edit]

  1. Killing gentiles and saving their lives [1][2][3][4][5][6][7][8]
  2. Robbing, cheating and returning lost items to a gentile[9]
  3. Business relations[10]
  4. The place of gentiles in Jewish political and judicial systems[11]
  5. Gentile culture[12]
  6. Emotional and social attitude towards gentiles[13]
  7. Psychological Profile of the Gentiles[14]
  8. Miscellaneous[15]
  9. Metaphysical opinions on the gentiles[16]

Amalek 0123456789 (talk) 20:29, 31 May 2015 (UTC)

David Duke[edit]

Editors might like to know this very article is cited by David Duke here. Sorry if the link doesn't work, but you can trace it at this address: 19:19, 5 October 2006 (UTC)

David Duke makes me sick, both because I was born and raised in Louisiana and because even having converted (with no Jewish connections in my family or past) and now being able to read and understand Hebrew, I realize how misunderstood and misrepresented Torah/halakha and Judaism are in the eyes of the world and in the eyes of so many millions of Jews themselves -- I'm so saddened that a noticable population group actually take his misrepresentation of halakhic Judaism seriously. On the mp3 file I heard him refer to the halakhicly ignorant website daat"emet"[sheqer] which contains a page on the Jewish view of Gentiles. I am familiar with this article. It contains both mistranslations as well as some acceptable translations that are then explained in a way that shows a total lack of knowledge on the topic at hand in the translation. Being that I was born and raised a non-Jew and my entire family is non-Jewish, I have fairly thoroughly looked into the issues presented on the website David Duke refers to concerning Gentiles in Jewish law/halakha -- and it is OBVIOUS to me that there is great misunderstanding expressed in that article... albeit that there are a few minority opinions --- without much basis in Talmudic texts, which are a little depressing. I don't want to keep ranting... It just makes me happy that there is an encyclopedia like Wikipedia that gives us the opportunity to present objective and analyized information to the public -- which anyone can correct if a mistake is found and one has evidence to back himself up with.. one last thing - I especially liked how David Duke reveals his familiarity with the issue of Jewish law so as to make such strong comments about it by pronouncing halakha as halaKa (he doesn't know the difference between khaf and kaf). Ha! lol, the idiot. Tov. All the best the readers, Omedyashar 23:29, 19 October 2006 (UTC)

Are you actually saying that you understand the Halakha better than the most respectable Rabbi David Bar-Chaim, head of Machon Shilo
the author of the Daatemet-article you are referring to? He is considered as an outstanding Torah scholar. I think that you are :dishonest and have an agenda of covering up the truth.
See Rabbi David Bar Chaim here
In case you are dismissing Rabbi David Bar-Chaim, you are also dismissing reverend Rabbi Jehiel Jacob Weinberg of blessed memory rauthor
of countless responsas. Read page 112 and 117 here
What about Dr. Duke? Are you really saying that he does not understand Jewish hate-texts towards gentiles. In this video he is citing :maran rabbi Ovadia Yosef shlita. I promise you that you cannot find 1 orthodox rabbi that dares to go against his rulings.

Amalek 0123456789 (talk) 22:24, 31 May 2015 (UTC)

Proposal to merge out Conservative Judaism section[edit]

Khevre, I think it would be wise to merge out the section dealing with halakha and the process specific Conservative Judaism into the Conservative Halakha article in accordance with Wikipedia:Summary style. This would be best for both articles. Do we think this would be positive or negative? --yonkeltron 23:43, 27 November 2006 (UTC)

Categories of Law[edit]

Laws revealed at Sinai refers to ALL written and oral commandments. Halacha L'Moshe MiSinai refers specifically to a very limited number of laws which cannot be derived by hermeneutical principles, yet which have a Sinaitic status. The definition given is incorrect. Ira Pollack

How Halakha is viewed today[edit]

The two long paragraphs about Orthodox and Conservative views on halakha are moved verbatim to the Orthodox Judaism and Conservative Judaism pages. The treatment of theology is more general than just halakha and too detailed about non-halakha matters for this page. I am replacing them with summaries that, I hope, are fair. EqualsMCSquared 06:20, 8 December 2006 (UTC)

Halacha or Halakha[edit]

I could not find this issue discussed here. In fact on this talk page Halacha is spelt more often with "ch". There is no definitive spelling of the Chet in English. Whilst sephardim tend to go for the "kh", the most oft spelling of Halacha is actually with the "ch". Google shows allot more results for Halacha [15] then for ir does Halakha [16]. Plz discuss.frummer 04:44, 15 December 2006 (UTC)

  • This issue has been discussed over the years all over the place, and the consensus has always been to leave this one as Halakha, and also Shulkhan Arukh, and a number of others. See and READ Kaph, Hebrew phonology, Hebrew alphabet (and the non-active Wikipedia:Naming conventions (Hebrew)). I would urge not to rock the boat, because in any case Halacha does redirect to Halakha, and many editors would feel that to adopt Halacha alone as the "official" name for this article would indicate a pro-Orthodox or pro-Haredi tilt entirely. This is a touchy subject. IZAK 08:56, 17 December 2006 (UTC)
Is there any valid reason for spellling halakha with a capital H throughout the article?--Redaktor 14:12, 9 May 2007 (UTC)
Not according to Wikipedia rules and guidelines that say to use italics for loanwords, not capitals. Debresser (talk)

-הלכה is not spelled with a chet. Since Ashkenazic pronunciation does not differ between chet and chaf, the standard "ch" is used. However, Sephardic pronunciation distinguishes the chet and chaf. The chaf is pronounced the same way as the ashkenaz, but the chet for sefaradim is closer to the sounds of alef and hei. It is similar to the "J" sound in Spanish, but not quite identical. Therefore, many academics (who recognize the ancient text as more authentic) and sefaradim translate chet as H and chaf as KH, thus avoiding CH altogether. Alternatively, some do not go as far and they use KH for chaf and CH for chet, in order to show that they are different in theory but not so far in practice... (talk) 07:03, 20 February 2012 (UTC)

Even being quite well versed in the intricacies of Hebrew I find your commentary quite vague, and fail to see your point. Debresser (talk) 07:17, 20 February 2012 (UTC)
Shulchan Aruch is no longer spelled with a k and halacha now redirects to this article. I think the above discussion that occurred about 6 years ago no longer falls on a sound foundation and that it's time to be bold. DRosenbach (Talk | Contribs) 17:15, 30 August 2012 (UTC)

Uprooting a mitzvah in the Torah[edit]

As far as I have been able to find, none of our articles discuss classical rabbinic thoughts on "uprooting" a mitzvah in the Torah. The Talmud states that in exceptional cases rabbis have the right to uproot Biblical prohibitions for a variety of reasons; it gives examples of how this was done in practice, e.g. Talmud Bavli, tractate Yevamot 89a-90b, and tractate Nazir 43a. Rashba discusses this topic (Chidushai Rashba, Nedarim, p.90a); books on halakhah discuss it, and so does the venerable Encyclopaedia Judaica. We should have some discussion of this, somewhere. Mark3

You refer to the phrase: "the Sages have the authority to uproot a thing from the Torah." In Talmudic and classical halakhic literature, it refers to the authority to prohibit some things that would otherwise be biblically sanctioned (shev v'al ta'aseh), not vice-versa. The example you provided in the article, regarding Eliyahu permissibly violating a mitzvah "b'kum va'aseh," is based on a different principle (eit la'asot). The davar she'b'mammon idea that you listed is not an example of overriding a mitzvah; the Torah gives a court special legal attributes.
The Tosafot on the case of a kohein merely indicates that where there it is logical (though not required) to interpret the scope of a mitzvat aseh that overrides a lo ta'aseh to include a case that would otherwise be prohibited by that lo ta'aseh, such an interpretation is legitimate. HKTTalk 00:41, 19 January 2007 (UTC)
I don't understand why you say "merely"! I also do not understand why you say that this is "legitimate"; I agree. Takkanot (by any name) are a part of halakha. There is a disussion on the issue written by Israeli Orthodox Rabbi Menachem Elon, in his Principles of Jewish Law. This has been translated into English, in both a one and four volume work. Much of his work is also in the Encyclopaedia Judaica. I'll look up his views tonight. Mark3 13:48, 19 January 2007 (UTC)
Jewish Law: History, Sources, Principles-Ha-Mishpat Ha-Ivri Menachem Elon. Jewish Publication Society, 1994.
Ha-Mishpat Ha-Ivri (Magnes Press, The Hebrew University, Jerusalem, 1973). I
I wrote "merely" because Tosfot was not saying that whenever it seems like there's a good reason to dispose of a biblical prohibition the rabbis are allowed to do so. That might have been inferred by your addition to the article. I wrote "legitimate" because, according to Tosafot, it was legitimate for the Sages to interpret the scope of the concept of meit mitzvah as they did. I wrote "legitimate" to contrast with what was seemingly implied in your addition to the article, which is illegitimate. Of course the halakha follows the determination of Chazal. HKTTalk 19:33, 19 January 2007 (UTC)

"All sacrifices will be annulled in the future." (Midrash Tanchuma Emor 19; Midrash Vayikra Rabbah 9:7) This is rabbinic speculation on a future annullment of many Torah mitzvot. Should such themes also be discussed somewhere? Mark3 21:39, 16 January 2007 (UTC)

This Midrash refers to a messianic or post-messianic era (le'atid lavo). HKTTalk 00:41, 19 January 2007 (UTC)
Yes, this midrash does refer to that era. But allow me to think out loud: Unless the messiah is above the law (e.g. Jesus) then the messiah is within the law (e.g. Jewish messiah) and thus should operate within the halakhic system. (Unless the halakhic process itself will no longer be normative?) I don't know what to make of this, and I don't think there is any clear consensus on this issue. Mark3
The Messiah isn't above the law, and he cannot personally annul the law. The applicability of many laws would simply expire (in a preordained manner) at some point during that era or after that era (depending on the talmudic opinion) for everyone. A familiar example of this idea is the dispute between the Sages and Ben Zoma, where the Sages stated that the word "kol" (in the verse relating to the law of remembering the exodus) indicates that even during the messianic era the obligation to remember the exodus will remain. HKTTalk 19:33, 19 January 2007 (UTC)

Several of the examples claimed to be examples of a Takkanah uprooting a mitzvah don't provide sources supporting a claim either that they are takkanot or that they uproot a mitzvah. For all we know, they may represent received oral traditions (rather than rabbinic enactments) which simply clarify the scope of the mitzvah (rather than override it). Best, --Shirahadasha 22:28, 18 January 2007 (UTC)

Above, I briefly addressed the examples. At best, most of this material should be moved to the section on Conservative halakha. HKTTalk 00:51, 19 January 2007 (UTC)
Your caution is reasonable; we need this section to be very reliable. I do think we should see how this subject is discussed by Elon. I'll look it Mark3

Elon says these are takkanot[edit]

Takkanot, Nature of Halakhic Legislation Elon

The basic principle underlying the legislative activities of the halakhic scholars also serves as the basis for the other legal sources of the halakhah, namely, that the Torah and its continuing creativity was entrusted to the authority of the halakhic scholars (Ramban, Deut. 17:11; see also Interpretation; Ma'aseh; Rabbinical Authority; Sevarah). ...

No discussion concerning the measure of the scholars' legislative authority, or the determination of rules for their exercise of the legislative function, is to be found until the end of tannaitic times. The sole explanation accompanying many takkanot is the factual background and circumstances leading to their enactment. Thus the defilement of oil by the Greeks is the background to the takkanah relating to the festival of Hanukkah (Shab. 21b). Natural disasters and war are the background to the takkanot of the agunot ("deserted wives"; Yev. 16:7). Abstention from giving credit explains the institution of the prosbul (Shev. 10:3–4). "For the sake of good order" (tikkun olam) or "for the sake of peace" (darkhei shalom) is the general explanation for many other takkanot (e.g., Git. 4:2–7; 5:3 and 8–9). When the halakhic scholars were persuaded of the need of the hour they enacted and decreed accordingly, in order that the Torah, its ways and precepts, should not become strange to the Jewish people.

Hefker Bet Din Hefker: This rule lays down that in matters of the civil law (dinei mamonot), and in every other matter—even in the field of ritual prohibitions and permissions—which is based on the ownership of property, the scholars have authority to enact even such takkanot as involve the uprooting of a law of the Torah by directing to "arise and do." The scholars deduced from the passage, "and that whosoever came not within three days, according to the counsel of the princes and the elders, all his substance should be forfeited, and himself separated from the congregation of the captivity" (Ezra 10:8), that the court has authority to divest the individual of his rights of ownership in property (TJ, Shek, 1:2, 46a; TJ Pe'ah 5:1, 8d). This authority was interpreted to extend not merely to a divestment of proprietary rights but also to the transfer of such rights to new owners of the same property—a conclusion based also on Joshua 19:51 (Yev. 89b; Nov. Rashba, Git, 36b). The principle was the basis for the enactment of very many takkanot in different fields of civil law—property, tort, succession, and wills in terms whereof the ownership of property due to a person according to the law of the Torah was shorn from the latter and vested in favor of another....

This rule is also the basis on which the amoraim explained the institution of the prosbul. The Torah enjoins the remission (shemittah) of monetary debts in the seventh year, forbids the lender from claiming his debt thereafter, and expressly adjures him not to refrain from lending money for fear that the debt will be wiped out in the seventh year (Deut. 15:1–6). Hillel the Elder, when he saw that the people transgressed the law by refraining from lending to each other, enacted that the lender should write out a prosbul, whereupon the debt would not be wiped out in the seventh year and the lender remain entitled to recover it even thereafter (Shev. 10:3–4).

In the Talmud it is asked how it was possible for Hillel to enact a takkanah contravening a law of the Torah by prescribing permission to do that which was prohibited. One of the given answers is that Hillel had authority to ordain thus by virtue of the rule of hefker bet din hefker, that is the scholars laid down that the money of the debt in the ownership of the borrower passes into the ownership of the lender so that the question of claiming a debt exposed to the Sabbatical year does not arise because the lender seeks to do no more than claim money of which he has already acquired ownership (Git. 36b, Rashi and Nov. Rashba thereto). —The preceding unsigned comment was added by Mark3 (talkcontribs) 14:03, 19 January 2007 (UTC).

Chatam Sofer notes takkanot are derived from Torah[edit]

I believe it was the Chasam Sofer who noted that all takkanot are derived from mandates indicated in the verses of the Torah. The creation of Chanukah, for example, is a rabbinic application of the biblical obligation to perform some type of hallel upon salvation of the people. Another example is prosbul, based on authority derived from exegesis and executed to save the biblical institution of extending loans. Additionally, there are times when the phrase "the Sages have the power to uproot..." is borrowed when referring to a concept different from that of uprooting in a case of shev v'al ta'aseh. In those other cases, such as that mentioned by Tosafot, the Sages do not actually have the power to contravene the Torah; they only have the power to follow the Torah in such a fashion that one mitzvah will then naturally supersede another. Regular "uprooting" decrees can't override biblical prohibitions. HKTTalk 19:33, 19 January 2007 (UTC)

The Chatam Sofer's views are not historical. He wrote that some 2000 years after the takkanot in question were enacted. It clearly is a (then) modern Orthodox take on the situation, written during an era when Orthodox Jews were denying nearly all all change in halakhah. They did this due to the dire emergency of Jews assimilating and/or becoming German Reform. The claims that these takkanot are so clearly predicted from verses in the Torah (or pre-ordained, as others claim) is generally not accepted by historians of Judaism, from Modern Orthodox to non-religious. That isn't to say that mainstream right-of-MO Orthodox shouldn't get equal representation. I am just saying that they shouldn't be the main framework. Mark3
I wrote that the Chasam Sofer (AFAIK) noted the basis for takkanot because he was simply one of the scholars who explicated something that is evident from earlier talmudic and halakhic literature. Takkanot were designed to further Torah based objectives. Tikkun olam, kavod habriyot, derech eretz, and darchei shalom (for example) weren't simply contrived from the ether or from secular values. Denying this is indeed historical revisionism. That is not to say that the Sages didn't themselves determine how best to apply mandates from verses and from Sinaitic traditions. HKTTalk 01:39, 23 January 2007 (UTC)
I don't know we can define "Torah objectives". If they are objectives apparent in the Torah then the sages wouldn't have needed to make new takkanot over the last 2,000 years. The same is true for the problematic phrase "Torah values". Mark3
You write "Tikkun olam, kavod habriyot, derech eretz, and darchei shalom (for example) weren't simply contrived from the ether or from secular values. Denying this is indeed historical revisionism." I agree with you; This is something we agree on. Mark3
As a terminology note, and this is not relevent to the article itself, I probably would not call the Chatam Sofer as a scholar, in the modern sense of the term. We use the term "scholar" or "historian" to describe someone who uses the tools of textual and historical criticism to discern how a document was formed, and what kind of influences other works had upon the author(s). While that kind of writing does exist within Orthodoxy, it is generally uncommon. I think the Chatam Sofer was writing in his capacity as a rabbi, using traditional rabbinic causistry to explain changes that would trouble the religious reader. Mark3
We use the term "scholar" or "historian" to describe someone who uses the tools of textual and historical criticism to discern how a document was formed, and what kind of influences other works had upon the author(s).
Only these modern tools and no others? Historically, when did textual and historical criticism begin? None of chazal were scholars or historians? Phil Burnstein (talk) 11:06, 5 October 2008 (UTC)

I suggest that this article should follow the general form as other Judaism articles, and all other Wikipedia articles. We discuss what happened and when, like Menachem Elon does. Although he is Orthodox, he writes about this in a strictly academic and historical fashion. We can then add Orthodox, Conservative and Reform takes on the issue, which as you know, may vary a lot. And the differences in their takes on the issue then affect their decisions on halakhah, which probably will be better referenced in other articles. Mark3 14:13, 22 January 2007 (UTC)

Do Torah values change? What is a Torah value?[edit]

Do Torah values change? What is a Torah value? I don't know how anyone can define "Torah objectives" or "Torah values." If they are objectives apparent in the Torah then the sages wouldn't have needed to make new takkanot over the last 2,000 years.

The entire question of how halakha and morality intersect is a great topic to study, but I have found, so far, almost nothing on the topic here on Wikipedia, except for specific Reform and Conservative cases. There are Orthodox discussions on the issue, but we wouldn't know it from what we have here. I think we should look at "Morality, Halakha and the Jewish Tradition" by Orthodox Rabbi Shubert Spero Yeshiva University Press, (published by Ktav) 1983. Mark3

HKT writes "Tikkun olam, kavod habriyot, derech eretz, and darchei shalom (for example) weren't simply contrived from the ether or from secular values." This is true, but the rabbis have always learned from changes in the non-Jewish world, and intergrates such changes into Judaism. Marc Shapiro writes:

it is clear to anyone who knows something about Jewish history, and human history, of the last millenium that with few exceptions, people can read anything they want into the Torah. Once you leave Orthodoxy the margins are even bigger ...
Let me give an example which will illustrate this clearly. Although it may surprise some people, the common medieval Jewish view of women is negative, almost exclusively so. Medieval commentaries are full of comments about how women were secondary in creation, that they were created to serve man, that they are not as important as men, that they cannot make any decisions without asking their husbands' permission etc. I know that modern Orthodox apologists won't talk about this but it is true nonetheless...
...why is it that ideas such as this make modern Orthodox, and even right wing Orthodox uncomfortable? How come such ideas are not generally found in contemporary commentaries which like to stress that men and women are both equal in God's eyes, with the same importance and level of kedushah, and that they just have different roles but that women are not subservient to men. Do we understand the Torah better than the medievals. Obviously not. What has happened is the same thing that occurred re. the sciences. When people read the Torah today they accept modern science so they don't take passages literally which depart from this science. In other words, their preconceived notions determine how they read the Torah....
... Those of us who have a more positive view of the place of women got this insight from modern society, accepted the truth of this insight, and then read it into the Torah, which of course must be in accord with all Truth. Alas, the medievals were stuck in a time which was not privy to such knowledge and were thus led to write what appears to most of us as untrue, and even cruel...
..This is exactly what has happened throughout history and is not merely natural but the only way history develops. When Rambam approached Torah he "knew" that certain insights of Aristotle were correct and therefore could not read the Torah in any other way but in accordance with Aristotle. To show how the Torah can be manipulated, he even said that he could, if he wished, interpret the book of Genesis in accordance with Aristotle's view that the world is eternal!...
...The Satmar rebbe hated Zionism and therefore all Torah became a proof text for his anti-Zionism. The point is that there is very little objective proofs for anything in the Torah (our sages speak of one who can prove the kashrut of something unkosher.) ...
...Therefore, it is foolish for anyone to seriously criticize Western values since much of what we believe has its origin in these values. It is true, that now that we accept these values we see that the Torah also teaches them and teaches them much better than anyone else. But the fact remains that we didn't discover these values in the Torah...
...Having said this,it is now easy to see why gedolim are so important. ...The idea of the gadol teaches that the sage, because of his great learning, can sift out the authentic from the

inauthentic. It is true, that even the gadol's views are conditioned by ideas formed outside of the gemara in a complex way, but we have faith that the gadol will be able to determine which ideas are consistent with Torah and which are not....

I really can't stress enough how important Mr. Shapiro's points are. Even more important, this is from a huge Orthodox discussion forum, yet only one' person could find disagreement with it! Given the contentious back-and-forth over even minor issues, it is clear that this sentiment is now accepted among many Orthodox Jews. Mark3 03:03, 24 January 2007 (UTC)

New material![edit]

The entire Jewish Encyclopedia 1906) is public domain! Many of its articles seem to be well-written. I'm keeping what we already have here, but using this new material to make a new Wikipedia article. For general useage of takkanaot in Jewish history see the article Takkanah. Mark3 16:06, 22 January 2007 (UTC)

Syllabic emphasis[edit]

Halakha with the accent on the HA or LA or what ? - readers do NOT know Hebrew. (Question from User:SimonATL moved from the article to the talk page)

The correct emphasis is on the third syllable (kha). However, the second syllable (la) is commonly emphasized by some people in casual speech. If you think that accented syllables should be indicated, perhaps you should bring this up at Wikipedia_talk:Naming_conventions_(Hebrew). HKTTalk 22:06, 17 January 2007 (UTC)
It depends on ones dialect of Hebrew. Biblical Hebrew, Sephardic Hebrew and modern Israeli Hebrew would accent the last syllable, but many Ashkenazi Hebrew dialects used by Jews of European origins would emphasize the second syllable. The Ashkenazi Hebrew article explains this difference. Best, --Shirahadasha 01:08, 18 January 2007 (UTC)
While some Ashkenazim (and even some non-Ashkenazi English speakers) emphasize the second syllable when speaking, Ashkenazim don't maintain that the second syllable of the word should technically receives the emphasis. The Ashkenazi Hebrew article mentions that the cultural habit to inaccurately emphasize Hebrew words goes back centuries. Unfortunately, this habit continues to cause various halakhic problems, such as during prayer. HKTTalk 04:14, 18 January 2007 (UTC)

Examples of the Thirteen Rules?[edit]

It might be nice to put in examples of how the "thirteen rules" are used. I could make some up, using abstract examples (e.g. "It is forbidden to do X on the Sabbath, kal v'chomer it is forbidden to do X on Yom Kippur"), but it'd probably be better to have real examples with citations. What do folks think? -- Narsil 18:50, 18 January 2007 (UTC)

The example is a poor one, since Shabbos is stricter than Yom Kipur. --Redaktor 19:01, 20 January 2007 (UTC)
Well, there y'go! That's why I'm asking other people to write them. ;-) (Digression: Are you sure about this? My understanding was that because Yom Kippur is called "Shabbat Shabbaton", it has all the Shabbat restrictions and then some--e.g. you can't light a fire from a fire, like Shabbat, and unlike the other holidays. Except of course that fasting is forbidden on Shabbat, and required on Yom Kippur. But, then, I'm not actually Jewish, just someone with a hobbyist's interest in the Talmud...)
My point, though, is that when you read something like "Every thing that was within the general rule and was excluded from the rule to teach us a rule, we don't consider this rule as pertaining only to this excluded case, but to the entire general case", it's kind of hard to know what to make of it. It'd help a lot to give a real-life example, a la "For example, [here is the relevant verse], [here is how the Talmud applies this rule to interpret the verse], [here is the resulting law]".
Is there perhaps a website that already does this? Something we could cannibalize? -- Narsil 00:42, 21 January 2007 (UTC)

Should this paragraph stay or go?[edit]

According to [specify], the above 13 laws were only the logic which the earliest generations of interpretors (whose opinions were recorded in the Mishna and Beraitos) deriving law straight from Torah used {{Fact}}. The later generations used the logic of the first generation of Sages, and so on (e.g., rabbis of Talmud studied the logic of decisions of the rabbis of Mishna and used it in their decisions; Gaonim relied on the logic of Ammoraim; Rishonim relied on Gaonim; Achronim relied on Rishonim, and modern decisions rely most of all on Achronim). So, although the 13 rules are the basis of interpretation, they are not the sole source of interpretation throughout the history of Judaism.
This text denies the existence of the Oral Law, a core tenet of traditional Judaism. Who said this? --Shirahadasha 05:56, 19 November 2006 (UTC)
Where does this text deny anything about the oral law? Maybe it just needs to be rephrased. (Going back to the 13 rules without relying moreso on precedent, is very problematic. One could go straight to the Torah itself, and bypass the last 2,000 years of our oral law.) Mark3

Rules were never changed, or were they?[edit]

To back up what I said elsewhere on this dicussion page, I offer this synsopsis from Aishdas.Org. I had mentioned that there were two schools of thought. One school, held only by Haredim today (and I do not claim all Haredim) says that halakha has never changed. Even when our books clearly say that changes occur, we deny that change occurs. Rabbi Dr. Meir Levin, on the faculty of Ohr-Someach Tannenbaum Educational Institutions, writes about this point of view:

Among the medieval authorities that took up this question, there emerged two schools of thought. One saw Talmudic evidence as demonstrating that Talmudic material was transmitted directly, teacher to student, from one head of academy to another, detail after detail. Nothing, no matter how trivial, was innovated, except those Rabbinic enactments that are clearly and unambiguously so identified. This view is expressed by R. Sherira Gaon in his Letter, R. Abraham ben Daud in the introduction to the Book of Tradition, R. Nissim Gaon in Mafteach L'Manuelei Hatalmud, and R Saadiah Gaon in his numerous anti-Karaite works. To quote a representative passage from Sefer Hakabbala:
"… teachings of the rabbis of blessed memory, namely, the sages of the Mishna and Talmud, have been transmitted; each great sage and righteous man having received them from a great sage and righteous man, each a head of academy and his school, as far back as the men of the Great Assembly, who received them from the prophets of blessed memory. Never did the sages of the Talmud, and certainly not of the Mishna teach anything, however trivial of their own invention, except for enactments which were made by universal agreement in order to make a hedge around the Torah "

However, this point of view makes it impossible to understand the Mishnah, the Talmud and the Midrash, much of which clearly describes sages making changes. Those who accept that changes occur include Modern Orthodox (at least all that I know of) and the Conservative Jews. Rabbi Dr. Meir Levin write that Maimonides holds this way:

Maimonides presents a different account of the history of religious law and its transmission in the Introduction to the Mishna and relevant passages of his other works. He claimed that in addition to received laws the Sages derived new interpretations with the authority that the Torah has granted them. In this they made use of the thirteen rules of interpretation, commonly accepted legal principles and received definitions of terms (Such as torts, damages, etrog, sukah and the like. ), and disputes and controversies only occur in regard to these newly derived laws. Rambam wrote in the Introduction to the Mishna : " and likewise each person, as he heard and according to his ability, wrote for himself some of the explanations of Torah and its laws and things that became innovated in every generation - laws that they did not learn by tradition but they derived with one of the 13 techniques (of interpretation) and to which the High Court assented. So it went at all time periods."

Here is the source: Mark3 18:15, 23 January 2007 (UTC) Midrash and Method: Principles and rules

Why put so much emphasis on this list of thriteen?[edit]

Why do we put so much emphasis on this list of thirteen? We don't actually use them in practice. They seem to be mentioned often only because they are in the liturgy. Mark3 18:15, 23 January 2007 (UTC)

You should be aware that Rabbi Yishmael’s method of categorizing these principles into thirteen rules is not the only way of dividing the pie. Hillel had seven rules; Rabbi Eliezer, the son of R. Yosi HaGlili (some say it was R. Yosi HaGlili himself) had thirty-two. (Among Rabbi Eliezer’s 32 rules are gematriya and notarikon – the numerical value of words and the letters of a word standing for other words, respectively.) But it’s Rabbi Yishmael’s 13 rules that we say each morning in davening.
The Thirteen Rules of Rabbi Yishmael by Rabbi Jack Abramowitz

Override the Torah or not?[edit]

Kohen being allowed to bury the dead[edit]

A Kohen may violate the Torah mitzvah ordering Kohanim not to bury the dead. [citation needed] The example given in Nazir 43a is that a Kohen may bury his wife, as her own father is dead and cannot bury her. Arnold Goodman writes: "In a famous tosfot, Rabbi Yitzhak explains that by Biblical law, she is not a Met mitzvah because she has other family. Yet since her relatives and family may have abandoned her, the Rabbis regarded her as a Met mitzvah and even though a Bet Din does not have the authority to uproot a Biblical prohibition, in an instance where there is a panim v'taam l'davr, it is universally accepted that there is authority to uproot."

Is this really a rabbinic Takkanah overriding the Torah mitzvah, or is it an oral tradition clarifying its scope? Sources? (Shirhadasha)
The Talmud's statement in Nazir presents this as a legitimate use of rabbis overriding of the Torah. It is the use of the oral traditions within halakhah to revoke/override; it is not a mere clarification. The Torah says it is forbidden for a Kohen to do X. But the sages say that a Kohen can do X. Mark3
We might want to add some "modern" (post 1500s) reinterpretations of this. Some Haredim argue that no verriding of the Torah ever takes place, even when sources explicitly say so. They hold that the oral law has always included, from the time of Moses the specific laws that "appear to be changes". These rules, they say, just never had been published or "revealed" before. No matter how it appears the halakhah does not change. It only appears that way to the ignorant, or those who "want to uproot the Torah". (I won't add this point of view into the article at the present as I have no sources at hand. I can say that I heard this POV many times before.) We should also discuss Modern Orthodox and non-Orthodox points of view. Any such discussion, however, might better be placed in the [[Takkanah] article? Mark3 17:26, 23 January 2007 (UTC)

Offering sacrifices outside of the Holy Temple[edit]

B'kum va'seh. When there is emergency measure that needs to be taken, one may violate a Torah mitzvah, in order to maintain the Jewish system as a whole. Arnold Goodman writes "The example cited is Elijah offering a sacrifice on Mt. Carmel in order to turn the people back from idolatry. (Yevamot)

How does this uproot a Torah mitzvah? What makes this a takkannah? Is this OR here?) (Shirhadasha)
This is a good question, as the paragraph does not make this clear. As I understand it, the Torah forbids offering sacrifices to God outside the Holy Temple in Jerusalem. Yet Elijah does so! This is not an example of a takkanah, but it is an example of an emergency uprooting of the Torah, to save the Torah. Mark3 17:29, 23 January 2007 (UTC)

Rebbes are ultimate decisors of Jewish law for their chasidim[edit]

Someone deleted:

Within certain Jewish communities, formal organized bodies do exist. Each division or dynasty of Hasidic Judaism has their own rebbe, who is their ultimate decisor of Jewish law. Within

No discussion for this deletion was made here. A comment was made in the edit line "del unfounded sentence about ultimate decisors" How is this an unfounded comment? It is the very first fact that one must know about the relationship between a Rebbe and his Chasidim. AFAIK this is such a commonly known fact that it had no need for a citation. Our rebbe article states matter-of-factly that "Chassidim use the term to denote someone that they perceive not only as the religious leader of their congregation, but as their spiritual adviser and mentor. A rebbe is someone whose views and instructions are accepted not only on issues of religious dogma and practice, but in all arenas of life, including political and social issues." No one there has challened this statement. I can't even think of any Chasidic group where the psak halacha of a Rebbe can be overridden. Mark3 17:34, 23 January 2007 (UTC)

I doubt whether you can find an authoritative source for this. Wikipedia is not the place to publish "commonly known facts". Anyway, I am challenging it. Many (maybe even most) rebbes of chasidim are not in the business of issuing halachic rulings. The group often has a rov, who issues rulings for the community in exactly the same way as any other rov of a community. Most larger chasidic groups have a rov in each town who issues rulings for that community. I shall have a look at the Rebbe article, but I understood the phrase 'spiritual adviser" in a more general sense.--Redaktor 14:22, 9 May 2007 (UTC)
The Rebbe article contains this text:

A rebbe is distinct from a 'rav' or 'rov' (a word usually translated as rabbi, who is a leader of an Orthodox Jewish community, either hasidic or non-hasidic) in that a significant function of a rav is to pasken halacha (decide points of Jewish law). It is not uncommon for a hasidic Jew to have a rebbe as a spiritual guide and to go to a (another) rav for a ruling on an issue of religious law.

--Redaktor 14:25, 9 May 2007 (UTC)

Why remove Orthodox takkanot?[edit]

  • the 1949 takkanah of Third Council of Moroccan dayanim which allowed non-maried daughters to inherit on a basis equal with their brothers. ( Agunah International Articles and halakhic material. D 2. Takkanat get Shekhib me-ra' )

The Encyc. Judaica discusses these Orthodox takkanot (this text is not GFDL. It is copyrighted!)

  • A certain change took place as from the 1930s, coinciding with the establishment of the organizational institutions of the Jewish settlement in Erez Israel, notably the Chief Rabbinate Council. The Jewish judicial authority in matters of family and succession introduced a period of legislative activity on the part of the halakhic institutions. The Rabbinical Supreme Court of Appeal had been established in 1921. When it was later contended before this body that the halakhah did not allow for lodging an appeal against the judgment of a court, it was held that "the matter of an appeal has been accepted as an enactment of the scholars, the validity whereof is as that of the law of our holy Torah" (OPD, 71).
  • In 1943 procedural takkanot were enacted, most of them based on the halakhah and "some of them enacted by the Chief Rabbinate Council for the purpose of ordering procedure in the courts of Erez Israel and for the public good" (introductory note to the takkanot). Thus payment of court fees was imposed in connection with litigation—contrary to the existing halakhah.
  • Another innovation introduced by takkanah was the engagement by the rabbinical courts to hold equal the rights of sons and daughters and those of husband and wife for purposes of intestate succession.
  • In 1944 the following three matters were enacted in different takkanot:
  • (A) the minimal amount of the ketubbah was increased "having regard to the standard of living in the yishuv and economic considerations"
  • (B) the levir refusing to grant the widow of his deceased brother halizah was rendered obliged to maintain her until releasing her
  • (C) the legal duty was imposed on the father to maintain his children until reaching the age of 15—not merely until the age of six years as prescribed by talmudic law.

Why remove takkanot made by Orthodox rabbis, and why say (in the edit lines) that they "are not really takkanot"? They certainly are takkanot, made by Orthodox Jewish rabbis. Maybe some are only for Sephardim or Mizrachim, but this is not an Ashkenazi-only article! There have been a number of Orthodox takkanot in the past three centuries, and we need to discuss them. In fact, we need to mention more of them, because some people are unaware of their very existence. Mark3 15:57, 23 January 2007 (UTC)

Entire section deleted without discussion?[edit]

This entire section was totally deleted from the article, without discussion. They were said to be "Conservative Jewish", but that is far from correct. Mark3

The Talmud states that in exceptional cases rabbis have the right to uproot Torah prohibitions for a variety of reasons. The Babylonian Talmud gives examples of how this was done in practice, e.g. tractate Yevamot 89a-90b, and Nazir 43a.
1. B'shev va'al ta'aseh. Rabbis may rule that a Torah mizzvah should not be performed, e.g. blowing the shofar on Shabbat, or blessing the lulav and etrog on Shabbat. These are not done out of fear that one may carry these items from home to a synagogue, thus inadvertantly violating a Sabbath melakha. (Yevamot)
2. B'kum va'seh. When there is emergency measure that needs to be taken, one may violate a Torah mitzvah, in order to maintain the Jewish system as a whole. Arnold Goodman writes "The example cited is Elijah offering a sacrifice on Mt. Carmel in order to turn the people back from idolatry. (Yevamot)
3. B'davar she'b'mammon. The principle of Hefker Bet Din Hefker, a rabbinic court has the power to declare an object, or money, ownerless. (Yevamot)

We may not correctly write that these are "Conservative Judaism" sources. B'shev va'al ta'aseh B'kum va'seh. B'davar she'b'mammon. These are all classical rabbinic concepts. How people use these concepts is a denominational issue, sure. Giving specifics about how the Orthodox use (or don't use) these precedents can be stated in an Orthodox Halakha article, and specifics about how the Conservative use (or don't use) these precedents can be stated in a the Conservative Halakha article. But the broad rabbinic basics from classical sources do belong here. We can briefly note about differences of opinion on what these sources mean and how they are interpreted. But let us not delete this entire section. Mark3

Please re-read my comments from Talk:Halakha#Uprooting_a_mitzvah_in_the_Torah. By the way, you are overwhelming a talk page that doesn't get much attention. Please try to get other knowledgeable editors who have contributed to this article in the past (e.g. Fintor, Avraham, Jfdwolff) involved to form consensus before making major additions. I don't really have time for prolonged discussion myself. HKTTalk 18:40, 23 January 2007 (UTC)
I do not mean to overwhelm, but there are so many points in this most basic of Jewish articles that need to be refined. Mark3 03:09, 24 January 2007 (UTC)

halakhic as a word[edit]

I sometimes come across the word "halakhic" being used in Wikipedia discussions and, because when I tried to look it up it happened to be spelt "halachik" I had trouble finding its meaning in Wikipedia (or Wiktionary). The word seems to be spelled with k and c interchangeably. Is it simply the adjective from Halakha? Does it have any special implication or does it mean, generally, "jewish"? Would a mention be useful? Thincat 15:45, 25 April 2007 (UTC)

halakhic is indeed connected to the word halakha. The alternate spellings are a result of the hebrew "כ" being pronounced like Kha which cannot be easily transliterated. Halachic can be translated as "of or relating Jewish Law". Jon513 14:15, 1 May 2007 (UTC)


Acc. to this article, Jewish courts had "far stricter standards of evidence than are acceptable in American courts". This wording is impossible. it seems that this should be either "far stricter standards of evidence than are REQUIRED in American courts", or "far LAXER standards of evidence than are acceptable in American courts". What is meant here?-- 08:31, 17 May 2007 (UTC)

A good point. Stricter than required is what is meant. --Shirahadasha 15:14, 17 May 2007 (UTC)

Merging Mosaic Law with this page[edit]

I'm not sure if this is the correct way to lay out the pages even though the two terms are synonymous. The Mosaic law is referred to quite differently in Christianity than it is in Judaism, surely having the Mosaic law page only relate to Jewish law is a little confusing if you're looking for information on its role in Christianity? Blankfrackis 00:54, 10 July 2007 (UTC)


Hey all, I don't see much by way of citations here. Does anyone have sources for this material? —Preceding unsigned comment added by Aviaed (talkcontribs) 21:39, 17 September 2007 (UTC)

The source list at the bottom of the page is a good start. Pretty much any of the article's (valid) statements are backed by the references and bibliography. The article is written in the conventional encyclopedia style, with limited footnotes. If you know the subject area and want to tag any questionable statements as needing a citation, please do so! Thanks. HG | Talk 22:16, 17 September 2007 (UTC)
"If you know the subject area and want to tag any questionable statements as needing a citation, please do so! Thanks." That's a nice way of avoiding the issue, make someone who knows nothing of the subject responsible for making it adhere to the same standards as every other article on Wikipedia. It is up to the article editors to place inline citations for any statement or material likely to be challenged or disputed not the reader. Awotter 16:14, 9 November 2007 (UTC)
Hi! As you noted yourself, Wikipedia standards only requires inline citations for material "likely to be challenged or disputed." Most Wikipedia material isn't -- actually only a relatively tiny percentage of Wikipedia's total text is factually disputed, although disputes on some articles are perenniel. I personally think inline citations are not a bad idea on even run-of-the-mill articles, and you're more than welcome to provide them. Best, --Shirahadasha 01:04, 11 November 2007 (UTC)
Addtional comment -- One reason the article has has been largely undisputed is that it currently presents only one point of view, the Orthodox Jewish point of view reflecting the tenets of the religion itself. Virtually everyone agrees on that. Conservative Halakha has its own article and is being treated as a distinct subject. The article currently does not provide secular historians' views of its origins and history. If it did, there would likely be significant disputes and a move to in-line sourcing. Best, --Shirahadasha 01:14, 11 November 2007 (UTC)


Isn't circumcision part of Halakha? If so, why isn't it mentioned here?

-- 12:00, 20 September 2007 (UTC)

Halakha is an extraordinarily thorough corpus of laws that apply to every aspect of a person's life. To discuss every individual aspect of halakha in detail would require an encyclopedia of its own, and is certainly beyond the scope of this article. --DLandTALK 18:15, 20 September 2007 (UTC)
In short, for the same reason the Law article doesn't mention every law. --Shirahadasha 18:38, 20 September 2007 (UTC)
The Jewish law and rituals category, at the bottom of the page, does include Jewish circumcision which is a redirect to Brit milah. Can we put the category listing itself as part of the See Also? Not sure if all readers now how to navigate otherwise. HG | Talk 18:47, 20 September 2007 (UTC)

'Land of Israel'[edit]

I changed 'the land of Israel' in the lead to simple Israel because I thought the current country of Israel was what was intended, and to me (perhaps wrongly and perhaps someone can correct me) #The Land of Israel' seems a more POV term applicable to the country Israel, as only Jews and Christians such as myself use as a religious reference, and not the same thing as the political modern state where many atheistic Jews live. Perhaps I was wrong in this interpreation, perhaps it dosent matter, but I felt it was less POV to replace 'the land of Israel' with Israel, however as this is an article about Judaism it could have been a legitimate reference to a part of ancient Jewish law I hadnt recognised.Anti-BS Squad (talk) 17:25, 2 January 2008 (UTC)

I agree that the change you made refers to the legal arrangements of the State of Israel, not the Land of Israel. As a note there is a distinction between the two. The halachic Land of Israel is the geographic entity to which certain religious laws, particularly agricultural laws such as the Shmita (Sabbatical year), apply. Most authorities consider the borders of this region to be different from the borders of the present state of Israel. It excludes parts of the present state, such as the Araba valley, and includes some parts of neighboring countries. The Shmita article mentions this. Best, --Shirahadasha (talk) 17:37, 2 January 2008 (UTC)

Note: I realize this distinction hasn't been appropriately explained in the Land of Israel article, will need to add a section on the halachic land of Israel with some content about it. Best, --Shirahadasha (talk) 17:39, 2 January 2008 (UTC)
I disagree. "Israel" is just as POV, implying as it does that the only real Jewish land is that conquered in '48, and excluding those who live in Yesha, who live inside the biblical land of Israel. The more inclusive term would thus be Land of Israel. Yehoishophot Oliver (talk) 14:32, 6 January 2008 (UTC)
The relevant sentence is this: "In Israel, though, certain areas of Israeli family and personal status law are governed by rabbinic interpretations of Halakha". The only territory in which this sentence is true is that governed by the secular-law State of Israel, and whether or not this territory is in the halachic Land of Israel. Best, --Shirahadasha (talk) 05:13, 8 January 2008 (UTC)
Hi. I believe I wrote (the original version of) the sentence quoted above. Yes, that particular sentence is only dealing with the status of halakhah under the jurisdiction of the State of Israel. The sentence does not concern the special halakhic rules that apply only to the "Land of Israel." But now that you all mention it, I think it would be good to describe the various main types of Jewish law -- logically, this could be done in the "Categories" section. The mitzvot that apply only to the "Land of Israel" are a small but not unimportant type, which can be mentioned here and then referred to the section (given immediately below, in Shira's comment). Thanks. HG | Talk 05:37, 8 January 2008 (UTC)
Note: The halachic land of Israel issue is covered in Land of Israel#Land of Israel in Jewish law Best, --Shirahadasha (talk) 05:19, 8 January 2008 (UTC)
I don't understand. The term "Israel" in modern parlance denotes the formally annexed land inside the so-called green line. According to the Israeli gov't itself areas outside that land are "terra nullius," and the Israeli law only applies there because of Israeli military administration there. So "Israel" does not refer to the areas outside the annexed borders; these areas are still part of the biblical Land of Israel. Conversely, some of the land that is annexed, such as Eilat, is not part of the biblical Land of Israel. It is simply incorrect to speak of the halacha applying to the land as binding upon the area of the state, which excludes the idea of biblical land. The language needs to be edited to reflect this. Yehoishophot Oliver (talk) 11:11, 8 January 2008 (UTC)

Solved this by changing "In Israel" to "Under contemporary Israeli law" in the sentence to reflect that we are concerned here with a source of law, not with a territory. I believe this should address this issue. Best, --Shirahadasha (talk) 12:10, 8 January 2008 (UTC)

Financial mess[edit]

I was sent a link [17] to this article from a mailing list I am on. Halacha is not an area of expertise for me, but wondered if some discussion of economic issues might not be out of place in the article. Malcolm Schosha (talk) 16:18, 13 October 2008 (UTC)

Thanks for the interesting news story from Time, but this article doesn't go into a lot of detail. I think the article on Religious views on business ethics#Jewish business ethics and the articles referenced there would be more appropriate. Phil Burnstein (talk) 00:48, 17 October 2008 (UTC)

Christian equivalent of Halakha[edit]

There is a related branch of law which is structurally close to canon law, but which only becomes applied when the Roman Catholic Church and/or Eastern Orthodox Church is selected as the State religion. This has not happened in a long time, although it was the de facto situation in certain South American States until the late 1980s. This branch of law is called Civil ecclesiastic law, which is roughly the Christian equivalent of Halakha and/or Sharia. There is a stub here on WP-FR [18] which might be translated into WP-EN if sufficient and correct sources on the topic can be found. ADM (talk) 08:46, 13 March 2009 (UTC)

Full Text resources[edit]

Hi All.

Is there any reason why we have not included a link to the Shulchan Aruch?

Is there any reason that we display "Hebrew Only" links? If not, perhaps we could / should link to:

Thanks. Fintor (talk) 12:41, 16 September 2009 (UTC)

If there is no further comment, I will add these to the links section. Thanks.
Fintor (talk) 07:21, 25 September 2009 (UTC)

Reasons for the emergence of Reform and Conservative movements and Halakha[edit]

No source was provided to supprot an assertion according which division of opinions among the Ashkenazim have led to the emergence of these movements. This, after one was asked about 10 monthes ago.

Moreover, the reasons are social and historical rather than theological. The reform movement was formed after the emancipation in Germany and its guiding line was to assimilate Jewish people in German society. No relation to any specific Halakhatic paradigm what so ever.--Gilisa (talk) 16:08, 29 September 2009 (UTC)

Agree. Debresser (talk) 18:20, 29 September 2009 (UTC)

Disagree. A major Halakhic paradigm that supports the emergence of the Reform and Conservative movements is "Thou shalt not add to the Torah." In response to the circumstances Jews found themselves in post-emancipation, Reform and Conservative revived an old argument used by Karaite Judaism--that Rabbinic law had become too stringent and had become too much of a departure from the Torah. Hence, the reforms made by these movements were more likely to challenge Rabbinic interpretation than the Talmud, and the Talmud than the Torah. --AFriedman (talk) 19:35, 25 December 2009 (UTC)

I don't think that can be considered a "halachic disagreement". That is a disagreement whether or not to accept halacha at all. Debresser (talk) 16:15, 26 December 2009 (UTC)

Well, first of all, we need to define the word "halakha." Halakha, as a term, is also used in reference to the way Karaites practice Judaism. Professional publications written by non-Karaites use the word "halakha" in reference to Karaism[19][20]. As a whole, I agree that the liberal movements were formed in response to social and historical pressures--but so were many other movements, such as Hassidism. However, issue by issue, many of the Reform and Conservative positions on specific questions of halakha resemble Karaite positions, in terms of the assumptions behind them and the conclusions reached. A general characteristic of Reform and Conservative is a greater willingness to challenge Rabbinic paradigms than Biblical ones. For example, some branches of Reform have abolished the Rabbinically mandated days of festivals (but still observe the Biblically mandated days), and Conservative Judaism maintains an essentially Karaite position on tzniut. If Karaite halakha is still considered halakha, then a disagreement about whether to accept the plain meaning of the Torah versus the Rabbinic law on a particular issue is still a halakhic disagreement. --AFriedman (talk) 06:31, 28 December 2009 (UTC)

Here are some sources about the debate re: whether holidays in the Diaspora should include the extra Rabbinically mandated day, which would support the unreferenced assertion mentioned above:

  • One Holy Day or Two? Sermon given in 1999, Temple Beth-El of San Antonio, Texas
  • Jacob Katz, "Orthodox Defense of the Second Day of the Festivals": "Abrogation of the second day of the festivals, however, could be proposed on the basis of tradition itself."
  • Hirsch Jakob Zimmels, "The Controversy about the Second Day of the Festival": The second day of festivals "became the subject of great controversy from the 8th century onwards." --AFriedman (talk) 06:58, 28 December 2009 (UTC)

Merging Grama (halacha) into this article[edit]

  • Against There are hundreds of subjects used in understanding any question in Jewish law. See section above concerning circumcision. Rebele | Talk The only way to win the game is to not play the game. 22:27, 8 February 2010 (UTC)
  • Oppose for that same reason. Grama (halacha) could be entered into the "Halakhic principles" section of Template:Halakha, but I doubt it deserves that much. Debresser (talk) 10:46, 9 February 2010 (UTC)
  • STRONGLY oppose The issue of Grama is one subsection of a section of a much broader Halakhic subject. It does not belong in the discussion of what is Halakha any more than the subject of parking tickets belongs in a discussion of the US Code.ShagMeElmo (talk) 19:55, 12 January 2011 (UTC)
One year, three against. Closed as keep. I'll remove the merge template. Debresser (talk) 06:46, 13 January 2011 (UTC)

Request for comment[edit]

HalakhaHalacha I do not see this discussion anywhere on this page, and would like to ask other editors for consensus. In my experience, the most common spelling in English parlance is Halacha, which gets 359,000 Google hits as opposed to Halakha, which gets 123,000 Google hits. Tellingly, the What Links Here list for this page reveals that the Halacha spelling accounts for a hefty amount of redirects. Thank you for your input. Yoninah (talk) 00:13, 15 April 2010 (UTC)

Anecdotal experience, I feel that the ch transliteration get more popular use (definitely in the Ashkenazi religious world) while the kh gets more play in the academic world and in the Sefardic religious world. Joe407 (talk) 16:52, 18 April 2010 (UTC)

You're right. So we'll list the kh under alternate spellings in the lead, just like the ch spelling is listed now. :) Yoninah (talk) 15:01, 19 April 2010 (UTC)
  • I am also used more to "Halacha". The usage of "kh" or an "h" with a dot below it, I saw first on Israeli roadsigns. I have never questioned the Wikipedia custom to render the letter "chaf" (or "khaf", as you please) as "kh", but now that the question has been raised, I admit I have always perceived it a fabrication, while "ch" is in my eyes the correct spelling. Since I am religious and Ashkenazi, Joe407 might argue that all of this is no wonder. Debresser (talk) 21:03, 18 April 2010 (UTC)
  • Support The spelling with c is more used and not anachronistic. I support the move. -- Avi (talk) 14:28, 19 April 2010 (UTC)
  • It is true IMHO that the ch spelling is more common. Nevertheless the kh spelling is more accurate and would be the spelling used in official Israeli translations and academic circles. ch in English us a soft sound as in church etc. whereas the sound in the word halakha is a hard guttural, a sound that is not found in English. Worse still in French ch is a soft sound like the English sh. kh also differentiates between the Hebrew kaf (actuall khaf) and the even harder het (which should be written in English as a h and again, not ch). Benqish (talk) 16:56, 6 November 2010 (UTC)

MfD nomination of User:DRosenbach/Doubt in Jewish law[edit]

User:DRosenbach/Doubt in Jewish law, a page you may have a substantial interest in, has been nominated for deletion. Your opinions on the matter are welcome; please participate in the discussion by adding your comments at Wikipedia:Miscellany for deletion/User:DRosenbach/Doubt in Jewish law and please be sure to sign your comments with four tildes (~~~~). You are free to edit the content of User:DRosenbach/Doubt in Jewish law during the discussion but should not remove the miscellany for deletion template from the top of the page; such a removal will not end the deletion discussion. Thank you. Uzma Gamal (talk) 13:44, 6 December 2010 (UTC)


Huge swaths of this 58,695 byte article are unsourced, with many of the passages up for debate. There are currently only five inline references. I'm curious how this could possibly meet the most liberal B-Class assessment. Due to this obvious problem, I am forced to downgrade this article to C-Class. Viriditas (talk) 07:30, 29 November 2011 (UTC)

Halakha should probably be spelled Halakhah (w/ the letter H at the end)[edit]

On the Wikipedia pages for Torah and Halakha, why is תורה transliterated as Torah (with the letter H at the end), but הלכה is transliterated as Halakha (without the letter H at the end)? They both end in the Hebrew letter Hei, it's not like one of them ends in Alef or something else that would not deserve a H. The English letter H, although it is derived from the Hebrew letter Chet, nowadays it is pronounced like Hei. Therefore, for consistency's sake, I propose that either Torah should become Tora, or Halakha should become Halakhah - you shouldn't be able to have it both ways! (talk) 01:12, 29 March 2012 (UTC)

Israel_Shahak#Alleged_telephone_incident debate[edit]

A couple people think there's too much philosophical debate in the article for a biographical incident relating to treating/using telephones to call for help for Gentiles on the Sabbath. Do you have any idea what article the debate might better fit into? Thanks. CarolMooreDC 00:59, 11 May 2012 (UTC)

To which "philosophical debate" are you referring? Have you reviewed the section's current contents? Jayjg (talk) 01:10, 11 May 2012 (UTC)
As wrote previously on the page whole philosophical discussion too long. (I.e., I thought footnote on boteach and footnote with text OK for Falk, just to compromise, but putting it in the text too much). In fact it seems to be of such interest to religious scholars I would think a longer paragraph somewhere more appropriate would be of interest to people interested in this article and/or topic. CarolMooreDC 17:19, 11 May 2012 (UTC)
Pardon me for my ignorance but finally figured out what's probably best article where this might go: Activities prohibited on Shabbat. So will go there and see what they think. Unwatching this page. CarolMooreDC 19:51, 12 May 2012 (UTC)

Carol shows her true colors. Should this nutjob be allowed to edit articles about Jews? — Preceding unsigned comment added by Aptunnel (talkcontribs) 01:08, 28 December 2012 (UTC)

Halacha vs. Halacka, revisited[edit]

The subject has been brought up before (above, in 2006) but it seems that the basis (as suggested) for keeping this as spelled with a 'k' no longer apply, at least in partial. Shulchan Aruch is now spelled with a 'ch' and not 'kh' and I don't think this has anything to do with pro-Orthodoxy; rather, it's merely a convention (they are all conventions) and the 'kh' is just awkward, while the 'ch' has been increasingly accepted over time. As Wikipedia is alive and dynamic, we are able to keep up with the times, unlike a printed version of an encyclopedia, and I propose that the change be made to 'ch'. The 'kh' has gone the way of the 'q' for the letter 'kuf' -- it's all just antiquated and awkward. DRosenbach (Talk | Contribs) 17:22, 30 August 2012 (UTC)

I agree. Zargulon (talk) 22:54, 30 August 2012 (UTC)
On the one hand I agree that "halacha" is more popular than "halakha". On the other hand, wp:hebrew prefers "kh". Yes, popular usage takes precedence, as indicated in wp:hebrew itself, just thought I'd point it out. Debresser (talk) 23:17, 30 August 2012 (UTC)

I've seen "halacha" used, not "halakha" and would support renaming to such. --Jethro B 04:21, 17 October 2012 (UTC)

Valid edits being deleted without reason[edit]

Is there a reason my seemingly valid requests for citation are being undon? For instance, it's stated that Moses handed down verbal commandments which were not recorded until after the second temple. This is very, very key to understanding halacha and an importat issue to an extreme level, yet does not contain citation on a wikipedia page this old? If there's no evidence of this, then it becomes a 'faith statement' like Orthodox jews BELIEVE that the law was given orally. But even that needs citation. I have to say I'm very,very oddly surprised to see this level of outright conjecture and 'lore' if you will, on a topic like Halacha which should be very black and white. I can help provide citation which garuntees proof of oral law before the temple, but not if it will get instantly deleted.

The below users comment is correct. If oral Halacha is used as a defining point of Orthodoxy, then how come there is no defined, or even general examples with citations of differences between the religion. This should be very basic and obvious. — Preceding unsigned comment added by Mikedavid00 (talkcontribs) 19:10, 25 January 2015 (UTC)

I replied to your previous questions on my talkpage. From the fact that you still post your comments at the top of this talkpage (before I moved them to their rightful place down here), I can see you haven't read them yet. I suggest you do so. Debresser (talk) 21:10, 25 January 2015 (UTC)