We've had some questions (not just lately, but recent events prompt the question) that are of the form: "does Judaism permit some very specific implausible thing that I don't provide motivation or context for?" For example:

Is There Anything In The Talmud That Would Back Up A Jew Killing Another Jew That Converts To Another Religion By BeHeading Them


Why do people call/ consider the middle finger the cursing middle finger the cursing? Where did that concept originate from?

Questions like these (I've quoted the entire question in each case) feel random and unmotivated to me. There's no particular reason to believe that Judaism might address that particular question, and it's not asked in a more-general way. It's like asking: "does Judaism permit wearing sandals in January if it's warm out?" or "does Judaism permit eating fried eggs on a Tuesday afternoon?". Now in all of these cases, if somebody says something like "I saw this statement attributed to Rabbi so-and-so that talks about a day-specific egg prohibition; what's going on?" then the question makes sense -- somebody encountered a claim and is coming to the experts to check it. That's fine. Without that, though, it feels like these questions are not constructive and should be closed -- but I don't see a close reason that covers this.

Should we leave such questions open -- they're not close-worthy and that's what downvotes are for? Are they close-worthy but we have a gap in our close reasons? Are they in fact closable under our current reasons (which ones)?

I closed the first one here with a custom close reason. Someone else had voted to close as unclear; I didn't go with that because the question seemed clear, just irrelevant.

  • 1
    Related: meta.judaism.stackexchange.com/q/2160 My answer there stops short of recommending closure for unmotivated "Does Judaism include arbitrary X?" questionsm but I'm not sure that it ought to.
    – Isaac Moses Mod
    Commented Nov 27, 2015 at 19:47
  • 1
    See also meta.judaism.stackexchange.com/q/3760
    – msh210 Mod
    Commented Nov 29, 2015 at 2:35
  • Also there sometimes seem to be questions that have an invalid assumption or premise. Perhaps there should be a standard close reason of that type. Commented Dec 2, 2015 at 14:07
  • @sabbahillel sometimes questions with invalid premises are fine (and a good answer will counter the premises). But that applies (IMO) to questions where we can see how the person had that misimpression -- it's a common mistake, or it does seem logical but for this thing the OP doesn't know, etc. But where the reaction is closer to "why in the world would you think that???", closing is more appropriate. Commented Dec 2, 2015 at 17:06

2 Answers 2


I think if some random question shows up that doesn't seem to have any reasonable motivation (such as your 4 examples), it could be considered "unclear what you're asking". Part of writing a clear question includes explaining motivation and relevance.

If you're uncomfortable about using UWYA, an "off-topic" reason, either preset or custom, could apply also.

  • 1
    Oh, that makes sense -- "unclear" as in "unclear what this has to do with Judaism". That might be what the closer voter (whose choice I overrode) on the one question meant; sorry for not making that connection. Commented Nov 29, 2015 at 0:34

I think this is less a Mi Yodeya specific question and more a general Stack Exchange issue. I believe we can resolve it by quoting back Stack Exchange policy.

I don't believe these questions meet the scope of our site: "For those who base their lives on Jewish practices and laws, and anyone interested in learning more." These questions don't show the sophistication of a well-researched "expert" (by SA standards). Though here at Mi Yodeya, we also permit questions by those with honest, genuine, and serious questions on Judaism though they lack background knowledge, few of these questions meet that criterion either.

These questions are also often "too localized", another standard SA infraction. They don't provide useful information to a broad audience, and thus qualify to be closed under that reason, too.

  • "Too localized" hasn't been a close reason for years.
    – Scimonster
    Commented Dec 1, 2015 at 20:25
  • @Scimonster Why not? I think if the OP did no research, at least he should be relevant.
    – LN6595
    Commented Dec 3, 2015 at 19:24
  • The devs changed the list of close reasons at some point a few years ago. Check Meta Stack Exchange.
    – Scimonster
    Commented Dec 3, 2015 at 20:00
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    @Scimonster I hear. I think our site should be an exception. Since MY is unique in accepting really basic questions, not expert ones, those basic ones should at least be relevant.
    – LN6595
    Commented Dec 4, 2015 at 16:26
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    Or maybe the solution is just to downvote all questions of this nature.
    – LN6595
    Commented Dec 4, 2015 at 16:26

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