As an action step to Linking Mi Yodeya better with other great Judaism sites/blogs R Natan Slifkin, author of Rationalist Judaism has agreed to publish a guest post from Mi Yodeya. I told him we would pick a relevant selection of questions for his readership (and sent him a sample).

Is there somewhere a MY guest post that worked well elsewhere? Ideally it would have an introduction on what is MiYodeya (e.g., the largest collaborative experiment to build a high-quality database of Jewish Q&As), maybe some statistics (number of authors, viewers, questions) and sample questions.

If not, is there a volunteer to draft something? I'm hoping this can be leveraged across multiple blogs.

Worst case I will do it but I'm still a newbie.

Here is what I sent him

If I may I have a question related to your blog and whether you would be open to publish a guest post from My Yodeya (MY). MY is a Jewish question and answer site with which I am involved, part of the Stack Exchange family of more than 150 Q&A websites. I have found it to be a wonderful place to learn and share once knowledge of Judaism with a community of learned individuals and beginners who want to learn. If you are curious see

the welcome tour which explains the overall concept in two minutes

To give you a sense of the type of questions being asked here are some examples (with a slight bias towards some questions I answered)

Implications of Samoa skipping a Friday
Reason behind pinky during hagba
Must you inform someone if you know you could save them from losing money?
Benefiting from work done by a non-observant Jew after Shabbat
Is sky-diving forbidden because of the risk to one's life?
Scrutinising the legitimacy/cause of a charity collector

I was wondering if there would be a way that some of this content might also be interesting to readers of your blog, and if we could find a way to share some of the best Q&As with your readers either once or on a periodic basis. One could even pick Q&A with a more scientific/rationalist bent.

On the other side, you might feel this has nothing to do with Rationalist Judaism or you’d prefer not to be associated with MY. This would also be perfectly fine.

I look forward to your thoughts. Warm regards, -m


3 Answers 3


Yeyasher Kochacha!

I don't think we've ever produced a "guest post" on someone else's blog, but people, including active Yodeyans have certainly blogged about Mi Yodeya material before. Perhaps some of those posts could serve as partial examples.

One place to find rhetoric that could be used in an Intro is the Intro sections of our publications.

For ideas of posts, or types of posts, that would be worth highlighting, see Illustrative Mi Yodeya posts. I agree that one of the criteria ought to be fit with the blog we're writing for, but the point would be to show what we're best at.

Here are some individual posts that include high-quality content and that could fit well in the context of the Rationalist Judaism blog (additions welcome):

Secondarily, around Purim time, writing up guest posts based on some of our best content from the past could be a fun way to spread the word about Mi Yodeya. This could be particularly well-suited for a special, seasonal, contribution to a general-Judaism-interest blog (e.g. Torah Musings) or even print publication.


Implementation notes:

This is, as the question requests, a model guest post. It could potentially fit on many different blogs frequented by people who are well-versed in Judaism. The format used here can be applied to other Q&As, too.

I chose the question for its seasonality at the moment (Adar I). It's not a slam-dunk fit for Rationalist Judaism's usual subject matter, in particular, but I don't think it'd be completely out-of-place there.

In the course of adapting the Q&A to be a blog post, I improved the question's title, fixed some typos, and added source links to a couple of the answers. I made all of the same improvements to the original post, as well. I recommend this practice for any posts that we adapt.

This guest post is brought to you by Mi Yodeya, the online Jewish Q&A community on the Stack Exchange network. This community of hundreds of active participants (and hundreds more of occasional ones) has asked and answered more than 15,000 Judaism questions over the past six years.

The community at Mi Yodeya maintains an archive of these Q&As on all kinds of Judaism topics. Here's one that fits the season and demonstrates the power of collecting answers from different people, over time. It's been adapted for publication here by the Mi Yodeya community and shared with the authors' permission under the CC BY-SA 3.0 license.

Why do we use Adar, specifically, for the Jewish leap year?

Gershon Gold asked: Why when we add an additional month to the year do we only add it in Adar? Why not have a second Cheshvon or a second Shevat, etc.?

Alex answered: We add the additional month in order to keep Pesach in the spring, as the Torah mandates (Deut. 16:1). So it is added as close to Nissan as possible, in order to make explicit the link between the extra month and its purpose.

Tosafos (Sanhedrin 11b, s.v. אין מעברין) says that since we have verses in Tanach (Esther 3:7 passim) that call Adar the "twelfth month," then necessarily no other month can be inserted before it, otherwise some years it would be the thirteenth.

The Mechilta (Bo 2) cites a different reason: the year should be similar to the month in the way it's extended - in both cases, the extension (a day or a month) comes at the end.

yydl suggested: Adar is the last month in the year. So from a simple technical standpoint it's the easiest to add a month then. Especially if you want all the other months' numbers to remain like they should be (and more importantly - compatible with what the Torah calls them).

YDK pointed out another technical issue in Sanhedrin 11b: Before the setting of the calendar, those in charge of being meaber would base their decision on two of three factors which were related to the ripeness of the produce during adar (is the barley ripe enough to call Nissan "Aviv", will the fruits be ripe for Shavuos), and could not be determined earlier.

msh210 found: The pamphlet "הדף היומי בהלכה", published by Dirshu, issue 4, Ⅰ Adar 5774, cites K'dushas Levi (Ki Sisa) and S'fas Emes (likutim for Adar) as saying that the month of Adar (whose zodiac sign is fish) corresponds to Yosef (which, like fish, is unaffected by ayin hara) — see the Tur (OC 417), who says each month corresponds to a tribe. Thus, it had to be the month to split into two, since Yosef is the tribe that split into two, M'nashe and Efrayim.

Do you know of any other answers? You're welcome to go back to the original post and add them! You might also be interested in checking out some of our 20+ other Q&As about Adar, including other technical leap-year status questions, simcha questions, and a couple of questions about lesser-known special days in Adar.

If you'd like to see more guest posts based on Mi Yodeya Q&A, please let us know in the comments.

  • 2
    Many thanks. This is great. I have submitted it to R Slifkin and will post his feedback
    – mbloch
    Commented Feb 11, 2016 at 4:49
  • @mbloch Great! Thanks. He's welcome to edit it as he sees fit, as long as he doesn't remove the copyright notice or the links to the original question and to the authors' profiles. If he'd prefer to start with something more about animals or rationalist hashkafa, we can certainly do that instead.
    – Isaac Moses Mod
    Commented Feb 11, 2016 at 15:13
  • @mbloch ... in particular, it'd be a more ambitious editing job and a longer resulting post, but this question would probably be an ideal hashkafa one to do, if he'd prefer.
    – Isaac Moses Mod
    Commented Feb 11, 2016 at 20:59
  • Perhaps suggest more tags besides Adar, particularly ones which RJ readers may enjoy (animals, science, halacha). I suspect btw that putting two MY posts in one guest post wouldn't be unduly long
    – Double AA Mod
    Commented Feb 12, 2016 at 3:52
  • 1
    @DoubleAA, the one I did is short, but the Rambam ones I linked in my other answer here are much longer. It sounds like there's potential for multiple guest posts, in which case the first one doesn't need to do all the work.
    – Isaac Moses Mod
    Commented Feb 12, 2016 at 4:46
  • @DoubleAA / Isaac Moses, the first post I sent was now published by R Slifkin, we (I really mean you more experienced MY guys :-) should decide what should be the second - and we can offer again in a few weeks rationalistjudaism.com/2016/02/guest-post-mi-yodeya.html
    – mbloch
    Commented Feb 16, 2016 at 15:14

Here is a proposed guest post for friendly blogs ready to publish some Mi Yodeya content. Would love to get edits from the community (please edit directly, no need to comment) and will then submit to R Natan Slifkin who agreed to publish it. Feel free to change the question mix as well - readers of R Slifkin will be interested in rationalist perspectives on Judaism as well as animal related questions.

This is a guest post from a regular reader who thought this would be attractive to other Rationalist Judaism readers.

Are you looking for experience-based advice for focusing and slowing down prayers?

Ever wondered if tyrannosauridae meat would be kosher?

Looking for Seder advice when with people who aren't interested?

These questions and their answers (follow the links above) all come from Mi Yodeya, the online Jewish Q&A community on the Stack Exchange network. This community of hundreds of active participants (and hundreds more of occasional ones) has asked and answered close to 18,000 Jewish questions over the last years.

One person thinks of an interesting question and puts it out there. A couple of others think of sources that help address that question and share those. Still others vote the best stuff up and the worst down. The result is a highly intriguing mix with something for everyone.

See other examples of cool questions:

Implications of Samoa skipping a Friday

Reason behind pinky during hagba

Must you inform someone if you know you could save them from losing money?

Benefiting from work done by a non-observant Jew after Shabbat

Is sky-diving forbidden because of the risk to one's life?

So check it out here and come learn with us!

  • If you're looking for people to edit and improve this list, maybe make it a community wiki post so that people with <2k rep can also edit.
    – Scimonster
    Commented Feb 2, 2016 at 8:43
  • @Scimonster thanks - I have done this - all can go for it now :->
    – mbloch
    Commented Feb 2, 2016 at 8:44
  • 2
    I thought the intention was to provide a guest post based on content from Mi Yodeya, with some intro material to introduce the site. I think such content would be more valuable and possibly more click-inducing than (just) a set of links.
    – Isaac Moses Mod
    Commented Feb 2, 2016 at 14:06
  • @IsaacMoses that wasn't my idea but I will do whatever the community here feels is most productive. In the case of a real guest post, I wouldn't be the right person to write it. In any case R Slifkin agreed to a series of occasional posts so we can test both ideas
    – mbloch
    Commented Feb 2, 2016 at 14:15
  • @mbloch, could you share his response? What I was thinking was more of an editing job than a writing job - take a question and its best answers, copyedit them (and possibly any super-quality comments) for English quality and possibly length, then tack on a short intro. Basically what we did for our publications, but for only one post. I added some suggestions of particular posts to hit in my answer.
    – Isaac Moses Mod
    Commented Feb 2, 2016 at 14:29
  • 3
    He responded "Regarding MY, I would be glad to publish the occasional guest post, I think that it would be refreshing and stimulating for my readers."
    – mbloch
    Commented Feb 2, 2016 at 14:30
  • 1
    I suspect that blog readers are more likely to engage with an in-depth post on one topic (that is, one question and its answers), but such a post could end with links to a few other questions that readers might find interesting -- sort of a "like this? try these!" approach. Commented Feb 2, 2016 at 15:17
  • 2
    @MonicaCellio If we have a question (with its answers) that links naturally to many others, perhaps a post representing that one and linking to the others, with an intro explaining the site and the blog post's linking model.
    – msh210 Mod
    Commented Feb 2, 2016 at 15:19
  • This was now published on Rationalist Judaism, see here rationalistjudaism.com/2016/02/guest-post-mi-yodeya.html - R Slifkin invited us to do a second post in a few months if we want
    – mbloch
    Commented Feb 16, 2016 at 15:03

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .