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I had a question a while back about two contemporary Jewish figures that got closed for being about Jews not Judaism (Did R Aaron Feldman and R Lichtenstein ever meet before the latter's death?)

That's understandable, but I'm curious if someone can articulate this rule more generally. For example "did Rashi and the Rambam ever meet" has nothing explicitly to do with Judaism, but it seems funny to say that it is unrelated to Judaism. Similarly, "who was the Rebbe of R Aaron Kotler" eg seems like a biographical question, but it seems odd to say it doesn't regard Judaism when it could have a huge impact on the history of halacha and hashkafa in America. Does the site have an explicit policy regarding biographical questions related to figures unquestionably associated with Judaism, in aspects of their lives that relate to their involvement in Judaism?

Another way of asking the question might be: when are questions about the lives of notable figures in Jewish religious history also questions about the history of Judaism itself, and therefore on-topic? Does it matter if something would be obvious interest to all religious Jews by virtue of their interest in Judaism?

(Alternatively, my proposal would be to explicitly permit questions regarding figures who are notable within Judaism as regards parts of their lives or biographies that relate to their involvement with Judaism.)

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"who was the Rebbe of R Aaron Kotler" eg seems like a biographical question, but it seems odd to say it doesn't regard Judaism

It does regard Judaism. It asks about the person who taught Judaism to R. Aaron. ("Who was the third-grade math teacher of R. Aaron Kotler", on the other hand, is out of scope.)

"did Rashi and the Rambam ever meet" has nothing explicitly to do with Judaism, but it seems funny to say that it is unrelated to Judaism.

I don't see why. In fact, I'll say it myself: it per se is unrelated to Judaism. On the other hand, "Rambam (Hilchos Shofar 17:9) mentions that he had never seen a shofar made from a goat, but Rashi (Yirmiyahu 92:1) says he was in possession of one. Did Rambam and Rashi ever meet?" is about Judaism.

(The above remarks do, I think, reflect the site standard, but are made without my moderator hat on.)

I'm curious if someone can articulate this rule more generally

See the official answer to What topics are in- and out-of-scope on Mi Yodeya?. (For more info, see also Should biographies of rabbis be in scope?.)

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  • Hi, thanks for the clarification! It sounds like according to your first point that any question about a notable Jewish figure's involvement with Judaism is on-topic, is that a fair paraphrase? Would you differentiate between "who taught R Kotler Judaism?" and "did the Rambam and Rashi ever meet and discuss topics in Judiasm?" and if so why?
    – ak0000
    Sep 20, 2023 at 22:07
  • Another way of asking the question might be, "when are questions about the biographies of specific individuals also questions about the history of Judaism? [which are presumably on-topic.]"
    – ak0000
    Sep 20, 2023 at 22:38
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    I downvoted because I think @ak0000 is right. It DOES sound VERY funny to think that two famous Torah figures meeting up is unrelated to Judaism. With Avot 1:4 in mind, it's hard to imagine that an unlikely meeting between two Chachamim is an event irrelevant (and parev) to Torah and Judaism.
    – Rabbi Kaii
    Oct 4, 2023 at 0:02

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