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The Ramo (OH 260:1) writes that one should not cut their fingernails in order; rather he should cut them by skipping neighboring nails and cycling through all the fingers.

וכשנוטל צפרניו לא יטול אותן כסדרן. ויתחיל בשמאל, בקמיצה; ובימין, באצבע. וסימן לזה: דבהג"א, בשמאלו; ובדאג"ה, בימין (אבודרהם וספר המוסר).‏

He cites the Avudraham, who writes that there really isn't a reason for this at all, but then he continues and says that he heard in the name of French rabbis that there is a danger to poverty, memory, and the death of children.

ושמעתי בשם חכמי צרפת ופרבינצה שהנוטל צפרניו כסדר קשה לעניות ולשכחה וקבור בנים

1) What is the source of this perceived danger? Medical knowledge? Folk superstition? Or something more kabalistic? Are other dangers cited for this behavior?

2) Are there earlier recorded sources for the danger?

3) Are there contemporary poskim (within the last century) who deal with this halacha?

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I'm pretty sure that עניות in this context means poverty. not gonna edit without someone else's opinion backing me though. – Baal Shemot Tovot Apr 16 '12 at 19:29
possible duplicate of Rules for Cutting Nails – Gershon Gold Apr 16 '12 at 19:30
@Vram FWIW I agree with you. – Double AA Apr 16 '12 at 19:30
agree also............. – Gershon Gold Apr 16 '12 at 19:39
@GershonGold the answers there don't really address this question – Baal Shemot Tovot Apr 16 '12 at 19:52

I was told that its to distinguish from when a Tahara is done and the nails are cut in order.

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Aren't you just begging the question? – Double AA Apr 16 '12 at 20:38
What does that have to do with poverty and memory? – Baal Shemot Tovot Apr 19 '12 at 4:06
Were told by whom? – msh210 Apr 22 '12 at 6:16

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