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7
votes
1answer
778 views

Why did the rich Gentile buy a pearl?

In the story of Yosef Mokir Shabbat, Yosef is a Jew who honors Shabbat above all, and ends up becoming very rich because of it. There was a very rich Gentile who was told that all of his wealth would ...
3
votes
1answer
78 views

source for a story: man who went to milk a lion

When I was a kid I heard the following story at least a few times in grade school from the school headmaster (probably around Rosh Hashanah time). It's based on a Jewish legend or midrash, and I'd ...
3
votes
0answers
61 views

Source for story about Chazon Ish and mischief

I once heard a story along the lines of the following: A man brought his 7 or 8 year old son to meet the Chazon Ish. He wanted to show him what a masmid his son was. The Chazon Ish, after asking ...
3
votes
1answer
95 views

Source for story of rabbi's claiming land said “you're both mine”

I heard the following story recently (though I paraphrase, and may have some details wrong): When Rabbi M'nachem Perr lived in Queens, New York, he had an Italian, non-Jewish neighbor who, during ...
4
votes
1answer
60 views

Is there a Jewish tradition of God reviving Israel at Sinai?

I once heard that according to "Jewish tradition", though it could be mere hearsay, that there was a story or legend that when the Israelites saw God's presence upon Mt. Sinai (or heard His audible ...
1
vote
1answer
92 views

Source for story about the Chasam Sofer, Rav Nosson Adler and an Amalekite?

I heard a story that goes roughly like this: after the death of his Rebbi, the Chasam Sofer decided to make Rav Nosson Adler his new Rebbi. He therefore undertook a long voyage to meet Rav Adler. On ...
2
votes
3answers
89 views

The full story behind “Kohen and Navi”?

In Eicha (and in Kinnot), there's mention of a "Cohen and Navi" that was killed. Traditionally, this is ascribed to a Navi Zecharia who lived in the time of Yoash who was killed in the Beit Hamikdash. ...
4
votes
3answers
120 views

Information about Arab Travelers in Aggadah

Pesachim 110b and Bava Metzia 86a mention ההוא טייעא‏ in the midst of aggadic stories. Professor Jastrow translates this word as a traveler, esp. an Arabian caravan merchant. Soncino Translates it ...
10
votes
2answers
485 views

Why was שמאי holding a ruler?

The Bavli, Shabas 31 amud 1, has two stories in which a gentile came to Shamay asking to be converted to Judaism, upon which Shamay "pushed him with the construction cubit in his hand". Rashi explains ...
3
votes
0answers
71 views

Which of the Napoleonic wars had no casualties?

The Chasam Sofer (droshos 8th Tamuz) writes about a war in the year 1809 with no causalities on our side. Can anyone tell us which war this was, and where these details may be recorded?
3
votes
1answer
52 views

Why did R' Yochanan ben Zakkai ask for multiple things?

In Gittin 56b there is a conversation between Vespasian and R' Yochanan ben Zakkai. Vespasian offers to grant a wish of R' Yochanan's אלא בעי מינאי מידי דאתן לך R' Yochanan proceeds to ask for 3 ...
1
vote
0answers
59 views

The Chazon Ish pronunciation

The Chazon Ish would tell the Shatz to be careful pronouncing בַּֽעַל גְּבוּרוֹת so it didn't come out as בַּֽל. What is a source that the Chazon Ish would do this?
5
votes
1answer
73 views

What did the Or Sameach do for Rabbi Yaakov Ruderman?

I have heard that Rabbi Yaakov Yitzchak Ruderman of Ner Israel quoted Rabbi Meir Simcha (the Or Sameach or Meshech Chochma) in almost every, or possibly even in every, Torah address to the school. I ...
1
vote
1answer
86 views

Source of Anecdote About Divorce

I was recently sent by a friend this article which contains the following quote: The temple altar, the Talmud says, weeps when a man divorces his wife. When a revered rabbi got divorced, his ...
0
votes
0answers
37 views

Who said we're not ready for the third Temple?

I think I heard a story once that someone asked a rav (maybe Rav Kook's grandson?) after Jerusalem was unified whether we should build a third Temple and he said that Klal Yisrael was not ready for it ...
2
votes
0answers
87 views

Let's play Name that Gadol - women wearing Tallis story

There is a story that I have heard with multiple names being used as the Rabbi in the story. It goes like this: A woman came to [insert name of Torah Sage here] and said that it would enhance her ...
5
votes
2answers
70 views

How do different scholars define “aggadah”?

It is common to conceive of Shas (Bavli and Yerushalmi) as being an admixture of halakha and aggadah, and I've no doubt that people have differed from one another on the precise delineations of each. ...
-3
votes
1answer
95 views

rav wosner and the kind kallah who got a brocho [closed]

a couple of years ago I read a very moving story of a Kalloh who insisted that she doesn't break her engagement in spite of the situation which had arisen. The story of the Kalloh moved Harav Shmuel ...
3
votes
1answer
278 views

Story of Rabbi Who Burned Out His Eyes

I once heard a story about a rabbi who was given a test by God, in which the Satan was sent in the form of a beautiful woman to entice him. He would not look at the Satan, and when pressed, he had one ...
1
vote
1answer
132 views

Haman servant of Mordichai: text of document

The gemara in Megillah 15 writes that Mordichai acquired Haman for a piece of bread. Rashi writes: וזה בא בפרוזבולי - מרדכי בא אליו בטענת עושר המן בא בטענת עוני שמכר המן את עצמו למרדכי קודם לכן ...
5
votes
2answers
172 views

Abigail's Thigh

The Talmud in Megillah 14b says that Abigail revealed her thigh, and that David followed her for 3 parasangs in his desire for her. In Tosafos it is asked how this righteous woman could have revealed ...
0
votes
1answer
102 views

Are there any Jewish miracles? [closed]

I, from an outside faith is studying Judaism. However, I do have a question - are there any Jewish miracles (exclusively Jewish, those that are particular to the faith)? For example, in Christianity ...
0
votes
2answers
64 views

Explanation of Eruvin 41b

(Eruvin 41b) "Someone who has a bad wife will not see Gehinom" What does this mean exactly?
4
votes
1answer
120 views

What is the earliest source of the story of Serach bas Asher and the harp?

This post indicates that the earliest source for the story of Serach bas Asher and the harp, wherein she notified Yakov that Yosef was still alive in a very subtle musical fashion, is a very late ...
7
votes
1answer
103 views

Who said many agados were to wake students?

Someone told me this morning that he had, years before, seen a commentary published in the back of a volume of g'mara, likely Maharsha or Maharam, say that many of the agados throughout shas were said ...
3
votes
1answer
78 views

Source for Osnat's Locket

I've heard that the reason Joseph knew he could marry Osnat was because he saw her wearing a locket / pendant with a Hebrew inscription on it so he knew she was a Hebrew. Has anyone heard this story ...
2
votes
1answer
78 views

Wanted: stories about shaatnez

My daughter has a school project about shaatnez. One of the requirements is to tell a few stories demonstrating how people were particularly careful about the laws of shaatnez, preferably with ...
5
votes
1answer
186 views

why was R. Eliezer ben Hyrcanus excommunicated?

Bava Metzia 59b says that at the end of the episode of the Oven of Akhnai, Rabbi Eliezer ben Hyrcanus was excommunicated. (Apparently there's a makhloket about whether this was nidui or cherem.) The ...
3
votes
0answers
65 views

What happened to the spoils from Egypt?

According to Pesachim 119a, Yosef collected all the wealth of the world during the famine and b'nei Yisrael took all of it out during the exodus. The g'mara then traces what happened to it from ...
3
votes
1answer
59 views

What was/is the leviathan as described in Tanach and Rabbinic literature?

Today the Hebrew word "leviathan" is translated as a whale. But the leviathan of the Tanach seems to be some kind of sea creature. See Job 41:1-34. Tehillim 74 there is an implication that G-d ...
5
votes
0answers
252 views

Where did the “a cat will always be a cat” story about the Rambam come from?

I've seen and heard a story about the Rambam told multiple times along the lines of this particularly concise retelling: There is a beautiful story of a disagreement that Maimonides had with a ...
5
votes
2answers
283 views

Is there any precedent to read the first 11 chapters of Genesis as metaphorical?

I believe this will be related to a similar question about a statement by Rabbi Sacks. Rabbi Jeremy Wieder said in a lecture titled Non Literal Interpretation of Scripture in Jewish Tradition (and ...
4
votes
2answers
135 views

Story about “simple Teshuva” via never telling a lie

I read a story over shabbas from Tales of Tzaddikim, Bamidbar pg 251-252, Published by Mesorah Publications, and it quoted it from Sefer Chassidim, Siman 6407. I opened up my Sefer Chassidim and the ...
1
vote
1answer
139 views

Source for story about R' Yishmael ben Elisha's mother?

This article tells us the following story about R' Yishmael ben Elisha and his mother: Rabbi Ishmael's mother was a very pious woman, and she worshipped her son. But one day she astonished the ...
7
votes
5answers
703 views

Rashi's Daughters wearing Tefillin

There is a commonly held "tradition" that Rashi's daughters wore Tefillin. One highly educated rabbi/professor has publicly stated that he's spent 35 years searching for a source but to no avail. ...
2
votes
1answer
108 views

Aggadah Of Great Bird Destroying Towns

I once heard about Jewish aggada telling about big bird throwing huge eggs made of steel which were destroying towns. Does anyone knows if there such aggada exists and what the source for it is?
5
votes
1answer
343 views

Source for story about The Rabbi and the prostitute

I learned a great Gemara about a rabbi who visited a famous prostitute. But before he consummated the deal, his tallitot slapped him on the face, reminding him of his faith. Where's the story? Any ...
3
votes
1answer
144 views

Why did the Baba Sali leave Yavneh?

I remember hearing that the Baba Sali very suddenly decided to move away from Yavneh. Does anyone know the story of what exactly occurred?
3
votes
2answers
143 views

Which 20th century rabbi said “G-d normally doesn't stop the ill-intentioned”?

I recall hearing the following story: There was a non-observant Israeli Jew who kept having visions of his deceased father telling him he should do more religiously. Finally he was about to turn on ...
6
votes
1answer
158 views

Source for Dubno Maggid's rebuke of the Vilna Gaon?

In a shiur I heard that the Vilna Gaon begged the Dubno Maggid to give him mussar (rebuke) after repeatedly declining the Maggid responded that It is not so difficult to be a Gaon, cloistered in ...
3
votes
1answer
70 views

Which Tana said the shem hafemorash and why?

I remember learning a gemarah (midrash?) that one of the tanaim (possibly R' Chanina [ben Dosa]) said the shem hameforash explicitly. Can you source this story and explain why the shem hameforash was ...
6
votes
2answers
134 views

“Hit him with a hammer until he pays attention!” Literally?

Abaye makes a rather harsh judgment on someone who is unattentive in prayer (Ber. 34a): Hit him with a hammer until he pays attention! Is this meant to be taken as Halachah? Or is it just meant to ...
3
votes
0answers
108 views

A Mashal of HaShem as a crazy king and Moshe as His weak-kneed friend?

The Gemara (Ber. 32a) quotes R' El'azar that when HaShem wanted to destroy Bnei Yisrael and Moshe intervened, it is comparable to a king who beat his son terribly, and the king's friend was at his ...
4
votes
1answer
244 views

Source for story of Rashi, the King, and the Four Horsemen

There is a story (you can read the details here) about Rashi telling a King that he will conquer Yerushalaim for 3 days and return with 3 horses and 3 riders. The King returned with 4, but as they ...
6
votes
1answer
210 views

Jews were on 49th level of Tumah. Says who?

There is a well known idea that when the Jews left Egypt during the Exodus, they were on the "forty-ninth level of tumah". Many explanations are given for this and it is expounded upon at length by a ...
4
votes
1answer
109 views

Midrash on children and the letter shapes?

I've heard about a midrash that discusses a day when little children took over the study hall and, by interpreting the shapes of the Hebrew letters, articulated many of Judaism's most powerful ...
5
votes
0answers
67 views

On What Subjects Does One Say Birchas HaTorah?

Must one say Birchas Hatorah before learning Aggadata in the Gemara? Biographies like Shem Hagedolim (a biography of various Rabbonim written by the Chida)? Artscroll biographies?
14
votes
1answer
471 views

Understanding “The Bruriah Incident”

Masecheth 'Avodah Zarah (18b) cryptically mentions "מעשה דברוריה" - "The Beruriah Incident" - as a reason R' Meir fled to Bavel. Rashi (ad loc) explains that R' Meir was teasing his wife (the noted ...
4
votes
1answer
132 views

Are coupons for Chometz - Chometz? II

Inspired by yydl's question. I read that in Russia where bread was unpurchasable without "bread ration cards", people would save them throughout Pesach and use them after Pesach. One such person ...
4
votes
2answers
199 views

Is Aggadah the same thing as Midrash?

(Inspired by a comment on this question.) What characteristics define Aggadah and Midrash, and how are they related? If the distinction is merely that Aggadah is a more general category of "legend" ...