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9
votes
4answers
917 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
121 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
447 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
166 views

Why did the Baba Sali leave Yavneh? [closed]

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
156 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
196 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
75 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
139 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
115 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
327 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 ...
7
votes
1answer
299 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
126 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
78 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?
16
votes
2answers
713 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
140 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
275 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" ...
11
votes
2answers
229 views

Are these two urban legends about perceptions of God's help for Jews true?

The following story is told as an urban legend: I don't know if the following story is true, but I'll let you decide. Kenya's star soccer player used to offer a prayer for victory before every ...
5
votes
1answer
81 views

Chafez Chayim checked copies of (which) books?

I've heard that the Chafetz Chayim inspected each page of each printed copy of the Mishna B'rura to be sure that it was printed correctly (with no large ink splotches or the like). Is there a ...
2
votes
0answers
75 views

Was Bar Kochva disemboweled?

The gemarah in Gittin, 57a, details a story of "bar d'roma" who performs miraculous feats in defending the Jews before meeting his demise by being disemboweled by a snake (similar to the end of Bar ...
8
votes
1answer
307 views

Sherlock Holmes-ian deduction in the Talmud

I remember learning a story in the Talmud (I think) and am trying to find the source. I'm a little fuzzy on the details, but this is what I remember. There was a Talmudic Rabbi who was sold into ...
8
votes
3answers
832 views

What does the angel Gavriel represent?

In trying to come up with an answer to this question, I became aware that the angel Gavriel plays a common role in several aggados and midrashim. Not only in the midrash with Moshe and the burning ...
10
votes
2answers
423 views

Where are the magic cucumbers discussed in the Talmud?

Where are the magic cucumbers discussed in the Gemara by a Rabbi proud of his knowledge? Are magic cucumbers discussed elsewhere? Thanks.
4
votes
2answers
198 views

What is the story of Yehudit which takes place during the Chanukkah Story?

I have heard many varying and conflicting stories about Yehudit and her effect on the war with the Greeks at Chanukkah time and was wondering if anyone has sources for her story and what it truly is. ...
10
votes
2answers
335 views

Was Rabbi Akiva obligated to divulge that his daughter was destined to die on her wedding day?

Inspired by this question (perhaps even a duplicate). From the Talmud (Shabbat 156b) (Soncino Translation): From R. Akiba too [we learn that] Israel is free from planetary influence. For R. Akiba ...
11
votes
1answer
169 views

The Alshich and Lavan

There are many sources online mentioning the story of how the Alshich once gave a Drasha and the Arizal was present. In the Drasha he elaborated on the 100 different ways Lavan deceived Yaakov. At one ...
2
votes
1answer
50 views

What is the significance of the Diet Information in Shas

It strikes me as I am learning Kesubos that the Gemara takes the time to speak of extensively the shortcomings and praises of dates (the fruit). I know the gemara does the same with cabbage and other ...
22
votes
6answers
801 views

Looking for more information about a story of positive atheism/heresy

In a 2006 article (original link no longer available), Rabbi Jonathan Sacks tells the following story: “DO YOU believe,” the disciple asked the rabbi, “that God created everything for a purpose?” ...
4
votes
2answers
516 views

What exactly is the story behind the person who wrote the Akdomus (said on Shavous)

On Shavous morning we say the poem Akdomus, and supposedly there's a fascinating story with the Baal Akdomus and the Sambatyon river (something about it being quiet on Shabbos which is why he was only ...
1
vote
1answer
49 views

Ma'ase avos siman l'banim - prescriptive or descriptive?

The concept of the actions of the forebears being an indication of their descendants' actions is referred to by many commentators and midrashim, including the famous Ramba"n on B'reshis 12. What is ...
2
votes
1answer
98 views

Yosef Mokir Shabbos

There is a story in the Gemarah I wont get into the Detail but here is the relevant part of the story. The wife buys a fish and finds a diamond inside are they not responsible to return it to the Fish ...
14
votes
5answers
1k views

Werewolf in the Torah

I have been told that there are Pirushim on the Torah who speak of werewolves. Can anyone locate them?
1
vote
2answers
167 views

Shabbos sends a letter to Ibn Ezra

Shabbos sends a letter to Ibn Ezra I heard this in in a shiur can anyone find the text of the letter or if it exists and or summarize it and find out who the source for this Legend is?
12
votes
2answers
238 views

Were the people of Chelm really unintelligent?

There are many stories that are told over about the people who lived in Chelm. They all have the theme of: the people in Chelm were fairly unintelligent. Where did this come from? Is it true? It ...