Questions seeking sources for a given practice or idea, or seeking the location of a specific source.

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3
votes
3answers
450 views

Abridged Birkat HaMazon - Online?

HaRav Binyamin Kwalwasser from Yeshivat Lev Hatorah taught us that Rabbi Abadi is of the opinion that it is better to say a shorter version of Birkat Hamazon after eating than not to say it at all. ...
13
votes
5answers
509 views

“Silk-Screened” Sifrei Torah

What are the halachic issues with Silk-screened sifrei torah? I am interested in a summary of concise halakhic rulings of multiple authorities on the prohibition or permissibility of HaRav Yitzchak ...
4
votes
1answer
241 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 ...
4
votes
0answers
203 views

Why is wine poured by a non-Jew forbidden?

The S"A 125:1 (YD) states that a non-Jew pouring non-Mevushal wine makes (at least) that wine unfit, but other than citing earlier authorities (maybe, I can't figure that part out) he doesn't give a ...
4
votes
1answer
72 views

The history behind the composition and inclusion of V'lo N'tato

I'm curious about the composition and inclusion in the shabbat shacharit of the paragraph beginning ולא נתתו (v'lo n'tato). I understand the talmudic basis for the underlying idea, and how it fits in ...
6
votes
1answer
208 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 ...
2
votes
1answer
121 views

Source for “Ein Mazal B'Yisroel”

I know that there is a Gemarah (somewhere in Shabbos I think), that discuses birth signs, based on days of the week and month. The Gemarah ends with Ein Mazal B'Yisroel and a few stories that ...
1
vote
1answer
43 views

Learning words from the servants of Rebbi

Where is the gemarah that discusses how the sages didn't know the meaning of certain words until their heard the servants of Rebbi Yehuda HaNasi using those words in everyday conversation?
2
votes
2answers
302 views

Source that martyrs don't feel pain?

A lot of people have told me (and I seem to remember seeing so myself) there is a view in the Rishonim that someone who is killed Al Kiddush Hashem (for the sanctification of G-d's name, ie., ...
3
votes
1answer
60 views

Splitting up Shacharis between two Chiyuvim

I have Davened in a few Shuls where they have split up Shacharis between two Chiyuvim. (One Davens until Ashrei after Tachanun / One davens from Ashrei until the end.) What is the source for doing so? ...
4
votes
1answer
106 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 ...
2
votes
0answers
159 views

Text for birchat habayit

I'd like to write a couple birchos habayis and get them illuminated as gifts. Does anyone know of a good existing text? I'm looking for something five or six lines long, preferably not the usual one ...
14
votes
1answer
253 views

Non-Jews Tending to Abandoned Cemeteries

Those of you who may have read my profile know that I have been reading and transcribing information on tombstones in towns in the Spis Region of Slovakia, in which no Jews remain. My colleague is ...
6
votes
1answer
105 views

Decorative food plating on Shabbath

This question asks about using an ice cream scoop on Shabbath, and an internet forum linked in the question has a discussion about the permissibility of decorative plating of food generally. According ...
1
vote
1answer
75 views

Ohr HaChaim on Redemption because of Torah

I've heard that the Ohr HaChaim quotes the Zohar Chadash that we will be redeemed because of the merit of Mosheh and learning Torah. Does such a comment exist in the Ohr HaChaim? If so, can someone ...
7
votes
2answers
244 views

What is the kiss of death?

Chazal tell us (need help with the source) that at least 3 people died "b'neshika" with a 'kiss' from God, Moshe, Aron and Miriam. (Rashi on Bamidbar 20:1, 33:38; Devarim 34:5) What is exactly does ...
9
votes
3answers
1k views

Wearing clothes backwards or inside out?

As a kid, I was told that if you wear clothing backwards or inside-out then you will forget your Torah learning. What is the source for that claim, and why is that specific outcome tied to that ...
5
votes
1answer
73 views

Was the tana Rebbi Meir blind?

I have heard that the name Meir (lit:enlightening) is actually a "lashon naki" because he was actually blind. Similar to "sagi nahor". Is there any source for this notion that Rebbi Meir was blind?
5
votes
1answer
217 views

Does anyone have a proof text that animals *don't* have spirits?

I've heard it said that animals don't possess a רוח However, Ecclesiastes 3:21 uses the phrase רוּחַ הַבְּהֵמָה. Is there any text that indicates that animals don't possess a spirit? Edit: Upon ...
2
votes
0answers
56 views

Midrashim That Contain Elements That are Against Nature [closed]

I a compiling a list of midrashim that contain elements that go against the laws of nature (e.g. Og's picking up a mountain the size of the camping of Bnei Yisrael). Can anyone help me?
5
votes
1answer
158 views

Which of Moshe Chaim Luzzatto's works influenced Chassidut, Mussar, and Haskalah?

In Dovid Cohen (known as Rav Ha-Nazir)'s Wikipedia page, the following idea is attributed to him: He saw in Moses Hayyim Luzzatto the harbinger of this redemption, pointing out that the three ...
3
votes
3answers
81 views

Correct version of pasuk about wisdom

An old teacher of mine is about to turn 90 and I'm trying to locate a pasuk, which, I think, says: "Treasure the words of a wise man for they are..." or "Heed the words of a wise man, for they are ...
4
votes
2answers
154 views

Eruv around towns for the purpose of carrying

I was learning the first few chapters of Eyruvin, and I wondering which of the mishnas are the source (or inspiration more likely) for the idea of a string around an area that allows one to carry ...
4
votes
1answer
112 views

Is the idea that there is always at least one illness with an unknown cure - a Jewish idea?

I have heard many times that there will always be at least one illness that is uncurable. Is this a Jewish idea? What is its source?
5
votes
2answers
282 views

Is there a source that the Messiah can die and return?

Is there a source in Judaism that indicates that Moshiach (Ben David, not Ben Yosef) will die before having fulfilled his role and then return to posthumously achieve it?
5
votes
1answer
54 views

What is the source for Mesirath Nefesh being a virtue?

Mesirath Nefesh is widely considered a virtue. It is treated by Musar-givers throughout the world as though it is the most important virtue after fear of Heaven. But what is it based on? There are ...
8
votes
1answer
298 views

Hand movements when lighting shabbat candles

When women light shabbat candles I often see them making hand gestures. These look like two or perhaps three circles around in the air. What is the source for this practice? Is it a law or custom? Is ...
5
votes
2answers
236 views

Source of shabbat evening kiddush text?

The beginning of the shabbat evening kiddush (vayehi erev, vayehi boker, yom hashishi...) is from Bereshit, 1:31 ff. Where does the second part (khi hu yom tehilah lemikraei kodesh...) come from? Is ...
12
votes
2answers
339 views

How do we know that we have free will?

Where in the torah does it state that humans have, and are entitled to in perpetuity, free will?
5
votes
1answer
129 views

Why do we sit in the sukkah in the autumn?

I remember hearing at some point that there's a disagreement between the Ashkenazi and Sefardi rishonim regarding why we sit in the sukkah in the autumn: Ashkenaz - Because we love God, so we go out ...
7
votes
2answers
358 views

Traditional review of Heschel's “Torah min HaShamayim”

"Torah min Hashamayim B'aspaklariya shel Hadorot" (תורה מן השמים באספקלריה של הדורות) was written by R' Abraham Joshua Heschel and published by Soncino Press and JTS Press in 1962. It was translated ...
5
votes
1answer
162 views

Did the Terumas haDeshen write a challah recipe?

Reading this article about challah-making, I noticed the following: Using the starter, I tried the Rich Sourdough Barches recipe from Inside the Jewish Bakery, which the authors say is adapted ...
5
votes
1answer
257 views

Drinking the wine that spills over the cup during Kiddush

There is a widespread custom among the Jewish people to fill up their kiddush cup to the point that it overflows. This overflowing of wine symbolizes Hashems blessing overflowing in our lives. I was ...
0
votes
1answer
74 views

Are the airuv rav compared to tza'ras?

Looking for a source in chazal that compare the airuv rav to tza'ras. I have vague recollection of learning something to this effect once and it would make a killer addition to my Shavuos dvar ...
9
votes
3answers
213 views

What is the source for the mitzvah of kiruv?

Is kiruv a mitzvah? Is it biblical or rabbinic? Is there any reason it should supersede other mitzvot? what are the sources in chazal and halacha relating to kiruv? related: Kiruv and halachik ...
1
vote
1answer
101 views

Where do chazal refer to rus and naomi as birds?

Where is the chazal that refers to Rus and Naomi (na'ama?) as shnei preidos tovos - two good birds?
20
votes
2answers
268 views

Matza on 14 Iyar

I have seen a custom (it seems to me primarily among Chassidim) to eat matza on 14 Iyar (known as Pesach Sheni). What is the earliest source for this custom? What are the reasons given for following ...
6
votes
0answers
126 views

Source for Categorization of Matter

What is the source for the idea that all matter is either domem (lifeless), tzomeach (plant), chai (animal), or medaber (speaker)? I sometimes find this quoted places (in articles and divrei Torah), ...
10
votes
2answers
156 views

What's up with Rabbi Shimon ben Nesanel in Avos 2:10?

In chapter 2 of Pirkei Avos (Ethics of Our Fathers) it says that: "Rabban Yochanan the son of Zakkai had five disciples" It goes on to list their names and qualities, and then it says that R' ...
5
votes
1answer
179 views

Women and Tefillah - per the Rav

I remember a long time ago hearing that the Rav (Rabbi Joseph B. Soloveitchik (1903–1993)) held that women should pray three times a day. Can anyone verify this, and what is the reason/source ...
15
votes
4answers
1k views

If masturbation is so bad, why is it not in list of 613 Mitzvos?

If masturbation is, as stated in the Shulchan Oruch (Even HaEzer 23:1), "the worst sin in the Torah", then why is it not listed in any of the various lists of 613 Mitzvos and why is there no verse in ...
4
votes
1answer
791 views

What is the source of the Birkat Habayit?

What is the source of the text of the Birkat Habayit: I've seen them written on a hand, and some come with garlic, multi-colored beads, and some other strange objects. Inspired by: ...
4
votes
0answers
120 views

Young boys returning Chumashim after Torah reading

I often see young boys going around shul after the Shabbos/Yom Tov morning Torah reading to collect Chumashim and return them to their shelves. Is this an actual 'minhag' with a history behind it? If ...
9
votes
1answer
147 views

A year with eight Sh'minis is plenteous?

I've heard an idea that a year (like 5772) in which parashas Sh'mini is read eight times[1] is a particularly auspicious one: the wording of the maxim is something like "sh'mona Sh'mini sh'mena" ([a ...
3
votes
3answers
109 views

Seeking sources about the necessity for finding a מנין

I am looking for sources about the necessity for finding a מנין. More specifically, whether or not one has to always be in close range of a מנין, or if he can intentionally put himself in a position ...
6
votes
1answer
331 views

What is the danger in cutting fingernails in order?

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 ...
4
votes
1answer
95 views

Matzah the entire week

Is it the Vilna Gaon who maintains that it is a mitzvah to eat matzah (to eat matzah, in addition to abstaining from chametz) every day and night during the week of Passover, or somebody else? The ...
4
votes
1answer
100 views

Source in Tosafos for playing ball on Yom Tov

I know there is a Tosafos in Beitza 12a that discusses playing ball on Yom Tov, but I remember learning another Tosafos which said something like "for children under nine it would be permitted on ...
4
votes
2answers
157 views

What is the halachic source for the minhagim of mourning during Sefira?

What is the earliest halachic source for the minhagim of mourning during sefira? Note that this does not mean the story of R' Akiva, I'm talking about halachic references to prohibitions such as not ...
11
votes
0answers
194 views

Source for the minhag of 'gebrokts' [duplicate]

There is a not-uncommon minhag, primarily in chassidic circles called 'gebrokts' where matza is not allowed to come into contact with water during Pesach. What is the earliest source for this custom ...