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

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4
votes
1answer
57 views

Gemara on volunteering?

I heard that there was a Gemara to the effect of "volunteers cost more than employees because their motivation is not as good" -- or somesuch. Any ideas? Thanks.
4
votes
0answers
105 views

Sources for Hamsa

I know from Ben Ish Hai Shana Bet Parashat Pinehas siman 13 where he writes to make a Hamsa from wood. However, I am wondering if there any earlier sources to solidify the fact that this would ...
14
votes
3answers
339 views

Halachic Source for Women-Only Mikvaoth?

Some (actually many) Mikvaoth are designated for women's use only, generally for reasons of cleanliness. Is there Halachic literature supporting (or urging) this? (This question is not asking for ...
2
votes
2answers
124 views

Source for washing by your bed

What is the source in the Halachic literature outside of the Mishnah Berurah who says it is a requirement to place a washing cup by your bed instead of going to the sink to wash your hands upon ...
10
votes
2answers
396 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.
3
votes
1answer
55 views

Seeking source of explanation of ולא יכל יוסף להתאפק

וְלֹא יָכֹל יוֹסֵף לְהִתְאַפֵּק — Yosef could not forbear (Gen. 45:1) — but had he done so, had he completed the brothers' reconciliation that he had started, then the kingdom would ...
5
votes
1answer
106 views

Source for this Remez expansion of יד שחט דם

There is an acronym for the liquids that make things able to be made ritually impure. The Halacha is in order for fruit and the like to be made ritually impure it has to be made wet with these ...
15
votes
5answers
473 views

Saying “Laberiut” “God bless you” or “Gesundheit”

Is there are source for saying "Laberiut" "God bless you" "Gesundheit" or any other response to a sneeze? In other words, are there posekim who mention it in Halacha?
7
votes
2answers
352 views

Fulltext search across sources: Gemara, Zohars, Rishonim and Aharonim

I know about Hebrewbooks.org for searching for sources in books, but the problem is you have to get to let's say every Masechta to look for a phrase. Is there a program (doesn't have to be free) that ...
5
votes
1answer
482 views

Tzitzit tying: the real way

1)There are two authentic ways to tie the Sisit (Tzitzis) that have sources. Maran writes to make 7-9-11-13. First question: why does he write this is he then says Gimtarya Hashem is One, when in fact ...
3
votes
3answers
271 views

Which Talmudic source for Ḥanukah is the real source?

What is the Talmudic source for Ḥanukah? In discussing candles for Shabbath, the Talmud (Shab. 21b) goes into a discussion about candles generally, touching upon Ḥanukah candles, and ultimately asks, ...
7
votes
3answers
106 views

Which commentators commend Yosef for noticing his fellow prisoners' sadness?

Toward the end of Parashat Vayeishev, Yosef is imprisoned along with two of Par'oh's chief servants. Starting in Gen. 40:6, the Torah tells us that he notices that they look sad, asks why, and ...
6
votes
2answers
226 views

Rubbing the Havdalah wine

Is there any source for the practice of not only dipping one's fingers into the Havdalah wine that was used to extinguish the fire and rubbing the eyes with it, but also spreading it around onto other ...
10
votes
1answer
369 views

Dipping fingers in Havdalah Wine

What is the source or origin of the custom to dip one's fingers in the wine poured over the candle to extinguish it at the conclusion of Havdalah? As a side note, and a reason I'm tagging it this ...
9
votes
2answers
286 views

What is the origin of the custom to kiss a Mezuzah?

What is the source or origin of the custom to kiss a Mezuzah?
10
votes
2answers
163 views

Source for kissing an aron

I've seen people kiss an aron kodesh (cabinet holding Torah scrolls) when they approach it and, if they were standing near it, before they leave it. Does this have any written source; or, are there ...
5
votes
2answers
164 views

What is a source that allows one to treat one's house as all within four amos?

I am after a source that allows one to treat one's house as all within four amos l'chatchila, with respect to nagel vasser (hand washing in the morning).
6
votes
3answers
379 views

What's the deal with all the washings?

Sometimes we wash with a cup, sometimes not; sometimes we wash twice, sometimes thrice; and not everyone agrees on method or pattern in all cases. Who says which ways we are supposed to wash, in ...
4
votes
1answer
96 views

Rashi's biography sources

I know that Rashi had daughters — either two or three — and no sons. I also know he was a vintner — meaning he made wine. I know he was a student of or student of a student of Rabenu Gershom. I guess ...
6
votes
1answer
233 views

Where is the text of Friday night Kiddush from?

There is a fairly uniform text for Kiddush Friday night. There are some differences between the Ashkenazi and Sfardi versions, but they are mostly very similar. What is the source for the text? As ...
6
votes
6answers
418 views

Tikkun Olam source

What is the source for the concept that Jews have to practice Tikkun Olam, and where in the classical Jewish sources is this concept defined? It seems people throw this term around a lot in the ...
3
votes
1answer
245 views

A new knife for Rosh Hashanah?

There is a custom to buy a knife for Rosh Hashanah: the qualifier is that the knife not be serrated. What is the source for this custom and what is the significance of the knife not having edges?
8
votes
2answers
180 views

Source for the Text of the Get (bill of divorce)

Where does the exact text come from? Is there a particular Rishon who writes it in full? The Talmud in Gittin discusses the text at length, but I don't think it lays down the exact text. I've seen the ...
8
votes
3answers
2k views

Rainbow as a bad omen

There is a popular idea that seeing a rainbow is a bad sign, as if the world is deserving of a deluge (c"v) and the only reason Hashem does not do so is because of His promise. Is there any source for ...
15
votes
3answers
396 views

Is there a source for not requiring Tevilah for the first use?

I have heard (as I'm sure many others have) that one can use a utensil one time before Tevilah. At the same time, I've heard that this is a common misconception. Is there anyone who holds that this ...
4
votes
3answers
275 views

Source in Jewish writings for Moshiach?

What is the source in Jewish writings (Pre-Rambam) that there is a concept of a Moshiach, and his nature?
8
votes
1answer
106 views

Honouring an older person

What sources are there for showing respect and honour to an old person who is not necessarily a talmid chochom or a parent?
4
votes
2answers
252 views

Is the Tower of Babel discussed in other Jewish texts?

Genesis Chapter 11 includes a few short verses about the Tower of Babel: 1 And the whole earth was of one language and of one speech. 2 And it came to pass, as they journeyed east, that they ...
16
votes
1answer
559 views

Blessing the Children on Friday Night

I have noticed that many families (including my own) have the custom for the father to bless all the children on Friday night before kiddush. When and where did this custom originate, and by whom, ...
4
votes
3answers
126 views

Where and when is the earliest attestation of the word “mohel”?

Where is the earliest attestation of the word mohel for one who performs the act associated with a ritual circumcision? When was it written? What language is it? [Inspired by Why is there a ה in ...
10
votes
3answers
3k views

Shaving on Friday when Lag Ba'omer falls out on a Sunday

This year (2011) Lag Ba'omer falls out on a Sunday. I've heard from a few people that the halacha is that you can shave (and take a haircut) on the Friday beforehand l'kavod Shabbos. Are there any ...
8
votes
5answers
325 views

Do any Rishonim discuss how to approach Rashi's commentary on gemara?

I heard a quote once how carefully a person needs to analyze every drop of ink in Rashi, but I don't remember who said it. Does any Rishon (medieval scholar) ever discuss their approach to Rashi's ...
3
votes
1answer
304 views

Source for segula of baking challah

I am looking for sources for the segula of baking challah on behalf of a sick person, a shidduch, a baby or even a World Series victory. Where does this come from? Why can men not be part of it? Why ...
7
votes
4answers
289 views

What is the source for the idea that only two mitzvot have a specific reward associated with them?

I have heard it said that only the mitzvot of kibbud av v'eim (honoring parents) and shiluach haken (sending away the mother bird before taking eggs) are given with an explicit reward (that your days ...
4
votes
1answer
151 views

g'mara about David's conception

Where's the g'mara about Yishay's divorce (or was it separation?) and David's conception, please?
2
votes
1answer
166 views

Seeking Original Aramaic for Talmudic Phrase

What is the original Aramaic of this phrase: May the words of the Torah be burned rather than handed over to women. I think it is in Sotah in the Jerusalem Talmud.
5
votes
2answers
203 views

Science of the Rishonim on “celestial spheres”

In the writings of the Rishonim, it is not uncommon to see explanations of pesukim or of aggadic concepts using the "celestial spheres" model of the universe. The Rambam in particular uses the idea ...
12
votes
4answers
1k views

Sources For Listening To/Not Listening to Non-Jewish Music

What are sources for it being allowed to listen to non-Jewish music and sources for it being prohibited?
3
votes
4answers
767 views

Are Jews allowed to listen to music that is performed by non-Jew?

I am machmir on only listening to music that was performed by a Jew, but i don't really understand it. Does anyone know what is the source for this? Does Matisyahu perform with only Jews?
6
votes
2answers
404 views

What is the source for the Kallah's circling the Chasan 7 times?

What is the source for a Kallah (bride) to circle her Chasan (bridegroom) seven times at their wedding?
2
votes
2answers
117 views

Web sites where I can post divrei Torah

Can anyone suggest a good site where I can post a weekly list of marei mekomos in Ramban on the Parsha?
6
votes
2answers
229 views

Hagala for a new pot

I know that there is a halakhic necessity to tovel a new pot. However, has anyone ever heard of the halakhic necessity to do hagala on a new pot? Reason for asking was this.
4
votes
2answers
138 views

Gezeira of Rabbeinu Gershom History

Has the original text of the Gazeira of Rabbeinu Gershom been lost. If so when? Who are the earliest sources stating such?
16
votes
5answers
778 views

Gezeira of Rabbeinu Gershom text

Does anyone know where I can find the actual text of the Gezeira of Rabbeinu Gershom? It keeps popping up in my learning, but only as being referenced, I would like to read that actual text.
10
votes
2answers
185 views

“m'nora” on Chanuka

My kid came home from school one day insisting that the thing we light on Chanuka is not a m'nora but a chanukiya. I replied that that's the word most Israelis use now but that m'nora is a perfectly ...
9
votes
3answers
264 views

Did any Achronim Write Books Comparing Arabic to Hebrew?

Did any achronim write books comparing Arabic to Hebrew?
6
votes
1answer
189 views

Where does the custom to spill of from a drink come from?

I had a lubavitcher classmate in high school who used to spill off from his cup whenever he would drink anything. He claimed it was a minhag. What is the reason/source for this practice?
3
votes
2answers
222 views

What was the earliest use of the Rambam's language in Shmita V'Yovel in support of kollel study?

Here's the Rambam, waxing poetic at the end of Laws of Shmita and Yovel (and his entire volume of Zeraim): ולא שבט לוי בלבד, אלא כל איש ואיש מכל באי העולם אשר נדבה רוחו אותו והבינו מדעו להיבדל ...
10
votes
3answers
311 views

“Baruch shekivanti…”

There is a phrase of self-compliment people use when they find that they have independently arrived at the same conclusion as someone great. It begins with the words "ברוך שכיוונתי", translated ...
12
votes
1answer
220 views

Jewish source for giving Chanuka gifts

Is there a Jewish source for Chanuka gifts?