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

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10
votes
1answer
380 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
294 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
167 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
165 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
386 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
98 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
237 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
424 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
250 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
181 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
401 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
276 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
108 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
253 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
573 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
130 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
327 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
310 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
292 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
153 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
169 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
205 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
786 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
421 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
118 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
233 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
808 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
186 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
265 views

Did any Achronim Write Books Comparing Arabic to Hebrew?

Did any achronim write books comparing Arabic to Hebrew?
6
votes
1answer
191 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
225 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
325 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
226 views

Jewish source for giving Chanuka gifts

Is there a Jewish source for Chanuka gifts?
6
votes
2answers
548 views

Source of Burning Lulav with Chometz

What is the source of the custom to keep the Lulav untill Erev Pesach and burn it with the Chometz?
1
vote
5answers
564 views

Cholopshkes or stuffed cabbage on Simchas Torah

Many people eat Cholpshkes or stuffed cabbage on Simchas Torah. Is there a source for this Minhag, and are there other names for this dish in the other languages of Jewish communities?
7
votes
3answers
193 views

Tachanun on Yahrtzeit

Where does the custom not to say Tachanun on a Yahrtzeit come from?
26
votes
6answers
780 views

Where does the concept of Gilgulim (reincarnations) in Judaism come from?

What is the source of Gilgulim (reincarnations) in Judaism? Are there people who disagree with its existence? Who was the first to mention it? What I am asking essentially is what is the historical ...
7
votes
2answers
200 views

The Split Between Sefardim and Ashkenazim

How did this split happen historically and halachically before Shulchan Aruch, and why is not like having two Torahs? Where is the source for the split?
3
votes
3answers
302 views

Modern nations and Umos Haolam

Where can I find a discussion about the roots of modern nations, in the Umos Haolam mentioned in the Torah and Chazal?
6
votes
2answers
123 views

Shavuos as a Marriage

There is an idea (which I initially became familiar with in my misspent youth from tamei sources but subsequently have seen it mentioned in tahor one's) that Shavuos is, as it were, a marriage between ...
3
votes
1answer
145 views

Kashrus Explained

A close friend of mine asked me to fire this question at the mi.yodeya community so here goes: "I came across this rather interesting rendition of "kashrus Explained", not sure who authored it, but I ...
2
votes
2answers
109 views

Birchas hatorah from the Torah?

I've heard many times that saying birchas hatorah is most likely from the torah (as apposed to mi-dirabanan). How could we not know? If it's from the torah, then it's from the torah!
4
votes
3answers
2k views

Eating at a shiva house

What is the basis for some people's practice not to eat the food at a shiva house; is there a halachik basis for this, is it a minhag or perhaps just superstition?
7
votes
2answers
454 views

Walking around the house after shiva

I'd heard something about how some people, when getting up after the week of "sitting shiva" (mourning), take a walk around the outside of their house before going back to "normal" life. Has anyone ...