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

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2
votes
0answers
219 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 ...
17
votes
1answer
356 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
116 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
91 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 ...
8
votes
2answers
415 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 ...
11
votes
3answers
4k 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
77 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?
6
votes
1answer
259 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
58 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
201 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
109 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
171 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
138 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
314 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
61 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 ...
9
votes
1answer
495 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
324 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 ...
13
votes
3answers
418 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
145 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
468 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
233 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
562 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
77 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 ...
10
votes
3answers
293 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 ...
2
votes
1answer
117 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?
26
votes
2answers
448 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 ...
8
votes
1answer
201 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
172 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' ...
6
votes
1answer
224 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
2k 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
1k views

What is the source of the Birkat Habayit?

What is the source of the text of the Birkat Habayit: May this house be a place of happiness and health, of contentment, generosity and hope, a home of creativity and kindness. May those ...
4
votes
0answers
133 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
171 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
113 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 ...
7
votes
1answer
390 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
102 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
105 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
220 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
204 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 ...
19
votes
1answer
916 views

What happened to Zeresh (Haman's wife)?

Virtually all of the major characters (and some of the minor ones) in Megillas Esther have a clear ending for them. Mordechai and Esther live happily ever after (sort of). Haman and his ten songs are ...
11
votes
2answers
577 views

Forbidden to eat while standing up?

I heard that it was preferred, or perhaps even required, to avoid eating food while standing. For example, as people often do at a cocktail party or a shul kiddush. With the reason being that ...
8
votes
1answer
284 views

Origin of Spilling Wine by 10 Plagues

The custom among all Jews (as far as I know) is to spill a drip of wine for each of the plagues as they are mentioned in a list in the haggadah. This custom is not mentioned anywhere in the Talmud (as ...
1
vote
2answers
335 views

Who wrote Aleh Katan by Avraham Fried? [closed]

There is a (in my opinion) beautiful song by Avraham Fried called Aleh Katan. Does anyone know who composed this song? Is it Yishai Lapitdot? It seems like he said his name here: ...
7
votes
2answers
241 views

The order of Tehillim

Sefer Tehillim (Psalms) consists of 150 mizmorim, most likely compiled (and perhaps even entirely written) by King David. The mizmorim are not in chronological order following the events that inspired ...
9
votes
2answers
136 views

Who was the קדוש מרדוש?

Today, in a shiur, I heard someone quote an opinion of the "קדוש מרדוש" (pronounced "Kadosh Meradoosh", I think). The Bet Yosef in E"HE 35 seems to quote the מרדכי who quotes him, so apparently he's a ...
2
votes
1answer
105 views

Where is the Pesach seder discussed in the Mishna?

I heard a podcast that discussed the differences between the Pesach Seder as described in the Mishna and what we do today. But I couldn't catch the name/number of the relevant mishnaot. What are they? ...
11
votes
2answers
242 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 ...
6
votes
2answers
218 views

Is there any source for saying the first possuk of Shema quietly?

The Rema in OC 61(26) says the custom is to say the first possuk of the shema aloud. In this question Sh'ma aloud but amida quietly Gershon Gold said that Shema is said aloud in unison and msh210 ...
5
votes
2answers
204 views

Jews vs gentiles: disputes

Recently I got a pleasureful reading of the Ramban's dispute. I think it a great source for "דע מה להשיב" (know what to answer to heretics). I'm sure there were similar disputes by other great ...
3
votes
2answers
281 views

Biblical evidence for not eating bread on passover?

Can someone cite lines from the Torah that specify what Jews should eat during Passover? I'm aware that Jews don't eat leavened bread during Passover. Where does this rule come from?