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

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10
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2answers
171 views

Tehilim divided into five sections?

According to Wikipedia, Jewish tradition divides the book of Tehilim into five sections (1-41, 42-72, 73-89, 90-106, 107-150). This is unsourced there; the references at the bottom of the page ...
10
votes
2answers
195 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 ...
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' ...
10
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2answers
339 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
1answer
366 views

Embarrassing a Baal Teshuva

Be'er Hagolah at the end of Yoreh Deah 334 says that one of the things that are considered Cherem D'Rabeinu Gersom is not to embarrass a Baal Teshuva regarding his previous lifestyle. Yet when you ...
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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 ...
10
votes
3answers
290 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 ...
10
votes
1answer
486 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 ...
10
votes
1answer
847 views

Halachic justification to not pray the amidah before zman t'filah?

Some Chassidic courts are not makpid (careful) to daven the morning Amidah before z'man tefilah, although this seems to be a clear halacha. Are there any opinions they are relying on? I was once told ...
10
votes
2answers
178 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 ...
10
votes
3answers
374 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 ...
10
votes
4answers
204 views

Sources for free will of angels

I want to define free-will for this question as a moral right and wrong decision, not an arbitrary decision or a true/false decision. I am familiar with sources that say that angels do not have free ...
10
votes
1answer
242 views

Trying to understand Kol Hanearim

Where does the custom of Kol Hanearim, were all children stand near the person getting an aliah and are covered with a tallis-canopy, come from? What, if anything, is it a segulah for? Why is it done ...
10
votes
1answer
438 views

What is the source of the expression המבין יבין?

The Forward writer Philologos in his most recent column claimed that the earliest uses of the expression והמבין יבין are found in the Ra'avad and in the Radak. Based on the fact that both these ...
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votes
3answers
214 views

Earliest source for “Baruch Hu U'Baruch Sh'mo”

What is the earliest source for saying "Baruch Hu U'Baruch Shmo" when hearing someone say the Name of HaShem in a blessing?
9
votes
1answer
628 views

What's the source for the Challah lasting all week in Sarah's tent?

One of the three miracles that took place in Sarah's tent, (which returned when Rivka married Yitzchak) was that the candles burned for the whole week, the challah stayed fresh from week to week, and ...
9
votes
1answer
952 views

Source that those without a genuine need soliciting charity is a good thing

Judaism 101 says (and I have heard it many times): Judaism acknowledges that many people who ask for charity have no genuine need. In fact, the Talmud suggests that this is a good thing: if all ...
9
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2answers
134 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 ...
9
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1answer
474 views

May one propose with an engagement ring?

Are there any Halachic issues with giving a girl a ring while asking her to marry him? Are there any sources that discuss the sha'alah of safek Kiddushin, etc?
9
votes
1answer
752 views

“Don't say 'lehavdil' between one Jew and another.”

In today's Parashat Hashavu'a Chat, I used the qualification "lehavdil" (*) to apply to a pun that jokingly and innocuously related the actions of Datan and Aviram to those of a community member here. ...
9
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3answers
366 views

Is there any reason to deny aliens?

Is there any reason that we couldn't believe in life on another planet somewhere? Is there any source that indicates to the contrary?
9
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3answers
147 views

Does learning Torah or doing Mitzvos protect others from enemies?

I know from the gemarah Bava Basra 7b-8a that learning (being a talmid chacham) or doing many mitzvos can protect oneself from enemies (such that when a city is taxed for a wall that was built to ...
9
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3answers
793 views

A woman with dreadlocks going to the mikveh

In regards to the dinim of chatzitza by the tevillah of a Niddah the SA (Rema) in YD Siman 198 Sif 6 speaks about an interesting situation where a woman's hair was tied together by a Shin-Daled ...
9
votes
2answers
132 views

Resources for “vertical learning”

New member and first question! I'm looking for resources for guidance in the possibly made-up term, vertical learning. What I mean by that is my learning often suffers from being hodge-podgey and ...
9
votes
1answer
170 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 ...
9
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3answers
288 views

Did any Achronim Write Books Comparing Arabic to Hebrew?

Did any achronim write books comparing Arabic to Hebrew?
9
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2answers
314 views

Where does the concept of “shirayim” come from?

Please explain the concept of shirayim (literally, leftovers) wherein the followers of a chassidic Rebbe will receive portions of his food to it, these leftovers are considered holy or special in some ...
9
votes
1answer
489 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 ...
8
votes
4answers
1k views

From where do we know that sexual intercourse with a non-jewish woman is forbidden?

From where do we know that a jewish man cannot have sexuel intercourse with a non-jewish woman? What say the Kabbala about this ? Is it related to dark forces, "qelipoth"?
8
votes
5answers
365 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 ...
8
votes
3answers
3k 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 ...
8
votes
4answers
310 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 ...
8
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5answers
348 views

Why do we say Vhu Rachum before Maariv?

Before Maariv, we say the pasuk "Vhu rachum yichaper avon..." (Psalms 78:38). Why?
8
votes
2answers
198 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
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2answers
105 views

Source for a story: Rambam paskening people out of heaven

I'm sorry to ask a source-seeking question (because I don't like seeing them myself), but I'm at a loss here in trying to find what I think is a theologically important Hassidic story. The story goes ...
8
votes
1answer
401 views

Is the Gemara (Shabbos 116b) quoting the New Testament?

The Gemara in Shabbos (116b) seems to have two quotes from the New Testament, but I'm not sure. ברא וברתא כחדא ירתון - sons and daughters should inherit together and אנא לא למיפחת מן ...
8
votes
2answers
413 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 ...
8
votes
1answer
329 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
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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?
8
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1answer
231 views

Where does Ramban discuss OCD and the mikvah?

I was told that the Ramban writes regarding women who have awful problems using the mikvah because they keep worrying they're not clean enough -- in today's terms, we call that obsessive-compulsive ...
8
votes
1answer
198 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), ...
8
votes
1answer
281 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 ...
8
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1answer
86 views

Legend About Rashi

In the book "Rashi and Maimonides" (pg 302), I found the following (paraphrasing): Another story has it that Rashi sat fasting for 613 days to purify himself for the task of commenting on the ...
8
votes
2answers
294 views

Are there any scriptural sources that Hashem loves each Jew individually?

Are there any scriptural sources that Hashem loves each Jew individually? I know there are pesukim (verses) that deal with how Hashem treats or views Am Yisrael (the Jewish nation) as a whole, but ...
8
votes
1answer
124 views

Source for shuls flying in yemos hamoshiach?

My son mentioned to me that he learned in school that when Moshiach comes all the shuls (and schools?) will miraculously fly to Eretz Yisroel. What is the source of this idea?
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2answers
195 views

Esrog with “gartel”

Esrogim can be found in the shuk (market) that have on them a sort of "gartel" shape around the middle. That is to say a sort of indentation that make the esrog appear as if it's wearing a "gartel" ...
8
votes
1answer
269 views

Where did Baruch She'amar come from?

The Mishnah Berura (51:1) says that the blessing "Baruch She'amar" was instituted by the Anshei K'nesset HagGedola, based on a page that "fell from the sky" (whatever that means). What is the ...
8
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2answers
195 views

Mental Telepathy

In Rabbi Immanuel Schochet's introduction to the fundamentals to proving religion. He mentions mental telepathy as a phenomenon that although uncommon does exist. ...
8
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2answers
166 views

The concept of the “Tzadik” in Chasidut

I've recently started to learn about Breslev Chasidut and was amazed by many great advices of Rabbi Nachman zt'l but I am very confused to read things about the so called Tzadik of the Generation e.g. ...
8
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2answers
241 views

Why does the Chazzan bow when saying “Gadlu” holding the Torah?

There's a widespread custom for the Chazzan to bow, facing the ark, when reciting "Gadlu" with the Torah before carrying it away. The Aruch Hashulach (282:1) says that one should do this, but doesn't ...