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

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8
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2answers
134 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
3answers
251 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 ...
8
votes
1answer
157 views

Singing part of kidush with the leader

Some people, although listening to another's kidush (Friday night), sing part of it along with him: specifically (in my experience), the lines starting "ki vanu vacharta" when recited with this tune. ...
8
votes
3answers
234 views

Did any Achronim Write Books Comparing Arabic to Hebrew?

Did any achronim write books comparing Arabic to Hebrew?
8
votes
2answers
155 views

If two separate studies intersect, is it a good sign?

There is an expression that I have always heard, which is that when two separate Torah studies one is learning happen to reference each other, it is a good sign. A variant of this that I've heard is ...
8
votes
1answer
236 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 ...
7
votes
4answers
269 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 ...
7
votes
2answers
265 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 ...
7
votes
3answers
143 views

Animals sixth sense

It seems that there is evidence that animals possess a sixth sense, such as in their fleeing from the area struck by the huge tsunami of 2005 well before the earthquake which triggered it occurred. Is ...
7
votes
5answers
204 views

Why do we say Vhu Rachum before Maariv?

Before Maariv, we say the pasuk "Vhu rachum yichaper avon..." (Psalms 78:38). Why?
7
votes
4answers
239 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 ...
7
votes
5answers
197 views

Meforashim and Poskim on Mas. 'Avodah Zarah and forming a curriculum

A friend and I have decided to start learning Mas. 'Avodah Zarah. Our goal, however, is not to just pick a random Masechta of Gemara and learn it with the commentaries on the Daf. Our actual goal is ...
7
votes
2answers
319 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 ...
7
votes
2answers
211 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 ...
7
votes
1answer
94 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?
7
votes
1answer
216 views

Where does our blessing for daughters come from?

In many Jewish homes on Shabbat, the head of the household would bless his sons to be like Ephraim and Menasheh but would bless his daughters to be like the matriarchs . What is the source, if any, ...
7
votes
2answers
93 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 ...
7
votes
3answers
160 views

Tachanun on Yahrtzeit

Where does the custom not to say Tachanun on a Yahrtzeit come from?
7
votes
1answer
193 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?
7
votes
1answer
130 views

Explanation for couple not seeing each other before the wedding?

What is the source and reason for a couple not to see one another before the wedding?
7
votes
1answer
176 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 ...
7
votes
1answer
90 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?
7
votes
2answers
182 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?
7
votes
2answers
175 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 ...
7
votes
1answer
215 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 ...
7
votes
1answer
127 views

Sources for Jewish Education system today

The western educational system (to the definition of western that includes Japan) today, especially in the United States, but also in other western industrialized countries is an adaptation of the ...
7
votes
1answer
165 views

Taanis Bechoros for a first born from a C-section

Does someone who was a first born, but was born from a C-section have to fast on Ta'anis Bechoros? The only source I know which addresses this is the Kaf HaChaim on Shulchan Aruch (470:3), who says ...
7
votes
2answers
170 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 ...
7
votes
1answer
154 views

Origin of the nine days

I just learned a gemara (taanit 30a) that seems to pretty clearly state that the mourning for tisha b'av starts the beginning of the week that tisha b'av falls out on, and ends with tisha b'av itself. ...
6
votes
2answers
609 views

Origin of myth about the hole in the sheet?

There is a widespread myth (as far as I know it is a myth) that orthodox Jews must have marital relations through a hole in a sheet. What is the origin of this myth and does it have any actual basis ...
6
votes
6answers
324 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 ...
6
votes
1answer
111 views

Why is the hard limit for the size of the sanhedrin - 71 members?

When a beis din is undecided (e.g. when adjudicating monetary cases or Dinei Nefashos), judges can be added until the beis din reaches a maximum size of 71. Why is a beis din's maximum size 71? Why ...
6
votes
3answers
361 views

Why a human Messiah?

I understand that Mashiach is going to be a human. What is the source for this, and are there any explanations why it must be so? Can't G-d Himself redeem us?
6
votes
3answers
228 views

Are there any Sefardi Posekim that permit the consumption of Chodosh in Chutz LaAretz?

Are there are any Sefardic Posekim that permit the consumption of Chodosh in Chutz LaAretz just like the Ashkenazim's Heterim? Preferably Aharonim or contemporaries.
6
votes
2answers
294 views

what are the origins of the requirement for a minyan?

From what is the requirement for ten adult Jewish males for certain prayers derived? I kind of assumed this may be in some way related to Abraham's struggle to find the righteous males in the cities ...
6
votes
2answers
293 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?
6
votes
2answers
183 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.
6
votes
2answers
98 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 ...
6
votes
4answers
137 views

Concept that time is a spiral

I've heard that there is a concept in Judaism of time in a spiral, but I'm not sure where that idea originally comes from (specifically, which Rabbi originally said it). The earliest I've found is Rav ...
6
votes
1answer
260 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 ...
6
votes
1answer
127 views

What is the origin of the dispute on which way to wrap tefilin shel yad?

Non-Chasidic Ashkenazim wrap their tefilin shel yad inward toward the body when coming over the top of the arm, while Sefardim and Chasidim wrap outward away from the body when coming over the top of ...
6
votes
2answers
170 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 ...
6
votes
1answer
160 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?
6
votes
2answers
151 views

“Tzon k'doshim!” ―“Baa!”: source/provenance

In some synagogues, on Simchas Tora, someone will shout "Tzon k'doshim!", meaning "holy sheep/goats", or "Tzon kadashim!", meaning "sheep/goats of sacrificial-offering sanctity". He's replied to with ...
6
votes
4answers
173 views

Marrying a wife that is older than you?

What is there in the Torah about (lichatchila) marrying a wife that is years older than you?
6
votes
3answers
179 views

Sources discussing paying for Torah education

I am looking for sources that discuss the idea of paying tuition money ("schar limud") towards obtaining a Torah education. Topics of interest include: The importance of paying tuition for Torah; ...
6
votes
2answers
644 views

A Convert taking on customs of ashkanazim or sephardim

When someone converts is there any determining factor on what minhagim (customs) they will take upon themselves in terms of Ashkanazim or Sephardim? Should it be dependent on the Beis Din they ...
6
votes
1answer
177 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 ...
6
votes
1answer
203 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
1answer
92 views

Why recite the fourth Berachah of Bentching in a case of doubt?

If someone is in doubt whether or not to Bentch, we take the strict approach and require the person to Bentch, as it is a Biblical requirement (see here), unlike most Berachoth, for which the rule is ...