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

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8
votes
1answer
121 views

Beer at a Shalom Zachor

There is a common custom I have observed to serve beer at a Shalom Zachor. This is also mentioned here with some speculation about the source. What is the source for this practice?
8
votes
1answer
172 views

what is the source for the artscroll sidur?

what is the mesorah for the artscoll ashkenaz siddur? Is this the same nusach ashkenaz that was used in previous generations?
8
votes
2answers
164 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 ...
7
votes
2answers
406 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
4answers
596 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?
7
votes
2answers
193 views

Metzudat Tzion on the Torah

Was there a Metzudat Tzion written on the Torah? If so, does anyone know if it is available online or for sale? I always loved this commentary as it explained the hard words on the Nach.
7
votes
2answers
570 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 ...
7
votes
3answers
180 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
1answer
171 views

Where does the Maharsha mention the Bermuda Triangle?

Someone once told me that the Maharsha talks about Bermuda Triangle in meseches berachos. Does anyone know where the Maharsha speaks about it?
7
votes
5answers
335 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
2answers
537 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 ...
7
votes
1answer
304 views

Where does the Tiferes Yisroel discuss Edward Jenner and smallpox?

I've heard repeatedly that the Tiferes Yisroel describes Dr. Edward Jenner as a righteous gentile for developing the smallpox inoculation -- where is that quote, please?
7
votes
5answers
259 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
3answers
110 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
147 views

Why do many boys begin learning Gemara with Elu Metzios?

There is a popular custom for boys to start their Gemara studies with Elu Metzios (the 2nd Perek in Bava Metzia). The Gemara (Bava Basra 175b) does say that financial laws are conducive to becoming ...
7
votes
2answers
460 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
6answers
489 views

Sources for/about breaking a plate at a wedding

Are you aware of any literature that either provides a source for or discusses the significance of the two mothers breaking a plate at the "Tisch" at a wedding? It's not hard to find mentions of this ...
7
votes
3answers
421 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 ...
7
votes
1answer
258 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
3answers
206 views

Tachanun on Yahrtzeit

Where does the custom not to say Tachanun on a Yahrtzeit come from?
7
votes
2answers
64 views

Tu b'Shvat Prayers by R' Yehuda Halevi (Gaon)

A number of years ago, they discovered in the Cairo Geniza a number of Piyutim and Prayers for Shemonah Esrei, to be included on Tu b'Shvat. I found this item listed on a Cairo Geniza database, but ...
7
votes
1answer
216 views

Ring and kiddushin

Where did the concept of the chosson (groom) giving the kallah (bride) a ring, specifically, for kiddushin (i.e. under the chuppah) come from?
7
votes
3answers
182 views

Why is Techiyas HaMeisim not explicitly mentioned in the Torah?

Since believing that Techiyas HaMeisim is part of the Torah is a fundamental of Judaism (Mishna Sanhedrin Perek HaChelek, although the Rambam Hilchos Teshuva Chapter 3 doesn't emphasize the believing ...
7
votes
4answers
320 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 ...
7
votes
1answer
139 views

Is the metamorphosis of a caterpillar into a butterfly mentioned anywhere in Rabbinic literature?

My late great grandfather was a torah scholar, but with all his learning, he never knew that a caterpillar metamorphoses into a butterfly. He was amazed when someone told him about the common ...
7
votes
3answers
346 views

Did the Men of the Great Assembly Canonize Tanach?

Many Jewish websites, (Aish, Jewish History, Ou), state that the the Men of the Great Assembly finalized the contents of Tanach in the early Second Temple Period. No source is brought to support this ...
7
votes
1answer
222 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
60 views

Hakhel: Source for leader of generation replacing king

As this is (or would be) a hakhel year I was doing some reading up on Hakhel and came across the following statement in a chabad.org article: If there is no king – as was the case in the hundreds ...
7
votes
2answers
151 views

What is the valley of deep darkness (or shadow of death) in Psalm 23?

In Tehillim 23, David says "Even when I walk in the valley of darkness, I will fear no evil for You are with me". Someone asked me if this "valley of darkness" is metaphorical or physical and, either ...
7
votes
3answers
144 views

What is the source for untying things before going under the chuppah?

At a wedding recently I saw that the grooms shoes were untied, someone explained to me that there is a custom to make sure there are no knots under the chuppah. Where does this come from?
7
votes
2answers
120 views

Halachot of IVF

Does anyone know of any good teshuvas or sefers giving an overview of the halacha of in-vitro fertilization IVF? (Feel free to also give overviews in your answers, but I'd appreciate links to the ...
7
votes
2answers
175 views

Shechting non-Kosher animals

The question was asked: If someone for example is sick and must eat from a non-kosher animal. Must it be shechted (slaughtered) first like a kosher animal? I don't see any reason why it should, since ...
7
votes
2answers
1k 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 ...
7
votes
1answer
326 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 ...
7
votes
2answers
211 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
1answer
264 views

Why does one have to put on Tefillin every day?

Technically, one should wear Tefillin all day. We don't, since we can't keep ourselves clean the whole day. But we still put it on once a day during Shacharis, since we can presumably keep ourselves ...
7
votes
1answer
163 views

Why do the mothers break the plate?

At a wedding [or by the engagement], a plate is customarily broken at the "tena'im." This has already been discussed over here. As I have seen at weddings, and as is brought over here the custom is ...
7
votes
1answer
113 views

Whose minhag does a Kalla follow in neiros shabbos and mikvah?

I was told by my mother-in-law that my wife should follow all of my minhagim except for shabbat candle lighting and mikveh, for which she will follow her mother's. Is there any halachic authority who ...
7
votes
1answer
56 views

Does anyone have any resources on voluntary prayer/tefillah n'dava?

I was recently learning Rambam's hilchot tefilah from Mishneh Torah. After outlining the five kinds of statutory recitiations of the Amidah, he states that just as an individual (but not the tzibur) ...
7
votes
1answer
77 views

Source that “Yehi Khevod” should be said with special intensity

Some editions of the ArtScroll siddur have the following instruction before Yehi Khevod (in pesukei dezimra): The following prayer should be recited with special intensity. What is the source ...
7
votes
1answer
166 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
255 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
238 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
248 views

No mitzvah to wear tefillin every day?

I heard that the Bet HaLevi and the Peri Megadim hold that there is no Mitzva for a person to don Tefilin everyday. Can someone source these opinions and explain exactly what they are meaning to say?
7
votes
1answer
103 views

Massacre of Baalei Tosafos

There is a famous story about the Baalei Tosafos using their own blood to write their pirush on the chapter Merubah in Bava Kamma before they were massacred. Is there a source for this?
7
votes
1answer
106 views

Why do we say pesukim from Hoshea after donning tefillin?

In the standard Artscroll Ashkenazik siddur, after wrapping the tefillin around one's fingers it says to say the following pesukim from Hoshea 2:21-22 וְאֵרַשְׂתִּיךְ לִי, לְעוֹלָם; ...
7
votes
1answer
232 views

What is déjà vu?

Déjà vu is the strong feeling that one has already experienced a particular situation, while that situation is occurring. Theories abound as regards what it is, what causes it and what possible ...
7
votes
2answers
115 views

What's the source that a Cheresh, Shoteh and Kattan are free from Mitzvos?

There are three categories of people who are free from doing Mitzvas: Cheresh - a deaf-mute Shoteh - a mentally incompetent person Kattan - a child. How do we know that they aren't liable for ...
7
votes
1answer
233 views

Rambam claiming some of Hazal were superstitious

I forgot where, but I remember reading the Rambam z"l saying that some Hazal believed in superstitions, ideas such as ayeen haro because they lived in small villages with lack of science, and ...
7
votes
1answer
182 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. ...