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

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7
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1answer
359 views

Customs surrounding fasting when a sefer torah falls to the floor?

Based on this question I would like to know what the earliest source for fasting when a sefer torah falls comes from? Is is true that if a person is in the room but turns away so as not to see it fall,...
7
votes
1answer
147 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
63 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
78 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
172 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
352 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
243 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
260 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
113 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
246 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
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1answer
391 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 ...
7
votes
2answers
127 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
242 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
184 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
3answers
376 views

List of people in Tanach

Can I find anywhere a comprehensive list of every single person that is mentioned in Tanach. Including somewhat "biographical" information, who they were, family, what they did, how they fit into ...
6
votes
6answers
489 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
5answers
2k views

Is there a reason to cover your yawn?

My 9th grade Rebbi told us that we have to cover our mouths when we yawn to avoid evil spirits entering our bodies. Is there any source that says this? If not, is there any other Jewish reason, ...
6
votes
2answers
633 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?
6
votes
4answers
263 views

How/why does kaparot work?

The ritual of kaparot [lit. atonement], which is usually done just prior to Yom Kippur (usually the day before), where one waves a chicken or an [unspecified] amount of money over one's head in a ...
6
votes
1answer
324 views

Source for eulogy of lost bookcases

I recall learning a gemarah (Bavli) where a certain scholar passed away and when another scholar was asked to eulogize him he responded with something akin to, "What should I say? We lost our ...
6
votes
3answers
664 views

Source for the prohibition against Nivul Peh (foul mouth)

What is the source for the prohibition against Nivul Peh (using foul language)? Is it Biblical? Rabbinic? "Asmachta" (based on a principle derived from the Torah but ultimately not considered a ...
6
votes
3answers
258 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
1answer
552 views

Waiting after using the bathroom before having relations

Where is it brought down that one should wait after going to the bathroom and before having relations. I have heard this before and 2 reasons given. One is that because of the "ruach rah" in the ...
6
votes
2answers
393 views

What is Ruach Rah

Right in the beginning of Shulchan Aruch we see this idea of "Ruach Rah". In regards to washing ones hands and all that comes before that -- not walking more than 4 amos without washing one's hands, ...
6
votes
4answers
583 views

Source that we don't know how God judges people

I wrote in this answer, "We can't possibly know how God judges people after they die." I was making the point that the way we live our lives should be according to halacha but we can't possibly know ...
6
votes
2answers
112 views

Source that “Teiku” References Eliyahu?

What is the earliest source that indicates that "teiku" (תיקו) references Eliyahu? Any source earlier than the Tosafos Yom Tov who provides an alternative explanation?
6
votes
2answers
566 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
136 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
1answer
360 views

If I knew Him I would be Him

Anyone know the source of the phrase "If I knew Him I would be Him," and its meaning? (heard it a few times though don't recall where. rumors abound that the rambam said this though have never seen a ...
6
votes
3answers
255 views

Palm-reading in Judaism

Are there Jewish sources which affirm the validity of the art of palm-reading? If yes, how does this work. i.e. what is the underlying idea behind it. (the reason I ask, is because I actually met ...
6
votes
2answers
264 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
1answer
87 views

Mordechai's ban on going to Achashveirosh's party

Is there a source that Mordechai banned or prohibited the Jews from going to Achashveirosh's party?
6
votes
1answer
375 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
1answer
101 views

Removing Yarmulka last when undressing (source)

I have noticed that some people remove their Yarmulka last when undressing and wear it first when dressing. Is this custom mentioned anywhere?
6
votes
2answers
181 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
3answers
4k views

Is whisky matured in a sherry cask Kosher?

Is whisky matured in a sherry cask Kosher? I know there is a Machlokes about this. Who holds what?
6
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4answers
413 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
1answer
157 views

What sources did people use to support Shabbtai Tsvi's messianism after he died?

I can understand the appeal of a messiah in 1600s Eastern Europe. I can understand that we want a messiah and we're willing to accept one, whether it be Bar Kochva or Shabbtai Tsvi. But on what ...
6
votes
3answers
278 views

Are there forms of Jewish mysticism outside of kabbalah?

Is kabbalah the one and only form (source?) of Jewish mysticism?
6
votes
1answer
228 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 ...
6
votes
2answers
57 views

Sources for Rambam

Is there a commentary on Mishneh Torah that connects the Rambam's words to his source in the gemara? I'm looking for something similar to the Be'er Hagola to the Shulhan Arukh, or an inverse En ...
6
votes
5answers
119 views

Do you have to know kol ha Torah kula?

Is there a requirement for a Jewish man to know the whole Torah (including every gemara, tosafot, Midrasch…) or is it OK to know the Halacha that is relevant to you and then to use the rest of ...
6
votes
3answers
167 views

Is every fourth step in EY a mitzvah?

i've heard a rav saying that every fourth step you do in Eretz Yisrael is considered a mitzva. does someone have a sources for this?
6
votes
3answers
321 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
1answer
156 views

What's this about a magical spitting bird?

In Christopher Hitchens's memoir Hitch 22, this passage caught my eye: In her preface to his collection of essays The Non-Jewish Jew Tamara Deutscher, widow of the great Isaac, relates the story ...
6
votes
1answer
65 views

Who added on the words לאלתר לחיים טובים ולשלום to the greeting לשנה טובה תכתב ותחתם?

Orach Chaim 582:9 - The Rama brings in the name of the Tur that on Rosh Hashana one should bless his friend & family לשנה טובה תכתב. Be'er Hataiv says that one should say לשנה טובה תכתב ותחתם. ...
6
votes
4answers
139 views

History of Shabbat: how (or) did they count to align with 7th day of creation?

The Torah (Exodus 20:8-11) commands: ח: זָכוֹר אֶת יוֹם הַשַּׁבָּת לְקַדְּשׁוֹ: ט: שֵׁשֶׁת יָמִים תַּעֲבֹד וְעָשִׂיתָ כָּל מְלַאכְתֶּךָ: י: וְיוֹם הַשְּׁבִיעִי שַׁבָּת לַה' אֱלֹקיךָ לֹא תַעֲשֶׂה ...
6
votes
1answer
124 views

The Gra finished the Torah?

I heard from a friend that he read that the Vilna Gaon did a Sium on the Torah. Not just the חמישה חומשי תורה, but that he basically claimed that he finished all there is to learn in Jewish studies. ...
6
votes
1answer
254 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
151 views

Which rishon allows women to appear without hair covering in front of less than three men in her own home?

I remember reading of an opinion that allows married women not to cover their hair when they are in their own home in the presence of three men or less. I cannot remember the source though and would ...