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

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6
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4answers
270 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
232 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
231 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
110 views

Source for # times chai?

I often see donation requests with amounts in multiples of $18. I would like to know the source for giving charity of the numeric value of the Hebrew word chai (18) and its multiples.
6
votes
1answer
96 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 ...
6
votes
1answer
207 views

Custom of not eating by other people on Pesach

There is a custom that many have to not eat by other peoples houses on Pesach. Seemingly it's even if they have the same chumras or perhaps even more chumras (what I've learned over time is not ...
6
votes
2answers
260 views

Exact model of the Beis Hamikdash?

There is a "classic" model of the Beis Hamikdash (I think it's from the HolyLand model). Are there any sources for the decisions taken in the model (for example, what components were done based on ...
6
votes
1answer
232 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 ...
6
votes
1answer
201 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?
6
votes
2answers
94 views

Where does throwing apples comes from

There are some videos of chassidic rebbes throwing apples. I am aware of the concept of shirayim but I would like to know why the apples are thrown specifically instead of handed out. I'm also ...
6
votes
1answer
110 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 ...
6
votes
1answer
348 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 ...
6
votes
2answers
74 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 ...
6
votes
1answer
103 views

Where does this midrash (for Vayetze) come from?

Yeshayahu Leibowitz, in his book, Accepting the Yoke of Heaven, quotes a midrash before concluding his parsha analysis: All those things which Jacob wished to refrain from, came upon him. He ...
6
votes
3answers
197 views

Custom of Rov speaking before Krias HaTorah on Shabbos

I've been in a number of shuls where the Rov of the shul will get up before Krias HaTorah on Shabbos and say some sort of "drasha". Sometimes it was connected to the parsha or inyunei d'yoma (i.e. ...
6
votes
1answer
130 views

“Nahhat Ruahh l'Yotzro” source

At the end of מוסף לשבת in דרכי אבות השלם (p. 375), a quotation is written in the name of רבי יהודה: אמר רבי יהודה: אשרי מי שעמלו בתורה ועושה נחת רוח ליוצרו Can anyone help me find the exact ...
6
votes
3answers
304 views

Drawing with ink on your skin

Shalom, I have heard many times that there is a problem with drawing on your skin with ink. Can anyone provide sources on the topic? I would like to know things like what issur this falls under and ...
6
votes
0answers
59 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. ...
6
votes
0answers
34 views

Can the Mishnah be interpreted according to both peshat and drash?

There's a statement attributed to the Vilna Gaon (quoted in the introduction to Binas Mikra and in several other places) that the Mishnah can be interpreted through 'derash' and 'peshat', just like ...
6
votes
0answers
41 views

Did Prof. Rabbi Umberto Cassuto have any insight behind the biblical character Yehudah?

I am the great grandson of Umberto Cassuto, Benyamin Enzo Rocca, and 5 days ago my wife and I were blessed with a son (3rd child). With his upcoming bris in a few days I would like to know if anyone ...
6
votes
0answers
91 views

What is the source for Rav Soloveitchik's assertion that 1st Century Christians introduced mixed seating for prayers?

In the collection of Rav Soloveitchik’s responsa Community, Covenant and Commitment, there is a series of letters railing against mixed seating in the synagogue. Amongst the points raised there is a ...
6
votes
1answer
147 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 ...
6
votes
0answers
284 views

Origin of the allegory of the long spoons

A common version of the allegory of the long spoons tells how Rabbi Hayim Elhanan ben Yehudah Leyb Tsedek or Tzadikov (*1813, ✡1883) of Rumšiškės went to see the difference between Heaven and Hell. ...
6
votes
0answers
105 views

Minhag of bothering the chazzan on Simchas Torah

I have seen the custom of bothering the chazzan during the musaf service on Simchas Torah. I have seen people tie the chazzan's gartel to a chair, or try to move the chazzan to a diffrent place. I ...
6
votes
2answers
211 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
259 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 ...
5
votes
1answer
178 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
310 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 ...
5
votes
1answer
101 views

When is the Halacha like Raba and when like Abaye?

I've run across variations of the following: קיימא לן דהלכתא כרבא בכל מקום פרט ליע"ל קג"ם That the halacha is like Raba in every place in the Talmud except six place where it is like Abaye. The ...
5
votes
2answers
162 views

What is a source that allows one to treat one's house as all within four amos?

I am after a source that allows one to treat one's house as all within four amos l'chatchila, with respect to nagel vasser (hand washing in the morning).
5
votes
2answers
626 views

What's the source for naming children after Alexander the Great?

I know many Jews whose actual bris-given name is Alexander, and this has been a popular name even among great tzaddikim of the past (such as R. Alexander Ziskind). I've heard a legend (mentioned on ...
5
votes
2answers
88 views

Where can I find the Rav's hesped for R Chaim Ozer Grodzinsky?

I am looking for the text (in Hebrew) of R' JB Soloveitchik's hesped for R' Chaim Ozer Grozhinsky, unofficially titled "HaTzitz vehaChoshen" which was written before RJBS broke away from Agudah.
5
votes
4answers
255 views

Do a mitzva for mashiach?

I recently saw in The Moshiach Times, a popular Chabad-Lubavitch publication for children, an exhortation to "do a mitzvah for moshiach": to do a mitzva with the specific purpose of hastening the ...
5
votes
3answers
240 views

Why is Moshe (mostly) absent from the haggadah?

Somebody asked at my seder this year why Moshe is largely absent from the magid. I have heard that the reason is because we're supposed to focus on God, and also that Moshe was very humble and there ...
5
votes
2answers
132 views

Ari Zal and Sefira

Many people do not take a hair cut until the end of Sefira (including Lag B'Omer) because of a position of the Ari Zal. Where is the Ari Zal? What is the source for this? Did the strigency of the Ari ...
5
votes
1answer
56 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 ...
5
votes
2answers
188 views

Source for not having picture taken

Is there any source, halachic or otherwise, for an aversion to having one's picture taken?
5
votes
1answer
149 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?
5
votes
3answers
396 views

Source that Avraham's tent was open on all sides?

What is the source for the idea (I recall learning as a child) that Avraham's tent was open on all 4 directions to welcome guests?
5
votes
3answers
117 views

Source of Midrash regarding Yaakov's saying Shema

There is a famous Rashi in Parashat Vayigash (46:29) where Rashi explains that Yaakov didn't cry on Yosef's shoulders because he was reciting Shema. He cryptically quotes this in the name of ...
5
votes
5answers
268 views

Do Animals Have an Afterlife

What does Torah say about an afterlife for animals? Is there somewhere animals go after they die? Please include the sources of your answers.
5
votes
1answer
82 views

Is there any concept of “troubling” G-d?

Is there any idea mentioned on Judaism of not wanting to "trouble" G-d with something too trivial? Obviously, G-d is infinite, and it's no more trouble for Him to do a thousand things than it is to do ...
5
votes
1answer
323 views

What is the original source that a soul is split in half before conception?

Does anyone knew of the original source (from a sefer) for the idea in this quote: "According to Jewish thought, a husband and wife were originally one soul before birth, split into two halves when ...
5
votes
7answers
310 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 ...
5
votes
2answers
190 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 ...
5
votes
1answer
155 views

Why is the Miracle of Oil mentioned so much later than records of Chanukah celebrations?

The miracle of oil isn't really mentioned until the Talmud, and is absent from all earlier sources for Chanukah like the Books of Maccabees, Josephus, and others. I have seen historians claim that ...
5
votes
3answers
335 views

The Western wall (Kotel Hamaravi) forever

What is the source that the western wall of har habayis will never be destroyed? I remember learning it somewhere and heard it numerous times but forgot the source.
5
votes
1answer
87 views

Not eating chametz in Eretz Yisrael on “Achron shel Pesach”

I heard that there is a letter from the Rebbe Rashab (Chabad) that one shouldn't eat chametz on Achron Shel Pesach when they are in Eretz Yisrael (even if they are keeping only one-day Yom Tov.) I ...
5
votes
1answer
375 views

Whence is the idea that the deceased is a meilitz yosher?

At funerals I have often heard it said that the deceased should be a meilitz yosher (one who relates rectitude). Where does this idea come from?
5
votes
1answer
73 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?