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

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649 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
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3answers
286 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
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2answers
150 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
270 views

Where is the source not to walk over someone because it stops him growing?

I have been brought up with the belief not to walk over someone because it can stunt their growth. Can anyone else here say where they have also heard of this? If yeah, where is the source?
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1answer
59 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 ...
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2answers
198 views

Source for not having picture taken

Is there any source, halachic or otherwise, for an aversion to having one's picture taken?
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3answers
427 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?
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3answers
129 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 ...
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1answer
73 views

What's the source that Rabbi Akiva's students stopped passing away on Lag BaOmer?

The source of Rabbi Akiva's students passing away during Sefira is from the Gemara in Yevamos 62b רבי יהושע אומר נשא אדם אשה בילדותו ישא אשה בזקנותו היו לו בנים בילדותו יהיו לו בנים בזקנותו שנא' ...
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5answers
295 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.
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1answer
94 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 ...
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1answer
368 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 ...
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2answers
197 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 ...
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1answer
163 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 ...
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3answers
361 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.
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1answer
159 views

Aristotle eating Aiver Min HaChai

I heard there is a Rambam that mentions that Aristotle ate Aiver Min HaChai. I am looking for both the source in the Rambam and any earlier sources that could have been the basis for this.
5
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1answer
97 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
482 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?
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1answer
76 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?
5
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1answer
143 views

Why do we sit in the sukkah in the autumn?

I remember hearing at some point that there's a disagreement between the Ashkenazi and Sefardi rishonim regarding why we sit in the sukkah in the autumn: Ashkenaz - Because we love God, so we go out ...
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2answers
116 views

Should the shaliach tzibbur wear a talis to say the 13 middos ?

The Gemoro in Rosh Hashono 17b says that HKB”H put on a talis like a shaliach tzibbur and taught Moshe the 13 middos and said whenever Israel sins they should perform before Me according to this ...
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1answer
66 views

Did Rav Saadiah Gaon really phrase the bracha as “Sim shalom b'olam . . .”?

In Or Hadash, the commentary on Siddur Sim Shalom (the American Conservative siddur), it states that the nineteenth bracha of the Amidah was intentionally reworded from the the standard ...שׂים ...
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3answers
2k 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?
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1answer
138 views

Shechita for chicken

What is the halachic source requiring us to ritually slaughter chicken specifically, and was there ever a time in history that Halachic Jews ate chicken without first performing ritual slaughter?
5
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1answer
123 views

Source for how Agag had a child after being captured

Many years ago when I learned the story of King Shaul and Agag I recall learning that the Amalekites were master sorcerers and that the way King Agag was able to perpetuate his line was by cohabiting ...
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1answer
83 views

From where do we learn that strangulation is the default execution method?

I've seen mention in various places, including a quick search of Bavli Sanhedrin, that when the torah doesn't specify a method of execution in a capital case, the method is strangulation. I see a lot ...
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3answers
258 views

Are there forms of Jewish mysticism outside of kabbalah?

Is kabbalah the one and only form (source?) of Jewish mysticism?
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1answer
82 views

Chafez Chayim checked copies of (which) books?

I've heard that the Chafetz Chayim inspected each page of each printed copy of the Mishna B'rura to be sure that it was printed correctly (with no large ink splotches or the like). Is there a ...
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2answers
84 views

Source For Ahavat Chinam; Unwaranted Love

I have often heard the term Ahavat Chinam unwarranted love referenced as the antidote to sinat chinam unwarranted hate. What are the earliest sources for this (first) expression, particularly in the ...
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1answer
97 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. ...
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2answers
112 views

Call and response in Sephardic communal prayers

Why does there tend to be more call and response in Sephardi communal prayer in comparison with Ashkenazi minyanim e.g. saying pesukei d'zimra in unison. Also, during the repetition of the shemoneh ...
5
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1answer
316 views

What is the source for taanit dibur?

I recall meeting someone on Yom Kippur once who would not respond when I spoke to him. Instead he handed me a piece of paper which said that he was engaged in a taanit dibur, a 'fast' where that which ...
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1answer
189 views

What is the source for a Bar Mitzva seuda?

What sources are there for our minhag of doing a Bar Mitzva Seuda (meal), and do the sources state that the seuda must specifically be done on the day of the Bar Mitzva (or the night of)? And is this ...
5
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1answer
523 views

Tzitzit tying: the real way

1)There are two authentic ways to tie the Sisit (Tzitzis) that have sources. Maran writes to make 7-9-11-13. First question: why does he write this is he then says Gimtarya Hashem is One, when in fact ...
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2answers
206 views

Science of the Rishonim on “celestial spheres”

In the writings of the Rishonim, it is not uncommon to see explanations of pesukim or of aggadic concepts using the "celestial spheres" model of the universe. The Rambam in particular uses the idea ...
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1answer
133 views

Where is the Rabbinic prohibition of tattoos discussed?

According to the gemara in Makkos 21a, it seems that the biblical prohibition of tattoos only extends to tattoos made for religious purpose. However, the vast majority of poskim all seem to imply that ...
5
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1answer
305 views

Why are wedding invitation abbreviated b'rachos different for males and females?

Many wedding invitations written in Hebrew that I've seen have the abbreviations נ"י - after the groom's name - and תחי'‏ - after the bride's name. (Example) Sometimes they are slight alterations ...
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3answers
130 views

Amailut (trying hard/ toiling) to learn Torah

What's the source for amailut (trying hard/ toiling) to learn Torah? Is there any benefit to try learning Torah on your own without help, when you can learn Torah through asking others and looking ...
5
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1answer
62 views

“For Zion's sake” - Where in the liturgy?

Is Isaiah 62:1 found anywhere in the liturgy? I seem to remember a reference or two in Selichot, but I can't find it there now, nor can I find it anywhere else.
5
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1answer
275 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 ...
5
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2answers
307 views

Is there a source that the Messiah can die and return?

Is there a source in Judaism that indicates that Moshiach (Ben David, not Ben Yosef) will die before having fulfilled his role and then return to posthumously achieve it?
5
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1answer
74 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?
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1answer
59 views

What's the source that worldwide acceptance of psak makes it binding forever?

The Rambam writes in the introduction to Mishna Torah נמצא רבינא ורב אשי וחבריהם, סוף גדולי חכמי ישראל המעתיקים תורה שבעל פה, ושגזרו גזירות והתקינו תקנות והנהיגו מנהגות ופשטו גזירותם ותקנותם ...
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3answers
122 views

What does Judaism say about meditation?

According to recent scientific studies, it has been found that regular meditation has various benefits such as better focus, reduced levels of stress, etc. Knowing that the roots of meditation comes ...
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1answer
40 views

Comprehensive treatments of the prohibition of bribery

I would like to educate myself about the nature and scope of the Biblical prohibition of "bribery" ("Shochad") and any associated Rabbinic prohibitions, as well as any derived ethical principles. I am ...
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1answer
99 views

Alternative Approaches to Prophetic Follow Through

This question discusses differences between positive and negative prophecy. The mentioned idea states that, while positive prophecy will always occur, negative prophecy may be negated by repentance. ...
5
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1answer
94 views

Source for prohibition to listen to music during the 3 weeks

What is the earliest source for the prohibition to listen to music during the 3 weeks? Is there any dispute as to the timeframe of the prohibition (only 9 days, week of etc.)?
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1answer
48 views

Who wrote the “Seder Vehilchos Korban pesach rishon beketzarah”

In Pesachim 57b (right before the 5th chapter) there is a page containing a summery of laws pertaining to the Korban Pesach. Who wrote it?
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1answer
111 views

Where was it first said that “The generation is diminishing and diminishing”? (הדור הולך ופוחת)

in Hebrew we have an adage that says “הדור הולך ופוחת” ("Hador holekh wepocheth"), meaning “the generation is getting more and more diminished", which may have meant that there are fewer and fewer new ...
5
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1answer
160 views

(Seeking Original Source in Yechave Daas ) Limiting instances of doing something 3 times becoming a neder

According to Harav Musafi Shelit"a (Q&A 74259) (and I'm sure earlier sources), if you do a "Hanhaga Tova - good deed" three times you need Hatarat Nedarim. I believe Harav Ovadia Shelit"a in his ...