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

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207 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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2answers
102 views

Rav Moshe and Giving Your Time for Charity

I recall hearing that Rav Moshe Feinstein rules that one should donate a tenth of his time to learn with other Jews, in addition to the more commonly accepted 'tithe' of money. The only source I was ...
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1answer
177 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.
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329 views

Source of “Legitimate pleasures” quote

A quote that sometimes appears on the internet is the following: "Everyone will be called to account for all the legitimate pleasures which he or she has failed to enjoy." It is usually attributed ...
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1answer
103 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 ...
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683 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
77 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?
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145 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
123 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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86 views

Is there a deadline for Asher yatzar [duplicate]

I know there is a deadline for brochois after a meal (until hungry again, 72 min). But if one did not say Asher yatzar, for how much time can one say it? What are the sources on this subject?
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110 views

Honey on Hallah for Newlyweds?

A friend stumped me with this question: What is the earliest reference to the custom of having newlyweds dip their hallah in honey? My guess is that it's an extension from the custom of honey on Rosh ...
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1answer
79 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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1answer
222 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?
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1answer
128 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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2answers
194 views

Origin of the Escalator analogy

What is the origin of the escalator analogy of always striving for growth? I'm referring to the analogy that, in life, like a person climbing a downward escalator, if one is not constantly striving ...
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1answer
88 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
515 views

How do we know that God does not take human form?

Christianity believes that God takes human shape in the form of Jesus, and comes down to earth as a man. Of course, Jews do not believe that God ever takes the shape of a human, but how do we know ...
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1answer
83 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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91 views

Source for Modeh Ani

What is the earliest source that says that one should recite the short prayer of thanks known as "modeh ani" when one gets up in the morning?
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3answers
122 views

How much time should one spend on learning Torah a day

If one is awake sixteen out of 24 hours a day , how much should he learn out of those hours. Sources are appreciated .
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2answers
149 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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2answers
118 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 ...
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1answer
474 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
250 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 ...
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1answer
614 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
212 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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85 views

What were the Rambam's sources?

In the introduction to the Mishneh Torah, the Rambam indicates that his compilation of the entire Oral Torah is derived from a few key Jewish texts: ואין צריך לומר הגמרא עצמה הבבלית והירושלמית ...
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1answer
138 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 ...
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3answers
146 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 ...
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1answer
49 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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63 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.
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2answers
316 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?
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1answer
128 views

Source text behind Rabbinic view on Dinah, Simeon, and Shaul noted in Jewish Encyclopedia

Regarding Dinah, the Jewish Encyclopedia states (bolding added by me): —In Rabbinical Literature: Dinah is blamed for the affair with Shechem because she "went out" (Gen. xxxiv. 1), and her ...
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1answer
83 views

Earliest Sources To Avoid Pronouncing the Name 'Samael'

What are the earliest explicit sources that reference the practice of not pronouncing the name 'Samael'? I ask since I have heard many people doing this. It is referenced here: http://www.yeshiva.org....
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1answer
71 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
170 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
44 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
101 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. ...
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1answer
99 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
112 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 ...
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1answer
167 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 ...
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2answers
101 views

Has anyone derived meaning from candle flame?

Since Hanukkah, I have been attracted to the 'character' displayed by the flame of a candle. Even on Shabbat I have witnessed differences between two candles in how they burn (starting from any ...
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1answer
174 views

Source for saying Shir Hama'alos but not Al Naharos Bavel

I have noticed that most people say Shir Hamaalos before bentching at their Shabbos and Yom Tov seudos. However, I have noticed very few people say Al Naharos Bavel before bentching on a weekday. As ...
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320 views

Laws regarding excessive conversation while dating

In speaking with a friend regarding conversation between men and women who are dating, this is what they said: So I asked someone who knows about these things and she said that it originates from ...
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1answer
161 views

Source of Gentiles given sports to distract them from harming Jews

I heard a long time ago from a high-school rebbe of mine that G-d gave Gentiles sports / athletics to distract them from attacking Jews. What is the source of this concept?
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2answers
386 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
255 views

How much must be eaten from the lechem mishneh

Inspired by following 2 questions: Not eating from the Lechem Mishnah Challah Loaves on Shabbat have a minimum size? When eating a Shabbos Seudah how much must the ones that are being yotzee from ...
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1answer
451 views

Minhag not to learn Torah on the night of Nitel (Who and where)

This related question explains what this minhag is and a couple of reasons for it. I was wondering to what extent is this minhag practiced today apart from Chabad (see Hayom Yom - 17 Tevet)? Do all ...
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1answer
412 views

What is the source for Rambam's “physician's oath”?

A physician friend pointed out to me the Rambam's "physician's oath" (it doesn't look like an oath per se, but that's what it's called), which begins (in English): The eternal providence has ...
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1answer
202 views

Which of Moshe Chaim Luzzatto's works influenced Chassidut, Mussar, and Haskalah?

In Dovid Cohen (known as Rav Ha-Nazir)'s Wikipedia page, the following idea is attributed to him: He saw in Moses Hayyim Luzzatto the harbinger of this redemption, pointing out that the three ...