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

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3
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2answers
158 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 ...
1
vote
2answers
239 views

Source for the Baal Shem Tov's idea of seeing one's own flaw in others?

I recently heard the following story a few times and was wondering if anyone had a source for the story. The story is that the Baal Shem Tov said that if you see a fellow Jew breaking Shabbos it ...
10
votes
0answers
202 views

What is the source of the expression המבין יבין?

The Forward writer Philologos in his most recent column claimed that the earliest uses of the expression והמבין יבין are found in the Ra'avad and in the Radak. Based on the fact that both these ...
0
votes
0answers
47 views

Examining the Zav

Does anyone know of any rabbinic sources (Talmudic/midrashic) that indicate that a Zav would go to a halakhic authority to be examined regarding his Zivah?
5
votes
1answer
76 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 ...
6
votes
1answer
406 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 ...
1
vote
1answer
45 views

French and Italian are Related: Linguistic Knowledge in the 12th-14th Centuries

In this answer to a question that concerned the ways in which languages change and evolve, @SethJ made reference to a sugya that discusses the differences between different dialects of Aramaic, and a ...
4
votes
4answers
380 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 ...
2
votes
2answers
388 views

Taking a shower after mikveh for men - where is the Ari source that one shouldn't?

A previous question discusses whether men should avoid showering after using the Mikveh. I have heard specifically that the Ari Z"l frowned upon this. Can anyone please quote the source, if one does ...
2
votes
1answer
80 views

chassan/kallah signing the kesubah or tenaaim

I have seen bridegrooms and brides sign their names on their kesuba or tenaaim (prenup) before the chuppah (wedding ceremony). It seems maybe to be a chassidish custom, though I'm not sure. Is there ...
5
votes
4answers
247 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 ...
4
votes
1answer
125 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 ...
6
votes
1answer
155 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 ...
8
votes
1answer
101 views

Source for shuls flying in yemos hamoshiach?

My son mentioned to me that he learned in school that when Moshiach comes all the shuls (and schools?) will miraculously fly to Eretz Yisroel. What is the source of this idea?
3
votes
1answer
88 views

A reference to the soul of a Tzaddik like an eyelash in milk

I know that somewhere in something I have read there is a comment that someone (Yaakov avinu?) was so spiritually pure/holy that his soul did not cling to the earthly shell that was his body but came ...
5
votes
2answers
131 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 ...
2
votes
1answer
90 views

Location in Ohr Sameach of discussion of the nature of a messenger for a get

I've heard there is a discussion in the Ohr Sameach regarding when someone appoints a shliach (messenger) to divorce his wife, whether the person must use his own klaf (parchment) to write the get on ...
3
votes
1answer
278 views

Source for “Ben Adam Lemakom” and “Ben Adam Lechavero”

Where does the concept of Ben Adam Lemakom and Ben Adam Lechavero come from? I know there is a concept of the first five of the ten commandments being between 'man and his friend' and the second ...
1
vote
1answer
139 views

Source for story about R' Yishmael ben Elisha's mother?

This article tells us the following story about R' Yishmael ben Elisha and his mother: Rabbi Ishmael's mother was a very pious woman, and she worshipped her son. But one day she astonished the ...
4
votes
1answer
256 views

Where does it say that one must wear two layers on their head(one of the reasons for the black hat)?

I know that a reason for wearing a black hat is because one must wear two layers covering their head (Mishna Brurah 91:5) but am wondering if that Din is based in Kabbalah?
5
votes
1answer
240 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 ...
4
votes
1answer
87 views

Is there a stated freedom to contract?

In the United States (and other countries), there is the notion of the freedom to contract. This is the idea that two people of sound mind have the right to enter into any contract with one another ...
2
votes
2answers
530 views

Pleasure of woman at the end of relations (source in Chazal?)

I heard that it says in chazal the woman only has pleasure at the end ("gamar bia") of tashmish (relations). Is there any source/citation for this?
10
votes
2answers
281 views

Would Adam and Chava have been permitted the tree of knowledge if they'd waited?

I've long been somewhat troubled by the episode with the tree in the garden, because it seems like it was necessary for man to acquire knowledge (how else could we enter a covenant and accept the yoke ...
2
votes
1answer
64 views

Ashkenazi unsure whether he or she counted the 'Omer one night

According to the Daily Halacha website: If a person is unsure whether or not he counted a day of the Omer, and cannot determine conclusively if he had counted or if he had missed that day, he ...
1
vote
1answer
145 views

Satmar Rebbe's opinion on Mechitza

Where could I find the opinion of the Satmar Rebbe (Rav Yoel) zt'l on the height and laws pertaining to the Mechitzah?
3
votes
1answer
242 views

Ana B'Koach authorship and the 42 letter name of Hashem

In my Artscroll siddur it tells me that the hymn Ana B'Koach was written by the tanna, Rebbi Nechunia ben HaKana and that the first letter of each word can be used to form the 42 letter name of ...
1
vote
1answer
75 views

Chasam Sofer on innovation

There is a famous quote of the Chasam Sofer, in which he applies the principle stated in Mishna 'Orlah 3:9 (החדש אסור מן התורה בכל מקום) to the question of innovation within Judaism. Rather than ...
2
votes
0answers
86 views

Origin of using priestly blessing on Friday night

I know why we use Ephraim and Menashe when blessing the children on Friday nights, (see: Why Does Hashem Bless Us Like Efraim And Menashe?) but why do we use Birkat Kohanim? Is there any specific ...
2
votes
0answers
33 views

Meditation before Mitzvah activities

Who invented the meditation that is often printed before such things as counting the 'Omer, inviting the Ushpizin, and other Mitzvoth or Mitzvah-related activities, and what is the basis for it?
0
votes
1answer
85 views

Question on Mordechai — Chiyuv m'drabbanan being motzei chiyuv m'doraisa

The Mordechai in Megillah Siman 798 has a case if a blind person can make kiddush for his family since (according to Rebbe Yehuda) a blind person is patur from mitzvas, then his obligation in making ...
2
votes
1answer
139 views

Learning Torah without understanding

The Magen Avraham in Shulchan Aruch Orach Chaim Siman 50 Sif-Katan 2 writes that learning (Torah) is only called "learning" if one understands what they learn (see there for the context in which he ...
3
votes
3answers
116 views

Shiur of “Miut Hamatzui”

A "miut hamatzui" is a phrased used to express a case where because of a small concern that something exists, or might happened, or does happen that the halacha is affected by this. An example is if ...
6
votes
3answers
210 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; ...
2
votes
1answer
84 views

A quote of Shlomo ibn Gabirol

A co-worker posted this as her "Quote of the Day" in an e-mail message. It's attributed to Shlomo ibn Gabirol: The first step in the acquisition of wisdom is silence, the second listening, the ...
4
votes
2answers
113 views

Did HaShem “regret” creating someone/something

I heard once that it says somewhere in Chazal that there were certain things or people that HaShem "regretted" (had "charatah") in creating. Although I don't remember which examples were given or if a ...
3
votes
0answers
35 views

Whence “בלי עין הרע”?

What is the source, or earliest reference, I guess, of using the phrase, "בלי עין הרע"?
5
votes
1answer
84 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 ...
2
votes
2answers
235 views

Source? The day you were born was the day Gd decided the universe could no longer exist without you

I am looking for the source for the following quote The day you were born was the day Gd decided the universe could no longer exist without you The greeting card I saw it on said the quote was ...
5
votes
3answers
230 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 ...
1
vote
2answers
121 views

Four cups of wine by the Pesach Seder — From the Torah?

I've heard there is an opinion that the daled cosos by the Pesach Seder are m'doraisa. What is the source for this (if there is one? I vaguely remember a source being in the Yerushalmi?) What Seforim ...
6
votes
1answer
205 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 ...
2
votes
2answers
132 views

What does the word “Karpas” mean?

That which by the Seder on Pesach we eat "karpas", what does this word actually mean and where does it come from?
7
votes
1answer
179 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 ...
2
votes
2answers
199 views

Segulah for having a boy

I have heard before that a segulah for having a boy is to have relations with one's wife twice in one night. I remember hearing this in the name of Chazal. Does anyone know the makor for it?
2
votes
2answers
150 views

The Rif and the Rosh on Nazir and Sotah

Where can I find the commentaries of the Rif and of the Rosh on Tractates Nazir and Sotah? They're not in my gemara (Oz v'Hadar), and I was wondering if they were appended to a different tractate?
18
votes
3answers
721 views

Premature birth contradicting science

I am a teacher at a private all-girls Jewish high school. There are two science teachers in the school, and both of us are Christian. I was talking with my fellow science teacher recently, and she ...
6
votes
2answers
214 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, ...
8
votes
1answer
175 views

Where does Ramban discuss OCD and the mikvah?

I was told that the Ramban writes regarding women who have awful problems using the mikvah because they keep worrying they're not clean enough -- in today's terms, we call that obsessive-compulsive ...
3
votes
1answer
95 views

Chazzon Ish and Parshas Parah being D'Oraisa

I heard today that the Chazzon Ish says that the reason Parshas Parah is m'doraisa (See here) is because of the pasuk: והזהרתם את בני ישראל מטמאותם "And you shall separate the children of ...