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

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5
votes
3answers
104 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 ...
3
votes
1answer
260 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 ...
3
votes
1answer
254 views

Who wrote Tohar HaYichud?

Who wrote the anonymous rationalist debunking of kabbalah entitled Tohar HaYichud?
4
votes
1answer
83 views

Prohibition on paskening halacha when one is drunk

The Gemorah in Beitzah 4a says that Rav wouldn't give a drasha on Yom Tov after eating the seudah because when he would give a drasha he would be moreh halacha (give over halachic rulings) and this is ...
13
votes
5answers
841 views

High School Math in the Talmud

I'm currently tutoring someone in math that has an atitude of "what's the point of all this... why would I ever need this..." (which is typical of many high-schoolers). To try to pique his interest, I ...
10
votes
2answers
122 views

Tehilim divided into five sections?

According to Wikipedia, Jewish tradition divides the book of Tehilim into five sections (1-41, 42-72, 73-89, 90-106, 107-150). This is unsourced there; the references at the bottom of the page ...
20
votes
16answers
891 views

About what were rabbis ahead of the times?

I have heard claims that experts in the world of Torah were significantly ahead of their counterparts in the world of natural science (or mathematics, or psychology, or…) in that they knew X ...
2
votes
0answers
92 views

Water from the Kohanim washing their hands by nei'lah

I heard about a minhag the other day (for the first time) and was wondering if there is any makor for it. I was told that people ran out to "catch" the water that was used to wash the Kohanim's hands ...
4
votes
1answer
230 views

Do Jews believe the content of Maccabees (I-IV) is true?

This related question touches on the book of Maccabees. I was wondering if Jews believe the content of Maccabees (I-IV) is true, even though it is outside the canon. If any of the Rishonim or ...
2
votes
0answers
133 views

How did the modern day Beis Hora'ah phenomenon develop?

Here in Eretz Yisrael, we find Batei Hora'ah in many cities - places where a moreh hora'ah sits either during special times or perhaps the whole day or different rabbonim throughout the day answering ...
3
votes
1answer
91 views

Aveilus for an adoptive parent

Are there any dinim of aveilus for a child that was adopted when his adoptive parents pass away? Are there any poskim that spoke about this?
5
votes
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
votes
1answer
228 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 ...
5
votes
0answers
160 views

Source for not referring to Chanuka lights as a “menora”

Following up on this question about the use of the words "menora" or "chanukiya" to refer to Chanuka lights: I find it interesting that the use of "chanukiya," popularized in 1897 through a secular ...
2
votes
1answer
138 views

Communities where men didn't put their טליתות over their heads?

I heard that the Rambam in his commentary to the Mishna mentioned cases where the custom of the place was different, one such place being יָוָן, where men didn't cover their heads with their tallitot, ...
1
vote
2answers
347 views

What is the source for a woman's voice as ervah?

What is the source that a woman's (singing) voice is considered ervah?
5
votes
1answer
298 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?
6
votes
3answers
207 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 ...
11
votes
3answers
400 views

Killing Civilians in a defensive war

In the recent Operation Pillar of Defense against Gaza, many Palestinian civillians were killed by Israeli air-strikes (the Palestines claim the number is as high as 158, while according to the IDF ...
-1
votes
2answers
145 views

When to go out to fight the enemy?

I'm sure everyone knows what's going on right now in Eretz Yisrael with the rockets being fired at the Israeli population from Gaza and the response of the IDF. I have heard many people say ...
4
votes
1answer
199 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?
7
votes
3answers
442 views

Why a human Messiah?

I understand that Mashiach is going to be a human. What is the source for this, and are there any explanations why it must be so? Can't G-d Himself redeem us?
2
votes
1answer
120 views

Sources for Pidyon HaBen Ceremony

Where can I find the original sources for the pidyon haben ceremony? I don't mean the verses in Torah that gives us the halakha, rather something on the rituals of the ceremony itself (much like ...
1
vote
0answers
95 views

Genevas Daas (deception) with a gift

The Shach in YD Siman 117 Sif-Katan 13 writes, דאין במתנה משום גניבת דעת With regard to a gift there is no problem of "genevas daas" (deception). The Shach writes this in regard to selling ...
3
votes
2answers
102 views

What is the source for lighting a candle for the whole year after the death of a close relative?

I am familiar with the idea of a yahrzeit candle. I have observed a custom of keeping a flame alight for the whole year (or maybe 11 months) after the death of a close relative. (When one goes out, ...
5
votes
1answer
97 views

Where does the concept of “shirayim” come from?

Please explain the concept of shirayim (literally, leftovers) wherein the followers of a chassidic Rebbe will receive portions of his food to it, these leftovers are considered holy or special in some ...
3
votes
1answer
68 views

Which Tana said the shem hafemorash and why?

I remember learning a gemarah (midrash?) that one of the tanaim (possibly R' Chanina [ben Dosa]) said the shem hameforash explicitly. Can you source this story and explain why the shem hameforash was ...
6
votes
2answers
817 views

A Convert taking on customs of ashkanazim or sephardim

When someone converts is there any determining factor on what minhagim (customs) they will take upon themselves in terms of Ashkanazim or Sephardim? Should it be dependent on the Beis Din they ...
5
votes
0answers
87 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 ...
0
votes
1answer
63 views

Cooking on Yom Tov for Bein Hashmoshos

There is really another question that I want to ask however to improve upon that question I need to clarify first a certain point. Is there a Pri Megadim anywhere that says it's ossur to cook on Yom ...
2
votes
0answers
69 views

Are there mystical underpinnings to Maccabi?

One of the explanations I have heard for the title מכבי is that it is an acronym for the pasuk 'מִי-כָמֹכָה בָּאֵלִם ה (Shemos 15:11). Is there any reason, mystical or otherwise that that pasuk (or ...
9
votes
1answer
489 views

Halachic justification to not pray the amidah before zman t'filah?

Some Chassidic courts are not makpid (careful) to daven the morning Amidah before z'man tefilah, although this seems to be a clear halacha. Are there any opinions they are relying on? I was once told ...
2
votes
1answer
64 views

Mitzvah of Ner Channukah — not until after churban habayis?

Someone said over today (in then name of the Sfes Emes) that the mitzvah of Ner Channukah didn't officially "start" until the 2nd Beis HaMikdash was destroyed, since it was established as somewhat of ...
2
votes
2answers
96 views

Minhag Kaparos with Money - What's the source?

In the Rama on SA OC Siman 605, we find the custom of "Kaparos" that many do Erev Yom Kippur. Of those who perform this custom a chicken is used. However many also use money (i.e. instead of waving a ...
5
votes
0answers
128 views

Which rabbi said “if a horse had the mind of Kant …”?

I recall hearing in yeshiva that one great rabbi -- I think one of the baalei mussar? once said: If a horse had the mind of Kant, it would author volume after volume of great philosphical works -- ...
2
votes
2answers
158 views

Go out to receive the Torah then come back to convert Egypt

I just heard from my uncle a novel idea about the Exodus. Apparently, the original intention was for the Jews to go out of Egypt to receive the Torah, and then come back to convert the Egyptians. ...
1
vote
2answers
146 views

Where is a mediator between God and man forbidden

I don't believe that there should be mediators (like Christians believe Jesus is a mediator between God and man whom they pray to and/or pray through) between us and God, but is there anywhere in the ...
1
vote
1answer
105 views

Speaking in the middle of Kaddish

In Shulchan Orach Siman 124 Sif 7 the machaber speaks about how bad it is to speak during Chazaras HaShatz (when the Shliach Tzibbur is repeating Shomeneh Esrei out loud.) The Shulchan Aruch HaRav ...
4
votes
2answers
256 views

Will we follow Beis Shammai in times of Moshiach?

I've heard a few times that in the times of Moshiach the Halacha will follow the opinion of Beis Shammai. What is the source and reasoning for this? Is it true? We will no longer follow Beis Hillel ...
2
votes
1answer
117 views

What is the source for “the custom of our forefathers is in our hands”?

Where does "minhag avoseinu byadeinu" as a halachik concept, which is commonly cited as the source for keeping two days of yom tov outside of Israel, originate from?
3
votes
3answers
106 views

“Think about love for fellow Jews before praying” - source?

At the risk of being a guessing-game, I thought I'd read that before starting prayers (the beginning? The Amida?), one should take a minute to think about love for fellow Jews. Any source for this?
1
vote
2answers
88 views

Source for 4 species and the name of God?

I have seen many people say that one of the things that the arba minim (four species used on Succot) relate symbolically to the name of God, each species corresponding to another letter. What is the ...
4
votes
1answer
67 views

Source and reason for throwing the Hoshanos on top of the Aron Kodesh

I have seen in many Shuls on Hoshana Raba after using the Hoshanos people throw the used Hoshanos on top of the Aron Kodesh. What is the reason and source for this Minhag?
6
votes
2answers
155 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 ...
3
votes
2answers
219 views

what's the source for Bar Mitzvah being at 13?

How do we know that a person is not obligated in Mitzvos before the age of 13, and is obligated from that point forward?
1
vote
1answer
61 views

Cooking on Chol HaMoed for after the Moed

A theoretical shailo. One who is making a bris the day after shmini etzeres on isro chag (in eretz yisrael) and will have limited time to cook may they prepare the food already on chol hamoed for ...
4
votes
1answer
396 views

Reciting a Posuk representing your name at end of Shemona Esrei - source?

Many Sidurim mention in the name of the Shela that one should say a Posuk at the end of Shemona Esrei that begins and ends with the same letter as ones name. Does anyone know where in the Shela this ...
2
votes
1answer
211 views

Belief in Yechidah

According to Chabad.org, Yechidah connotes the essence of the soul--its unity with its source, the singular essence of G-d. For the essence of the soul of man is "literally a part of G-d ...
5
votes
3answers
235 views

Are there forms of Jewish mysticism outside of kabbalah?

Is kabbalah the one and only form (source?) of Jewish mysticism?
8
votes
2answers
139 views

Esrog with “gartel”

Esrogim can be found in the shuk (market) that have on them a sort of "gartel" shape around the middle. That is to say a sort of indentation that make the esrog appear as if it's wearing a "gartel" ...