The Kesef Mishneh and others have labored in citing all the sources of the Rambam's Mishneh Torah. I remember once learning that very rarely the Rambam states a halakhah that no one can find a source for.

Does anybody particularly know what these halakhot are?

I'm not talking about Sefer Madda material, but halakhah l'maaseh.

Additionally, have any of these halakhot been accepted in the Shulkhan Arukh and are currently practiced?

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    It's possible that some of these laws were in the Yerushalmi on Kadshim or in a lost midrash halachah (the Raavad in Hilchos Bikurim clearly implies that he had the Yerushalmi on Kadshim) – b a Sep 4 '12 at 14:26
  • @ba Can you cite that Raavad more exactly? – Double AA Sep 4 '12 at 16:21
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    @DoubleAA "והכי איתא בירושלמי במנחות" Bikurim 2:6. While searching for that phrase, I also found a quote to the Magid Mishneh (Mechirah 27:8, "בירושלמי במס' ערכין") – b a Sep 5 '12 at 0:30
  • Worth noting, from R. Kapach's intro to MT: Maimonides does not present his own hidushim or deductions from the sources. The more than one hundred places where he wrote "it seem to me" or "in my opinion" are in essence innovative comments that cannot be learned from the sources. It appears that Maimonides acted this way because he reasoned that, even after the writing of the Mishnah was permitted by Rabbi Yehuda, the restriction on written innovations from the sources was not entirely released. Maimonides wrote only innovations that could not be learned from the existing sources. – Aryeh Sep 6 '12 at 16:18

In Hilkhot Meguila, Perek 2, Halacha 17, the Rambam wrote:

מוטב לאדם להרבות במתנות אביונים מלהרבות בסעודתו ובשלוח מנות לרעיו. שאין שם שמחה גדולה ומפוארה אלא לשמח לב עניים ויתומים ואלמנות וגרים. שהמשמח לב האמללים האלו דומה לשכינה שנאמר להחיות רוח שפלים ולהחיות לב נדכאים

It is better for a man to increase matanot laevyonim (gifts to the poor) than to increase his meal and mishloakh manot (sending portions [of food] to his friends), for there is no great and resplendent joy other than to gladden the heart of the poor, orphans, widows, and converts, for one who gladdens the heart of these lowly ones is comparable to the divine immanence, as is said [of God] "to enliven the spirit of the low and to enliven the heart of the low".

The Magguid Michne said that the Rambam says this halacha by himself.

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  • R. Eliyahu Touger's translation: It is preferable for a person to be more liberal with his donations to the poor than to be lavish in his preparation of the Purim feast or in sending portions to his friends. For there is no greater and more splendid happiness than to gladden the hearts of the poor, the orphans, the widows, and the converts. One who brings happiness to the hearts of these unfortunate individuals resembles the Divine Presence, which Isaiah 57:15 describes as having the tendency "to revive the spirit of the lowly and to revive those with broken hearts." – Aryeh Sep 4 '12 at 11:49
  • @Aryeh: thanks ! Is it the kind of halakhot you think about ? – allced Sep 4 '12 at 12:00
  • Thanks allced for the example. I'm not sure if that qualifies, since he writes preferable, which sounds more derech eretz than binding halakhah. – Aryeh Sep 4 '12 at 12:32
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    This would be a great answer if it would indicate that the halacha in question is cited in Shulchan Aruch. – msh210 Sep 4 '12 at 14:18
  • How strange, it sounds to me like it's straight out of Tanach! – avi Sep 5 '12 at 18:22

I just found a potential source. Sefer Shoftim Perek 4, Halakhah 11.

R. Touger's translation: It appears to me that if all the all the wise men in Eretz Yisrael agree to appoint judges and convey semichah upon them, the semichah is binding and these judges may adjudicate cases involving financial penalties and convey semichah upon others. ... The question whether semichah can be renewed requires resolution.

Check out Radbaz who says the people who tried reinstituting smicha in Tzfat (from which the Shulchan Aruch received smicha) based this halakhah for their actions.

I know that attempt was soon dismantled (and it sounds like even Rambam was unsure of it since it "requires resolution"), but the hidush was utilized as halakhah. Then again, I don't think the Shulchan Aruch cites it, and contemporary attempts withstanding, it's not a current practice.

Has anybody found something more authoritative?

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  • This would be a great answer if it'd indicate that the Rambam's nos'e kelim (commentaries) indicate that this halacha is novel in the Rambam. – msh210 Sep 4 '12 at 14:19
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    But isn't it implied when the Rambam writes "It appears to me"? – Aryeh Sep 4 '12 at 16:05
  • @Aryeh There are 150 places in the Rambam where he says "It seems to me". The question is more interesting in a place where the Rambam doesn't say it is his chiddush and yet we still don't find a source. – Double AA Sep 4 '12 at 16:25
  • Aryeh, I don't know. Is it? @DoubleAA, it seems as interesting (to me) either way. – msh210 Sep 4 '12 at 16:44
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    "Then again, I don't think the Shulchan Aruch cites it, and contemporary attempts withstanding, it's not a current practice." Huh? israelnationalnews.com/News/News.aspx/102678#.UEeZwY0gegA – avi Sep 5 '12 at 18:28

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