What is the need to have a source for any teaching of Torah? Can you please give me sources for the answer based on mussar and halacha also.

  • 3
    Related: judaism.stackexchange.com/q/68802/3 – WAF Nov 26 at 10:40
  • A literal reading of Berachot 27b: והאומר דבר שלא שמע מפי רבו גורם לשכינה שתסתלק מישראל – Alex Nov 26 at 13:32
  • To “cite sources” and “to have a source” are two different things. Which one are you asking about? – Oliver Nov 26 at 14:47
  • Interestingly enough, The Talmud seems to insist on sources. One of the most common intro questions is minah hanei milei - "From where are these words?" In contrast, Ramba"m rarely lists his sources. This lack was a large reason as to why, initially, many people disrespected him. – DanF Nov 26 at 19:47
up vote 5 down vote accepted

(In contrast with MY,) there is no clear requirement to cite sources. However, there are very important reasons to do so. We read in Pirkei Avot 6:6:

והתורה נקנית בארבעים ושמונה דברים, ואלו הן: [...] והאומר דבר בשם אומרו, הא למדת כל האומר דבר בשם אומרו מביא גאולה לעולם, שנאמר, ותאמר אסתר למלך בשם מרדכי. ‏

And Torah is obtained with forty-eight things. And these are them: [...] saying [a thing] in the name of the one who said it; for you learned that one who says something in the name of the one who said it brings redemption to the world, as it says [Esther 2:22]: "Esther told the king in Mordekhai’s name."

Sefaria translation

This idea is repeated on Niddah 19b. And of course I've taken the main sources from R' Brackman's great article, which discusses in detail, why it is important to cite sources, and why certain people did not do it in the past.

  • 3
    There is no requirement on Mi Yodeya to cite sources. There is a strong preference for answers that demonstrate clearly why anyone should believe that they're correct, which is consistent with Judaism and common sense. – Isaac Moses Nov 26 at 12:56
  • @Isaac I suppose there should be a well defined subset of questions (product recommendations etc.) where sources shouldn't really matter, but in other cases you shouldn't trust me, but my sources. But that discussion should go to Meta... – Kazi bácsi Nov 29 at 6:27

It's easy to prove there is no such requirement, otherwise there were no Chiddushim in Judaism at all.

The Gemmorah implements both approaches: some statements are brought in the name of others and many are not. For example (בראשית רבה כד):

רַבִּי תַּנְחוּמָא בְּשֵׁם רַבִּי אֶלְעָזָר וְרַבִּי מְנַחֵם בְּשֵׁם רַב אָמַר כָּל הָאֻמָנִיּוֹת אָדָם הָרִאשׁוֹן לְמָדָם, וכו...

. בֶּן עֲזַאי אוֹמֵר זֶה סֵפֶר תּוֹלְדֹת אָדָם, זֶה כְּלַל גָּדוֹל בַּתּוֹרָה, רַבִּי עֲקִיבָא אוֹמֵר : וְאָהַבְתָּ לְרֵעֲךָ כָּמוֹךָ, זֶה כְּלַל גָּדוֹל בַּתּוֹרָה וכו...

  • 1
    Why is that a contradiction? Let me come up with my Chiddushim, and cite the parts that are based on what people have said earlier. – DonielF Nov 27 at 14:10
  • 1
    @DonielF Maybe I misunderstood the question, it says "a source for any teaching of Torah", if your Chiddushim are a "teaching" - you are the source. So if we could only cite others there were no chidduchim. – Al Berko Nov 27 at 15:06
  • Right. You say that there's no requirement to cite a source for any teaching of Torah, as often one is his own source. Still, why not say when one is his own source and when someone else is his source, and chiddushim are still allowed while there be a requirement to cite one's source? – DonielF Nov 28 at 20:29

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .