Questions tagged [story-identification]

Please add as much detail as possible when you ask for the source of a story you heard – this will improve the quality of the question, and make it easier for people to answer the question.

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14 votes
2 answers
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Story of love sick tree

I once heard a shiur which quoted a gemarah (I think) about two trees. One of the trees was uprooted and taken elsewhere and the other tree started to get sick. The explanation was that the trees were ...
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13 votes
1 answer
541 views

Sherlock Holmes-ian deduction in the Talmud

I remember learning a story in the Talmud (I think) and am trying to find the source. I'm a little fuzzy on the details, but this is what I remember. There was a Talmudic Rabbi who was sold into ...
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9 votes
1 answer
727 views

What's this about a magical spitting bird?

In Christopher Hitchens's memoir Hitch 22, this passage caught my eye: In her preface to his collection of essays The Non-Jewish Jew Tamara Deutscher, widow of the great Isaac, relates the story of ...
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8 votes
1 answer
966 views

Massacre of Baalei Tosafos

There is a famous story about the Baalei Tosafos using their own blood to write their pirush on the chapter Merubah in Bava Kamma before they were massacred. Is there a source for this?
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7 votes
1 answer
352 views

Source for eulogy of lost bookcases

I recall learning a gemarah (Bavli) where a certain scholar passed away and when another scholar was asked to eulogize him he responded with something akin to, "What should I say? We lost our ...
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7 votes
1 answer
495 views

Sources of the story about drinking milk to fulfill the four cups at the seder

A man could not afford the wine for the four cups of the seder, and asked the Rav whether he could use milk. The Rav offered to pay for wine, and gave him much more money than wine would require. The ...
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  • 2,059
6 votes
1 answer
521 views

Exact text from Rav Eliyahu Lopian's "Lev Eliyahu" citing a story about the Chofetz Chaim

I read some time ago in Rav Eliyahu Lopian's "Lev Eliyahu" an amazing idea. However, I don't have the book; I'm looking for it online but cannot find it. He brought a story about the Chofetz Chaim: ...
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  • 649
6 votes
1 answer
165 views

Story of surgery in the Gemara

I remember hearing about a story in the Gemara where a "surgery" was done on someone who was very overweight, and they ended up removing an amount of fat that doctors nowadays cant do. Does ...
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  • 1,521
6 votes
1 answer
376 views

Shulchan Aruch HaRav and the Gra

I heard a story about how when the Vilna Gaon was shown Hilchos Talmud Torah from the Alter Rebbe's Shulchan Aruch, the Gra kissed the volume and praised the author, not knowing the author was the ...
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  • 17.7k
6 votes
2 answers
215 views

Source for story about the Maskilim's play mocking what the "orchei hamilchama" would look like according to chazal

Does anyone know of a reliable source for the story about how the Maskilim made a play to mock what a milchama would look like according to the torah/chazal, in which they depicted only the Chofetz ...
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6 votes
1 answer
1k views

Story about learning b'iyun vs. b'qius

When I was in yeshiva, I heard a story that I wouldn't mind having verified. Apparantly, two individuals once argued over whether b'iyun (בעיון; "in-depth", commentary-focused) learning or b'qius (...
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6 votes
0 answers
195 views

who is Rabbi Menashe Klein referring to (a "religious" psychologist who wrote a forbidden book)?

Rabbi Menashe Klein in Sefer Bais Rahel on page 144 when discussing the dangers of psychologists (marriage counselors) says: וכבר נשמע על אחד מהם שכינה עצמו רב ודתי וחרדי מאד מאד, שכתב כביכול ספר [...
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  • 7,212
6 votes
0 answers
165 views

Rabbi Akiva seeing Bar Kochba sleeping on his back?

I once saw it in some sefer that Rabbi Akiva saw Bar Kochba sleeping on his back (not on his side) and then he knew that he wasn't Mashiach. Does anyone know where this is written? I'm pretty sure its ...
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  • 1,447
5 votes
1 answer
310 views

Source for story of how Lubavitcher Rebbe returned a letter with all the "I"s circled

I have heard the following story, where the "sage" in question was the Lubavitcher Rebbe, and am trying to track down a more authoritative source. So far the only written reference I have ...
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  • 1,881
5 votes
1 answer
150 views

Searching for a story with the Rav's comment about the scientist

I am trying to find a story I read once concerning Rav Soleveitchik. Please forgive me if I am remembering it incorrectly. The basic story was a comparison between two Jewish scientists, one ...
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  • 32.3k
5 votes
1 answer
378 views

Source of story about the Vilna Gaon and immigration policy

Internet Judaism gadfly Dov Bear related the following story about the Vilna Gaon on Facebook, saying he'd heard it somewhere, and asked if anyone knows a source for it. The great Gaon of Vilna sat ...
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5 votes
1 answer
3k views

Is Julia Donaldson's "a squash and a squeeze" based on a Jewish source?

The children's book 'A Squash and a Squeeze' by Julia Donaldson is about a woman who feels that her house is not big enough. She meets a 'wise old man' (who looks uncannily like an old chassidish ...
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  • 9,175
5 votes
1 answer
155 views

Where is the story from (I believe in the Talmud ) about a Rebbe who was head of a beis din in regards to a widow and his sentencing to death?

This is a question is referenced the Gemara or Mishna I think. I believe in the mishna, or gemara there's a story about either Rebbe Yehuda or Rebbe Yosi(Or another head of the Beis Din). The story ...
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  • 323
5 votes
1 answer
313 views

Source for parable about two twins in the womb

I once heard/read a parable about two babies in their mother's womb. It goes something like this. Two twins in the womb are speaking of the world to come, one believes it exists, the other not. ...
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  • 43.6k
5 votes
0 answers
300 views

The Mekor Baruch's intructions of making gold from copper

Rav Epstein in his Mekor Baruch 3:19:6 brings a story about him and a maggid. The maggid was looking for a certain sefer which instructs one how to make gold from copper. The Mekor Baruch (who had the ...
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  • 39.8k
5 votes
0 answers
144 views

Source for a Talmudic story of three caskets

In the Merchant of Venice, suitors attempting to win Portia's hand must choose from 3 caskets (of gold, silver and lead). Those who chose wrong must leave immediately and never marry anyone. One who ...
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  • 36.7k
4 votes
2 answers
707 views

source for a story: man who went to milk a lion

When I was a kid I heard the following story at least a few times in grade school from the school headmaster (probably around Rosh Hashanah time). It's based on a Jewish legend or midrash, and I'd ...
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4 votes
1 answer
191 views

Story ID: Woman named Chagigah

I remember hearing/seeing a מעשה about someone who constantly reviewed מסכת חגיגה to the point of knowing it בעל פה. One day he died and no one knew about it, when an unknown woman suddenly appeared ...
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4 votes
1 answer
2k views

Curse on the Kennedys

I once heard that a Rabbi cursed the Kennedy family because a member of that family who was involved with US immigration turned away a boat of Jewish immigrants. I would like to know the source of ...
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4 votes
2 answers
310 views

Rambam held of Timtum halev?

There is a famous story of the Rambam in the name of R' Chaim Brisker: "When the Rambam visited Yemen, he met a certain gaon of the geonim of the time. And after the Rambam returned home, this ...
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  • 39.9k
4 votes
1 answer
192 views

Looking for source of story about the Noda Beyehuda and the Baal Shem Tov

I'm looking for a source of a supposed conversation between the Node Beyehuda and the Baal Shem Tov regarding the reliablitiy of a mystical 'halachic sixth sense' in halacha. It involved the Baal Shem ...
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  • 7,331
4 votes
1 answer
206 views

Chassidim selling their silver ataros to bail their Rebbe from prison

Today is Yud-Tes Kislev, the anniversary of the day the Alter Rebbe of Lubavitch1 was released from prison. I once heard that his chassidim sold their silver ataros on their tallisos to pay for his ...
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  • 17.7k
4 votes
0 answers
199 views

Source of a story about Rav Salanter and limited time to learn Torah

Is there an authentic source for the below story? The story is told of a man who asked Rabbi Yisroel Salanter a question. "Rebbi, I have only 15 minutes a day to learn Torah. What should I study?" ...
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4 votes
0 answers
64 views

The cow of the Tzadik from Strelisk

When I was young, I read the following story / parable: Every evening, the Tzadik of Strelisk comes home after the evening prayer and feeds his cow. Every evening in the same hour. One evening,...
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3 votes
3 answers
509 views

Source for this Vilna Gaon?

With the recent events surrounding Russia and Ukraine, I happened to come across this article: The worrying escalation in military tension has been cited by scholars as the fulfilment of Vilna Gaon's ...
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  • 780
3 votes
2 answers
275 views

Source for a story about the Mir Yeshiva on the train to Shanghai?

I remember hearing a story told by R' Hershel Schachter about the Mir Yeshiva's journey to Shanghai, that took place on the train ride from Eastern Europe to Shanghai. The gist of the story is that ...
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  • 11.8k
3 votes
1 answer
244 views

Trying to track down the textual source of a Jewish quote about a Rabbi Neskizh

I found the below quote in a a book called Spiritual Midwifery. I would love to know if the quote is real, and where it comes from. Thanks! The Quote: Rabbi Mordecai of Neskizh said to his son, the ...
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  • 31
3 votes
1 answer
182 views

When should we not to correct the ignorant? Search for sugya in Masechet Shabbat

I am searching for a sugya in Masechet Shabbat relating to two Rabbis who did not correct the towns people in relation to wearing certain type of footwear because they were concerned that if corrected,...
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  • 31
3 votes
1 answer
197 views

Source for a quotation from a Rabbi (or Jewish story)

My apologies if this question isn't within the typical scope of this site. I'm trying to locate the source of a quotation I saved long ago, it was from I believe an academic text collecting various ...
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3 votes
1 answer
479 views

Source for the story about the Satmar Rebbe

I remember a story about a maskil who approached the Satmar Rebbe, and who lamented the fact that Hungarian Jews don't differentiate between the samekh (ס), the sin (שׂ) and the sav (ת). The Satmar ...
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  • 18.5k
3 votes
1 answer
133 views

Source for a story about stealing and teaching of Torah

I once heard a reference to a story in the gemara about an amora who is saying a shiur and a certain person in the bais medrash calls the amora a ganiv (thief) because he can't follow the shiur so he ...
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  • 41
3 votes
1 answer
109 views

During which plague did the Baal Shem Tov advise writing a Sefer Torah

The United for Protection campaign says: In the times of the Baal Shem Tov a terrible disease swept through his town of Mezibush. (…) Only by uniting together in the creation of a new Torah scroll, ...
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  • 6,434
3 votes
3 answers
376 views

Wordplay concerning the Ayin and the Aleph in Gemara

I remember hearing about some interesting statements made about those that fail to distinguish pronunciation between the ayin and the aleph. An example was given in gemara about why such a distinction ...
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  • 1,554
3 votes
0 answers
97 views

Source for story about origins of Chayei Adam

I recently heard a story that when the Vilna Gaon found out that the Alter Rebbe made his own Shulchan Aruch (Shulchan Aruch HaRav), he told his relative (through marriage) Rav Avraham Danzig to write ...
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  • 18.5k
3 votes
0 answers
100 views

Source for a Chassidic story

I recall this story about a rebbe who is given a Sefer by some Malach. Or maybe he wrote it himself, I don't remember. He tells his chassidim that if any of them copy it, they will be sent to gehinom. ...
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  • 1,096
3 votes
0 answers
671 views

What is a Drut’syla? [closed]

This link was sent to me by a friend, about a woman who is a Drut'syla (dertseyler in Yiddish), or storyteller. The article simply says it's a Jewish tradition, but doesn't place it within Judaism. ...
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  • 173
2 votes
1 answer
369 views

Help with a quote from the Talmud regarding the good old days

I vaguely remember a quote from the Talmud, where a Rabbi was saying that in his youth the boys and girls would play together in the streets and there were no tzniut issues. Does anyone recognize ...
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  • 42.9k
2 votes
2 answers
309 views

Practical Kabbalah consequences

I remember hearing that there was a rabbi that used practical kabbalah with his disciples to fight SM' + LL', but I cannot remember his name. Arizal has prohibited it, right? I remember that he gave ...
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  • 553
2 votes
2 answers
99 views

Fruit Leather in Gemara Sukkah

It's been a while since I learned Sukkah.... Does anyone know where the Gemara talks about where the wine from נסכים goes; through an אמה (canal) to a container, where it sat and congealed until it ...
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  • 18.7k
2 votes
1 answer
106 views

Is there a rabinical ruling where coins that circulate decides who the legitimate king is?

I've heard there is a story. The story is that David got angry to a civilian because the civilian doesn't obey him. However, he is told by somebody that his coins didn't circulate yet. So the ...
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  • 4,295
2 votes
1 answer
235 views

Source for a Rashi gem story

There's a well-known and widely repeated story that Rashi's father Reb Yitzchak deliberately threw a jewel into the sea, intending to make this appear accidental. What's the origin of this story?
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  • 2,059
2 votes
1 answer
378 views

Origin of pigs as a species

I heard an explanation about pigs that they were not included in Noah's ark. They were in fact from worms. One ate the other and kept growing. Is there any authentic source for this?
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  • 1,755
2 votes
1 answer
175 views

Source for gemarah about Rav Shimon bar Yochai's grandson?

I heard a class where the teacher mentioned a gemarah that says the grandson of Rav Shimon bar Yochai was involved with prostitutes. To save him they had his uncle mentor him, they forced him to move ...
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2 votes
1 answer
100 views

Source for detail in the Chanukah story

The Kitzur Shulchan Aruch (139:3) writes: בחנוכה, מתר בעשית מלאכה. אך הנשים נוהגות שלא לעשות מלאכה כל זמן שהנרות בבית דולקים, ואין להקל להן. והטעם שהנשים מחמירות יותר, מפני שהגזרה היתה קשה על בנות ...
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  • 17.7k
2 votes
2 answers
139 views

Medrash on Dovid Hamelech riding a Re'eim

I'm looking for a certain medrash. It's about Dovid Hamelech climbing up what he thinks is a mountain, but it actually ends up being a re'eim.
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  • 17.7k