I've been through hundreds of Mi Yodeya questions and answers. I must say I'm impressed. There's just every topic under/over the globe here and I'd like to know how do y'all do it? I'd like to know for my own sake, so I can answer a lot of questions as well. Do y'all just have photographic memories? Have y'all learnt so much and Chazara 40 times? Do y'all have some type of computer programs or websites y'all use? Much appreciated.


5 Answers 5


The pattern I have noticed consists of 5 sources of information:

  1. Closed or open library sources. e.g. Sefaria, HebrewBooks.org, Otzer.
  2. Google searches in Hebrew will often turn up articles.
  3. Recollection of a discussion from Yeshiva, a Shiur, etc.
  4. An obscure (or not so obscure) reference that someone actually read and remembered.
  5. An article from something someone reads regularly and refers back to (Tradition is a common one).

There are also general knowledge, personal experience and opinion/inductive reasoning answers.

I'm sure there are examples of others, but this is what comes to mind.

  • Thank you @yishai
    – Moshe
    Commented Mar 5, 2019 at 14:50
  • 1
    This answer is pretty comprehensive. I would say that #2 applies to many of my answers. (I don't count how many answers I've given, here, but you're free to search my profile ;-). Much of it comes from memory or at least remembering where I heard or saw something, and this could have been 50 years ago. I'm gateful that G-d has blessed me with fairly sharp functioning memory, and that I can share my knowledge on a forum like this. Believe me, memory is a huge gift, so don't ever take that for granted.
    – DanF
    Commented Mar 5, 2019 at 15:03
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    @DanF As of today you've given 1,088 answers.
    – Alex
    Commented Mar 5, 2019 at 17:30

Google! 😀 ... and Sefaria, Mercava, and Google Search in Hebrew are all superb resources.

  • 2
    Shkoach! Thanks @alicht
    – Moshe
    Commented Mar 5, 2019 at 7:21
  • 2
    Sefaria is really nice. and is open source
    – suhailvs
    Commented Mar 5, 2019 at 9:34
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    Never heard of Mercava before. That looks very useful! They could benefit from more cross-linking. AlHatorah is also a great source for structured, cross-linked sources.
    – Isaac Moses Mod
    Commented Mar 5, 2019 at 16:36
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    Thanks for Mercava, I didn't know it.
    – kouty
    Commented Nov 1, 2019 at 11:46

I learned this rule as a young student: the smart student is not the one who knows everything, it is the one who knows where to find everything.

I later heard this idea from Rav Noah Weinberg ztl. We are supposed to remember Mishnah letter perfect, and today we are not up to it, but we still need to memorize the indexes, so we can find what we need when we need it.

In other words, you need to know what to look for on Google.


Personally, I generally answer two types of questions:

  1. Those that I know the answer, based on almost 50 years of learning... though I usually double-check it online (either on Sefaria or Torat Emet). This also enables me to link to a source.

  2. Those that fascinate me. I may then spend hours Googling for the answer using key terms on English and Hebrew. Sefaria also has a nice search system, Torat Emet less so, but their Windows desktop app has powerful search features.


We mostly contact Rabbi "Google"! 😊😊😊

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