Literally "Germany". Questions about the Jews of all the area that was once medieval Germany, more generally of all Catholic and Protestant (and some Eastern Orthodox) lands, and their laws and customs.

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13
votes
1answer
298 views

“Yaamod p'loni ben p'loni… chazak”?

The last ole (person called to the Torah) (besides the maftir) of Vaychi, P'kude, B'chukosay, and Mas'e is, in my experience, called using the formula "yaamod p'loni ben p'loni sh'vii chazak", with ...
12
votes
4answers
438 views

What's a good technique for a not-so-strong person to do [Ashkenazi] Hagbaha?

I've seen many people shy away when asked to do Hagbaha (‏הגבהה‏), thinking themselves too weak. I know for a fact that it doesn't take that much strength to do it correctly, so I'd love to ...
12
votes
3answers
317 views

Non-Ashkenazic Talmud-learning tune

I am very familiar with a particular Ashkenazi yeshivish tune for Talmud learning. This is well-described in the linked question as: [T]he kind of singing rhythm that people use when contrasting ...
11
votes
2answers
184 views

Why omit “Av harachamim” for the four parashiyos?

"Av harachamim" is a prayer asking God to recall those who died al kidush hashem. It was written in response to the First Crusade (and is thus said only in the Ashk'nazi rite). Because of its somber ...
10
votes
6answers
474 views

Which Chasidic group departed the least from Ashkenazi minhag and nusach?

Chasidic groups vary in terms of their siddur's differences from nusach Ashkenaz, as well as their general minhagim and hashkafic approaches. Is there a Chasidic group which most closely matches the ...
10
votes
2answers
195 views

Did the Rosh (Rabbeinu Asher) describe the culture clash moving from medieval Germany to Spain?

Rabbi Asher (the "Rosh") moved from medieval Germany to Spain. I know he describes some different halachic practices that were done in Spain (e.g. linen tzitzis); but does he describe the difference ...
10
votes
3answers
195 views

Why is there a difference of opinion about whether modern magic is prohibited or permitted?

I'm an amateur magician. All of the Ashkenazi rabbis that I've talked to said that as long as my audience knows that I am just doing tricks and not real magic, the Torah allows me to perform magic ...
9
votes
3answers
748 views

When and why did the black velvet yarmulke become the standard for some communities?

Ashkenazi yarmulkes from around 200 years ago closely resemble the Yerushalmi style - white knitted with a tassel on top. Today, the vast majority of Chasidim and Yeshivish Jews seem to wear black ...
8
votes
3answers
277 views

Why the split between Sefardim and Ashkenzim?

Why is there a much bigger split between Sefardim and Ashkenzim and not, say, between Sefardim and people who lived in Bavel? The distance between Spain, and say, Israel should have been big enough to ...
8
votes
2answers
158 views

Mezuza positioning: why top angled in not out?

Why does the angle a mezuza positioned on the doorpost at have its top towards the room, and the bottom away from the room? I understand this may be an Ashkenazi custom, and that Sephardim position ...
8
votes
2answers
176 views

Why don't some people say Vihi Noam Motzei Shabbos of Shabbos Hagadol 5772?

Regarding saying Vihi Noam on Motzei Shabbos Shabbos Hagadol which falls out a week before Pesach (The first night of Pesach is on Friday Night) Luach Kollel Chabad writes: On Saturday night, we ...
8
votes
5answers
255 views

An Ashenazi kohain lives outside Israel. When it is not Yom Tov, can he bless the people in a Sefardi shul?

I am a kohain living outside Israel where the Ashenazi custom is that we only bless the people (duchan) on Yomim Tovim. Where I live, there are Sefardi shuls where the kohanim duchan on Shabbos and ...
8
votes
1answer
138 views

Soft Matzah for Ashkenazim

The Rama in 460:4 writes that one should make thin matzos and the Mishna Brurah 16 writes it should be thin. Rav Nebontzol (in his notes on the Mishna Brurah) points out the Be'er Heitiv 8 which ...
8
votes
1answer
253 views

Changing minhag about tallit gadol

I first became involved with a non-orthodox congregation where it was customary for everyone over Bar Mitzvah age to wear a tallit gadol. However, I understand that it is an Ashkenazi minhag not to ...
8
votes
0answers
163 views

Any good sources for Ashkenazi prayer modes and melodies for the whole year?

Anyone know of any good sources for Ashkenazi prayer modes and melodies for the whole year? I'm looking for traditional Ashkenazi nusach, but perhaps not embellished like concert chazzanut. A good ...
7
votes
2answers
268 views

Talis over head

Why is it that most Ashkenazim that are not married do not put the Talis over their head?
7
votes
1answer
73 views

Are there any minhag and customs specific to Czech Jews and have they been documented?

I'm a baal teshuva with Czech Jewish ancestry. I have an interest in the minhag of my ancestors as well as in common cultural practices, and perhaps pass them on where I can. Have they been documented ...
7
votes
2answers
171 views

How was the Volozhin Yeshiva special?

The Volozhin Yeshiva is known as the "first yeshiva". What was the system of Torah learning in Europe before Volozhin and in what way did Volozhin change the system?
7
votes
2answers
185 views

The Split Between Sefardim and Ashkenazim

How did this split happen historically and halachically before Shulchan Aruch, and why is not like having two Torahs? Where is the source for the split?
7
votes
1answer
103 views

Sefer Torah enclosures

The Torah scrolls of Ashkenazim have a very different look than those of Sepharadim. Ashkenazim just roll the parchment onto two poles, and read it in a horizontal position; the Sepharadim install the ...
7
votes
1answer
237 views

Can an Ashkenazi write a Sephardi Torah?

If an Ashkenazi Sofer writes a Sefer Torah in the Sephardi or Yemenite tradition: a) has he fulfilled his obligation of writing a Sefer Torah (thanks, Double AA!), and b) since a Sefer Torah must be ...
7
votes
1answer
131 views

Mesorah exchange between communities

Based on this thread What exactly prevents Ashkenazim from accepting Mesorah from other communities on things that we have not done in our own community? Taking an extreme reverse example, can ...
6
votes
5answers
222 views

Sefer similar to Yalkut Yosef for Ashkenazim

Yalkut Yosef is a revolutionary work for the Sefardic world. He covers every aspect of practical Halacha as understood by his father Hacham Ovadia (who mostly follows the Shulchan Aruch) and applies ...
6
votes
2answers
377 views

Eating by one who doesn't separate glass

Some, mainly Ashkenazim, hold that glass dishes must be separated between milk and meat. Some, mainly Sefardim, do not. May the former eat on the latter's glass dishes?
6
votes
4answers
143 views

Parshas Zachor Sfardi versus Ashkenazi

Can a Sefardi be Yotzeh Zachor with an Ashkenazi Laining and vice Versa?
6
votes
2answers
401 views

Why do the laws of kitniyot still apply today to Ashkenazi Jews on Passover?

How did the tradition start? Why is it still around today? What is the basis for this Halacha (הלכה)?
6
votes
1answer
220 views

Is there a custom to color eggs on Lag Baomer?

I heard from an old Lithuanian/Polish Jew (frum from Lithuania/Poland). He says that he had a custom to eat colored eggs in his shtetl, and everyone did it. Is this custom documented anywhere, and ...
6
votes
2answers
171 views

wording of the invitation to birkas hamazon

I know some Ashk'nazim say rabosay n'varech, some rabosay mir velen bentschen, and some hertzi rabosay mir velen bentschen. (Any other forms?) Is there any particular reason given for one or another?
6
votes
2answers
108 views

Adopting minhagim not from your mesorah

Is it appropriate to adopt minhagim that have historically not been observed by your community? Examples Ashkenazim pointing to the sefer Torah, usually with the pinky, during hagbah (after Krias ...
6
votes
1answer
105 views

All these verses to say before havdala

Before saying the blessings relevant to havdala on motzei shabbos, we (Ashkenazim) include a bunch of p'sukim: "הִנֵּה אֵל יְשׁוּעָתִי אֶבְטַח וְלֹא אֶפְחָד כִּי עָזִּי וְזִמְרָת יָהּ יְהוָה וַיְהִי ...
6
votes
1answer
396 views

Is wine left in a bottle poured by non-Jews really permitted*?

I could be wrong, but my reading of the Nosei Keilim (Y"D 125:1) indicates to me that if a non-Jew pours a bottle of wine, the remaining wine is totally fine, or at least ok if there is some loss ...
5
votes
3answers
231 views

May one use a Sephardic Torah in an Ashkenaz minyan?

May an Ashkenaz minyan use a sephardic torah (written in כתב וועליש) for their minyan or vise versa? Please cite a source
5
votes
1answer
146 views

Why is it “Beiz”?

I understand the Ashkenazi pronunciation of Hebrew is that the letter 'ת' with no דגש is an 's' sound. So why do (many) Ashkenazim pronounce the name of the letter 'ב', which is normally spelled ...
5
votes
1answer
171 views

Can I have kitniot in my house on Pesach if I cannot eat them?

The question boils down to: Can I have kitniot in my house on Pesach if I cannot eat them (in the Ashkenazic tradition)?
5
votes
4answers
190 views

What are Brochos differences of Sefardim and Ashkenazim?

For example, according to sefardim the bracha on matzo is mezonos (during the year), while it's hamotzi for Ashkenazim. What are other differences between Ashkenazim and Sefardim with regards to ...
5
votes
1answer
503 views

Yerushalmi Versus Bavli

What are the differences between the two Talmuds? or are there differences? Why did the two Talmuds develop separately or did they? Why do we Poskin like the Bavli or do we? Is it true that the ...
5
votes
4answers
260 views

Is cholent required?

Is making cholent on Shabbos a minhag that is so universal that it has in effect become required for Ashkenazim? Or, if I am correct that it is required (by at least some authorities) to have hot ...
5
votes
1answer
121 views

Why is Boruch Hashem Leolam not said in Israel?

Outside of Israel we say ...ברוך ד' לעולם after השכיבנו by Maariv. Why is this part of tefilah not said in Israel (or: why is this said outside Israel)?
5
votes
1answer
108 views

What sound does a munach make?

I'm asking according to Ashkenazi leining. The trop mark i have trouble with is the munach. It has two different sounds - a sort of "shaky" sound when it's on its own, and a sort of nothing sound when ...
5
votes
2answers
117 views

Why is 'misod chachomim unevonim' sometimes said and sometimes omitted in the repetition of the Amidah?

In Askenazi communities, the piece beginning 'misod chachomim unevonim' is said at the repetition of the Amidah at Shacharis when there are piyuttim (except Purim) and on Musaf on Yomim Noraim as well ...
5
votes
2answers
132 views

What to do if the minhag of my ancestors changed

Does anyone know what to do if the minhag of one's ancestors was changed within such a timeframe that the old minhagim should still be remembered? My great-grandfather "converted" from a Galizianer ...
5
votes
2answers
40 views

In what relative positions are multiple Sifrei Torah placed on the bimah?

When two Sifrei Torah (when the second sefer is needed for a special maftir) are placed on the bimah just before hagbah for the first Torah, should the first sefer read from be on the left or the ...
5
votes
2answers
227 views

Is there any basis for Chabad minhagim regarding tallit gadol?

I often daven at Chabad shuls and I have noticed that they have some particulars regarding tallit usage inconsistent with the rest of Ashkenazi Jewry, including: not wearing when receiving an aliyah ...
5
votes
1answer
79 views

Zmirot vs Pizmoniim

How is it that Ashkenaz and Sfardiim have different names for the same exact thing. Do both Zmira and Pizmon mean the same thing? What are the origination of people calling them either one? I know ...
5
votes
2answers
154 views

Piyutim in the Scroll

The Shulchan Aruch (OC 139:4) discusses the potential issue that a listener might think that the blessings for an aliya are actually written in the Torah scroll. Different suggestions are offered for ...
4
votes
4answers
603 views

Are Sephardic Jews allowed to dress up in costumes on Purim?

The custom of dressing up in costumes on Purim originated from Ashkenazic communities in Europe and has become a popular custom today for Ashkenazim (cf. Rema in Shulkhan Aruch Orach Chaim 696:8). ...
4
votes
4answers
186 views

Seeking a German Siddur

I was wondering if there is a 'Minhag Ashkenaz' siddur presently in print. I have an older one at home, but it has sentimental value and as a university student, I would rather avoid using such a ...
4
votes
2answers
97 views

Sifre Tora in boxes vs. in cloths

All S'faradi synagogues I've been in have each sefer Tora in a box. All Ashk'nazi ones I've been in have each sefer Tora in a cloth. When did this split occur, and why, and how? I assume either: ...
4
votes
1answer
243 views

Who wrote Shoshanat Yaakov?

Who was the Author of the Piyut "asher hanee" that ends with Shoshanat Yaakov? Why is it said by Ashkenazim after they read the Meggilah at night?
4
votes
1answer
59 views

Why do the Ashkenazim say Selichos for a minimum of 4 days before Rosh HaShana?

The Ashkenazim start saying Selichos a minimum of 4 days before Rosh HaShana? What is the reason of a minimum of 4 days?