Questions about Jewish customs and traditions.

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3
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28 views

French Minhagim

When I was in France over the summer, I noticed that, in general, the Ashkenazim followed German minhagim. Resultantly, it made me wonder whether there are any major differences between Minhag Rheinus ...
4
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1answer
79 views

Are the letters on a dreidel supposed to be in any particular order?

This is a little silly, but... Should the letters on a dreidel be in order? Like, if you turned it right to left, should it go nun - gimel - hey - shin, because of "nes gadol haya sham"? Or are there ...
2
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2answers
52 views

Kiddush in Schul on Yom-Tov

In those communities where kiddush is still said before Aleinu on Shabbat (Friday night), is it also said on leyl (the night of) yom-tov? As this question relates to my effort with the creation of a ...
4
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1answer
297 views

Is there anything wrong with messing with the rules of Dreidel?

In this article on Slate, Ben Blatt calls the classic rules of Dreidel "slow and unfair," citing simulation-based statistical analysis, and proposes his own modified rules to speed up the game. Given ...
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0answers
43 views

Non-Jewish Mysticism

According to the minhag I follow, one who is not a talmud chacham should not study Jewish mysticism (maase merkavah, heichalot, kabbalah, et c.). Following this, would one be able to read non-Jewish ...
4
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3answers
218 views

Why put water into the havdallah wine?

I have seen people (mainly sefardim) put a few drops of water into the wine before havdallah. Why do they do this?
0
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3answers
109 views

Why isn't it considered idol worship to give respect to the torah?

When the Sefer Torah is brought out of the ark, everyone stands up and kisses it. On occasions such as simchat torah and hoshana rabbah people dance around the Torah. To an outsider these actions can ...
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1answer
72 views

Do those who do become religious after a divorce need to cover their hair (women) or wear a tallis (men)?

A reason that I propose for why divorced women continue to cover their hair and divorced men continue to wear a tallis (a phenomenon whose existence I vouch for) is that taking on a mitzvah (with the ...
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0answers
22 views

Giving children presents on chanukkah [duplicate]

My parents give me and my siblings presents on chanukkah. Where did this custom come from?
7
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1answer
61 views

Why do the mothers break the plate?

At a wedding [or by the engagement], a plate is customarily broken at the "tena'im." This has already been discussed over here. As I have seen at weddings, and as is brought over here the custom is ...
7
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5answers
2k views

Is there a reason to cover your yawn?

My 9th grade Rebbi told us that we have to cover our mouths when we yawn to avoid evil spirits entering our bodies. Is there any source that says this? If not, is there any other Jewish reason, ...
1
vote
1answer
85 views

Origin of Chabad tefillin

I have wondered for some time about certain elements of Chabad minhagim re. tefillin, so here goes: What is the origin of their kesher shel yad? When was it decided that they should be huge (4x4cm ...
9
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2answers
267 views

How to celebrate conversion?

Are there any customs from modern or historic communities involving the celebration of a person's conversion to Judaism? In contrast to other transformative occasions in one's life (i.e., bar mitzvah, ...
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0answers
43 views

Choreography of Kaddish

I have seen a number of different customs of when people bow or sway or bob or whatnot during Kaddish. Some of the people I have witnessed have been very knowledgeable, and I assume they weren't just ...
6
votes
2answers
502 views

Saying kaddish when davening in a minyan that isn't your nusach

I have been to many minyanim where people are saying kaddish of a variety of nuschaot. What should one do with regards to this? Some examples: In a sephardi minyan, should an ashkenazi person remain ...
10
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2answers
192 views

What does a marriage proposal look like?

Most of us are familiar with the (American? Secular?) image of a proposal. The man kneels and says "will you marry me?" and so on. But what does an Orthodox proposal look like? I'm interested in any ...
1
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1answer
37 views

what is the source of reciting ledovid boruch

What is the source for reciting ledovid boruch and lamnazeach at mozei shabbes before mairiv? In the mishna berurah it is only cited as minhag but without a source.
4
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1answer
95 views

May a non Ethiopian Jew celebrate sigd?

Ethiopian Jews recently celebrated their festival of Sigd, which involves reaccaptence of the Torah, communal fasting and feasting, and prayers. Is it acceptable for someone of a Minhag other than ...
7
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2answers
1k views

Ripping out a blade of grass by a funeral?

At my great-uncle's funeral today, all of the participants (except the mourners) were told to rip out a blade of grass and say a passuk (I don't remember which). Is this a Jewish minhag? If so, what ...
5
votes
1answer
64 views

Which takes precedence - dina d'malchuta or halacha? What about minhag yisrael?

A more practical ramification of Is a ban on government workers wearing religious symbols a gezeirat hamalchut for which one would be obligated to give up his life? If the law of the land (dina ...
3
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0answers
28 views

Why put Psalm 130 right before barchu?

I've seen the custom quoted in many siddurim to recite Psalm 130 (שיר המעלות ממעמקים), with the Ark open, between ישתבח and ברכו during עשרת ימי תשובה. This particular Psalm was chosen because it's ...
3
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1answer
53 views

Minhag to wear wedding ring on the right hand

I don't have much background on this question--it's simply that I've seen some married Chabad women wearing their rings on the right hand. Why? Is it because the right hand is considered "preferable" ...
4
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0answers
55 views

Minhag for married women to cover their hair in bed

I know(1) there is a practice in Chabad for married women to wear a tichel in bed (i.e., with their husbands). I would not be surprised if this is the same in other Chasidic groups, if not in other ...
8
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2answers
888 views

How do you know when to make Chacham Harazim if you can't count Jews?

As I understand it, "Chacham harazim" is the bracha we make upon seeing an assembly of more than 600,000 Jews. I'm not clear on the exact detail of this law/tradition, but I also know we are not ...
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1answer
63 views

Minhag Tradition of Ashkenaz

Looking for a book that discusses minhag Ashkenaz in detail with sources. I am specifically interested in minhagim that were practiced in the Oberland of Europe.
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0answers
17 views

Inserting a paper with one's request in between the stones of the western wall [duplicate]

I once heard a rabbi say that there is an ancient custom (i.e. minhag) to insert a paper with ones bakashos (requests) in between the stones of the western wall. Where is the source of this minhag? ...
1
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0answers
21 views

Pointing the pinky at v'zos hatorah [duplicate]

By v'zos hatorah (i.e hagbah) I have seen people point their pinky at the sefer torah. Is this a minhag or did someone just make it up? Where did this minhag come from? Does the Shulchan Aruch, ...
0
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1answer
58 views

use the bathroom as a changing room

from shulchan aruch orach chaim 2 mishna brura there and shulchan aruch orach chaim 239.2 (davka feldheim translation 2: THE LAW REGARDING PUTTING ON CLOTHES mishna berura 1. "...For this reason, ...
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2answers
95 views

Is a Jew allowed to be annoyed about a minhag?

I heard that Minhag Yisroel is Torah, and that some Jews get annoyed about the minhag of Kitniyot. Should they try to stay away from that feeling? I understand the Rambam in hilchot daiot that a Jew ...
3
votes
1answer
56 views

minhag means law? when in shulchan aruch

When the Ramo writes and "so is the custom (vchain nohagin)" do we understand that to mean that this is his ruling regarding the law or that he is not giving his opinion about the law but is just ...
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0answers
39 views

What is the source for placing two menorot at the front of the shul, one on either side of the Aron?

Many shuls have menorot at the front of the shul on either side of the aron. I understand that basically this is a zecher l'mikdash. However, is there a source for the minhag to place specifically two ...
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0answers
35 views

Why did Ashkenazi Jews not adopt the custom of reading the Book of Job in synagogue on Tisha B'Av, as Sephardim do?

I understand that Sephardim have the custom of reading the Book of Job on Tisha B'Av. Is there any historic discussion among Ashkenazi rabbis regarding why the practice was not adopted by them?
7
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3answers
78 views

What is the source for untying things before going under the chuppah?

At a wedding recently I saw that the grooms shoes were untied, someone explained to me that there is a custom to make sure there are no knots under the chuppah. Where does this come from?
0
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1answer
43 views

Can someone follow the opposite minhag on the bracha for matza during the year?

The Ashkenazic custom is to wash and say hamotzi on matza all year round. The Sephardi custom is to make mezonot when it's not Pesach. Is someone allowed to follow the opposite minhag? I have heard ...
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0answers
60 views

Blessings on Birthdays

There is apparently a practice among contemporary Jews of giving out blessings on one's birthday. Is there any source for this in the Jewish tradition?
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0answers
47 views

Why the custom at the end of Tashlich to shake off Tzitzis?

In the Siddur Nussach Ari it says by the end of Tashlich to shake the ends of your Tzitzis, I heard that this symbolizes the tossing of a persons sins in the depth of the water (as in the verse " ...
4
votes
2answers
106 views

Why not say tachanun until 2 Cheshvan?

It's recorded in most siddurim I've used that some people have the custom to skip tachanun on Isru Chag (the day after Sukkos), and start again the day after, while others don't resume saying it until ...
10
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1answer
143 views

We're not supposed to point at stars?

I'm an Israeli Jew living in Israel. I often give "sky tours" where I show children and adults different stars and a view through a powerful binocular at objects of interest. Recently a young boy ...
9
votes
1answer
71 views

Trying to understand Kol Hanearim

Where does the custom of Kol Hanearim, were all children stand near the person getting an aliah and are covered with a tallis-canopy, come from? What, if anything, is it a segulah for? Why is it done ...
6
votes
1answer
82 views

Simchas torah and drinking

I have seen that is prohibited to daven while drunk (Drinking during davening). How does chabad justify so much drinking on simchas torah while davening? I have seen shul sanctioned drinking to the ...
4
votes
1answer
58 views

Tefillin Gassot

According to this video, gassot have only been around for about a century. I know for a fact that when my father became bar mitzvah, his grandfather got him tefillin dakkot (his father got new ...
5
votes
1answer
41 views

Proper Hagba Procedure: Text Facing Table?

I recently was asked to be a magbiah. Before I came to the bimah, the chazzan turned the scroll so that the text was facing down (toward the table). So, when I grasped the atzey chaim and lifted it, ...
2
votes
1answer
28 views

Is there any halachic basis for beating the aravot on dirt?

This Hoshana Rabba, the shul made everyone schlep outside to beat the aravot on open ground instead of the floor. Is there a reason for doing this other than keeping the floor clean?
2
votes
2answers
51 views

Chabad custom not to have bar mitzva aliya shabbat morning

According to this question, the Annotated Tehillat Hashem Siddur (a Chabad siddur) encourages the Bar mitzvah boy to get his first aliya on Monday, Thursday, or Shabbat Mincha or Rosh Chodesh. This ...
5
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2answers
60 views

Customs for waving arba minim three times in each direction

I get why we shake the arba minim in all directions, but why do some have the custom of shaking them three times in each direction?
2
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0answers
42 views

Minhagim for removing tefilin on chol hamoed

I daven in a minyan with a significant number of people who don tefilin on chol hamoed. The way I have always thought the minhag was practiced was that the tefilin are removed before halel; however, ...
4
votes
2answers
72 views

Koishele on Lulav

Is there any significance, halachic or otherwise, to the holder (or koishele) for the hadassim and aravot on the lulav? Who is the earliest source to describe it? Who (other than Chabad) doesn't use ...
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0answers
49 views

In what order should someone face when shaking the lulav? [duplicate]

When shaking the lulav and etrog in 6 directions, is there a proper order? My ArtScroll (USA) siddur says to shake FRBLUD - forwards, right, backwards, left, up, down. In my shul, many people do ...
2
votes
1answer
84 views

Dating through the Rabbis?

Is there a custom in which a man approaches his Rav to act as a liaison between himself and a lady he is interested in in order to start the dating/courting process? Someone recently recounted to me ...
0
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0answers
44 views

Do bangles have a Jewish origin?

Do the bangle bracelets often worn by as a custom of Jewish Syrian girls and women have any Jewish source?